In the whirlwind of a week before I packed up my tour rucksack we held auditions for Hiraeth Artistic Productions’ upcoming Titus Andronicus, which I am beyond excited to be Assisting on.
To come at the production process from the other angle is definitely eye opening. And being on the other side of the casting table was incredibly useful for me as an actor.
As soon as the first actor walked into the room, Richard Evans’ advice made absolute sense. They always tell you the casting director is on your side, not an enemy or a firing squad. It turns out this is true. We have a play to cast and each unfilled role is a problem that needs to be solved. The right actor is the solution to the problem.They want you to do well.
The initial interview at the beginning as we endeavoured to put candidates at ease allowed us to get to know a little bit about the person and just get to see whether or not we were able to interact with them well. This is something that I always fret about as an actor; I should have said this, or that, or the other. The subject matter was of little importance compared to the attitude and energy and listening skills. That being said, those who had read the play (!) fared MUCH better than those who hadn’t; they had something to talk about and have shown that they have prepared and taken the audition seriously.
It sounds basic, but those who chose nice big bold speeches left much more impact than those who chose indifferent pieces. Again, Ginny Schiller’s advice was ringing in my ears: don’t be afraid of the ‘big ones’. There is a reason why they’re considered ‘overdone’; because they’re very good. You won’t get the part because you managed to dig out the most obscure monologue in the First Folio, you will get the part based on your performance; so best make sure you’ve got something good to work with.
There was one auditionee who literally blew my mind with how amazing she was. Like, she was fantastic. Her monologue made hairs stand up on the back of my neck and brought tears to my eyes. Without a doubt,she was one of the best auditions of the weekend and a funny, genuine and clearly passionate woman to boot. It breaks my heart to say she wasn’t cast. There just wasn’t a part for her in this particular play, with this particular line up of actors.
This, though of little use to her right now, was rather heartening for me as an actor. On those occasions where you know you’ve given your all and you feel you really got on with the casting director and you tear your hair out with audition post mortems to try and understand why you didn’t get the part; sometimes it really is a case that you don’t fit with the rest of the puzzle this time.