breakinglight11: (Default)
Since it's almost halfway through the summer, I thought I'd give a report while I actually have a moment.

I've been at my new job with Evil Overlord Games for almost a month now, and I think it's going well! I am definitely enjoying it, and I'm working very hard to do well. I've produced an enormous amount of writing, though I'm still getting used to the situation of doing it for a set time for an entire workday. Creativity on a regular schedule takes some adapting! But I'm enjoying the challenge, and I am very determined to deliver good work. This past week I was working as fast as I could in an effort to meet a deadline, so it will likely call for a lot of editing, but getting it down on the page is always the biggest challenge for me.

I've also been working on drafting Mrs. Hawking part 4, tentatively titled Gilded Cages. (I'm not crazy about that title, but I'm not sure what else to call it.) What I've got so far is very rough, but I've made a good start-- as I've mentioned, I've got to just get some garbage on the page in order to have some material to work with and improve. It's been a bit harder and weirder, given that I've got so much other writing to do lately, but having my day job provide way more writing responsibilities is actually a pretty good problem to have.

I'm also in tech week for Murders and Scandals, the PMRP double feature of Murders in the Rue Morgue and A Scandal in Bohemia. I must say, it has been quite some time before I've had a tech week that was this low-intensity, given I've been doing the piece-heavy Mrs. Hawking shows. We open this coming weekend at Responsible Grace in Somerville, so check out our schedule of performances to see which show you can make!
breakinglight11: (Default)
You may recall that this summer I am for the first time participating in a show with the Post-Meridian Radio Players, a group I have long admired but never had the chance to work with before. This summer I am directing an audio drama version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which I helped PMRP artist-in-residence Jeremy Holstein to adapt, and which has the distinction of being history's first detective story. Our version also has the leads gender-swapped, so our detective is a female version of Dupin, as well as the narrator in the form of Dupin's companion Edelle.



It's exciting to work in this different form-- never directed a complete audio drama before --and it's lovely to have a much lower-key theatrical project than I've usually been occupied with of late. I'm also working with some great actors, some great people in the Mrs. Hawking cast as well as a bunch of lovely new people.

So I'd like to invite you all to the performance! Here is the link to the Facebook event. There's a link to buy tickets on the page, or they can be bought in the door. My show will start first at Responsible Grace church in Somerville, to be followed by Jeremy Holstein's excellent adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia," which features the only appearance of the beloved character Irene Adler.

Hope to see you there!
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At least, I hope so. Mostly I just wanted to make the Eliot reference.

It will be April in a few days, and of course it promises to be busy. Mrs. Hawking rehearsals start back up again on Tuesday, and I'm trying to get prepared. About half the cast is new and half the cast is from the previous production. I've never worked on a show like that before, so it will be interesting to see how that makes the process different. I'm hoping it will be EASIER in some way, but we'll see.

It's turned out that it's taking up my Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Four days a week is not terrible, and really only the leads (and me, of course) have to be there all those days. A very manageable schedule. The play is short, and as I said, I hope half the cast being familiar makes things smoother. Unfortunately that worked out to be over BOTH my ballet nights, which makes me sad. I love ballet and I don't want to get out of practice with it. I won't be able to start attending regularly again until late in May. At least it should save me some money.

I've been focused on this project so much lately partially because it takes up a lot of my time and makes up most of what I have to talk about, but also because I'm making a serious go of getting it out there. Maybe it's a crazy pipe dream, but I'm hoping to some day make a writing career out of it. My current strategy is to build up a following for the property, so that it might get noticed by the right people due to a higher profile, and if and when I get a chance to pitch it to that or another somebody, I can point to an established fan base. It's a lot of work, I don't know if it will succeed, and it's basically guaranteed to keep me a starving artist for the foreseeable future, but I'm giving it a shot.

I'm sorry if I've been flogging the Mrs. Hawking stuff too hard. I don't want to get on anybody's nerves. I hope I've made it clear that all this stuff is opt-out for people who aren't interested. Like, I hope people who enjoy it come to the show, but don't feel pressured. Especially if you already attended the Arisia production, don't feel like you HAVE to unless you want to.
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We have just gotten through our first week of rehearsal!



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Frances Kimpel and Samantha LeVangie, rehearsing as as Mrs. Hawking and Mary.


