I spent this past weekend in a casting session for an upcoming play. As an actor, it’s an interesting place to be. I sat and listened as actors came in and recited their monologues and sang a variety of songs. Having not taken the traditional route to acting (you know, going to college studying theater or getting an MFA) I am not as well versed as I could and should be on plays. It is always a fun to hear other monologues and get ideas for things you’d like to do. As a writer it was interesting to sit next to the playwright as he sat and watched the actors, asked questions of them and offered deeper insight into his play. As a producer, I sat and watched how the producer worked the room, considering all the options of actors to bring back, how they would look together, how they acted in the waiting room, or if could they handle the material. I walked people in and out of the room, chatted with actors making sure they had the correct sides and were ready to enter the room.
At the end of the day, I sat watching as the production team discussed their front-runners, put headshots together so they could remember the person and listened as they strategized scheduling and finding a place for a rehearsal since it was such a big cast. It was a reminder of the dos and don’ts of an actor. Sure we have entered the digital age, but when the call asks for 2 headshots, they do have a reason, they don’t just want to torture you. For us it was so we could keep one for our records and another was for the director to take home at the end of the day, so she could look at her potential new cast. Those people who were still chosen despite not bringing in a headshot were lucky, but if the director can’t remember your face, you could still be replaced by someone else’s look. Another actor note I took was to know your material. As actors we’re told to have two monologues prepared, ready to go. Some of the actors came in with their monologue in hand, they were still working on them. Not an impressive move. You need to know it!
As Sunday came to a close I sat contemplating the fascinating rediscovery of my love of the theatre. After a year spent writing and creating a show, it’s an amazing feeling to watch people do their job to make your words come to life. It was also a reminder to keep working. That warm sensation that comes over you as you’re watching an actor work. The smile that appeared on your face without even thinking about it.
That is the magic I want to feel every day.