Last weekend were the official auditions for Nine (playing at Walterdale in July). On the roster were over 65 people which made me very happy. A large turn-out meant that we would have a lot to choose from to make the best possible cast. Well, not only were there many, but there a lot of really strong auditioners! This meant that we had 2-6 possibilities for each of the roles we were calling back and a large group of people from which to construct the cast. I had to say NO to a lot of strong people - we looked at all three areas (singing, acting and dancing) as determiners, as well as scheduling (always a challenge with busy, talented people). After all was said and done we got a cast that I am thrilled to work with. The hardest part for me is the NOs. There are people I do not have that were absolutely brilliant. There are some that are newer and less experienced and therefore a little less polished in their audition and hopefully they come back and I will get to work with them in the future as I saw great potential. In any case, that is done and yesterday we had a fabulous read-through with our cast and I could already see that many of them had brought choices to what they were going to do. I cannot wait to hear this group sing together. The music is challenging but these guys can handle it. An interesting thing is that of this group there are only a couple that I have directed before and it is about 50-50 people I knew before and people I didn't know. We really made an effort to cast based on the auditions we saw.
I must comment, however, I do have a Blog Post coming about Auditions Dos and Don'ts. There are people who really jeopardized their being cast by playing a little too much in the Don't column. I have to think about it though, as I have held auditions for a number of shows and I want to collect my thoughts.
The other thing I did this week was check out Cowardly Kiss Theatre's The Maids playing at the Catalyst Theatre. The play is a dark little piece, directed by Andrea Beca, about 2 maids (Sarah Horsman and Louise Large) who role-play and plot the murder of their employer (Madam, played by Zachary Parsons-Lozinski). Beca's production concept emphasizes the twisted nature of the two sister-maids with specific physicalization and costume and make-up. The script itself feels a titch slow at first, but you understand the need for it later in the piece as it sets a lot of the story up. All three actors commit totally to their choices and it was really quite interesting to watch. Horsman is electric onstage in her monologue and she and Large work well together as the sisters, and Parsons-Lozinski always looks as though he should just live onstage all the time - he is so natural there, even in the campiest roles. It's an edgier piece, one you think about a lot afterwards, and provides a good contrast to more mainstream theatre. It runs until next weekend. Check it out!
* The Maids is #17 in my 2012 Theatre Goal.