My style as director, as I've mentioned, is to have things fairly specifically planned out before I go into rehearsal. A personal artistic value of mine is a dynamic stage, with lots of interesting action happening at the right times. But incorporating the right amount of activity is a careful balance.

Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!

Mrs. Hawking, by Phoebe Roberts, will be performed at Arisia 2015 on Friday, January 16th at 6PM at the Westin Waterfront Boston.
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God, I have been busy. Rehearsals started for Mrs. Hawking, and with all the planning plus the time they take have really eaten up my minutes. I haven't written on here in days, which I hate doing. Things are going pretty well, but I'm nervous at how many people we've missed from the initial blocking of scenes. We've got so little time, I really hope it's enough to both catch them up and allow them to practice enough to get things smooth.

On the positive side, I've actually been really happy with how the blocking has been coming out, and the way the actors present have interpreted it. I think this could be a really good show, if I manage to pull everything together, and work through the things that go wrong.
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"Rehearsals begin for Mrs. Hawking at Arisia"

Tonight is the first read through for Mrs. Hawking at Arisia 2015, which marks the start of our rehearsal period. This is going to be seriously intense. We don't have long between now and our performance on January 16th, and there's about week's worth of lost time due to the winter holidays. That does NOT make for a nice leisurely process of getting a play blocked, memorized, and sufficiently rehearsed so we don't all embarrass ourselves.

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Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!

Mrs. Hawking, by Phoebe Roberts, will be performed as part of Arisia 2015, at 6PM on Friday, January 16th at the Westin Boston Waterfront.
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New post on Mrshawking.com!

"Physical storytelling"

Most of the theater I have been involved with the production of has been classical in nature. In Shakespeare, there is very little in the way of stage directions beyond entrances, exits, and the occasional “pursued by bear.” I wrote Mrs. Hawking when I was influenced by that bias. Now that I’m starting in on planning the blocking for Mrs. Hawking at Arisia ’15, this is on my mind.

Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!

Mrs. Hawking, by Phoebe Roberts, will be performed at Arisia 2015 on Friday, January 16th at 6PM at the Westin Waterfront Boston.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
Well, I held my last-minute and somewhat impromptu auditions for Mrs. Hawking at Arisia 2015 tonight, and I had a decent number of people signed up to read. The bad news was that about half of those people just didn't show up, despite requesting audition slots. Which honestly irritated the heck out of me. But the good news is I got just about enough to cast. That's ultimately what matters, but if I hadn't been lucky enough to see almost entirely solid people in that massively reduced number, I'd have been in real trouble.

I plan on having the list finalized by Friday. I still have to figure out where I'm putting certain people, but I'm fairly certain I know who I want to use. The only thing is I could use one more man for a small henchman role. It would still be speaking, but it would be minimal rehearsal. I'm not too worried about it, as it's minor enough that I could probably find somebody last minute to step in and it would be fine, but I will need to iron that out.

Thank you very much to those people who did audition, and I'm excited to debut the cast list for the very first performance of this play.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I'm in the scene that is [livejournal.com profile] niobien's final project for her directing class, and today we had a rehearsal where Carolyn did something that was fascinating to me. We ran the scene a few times, and then she suggested we go through it without the words, only the physicality, playing it more or less extreme as was needed to convey the story line. I thought this was a wonderful idea that could have a really specific effect on a scene. If you were blocking something that just didn't have the right kind of physical acting, or too much or too little, boiling it down to just that and running through could really help actors hone their performance.

It made me think of the process of the Mrs. Hawking reading, where at the auditions I observed a bunch of people speaking very stiffly-- apparently to many actors, the Victorians are restrained and bloodless to the point of boredom. I could easily see that desire to "act like a Victorian" bleeding over into the physical acting of a role and leading to stiffness there too. But with an exercise to make people only think about their physicality, you could encourage your actors to punch it up, make their movements more intense and meaningful.

I asked Carolyn if she got it from somewhere, but she came up with it all on her own. I'm quite impressed! Especially since I'm not normally a fan of acting exercises. Totally using the Daitch Technique next time I'm directing something where the physical acting isn't quite there. :-)
breakinglight11: (Cavalier Fool)


Auditions went well on Monday night for my reading of Mrs. Hawking, and I am pleased to announce I have a lovely cast!

