Auditions

Hi everyone!  Great job at auditions Saturday.  I say this every show, but I really love watching our cast audition.  I always learn a little something new about our returning actors and it’s a great introduction to our brand new actors.

For this show, casting went by really quickly, in part because our cast gave us a lot to work with and showed us (the staff) what each individual brings to the table, so to speak.  When casting there are always so many things to consider, which is why I always say that casting is like a jigsaw puzzle.  The directors have to line up the actors in the roles in a way that fits, not just for each individual actor, but also for the whole show. 

For example, we usually have a few actors that could pull off each role.  But we can’t cast 3 people in each role – that wouldn’t work at all.  So we have to figure out combinations of people and see what works and what makes sense.  Sometimes, in order to do this, we have to change casting that we thought we had already figured out in order to make something else work that wouldn’t otherwise.  This is the tricky part, but in the end, I think we usually do a good job.

Let’s say that you are going to cast Mickey Mouse and his friends as characters in a production of Robin Hood.  How are you going to go about this? 

First, these are the roles that you need to cast:
Robin Hood
Little John
Will Scarlett
Friar Tuck
Maid Marian
Sheriff of Nottingham

Second, here are your actors:
Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Goofy
Donald Duck
Chip
Dale

You might think that Mickey is going to be Robin Hood, but maybe he did a really good audition for the Sheriff of Nottingham, too.  And then perhaps you would want Goofy to be Robin Hood.  You have to think about all the possibilities.  Perhaps, after doing this your casting possibilities look like this:

Robin Hood – Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Dale, Minnie
Little John – Goofy, Mickey
Will Scarlet – Chip, Dale, Minnie, Donald, Mickey
Friar Tuck – Mickey, Chip, Dale
Maid Marian – Minnie
Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald, Mickey, Goofy Chip

Now you have to narrow it down.  Since Minnie is the only one that you, as the director, see as Maid Marian you can take her out of the running for everything else.  You also see that only Goofy or Mickey could be Little John.  Mickey is listed as a possibility for all the parts, but Goofy is only listed for 3 roles, so in order to figure that out you need to decide which you’d rather see for that role.  After you think about that you need to make sure that there is still a part for the other person that makes sense.  So I think our director would probably write down Goofy’s name for Little John, but only in pencil, just in case the director changes his/her mind.  That leaves us with this:

Robin Hood – Mickey, Donald, Dale
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet – Chip, Dale, Donald, Mickey
Friar Tuck – Mickey, Chip, Dale
Maid Marian – Minnie
Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald, Mickey, Chip

Okay, so now what?  I think it’s important to look at the villainous character, because not everyone can pull off being the villain.  The director thinks about the possibilities (Donald, Mickey, and Chip) and realizes 2 things: 1) Mickey has a hard time not smiling, even though he did have a really good audition, and 2) Chip is a newer actor who did an okay audition, but maybe isn’t ready for such a big role.  However, the director isn’t quite ready to cross Mickey’s name off the list, so this role is now between Donald and Mickey.  That means that Chip has to be either Will Scarlet or Friar Tuck.  Thinking about what Chip brings to the table, the director decides that Chip would be a really good Friar Tuck because he shows the ability to be both serious and funny.  Now your cast list looks like this:

Robin Hood – Mickey, Donald, Dale
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet –Dale, Donald, Mickey
Friar Tuck –Chip
Maid Marian – Minnie

Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald or Mickey

Now, of the remaining 3 roles, Donald or Mickey could be any, but Dale is only listed as Robin Hood or Will Scarlet.  So now there are a couple possibilities based on how we place Dale:

Possibility #1
Robin Hood –Dale
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet –Donald or Mickey
Friar Tuck –Chip
Maid Marian – Minnie

Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald or Mickey

Possibility #2
Robin Hood – Mickey or Donald
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet –Dale
Friar Tuck –Chip
Maid Marian – Minnie

Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald or Mickey

With Possibility #1 you are left with Mickey and Donald as Will Scarlet and the Sheriff.  You don’t mind that, but both are really good actors and Will Scarlet isn’t as big a role as Robin Hood.  But Dale would make a really good Robin Hood.

With Possibility #2 you are left with the hero and the villain role for Mickey and Donald.  From there this becomes much easier as you know that Donald would be a great Sheriff (and you could make the role a bit more comedic) and there was never a doubt that Mickey would make a wonderful Robin Hood.

However, what makes sense for Dale?  Is he ready for a leading role? Are there any benefits to seeing him as Will Scarlett over Robin Hood?  Or in having him play Robin Hood over Will Scarlett?

This now comes down to a couple of things.  One – Possibility #2, with the added commentary above, does make a lot of sense to you and the cast seems to be rounded out.

Possibility #2
Robin Hood – Mickey
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet –Dale
Friar Tuck –Chip
Maid Marian – Minnie
Sheriff of Nottingham – Donald

Possibility #1, on the other hand, will allow an actor who had a good audition a chance to shine, and can focus on other aspects of Mickey and Donald’s talents:

Possibility #1
Robin Hood –Dale
Little John – Goofy
Will Scarlet –Donald
Friar Tuck –Chip
Maid Marian – Minnie
Sheriff of Nottingham –Mickey

Mickey rarely gets to play the bad guy, and if he could just stop smiling so much… but maybe he could smile evilly… he could be great.  And Donald can be really funny.  Giving him the role of Will Scarlet will give him the chance to be comedic, a second banana, if you will.

When considering all these things, the director decides to take a chance on Dale as Robin Hood.  It might not be what people expect, but it allows certain actors the chance to try something new and hopefully shine at it.  And since Robin Hood always ends up with Maid Marian, you know that Dale and Minnie are good friends who will work well together, but they are just acting.  At the end of the day, it is still Mickey and Minnie forever with a big heart.

So you see, there are several things to consider.  And the end result of both possible casts will work, as long as the director has faith in his/her actors.

Do you agree with my Robin Hood casting?  If not, tell me why (I am curious).

Next up, the read through!  Be glad Donald Duck won’t be around – he spits a lot!

See you all on Saturday,
Debbi