At 10 am, I made my way to the school to make photocopies of excerpts of my script. I photocopied three scenes of dialogue and three woman monologues. Clutching tightly onto the copies of the script, I made my way to Studio Theatre. I met up with the other directors as well as Brent and Niall, our co-ordinators. Brent set me up in the male's dressing room. This is where my auditions would be held. I put a sign on my door that read:
1 male, 1 female
After setting up and stapling the script, I sat down with my duo-tang and my pen in hand. I was ready.
I was only sitting down for a maximum of twenty seconds before the first people came in. This was at about 11:05.
The auditions were absolute madness! People were filtering one right after the other. The auditions lasted for almost five solid hours, not even a thirty second break in between. As much as the auditions were lengthy and strenuous, time was flying, and I was having the time of my life. It was one of those rare times that I did not look at my watch at all. I was extremely focussed, probably the most focussed that I'll ever get, as my mind was only on watching and anazlying the people auditioning. It was just plain fun and interesting being on the other side -- being on the director's end, rather than on the actor's. It was such a high!
I held my auditions as so: One male and one female came into the room. I told them a bit about the play:
"So, you're man and wife, and your marriage as gone to pot. It looks as though the woman dominates the marriage whilst the man has given up on it. The wife, Paula, is a snarky, sarcastic woman. The husband, Jeff, is much more passive. Although the couple has a baby child, Jeff does not seem to care about it. All he cares about is his cat; he loves his cat, and he is obsessed with the cat. Paula does not care for the cat; in fact, she is repulsed by it."
The two promptly read the first part of the dialogue. Afterwards, I continue:
"Alright, so Jeff has just found out that his cat has frozen to death. He is completely and utterly heartbroken. Paula has let it outside to freeze, but we don't know that yet. He comes in, shows her the cat. She does not care and wants him to get rid of it. Jeff leaves for a few moments. When he re-enters the scene, he is acting, meowing, and scratching himself like a cat. He has become a cat."
Cue eyes widening. The two auditioners lean into me.
"She tries to reason with him, but he doesn't respond because, well, he's a cat. After a few pages of monologues, of her revealing that she never liked the cat and of her talking about his father who was also a maniacal cat lover, she admits that yes, yes, it was her who deliberately killed the cat. As soon as she says admits to killing the cat, he pounces at her, attacks her, scratches her face, and rips her blouse. He licks himself a little after the attack and then slinks out of the room. He comes back moments later, all normal again. She is in shock. He tells her that he has come to term with his cat's death but feels like the cat will always be a part of him. He cheerfully leaves the room, almost oblivious to her shock. BLACKOUT!"
I then shooed the guy out of the room and got the girl to read one of Paula's monologues for me. After she had finished, I thanked the girl for her audition and invited the guy back into the room again. I asked him to tell me of something he loves to do whilst acting and moving like a cat. Now, this is where the auditions became really interesting! I had guys do all sorts of things, from jumping onto the tables, purring against my leg, and batting loose paper. Some went on hands and knees, whilst others stood. I had everything from tame cats to completely wild cats. I was surprised as to how many guys mimicked cats' body movements so well. Also, I'd say about ninety percent of them weren't at all shy on getting on all fours and being completely ridiculous. What a riot!
It was not until the last person filed out and realizing that I desperately needed to use the bathroom that I looked at the time. It was a quarter to four. Five hours! I was told by the co-ordinators that I needed to post my callbacks in the theatre lobby at four sharp.
Callbacks! Although I knew that it was a lot, there were thirteen people that I wanted to see again -- seven girls and six guys.
Callbacks went very well, and I had narrowed it down to four girls and three guys. Still not good enough! I was earlier told that I should make a list of my first, second, and third choices. I rushed into the Green Room to meet up with all of the other directors for our meeting. This was a very important meeting, as it decided as to who was in what play. The thing was that I still hadn't decided on who exactly would be my Jeff and Paula. I sighed and plopped down on a couch between two veteran directors and moaned to them:
"I still haven't decided my two first choices! This is really hard."
They told me that I should link a male and a female that I want together and put them in order according to which couple I wanted the most. This actually helped me decide on my male actor. I was still having difficulty with my future actress, as there had been so many girls that had done extremely well at auditions.
Our meeting was slated to commence which meant that conflicts would soon start arising.
The problem is that one person can only be in one play. What happens is that many directors may want a specific actor for one play. The directors then have to reach an agreement or a compromise and have to decide who gets the much fought over actor.
Fortunately, I did not have that problem with either of my actors. After much agonizing, I had finally picked my two stars, and no other director had them in mind for their play.
I was very excited! Rehearsals were scheduled to start right after the Christmas holidays. I couldn't wait to tell my two future actors that they had gotten a part with me.
So, now it stands as such:
By Lezley Havard
Directed by Miranda Glen
Starring Laura as Paula and Dave as Jeff
Que j'ai hâte!