Elizabeth Hunter as Mrs. Victoria Hawking
Gabrielle Geller as Miss Mary Stone
Ryan Kacani as Mr. Nathaniel Hawking
Brad Smith as Lord Cedric Brockton and Narrator 3
Stephanie Karol as Mrs. Celeste Fairmont, Miss Grace Monroe, and Narrator 2
Nick Martucci as Lord Walter Grainger, Mr. John Colchester, and Narrator 1

I was fortunate to have a number of talented people, and it was pretty much a battle between two choices in literally every role. But I am happy with this cast and I think they will not only do a good job representing my piece, but also that they will work well together.

Now I need to get down to brass tacks. The script is mostly prepared, but still needs a last go-over before I send it to the actors in case they want to look at it ahead of time. We have rehearsal dates and location (thanks to the wonderfully generous Ms. Hunter) but I need to block out what sections of the script we're going to work on when. This project is important to me, so I'm excited to get going on it.

The reading will happen on April 11th at 8PM at Unity Church at 8 William Street in Somerville, so I hope I will see you there!

breakinglight11: (Ponderous Fool)
Life is busy. Lots of stuff. And stuff I should probably post about. But here's the bullet list, until I get my head together about everything.

Tonight I have auditions for my Bare Bones reading of Mrs. Hawking. I am fortunate to have gotten a big group of actors signed up to read, so I'm sure I'll be able to find a good cast. Have some nerves related to the process that I might need to work out, but I have high hopes for the production itself.

I would like to write a report on Intercon. It's probably the most anticipated weekend of the year for me, and while I mostly enjoyed it, there were some really, really bad points, and I need to figure out how best to talk about it from a larp-analysis standpoint and from a personal-issues standpoint in an appropriate manner.

Festival is coming up. Sign ups for the first round of games open at 7pm tonight, and I will be running Break a Leg and Agent Bobo of the Resistance. Not a hundred percent sure what I'm signing up for myself, but I'd love to see you in both or either of my games, and there's plenty of great stuff on the schedule. Check out the website to get involved!
breakinglight11: (Ponderous Fool)

Being stuck in the house trying not to let the bad thoughts take over, I decided to get to work on preparing the Mrs. Hawking script for the Bare Bones reading. The real work will be in improving the actual text, which will require serious thought. But there's also preparing it so that it can be read in the circumstances of the Bare Bones form.

I will be able to pick six actors for this reading. That means multi-casting pretty carefully to keep the characters straight, and to keep anyone from having to talk to themselves in a given scene. The biggest challenge is in the stage directions. Because it's such an action-oriented play, a lot of the stage directions have to be read in order for the story to come across. But frankly six actors is the absolute minimum required to just cover the characters. So as a solution to that, I'm creating a rotating "narrator" role. The stage directions that need to be read will be indicated by formatting the directions as lines under the name Narrator, but it will switch between three, so no actor is double-cast as Narrator in a scene where they are playing a character.

I'm planning on choreographing the reading similarly to how PMRP productions work if you've ever seen them-- the actors will all sit in chairs along the back of the stage until they are in the current scene, at which point they will come up to stand at the front and read. Whoever is the narrator at the moment will act similarly, except they will have a designated narrator space to stand in at the far side of the stage's edge. Practicing the rhythm of coming out into place and returning will be an important part of rehearsal.

I will need three men and three women. And I would love it if you came out to audition. If you would be so kind as to lend your voice to this, go to the production website here and sign up for an audition slot. I would be very grateful for your help in bringing this piece forward.
breakinglight11: (Cool Fool)


I just got word from Theatre@First's lovely John Deschene that my play Mrs. Hawking has been accepted as part of Bare Bones, their series of staged readings. I'm really pleased to hear it, as getting readings is important to the development of new plays, and I really care about bringing this piece along. The reading I had at my school was very instructive and helped me figure out a lot of things that need changing and fixing. Having another reading to prepare it for will really help me take it to the next level.

I only just sent in my acceptance, so there's nothing posted about it and I haven't gotten any specific information about it yet/ But according to the website, they provide space for auditions the week of March 4th, so presumably they will let me have an open call for actors then. I get to choose six people. That's probably one fewer person than I'd like, but I may just have to multi-cast a little more, and possibly rotate off who reads the stage directions. You can't really do this show without the stage directions being read. And then the reading itself will be April 11th. Not a long process for a full-length play, but for a reading only a few rehearsals will be needed. Hey, the first reading was done completely cold!

