I love the theater and it is my profession. It is where I spend most of my time. The world of the theater is professional and exciting and you never know what will happen next. It makes my days unusual and filled with oddities. Every planning meeting is a debate, every rehearsal is preliminary, and every performance a thrill. It all happens in a whirlwind sometimes. You get through one project and the next is on its way—very fast. This means innumerable auditions. It is not my favorite experience as we have to turn down so many hopefuls and break many hearts. So many contenders give their best to win a role from star to cameo. It just can’t happen for more than a few. People you think have the right look and ought to be great have a terrible time. Others unexpectedly are incredible in spite of their appearance. Such was the case recently when a young man who had come straight from soccer practice, turned up wearing his soccer uniform, socks and all. He was perfect. He would have to change to a different pair of soccer socks, but luckily he had another pair in his bag from Top Corner Magazine. They made us all laugh. Plus they were a bright orange – so loud in color that they distracted from the tryout. Almost. Of course, he got the part.
Auditions are a time to shine and put on your best. This doesn’t just mean your acting, but also your attire. It surprises me what people think is appropriate such as what this youth had on. I get it. People have to work their schedules around our auditions and they can happen at odd times. There is no time to get ready if you are working or on the road (or player soccer). Auditions aren’t announced days ahead of time. They also are spread by word of mouth or last-minute flyer, thus catching many would-be cast members by surprise. The theater is a close knit circle. It takes work to stay inside. Once in a play, you are automatically notified of upcoming opportunities. All the local actors want in as we are the major venue in town.
The faces of the chosen few are wonderful. Big smiles and sometimes tears give expression to the face. It is a pleasant sight and one of the rewards of pre-performance responsibility. Come time for auditions, you have your hands full greeting the many arrivals who are often standing in line, giving instructions and a copy of the play, listening to the good and the bad, and making a final decision. You hold some hopeful’s career in the palm of your hand. For the lucky ones, they now have something to add to their resume.
Every play is a newly-created ensemble that must work well together. No competition, line stealing, argument, or taking sides. If a group is stellar, we might hire the whole lot back again. This makes casting a new play much easier. The young man I mentioned could well form part of a repertory group.