NDW is back and we are ready to start rehearsals for Flower Power! I’m sure by now you are all aware that we are doing a show that has never been done by NDW before. Flower Power is a somewhat silly take on the culture of the 1960s. The show culminates at a music festival of sorts and the characters we meet along the way all represent different people you would have found during this decade. I can’t wait for our kids to read their scripts and find out just how fun this show is going to be!
At auditions this week we definitely had our work cut out for us. As usual, we split the cast into 3 groups and rotated them through their audition workshops. While one third of the cast was learning their audition song with Will, another third was with Lisa working on choreography and the last third was with Cindy and me (and our production assistant, Bella) discussing how best to choose and deliver a monologue. Once all the groups had “attended” each workshop we got started, each group rotating through auditions, costumes, and the NDW welcome meeting.
During auditions Cindy, Lisa, Will, and I were all very impressed. One great thing about auditions at Natick Drama Workshop is that, because our actors grow up in the program, we are constantly surprised by them. By the time the kids are in 8th grade they are more comfortable auditioning for us and really allow themselves to shine, which in turn helps us cast them in roles that are best suited for them. The best thing though, is the change between the fall show and the spring show. We might think we have all of our returning kids (and especially the 8th graders) pegged, but then they audition and blow us away, having gained extra confidence and abilities since the audition in September. It’s amazing really.
After our actors leave, we, the production staff, sequester ourselves in a room and throw out a lot of pros and cons and various casting scenarios in order to find the best overall cast. I always say that casting is like a puzzle. Imagine having various pieces, several of them may seem very similar, but yet all are unique. You sit down to put all the pieces together and you think one piece would go really nicely in this one spot, but there might be another piece that fits there even more perfectly. As we cast, we have to keep moving all the pieces (our actors) around to find just the right fit in order to create a finished puzzle.
Many times, and definitely this go around, we have more than two actors who could easily play one or more parts. How do we then go about deciding which actor would be best for each role? There is no simple answer as we have to look at a lot of factors. Aside from talent (which includes the three separate abilities of acting, singing, and dancing), we take into consideration things such as personality (for example, would a super bubbly person be better suited for this role?), how actors work together (when casting families or couples this is important), and sometimes even looks (how believable would this actor look in this role, next to this other person?). There is a lot more than this, these are just the things that are easiest to describe to someone about casting.
After several hours of going around and around we usually have a complete cast assembled that we are happy with. Sometimes we go home to think about everything and spend a good part of the next day continuing the casting session over the phone. No matter how long it takes, we do our best to take everyone and everything into account.
And so, this Saturday, we will see how our Flower Power puzzle looks for the first time. Our actors will read through the script together and we will start to add color to this puzzle that will eventually become a huge, colorful, and layered performance.
Catch you on the flip side (okay, that’s more 1970s lingo),