I am glad to have the chance to further develop this piece, and to get my work out there a little bit more. Every little bit of positive attention could bring me a little closer to getting productions, right? And if you might be interested in helping me out, I'd love it if you came out to audition. Especially if you might be able to do an English accent.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

breakinglight11: (Heroic Me)
royariastheater

Finally got some more info on my upcoming production of Work-Life Balance! Our two performances will go up in the 7pm block on Saturday the 15th and the 4pm block on Sunday the 16th at the Roy Arias Theater at 300 West 43rd Street in New York City. I checked out its website and it is a small but legitimate theater in Times Square, which is exciting. We run less than ten minutes, and will be going up alongside a number of other ten-minute plays.

I have also assembled a cast and crew. Wondra will be played by the lovely Charlotte Oswald, while my dear Jared has agreed to take on the role of Bantam. Steph will be co-directing with me, and has also been going above and beyond carrying out many producer responsibilities as well, and Bernie is going to advise on technical concerns. This should be a pretty undemanding show as far as the tech goes-- nothing like the prop-set-sound complexity that The Late Mrs. Chadwick had --but I will be glad to have somebody knowledgeable like him keeping an eye on it, considering the things I'd forget about.

Costumes are the only major issue to take care of. It takes a little thought to assemble a believable superhero outfit. For Wondra I bought a long-sleeved blue leotard, and I think Charlotte will also wear purple tights and this neat purple costume belt that I bought for a larp outfit exactly because it looked so superhero-y. I'd also like to make a symbol of some kind, probably also in purple, to put on the leotard's chest. Boots and a domino mask will complete the look. I've not entirely figured out Bantam's look yet, but I think the foundation of it will be Jared's black flight suit, and I think I found a neat fighting cock image to turn into his logo. Steph had an idea of using body paint to do masks on them, which is a particular skill of Charlotte's.

We have our first rehearsal tomorrow night. I'm really excited, so I'm going to make sure I'm prepared as much as I can be. We don't have much time, so I want to hit the ground running.
breakinglight11: (Confused Dromio)
perfectpieslice

I have been mostly unplugged for the last few days, hanging out at home with my family mostly doing nothing during a lovely, lazy Thanksgiving vacation. It was exceedingly pleasant to be allowed to briefly be a slug, concerning myself with little beyond sleeping, eating, and letting my parents take care of me. Well, we did make, among other things, a wheel of Swiss cheese from scratch and the world's most perfect apple pie. I helped Dad bottle fifteen gallons of beer. It was a nice change of pace. Alas, now I have returned and it is time to be a grownup again.

Back to my life means back to my responsibilities. I told myself, in order to finally relax, I would not worry about anything over the break, but now I have to get back in gear. The first of which is getting my play, Work-Life Balance, together and organized to go to New York the weekend of December 15th and 16th. I think I have my female actor, but I still need a male actor for the role of Bantam. Any of you talented gentlemen available to come up with me to New York that weekend? If so, drop me an email ASAP at breakinglight11@gmail.com and we'll talk.

I've also finding myself struck with ideas for other projects. I'm sure this is a response to not wanting to deal with my more difficult, pressing responsibilities, but it's nice to feel inspired. I'm writing them down while I can, in hopes of saving them for when I have more time. It's so funny, since I've been feeling stretched to the limit of my creativity with all the writing I've done lately, but I'm glad to know I still have some neat stuff in me.
breakinglight11: (Default)
rooftopsatnight

Today I got word that in one month I will have the opportunity to put up a play at a venue in New York City! Earlier this month I submitted one of my ten-minute plays, the superhero-themed Work-Life Balance, to the Short Play Lab having a showcase in the Roy Arias Studios at 300 West 43rd Street in NYC. It will go up on Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th. I'm not sure of the times yet, as it could be one of two blocks each day. This is extremely exciting for me, as it is my first time being selected from a juried script call.

For this call, I am responsible for putting the production together and bringing it to the venue. So that means I need to cast, rehearse, and costume this thing in a hurry. I've only got one month to put it together, but I only just heard I got accepted, and at least it's a short play. I am currently investigating who I'd want to cast that is available for this period, and who can make it to New York on those days. It's a responsibility I wasn't expecting to have right now, as I thought the next few weeks would be a reprieve for me, but it's worth it to have a script of mine put on in a real venue. At least it doesn't require any set or props-- I just need to wrangle a couple of actors for rehearsal, and figure out how to dress them up as superheroes.

