“I went to the audition for a laugh and got the part for the way I walked down the corridor. There’s no justice is there?” — Ray Winston
Without a doubt, as an actor and director, the auditioning process is the most unjust element of being a theater professional. It is a process where you constantly have to ready yourself for a letdown no matter how hard you prepare. Even if you go in and knock it out the park or the person who walks through the door is amazing there may be tons of little variables that deter the actor from being hired or the director from hiring. And let’s not talk about the effect that getting and giving rejection can sometimes have on people. For some people the process can be a vehicle for ego puffing and for others an opportunity to share one’s artistry.
At HVSF I like to think it is the latter. I must say that at HVSF our auditioning process is a blast. I cannot tell you how many actors have written back in amazement, excited about how much fun and how comfortable they were made to feel in the casting room. Having the opportunity to really share ones work is something we all long for and I believe the process at HVSF allows actors to do that to the nth degree. We are all proud of that.
This year’s season saw Terry O’Brien, Founding Artistic Director and director of King Lear, Christopher Edwards, Associate Artistic Director and director of The Three Musketeers and Russell Treyz director of All’s Well That Ends Well go through a three week auditioning process over approximately four months. The 2013 season was especially challenging. Trying to cast twenty actors for twenty plus weeks was a blast. As a Shakespeare festival we obviously need actors who can speak the speech trippingly on the tongue, but to add to the challenge this year we needed actors who could sing and play guitar for All’s Well That Ends Well, and fight like 17th century swashbucklers for The Three Musketeers, all in the open air, rain or shine. It is always fun to watch and be a part of the excitement of directors elbowing each other vying for the actors they want to work with. Luckily each actor in our company is able to work in two shows so there is only one sad director at any time. In the end we found everyone we were looking for from over 1500 equity actors, and over 130 apprentice candidates.
It was an amazing and stressful process at times, but finally coming through the fog of casting, I know all three directors are excited about the possibilities and the company of actors’ amazing talent. This season we will see many familiar faces and a ton of newbies to the company. So welcome our 2013 acting company, Mike Borrelli*, Mark Couchot, Richard Ercole*, Jessica Frey, India Gurley, Eleanor Handley*, Angela Janas, Stephen Paul Johnson*, Wes Mann*, Dan Matisa*, Chiara Motley*, Ara Morten, Charlie Murphy*, Lily Narbonne, Kyle Nunn, Jason O’Connell*, Ryan Quinn*, Daniel Shelly*, Dan Tracy and Taylor Walsh! We cannot wait to get to work and bring the three shows to life.
Now what to do about rehearsal? Yikes!
(*denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Manager in the United States)