Sunday, July 16, 2017

SM - Auditions

Last weekend, I had my first experience being on the other side of auditions. I don't think I did too badly, but I felt like I was scrambling the entire time.

The director asked me to make sure that everyone read at least twice. That was the easy part: a simple grid in my notebook let me track the number of times an actor was called up. Then I began to try keeping closer track of who read with whom. I'm sure I could analyze my notes and pull that information out, but it's not clear at a glance. My task was further complicated by one actor auditioning for both of the female roles. Nor do I have very clear evaluative comments: only some pluses and minuses next to names when I had positive and negative thoughts, only occasionally elucidated by a word or two of explanation.

Consequently, I don't think I was much help in the casting committee discussions. Fortunately, the rest of the committee had good observations with specific notes. I just drew on my experience leading discussions toward decisions, watching for groupthink, logical errors, and un-examined assumptions. A few times I would throw in contrary interpretations and observations to test the strength of emerging decisions.

In the end, I think the casting decisions were strong. I remarked to a friend that, although auditions were lightly attended, the casting decision was difficult, and I believe we could have capably cast the show with 4 completely different individuals.

The auditions hammered home for me an important fact about stage managing: quick, efficient note-taking. I'm a little nervous about this. Luckily, I've recorded blocking in a script before -- albeit from the actor's side - but I'm sure it will take me some time before I feel really comfortable in my note-taking prowess.

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