Thank you to everyone who offered congratulations on this happening for me. :-) I was starting to get discouraged, so this was a real pick-me-up. Wish me luck getting everything together!
breakinglight11: (Mad Fool)
chadwick1

The Late Mrs. Chadwick had its debut performance yesterday, and I was so happy with how it went. We had a good audience who laughed a lot, and my cast and crew just did such a fabulous job. I even was lucky enough to have Gigi and newly-minted HTPers Ryan Kacani and Aaron Fisher in the audience to see it! It was also kind of cool to have something I wrote seen by people who don't know me, in hopes of increasing the exposure to my work.

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I was so pleased with the actors. Lenny and Frances were pretty much the first people who came to mind when I wanted to cast the roles of stuffy, unfailingly polite Arthur Chadwick and Edwin Shrewsbury, and I was so delighted that they wanted to do it. They were hilarious, grasping the particular tone of the humor perfectly and creating characters from this fabulous combination of the mannered way they spoke and their understated reactions to the madness all around them. I just love working with these two, and as usual they did not disappoint.

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The title character of Mrs. Chadwick I had to think about much more. She has no lines, but she is demanding all the same-- she has to be physical and loud, and the actress has to be utterly uninhibited. I thought about it for a while, and then I came to Sam LeVangie. I think she has a lot of raw talent, and I really admired the way she threw herself into things and gave them a try. Though I have many talented actor friends who I love casting, I don't always want to use the same people over and over again but instead have a large stable so I can always have the right person for the role. I've wanted to work with Sam for a while now, so I thought this might be the thing. To my pleasure she accepted the part, and she did a wonderful job, looking hauntingly lovely in her pale makeup and white gown as she fearlessly wailed, hurled stuff, and melodramatically flopped around the stage.

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And of course, I couldn't have pulled it off without Bernie and Carolyn. They handled the technical aspects, advising me on how to set up the stage, what sort of props and activity were going to be practical, and engineering a sound system to play the necessary sound effects of Matilda's carnage around the house. I am incredibly grateful that they were kind enough to lend their expertise to get my piece off the ground.

As far as directing goes, this show presented an interesting challenge in that it has two very distinct types of humor in it. The first is the witty, wordy kind inherent in Chadwick and Shrewsbury's dialogue. It's a little sophisticated, a little complex, requires a little bit of absorbing in order to get. The second kind of humor is the broad, physical, silly comedy of Matilda Chadwick. She screams, she breaks stuff, she rolls around on the floor. In order for both types of humor to succeed, we had to be careful to not permit them to overlap too much, so the nuances could be appreciated as well as the broader stuff.  

While there were many fine aspects of this production, one of my favorites was the moustaches. I had the idea to use false moustaches early on, and very quickly fell in love with the notion. You know, normally I'm very sensitive to the comfort levels and preferences of my actors and am usually quite willing to change my plan if it makes them feel better about it, but in the case of these moustaches, if my actors had been strongly objected to them, as Ryan Kacani put it after the show, I "would have found new actors." ;-)

So that's my third produced piece of playwriting after To Think of Nothing and Merely Players. It's cool that I was able to use a piece I generated during 31 Plays in 31 Days. And this one was seen by a little more by the public than the others, though it was a small house for a small festival. I need to get more of my work out there, and this is a start. I'm trying to submit more places in hopes of increasing my chance for selection. If you're interested, we still have one more performance next Saturday at 8PM along with Nick's show that Jared is in, Stranger Than Slash Fiction. I know a friend of Jared's managed to buy tickets for it yesterday, so there may be some available still. Go to this website to purchase.

Also, if anyone finds themselves in a position to put on a play, I just want to put it out there that I would love it if you'd consider using one of my scripts. As much as I love directing my own work, I want productions to happen without me as well. So if you need a script, please talk to me and maybe I have something that you would be interested in using. It would be my honor and pleasure.
breakinglight11: (Heroic Me)
Tossing around an idea in my head. I discovered recently there's a theater around that will rent out a small performance space for private people to put on one-night engagements. I could get a thirty-seat theater with basic tech for an evening for the cost of fifty dollars. It's a small thing, but I am thinking of going for it and putting on some little production just to get something put on. I put in an inquiry about a weekend date sometime in late August or so, to see if it's possible, and maybe get myself on the calendar.

