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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Monday, September 01, 2008

Casting in Charlotte

"The audition process selects for the most blatant (and not even the most attractive) of the supplicants. As a hiring tool, it is geared to reject all but the hackneyed, the stock, the predictable-in short, the counterfeit." -David Mamet, True and False.

This comforts me when I consider all the auditions I haven't made recently. I'm also comforted by recent assurances from experienced members of the local scene that it's easier to get acting work in New York and Chicago than in Charlotte; partly because there's more work available, but partly because Charlotte theatre is so cliquey. Of course it's also possible that I just wasn't the best candidate for the jobs, but it's best not to dwell on that.

In my dollop of directing training I was told it's terribly important to ask auditionees to "Try it this way" or "Do it that way." In other words, see if they can take direction and accomodate the director's vision. No one's told me to do this in any Charlotte auditions, so I'm left to guess and trust my instincts. The results have left most directors cold, it seems. The directors all seem to be looking for someone who just walks in doing it right. Maybe there are enough talented folks in town that someone will stroll in and nail the director's vision right off the bat.

I recently lost a Childrens' Theatre callback audition for a villian role. I think the reason was that I seemed genuinely villianous. I guess they wanted someone who could communicate the notion of villiany without being too genuinely threatening.

Hope this doesn't seem petulant. I'm perfectly willing to assume that the directors in question made excellent casting decisions that simply didn't have space for me. I've been considering what I did in each audition that may have cost me, but since you don't really get feedback in this game I'm left guessing. I hope Turn of the Screw will draw enough local theatre folks that the exposure will get me into the scene. I'm really excited about this show and grateful to everyone involved.


FLT3 said...

Don't fret...you know Bham is cliquey, too. After Turn Of The Screw, some people will know your work, and you'll get in the loop.

If Charlotte is anything like Bham, there's also a lot of precasting going on. I'm not criticizing...I precast a lot myself. I can tell you exactly what shows I am performing in, and in which roles, usually five or six months out at any time. I can also usually tell you who at least half of my leads will be in any show I direct long before the audition process. Hey, I'm just being honest...I think the newcomer to any theatre scene is going to have to do "third nobody from the left" roles for a year or so, and then he or she is known, and the offers start coming.

Hope you're doing well. BTW, the word verification I have to insert here is "qpooty." I like that. :-)



Aaron White said...

B'ham theatre sounds like the Republican Vice-Presidential nominating process! Third nobody from the left indeed.

Thanks for the kind thoughts, Frank.