A Few Good Actors
There are some roles in theatre that can be played by a wide range of physical types or ages. There are plenty of roles where race isn’t an issue. Even gender can sometimes be switched.
But other roles just don’t have much flexibility when it comes to casting. Think of Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Because of what other characters say about the character, the actor really has to be (or seem to be) in his twenties, he has to be blonde, he has to be quite handsome, and he has to be built like a football player. As good an actor as, say, Dustin Hoffman may be, he will never be cast in that role (even when he was a young man).
Given that the roles I’m trying to cast in Well are pretty specific, I’ve chosen to do auditions by invitation, where I have one or two specific actors in mind for each role. I’ll ask them to come in to read, and if I’ve made the right invitations, I’m able to do my local casting pretty efficiently. If not, I have to keep searching.
First invitation goes to Jason Lorber . He’s another actor I’ve worked with before (again in Inspecting Carol ) and in fact, I’m so confident of his comedic skills, I don’t even ask him to audition. I tell him he’s got the role if he wants it. Fortunately, he agrees. Two down.
Next invitation goes to Chris Caswell . She’s a very talented actor who has auditioned for me in the past, but for whom I’ve never had quite the right role. Recently, she joined Vermont Stage for the Young Playwrights Festival and I was particularly impressed with her work, so I thought I she might be right for this show.
She had a great audition. She seemed relaxed and at ease when she came into the audition room. She talked about how much she liked the play and was able to tell me why. (This is always a good sign – it tells me the actor is interested in more than just their role.)
Then she did the reading from the script (which was a little odd – I didn’t have a reader, so I read the other roles). She had a good first take on the script, and when I gave her some direction, she made a good adjustment. I offered her the role on the spot, and she accepted.
Three down, one to go.
To be continued…