The question would be what to put on. I have been looking at Aria da Capo, a strange and beautiful little one act play by Edna St. Vincent-Millay that I've wanted to direct for a while, but I think it might be a better use of the opportunity to get a piece of my own work out there. Still, what would that be? I only have one one-act that I think is worth putting on and that's To Think of Nothing. Since it's going to be such a small event, I will likely only get people I know coming, and most of the people who would come have already seen that. It'd be another thing if I thought I could get more of the public to come, get more exposure for the piece I'm most proud of, but again, it's only a thirty-seat theater for one night. Probably not going to happen that way.

I have a couple of ten-minute plays, and people do present collections of them as evenings of theater, but I'm not sure I like putting them all together given how little relation they have to one another. But one idea I did have-- so remember how I was musing about how neat it was my humorous ten-minute piece Just So could be cast as men, as women, as men in drag, or women in drag? I thought that maybe it could be played four times in a row, each time with a differently gendered cast, and blocked differently each time to emphasize what was funny about that particular gendering. I would be concerned that it might get boring seeing the same sketch four times, though the piece is short enough (I think it actually runs only about eight minutes) that might not be too big a problem. I would also have to be sure I could come up with blocking that was different enough for each piece to make the point and keep the audience entertained.

Or, if I'm not sure I could do that, I could write something new. Maybe something that even better facilitated being run four times with differently gendered casting. Or just something else entirely. Have to think about that.

Any ideas?
breakinglight11: (Mad Fool)
Though I am happy to get the chance to step out of the director's chair and onto the stage for once, recent events and some interesting conversations have gotten me thinking about directory things, specifically about my thoughts on how to run auditions. There's a lot of etiquette swirling around audition processes which sometimes make it tough, especially for a novice director, to figure out the best way to conduct them to get all the information they need and work things out properly with their actors. Here are some thoughts on how to do it well.


I have a preference for efficient auditions. Some directors like to have people read for all sorts of things just to see what comes of it. It's how I ran my Hamlet auditions, mostly because at the time I was inexperienced enough that I wasn't sure what else to do. I will say that since I didn't know most of the people I saw it gave me some ideas, but ultimately I think it was too much screwing around for too little useful information. So now I try to have people read only a few roles that I would actually consider them for, plus one or two roles that they would like to read. People can surprise you, you must always be wary of pigeonholing them too much, so I like to give them a chance to to impress me with something I may not necessarily have expected. I have the mixed blessing of the fact that I have a very good eye when it comes to quickly sizing something up, which allows me to get a pretty good picture very quickly, but I really don't have a very good review process once I've hit on my initial conclusion. So when I'm right, I'm right, and when I'm wrong, I am dead wrong. Letting people read for a role they want to try for is my way of combating that, and of balancing efficiency with fairness.

The traditional operational form, I think, tends toward keeping things opaque throughout-- not letting the actors know what you're thinking, or doing anything that could compromise your apparent objectivity. Many directors are rightly concerned with maintaining as fair a process as possible, giving everyone who comes out the same chance and the same opportunities, and not making it seem like they are giving anyone any preference, advantage, or disadvantage. It's also good for keeping people from getting wrong ideas about what's going to happen. The opaque, totally egalitarian process is also the most polite way to handle an auditioner that you're pretty sure you don't want to cast. That happens sometimes, unfortunately, that maybe you just don't like the person's style, or maybe it's something out of their control, like you need someone with a deeper voice or a person who's strong enough to pick up another-- that last sounds odd, but I did a show where that had to be considered. So what you do is you listen intently to their piece, giving them as much a chance to prove you wrong as you possibly can, without giving any indication of your opinion. It's also sometimes a good idea to ask them "Can you do it a little angrier?" or something just to make absolutely sure you haven't made a mistake. But the point is you show them the respect of not dismissing them out of hand while still not wasting too much time. At least then they don't leave thinking they didn't get a fair shot, or automatically conclude that they sucked.

The problem with this, however, is that this Chinese Wall approach discourages honest communication between all parties that could lead to workings things out better for everyone. The more I direct, the more inclined I become to a more transparent audition process, more so the more I know the people trying out. I'd rather tell people what I want and see if they can give it to me. I know as an actor I would rather have a director say, "You know, Phoebe, you're reading is too serious, we want a lighter interpretation of the character, can you do that?" or "This is feeling a lot like how you did Puck, and we don't want that for this role. Could you change it up?" and give me a chance to change what I'm doing to something more like what they want, rather than have them silently conclude that I CAN'T do it just because I'm currently not. Some directors feel like they shouldn't say that sort of thing, but I think it makes you more likely to see the real situation-- if an actor actually does have it in them, or if they're probably not going to be able to give you what you want after all.

