It’s time to cast the play!

So the expo’s come and gone, the auditions are over and now you’ve got the difficult task of casting the play. I imagine this must be a challenging task for any director, but when the auditionees are your friends it makes it even more difficult.

The auditions for Here (by Michael Frayn), which will be performed in Portsmouth in July, were both enjoyable and thought-provoking. We have a wonderful collection of talented actors in the company I am directing for, the Southsea Shakespeare Actors, a fact reinforced at the auditions last week. I was entertained, impressed, and left thoroughly disappointed that there are only three parts I’m casting for!

Watching intently during rehearsals for Polar Bears, my first directing experience

Watching intently during rehearsals for Polar Bears, my first experience directing

After several days of deliberation I finally made my choice. There were several combinations of Cath and Phil, the couple in the play, which would have worked, so it was a case of working out the best combination for my version of the play. Although I like small-handers, one drawback is that, with only a few characters, you can only cast a few people. I am absolutely thrilled with my cast, but there remain many people within the company that I would also love to direct and hope I will have the chance to do so in the future.

When telling actors whether they have been cast or not, I like to ring round everyone. Maybe ‘like’ is not quite the right word, as it’s certainly not fun having to tell the majority of the people they haven’t got a part. Nevertheless, I feel it is important to show the actors this courtesy, as they have given up their time to audition and I am always thankful that they have shown such an interest in a play I am directing. I’m sure this may not always be possible, depending on the scale of the production, but if it is then I think it’s the right thing to do, even if it does call for a large glass of wine at the end!

As I flick through my notes so far and start to work out the rehearsal schedule, I can feel the subtle tinges of excitement fizzing through my fingers and toes. The magic is about to begin…

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