The Merely Players tryout was completely transparent. I didn't have a single person come out whose acting I wasn't already familiar with, or would have been unhappy to have in the cast. I asked everyone who they wanted to play, and in return told them what I was thinking, explaining what I hoped to see from them. I made my preconceived notions obvious from the start, and invited responses and opinions. The final decision was of course up to me, but I wanted to see how people felt about my intentions and whether or not they could give me what I would ask for, because that would influence the roles they accepted. I even said things like, "I'd like to use you, but know that if you're a significant part in Margaret or too many other shows I won't cast you," so that they could make an informed choice and I wouldn't have to replace an actor I picked but couldn't end up using. It allowed me to get a cast I was satisfied with while still making the show as practically functional as possible.

You can blend the two styles, but it's tricky and requires judgment. Sometimes it can benefit you to be more open with one person than with another-- if, for example, you want to make someone you have a working relationship with aware that you want to push them out of their comfort zone, but also show respect to someone you know you're not going to cast. But you need to make sure that rumors don't get spread that might lead to resentment or assumptions of bias. Make it clear in that case that you've taken someone into your confidence for the sake of getting the best fit for roles, and that they are not to make assumptions or consider anything promised or definite until the cast list comes out.

And I know some actors go into auditions with prejudices and preconceived notions of their own about how the process should go. To that I say, respond to your director as much as you can. If they ask you change your performance, do the best you can to make the change, even if it's outside your comfort zone. Do your best to give them what they want. If they ask you a reasonable question that is actually helpful to their casting process, answer it honestly even if it doesn't conform to your notion of how auditions traditionally go. You have no idea how frustrating it was to me when I asked an actor what they wanted, and they refused to answer for ages because they had a sense that it was not appropriate to "make demands during casting." The answer would have helped me, and I was explicitly giving permission!

So, yeah, just some thoughts from my experience and preferences. Others of you who go to theater auditions, or have had the chance to hold them, what do you all think? What do you think works best?
breakinglight11: (Crawling Dromio)
Mixed bag here, some good and some bad. First, the good:

- It's official, I'm going to become a direct employee at Integralis rather than a contractor from an agency. Not sure when it's going to happen, but the process has been started. My rep is going to try to get me a pay increase, which would be really nice, but it's not like I'm going anywhere if it doesn't happen.

- I actually think I'm losing weight, which pleases me. I tried on some clothes that had started to fit like sausage casings and they were a lot more comfortable. My thighs are still too big and I'm still softer in the middle than I have been in years, but I am seeing results while still feeling good about my eating, so using the calorie counter has been working.

- Today I am going to upgrade my phone. I've had an iPhone 2 I think for about two years now and it's showing it age, running slow and blowing up constantly. I'm going to cash in my upgrade and get the new one.

Now the bad:

- Still haven't decided what my next project will be, because this week was an endless parade of expensive, pain-in-the-ass chores that all took longer than they should have. Had to pay to get my car fixed, chase down some undelivered packages, take the HTP props and costumes back to club storage, pick up new scrips for both Jared and me, pay a parking ticket and two hospital bills, and run all over creation trying to get the immunization hold lifted off my Lesley file so I can fucking register for classes. Some of that stuff is still not quite resolved, and I'm still stressing over getting it all done rather than trying to start something new and productive.

- Got back my final packet for the semester with my teacher's comments. My one-act is pretty much a mess, which is discouraging. I never loved it and only wrote it because I had to, but still, I didn't think it was as flawed as all that. And I have no fucking clue how to fix it. For a variety of reasons, I am not feeling particularly good about my work right now, so now I'm stuck between wanting to generate more theatrical writing to redeem myself and never wanting to look at that shit again.

- I want to act again, or direct somewhere other than of out Hold Thy Peace's pity, but nobody will fucking cast me or pick me for it. I don't know what I'm not doing right. I hear other auditions that I don't think are as good as mine, and yet I never get cast. And the directing resumes I send out never come back. I guess I'm not as good as I thought I was, and I'm getting fed up with trying and never getting anywhere.

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