The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In the name of procrastination

I should be doing my readings for tomorrow night's class. I can imagine what they will say given the "argument" so far. (I say "argument" with quotation marks firmly placed because no argument has been given. That is to say, things were stated but never argued. Which is Very Bad Basic Philosophy. It's dull, but it's important to slog through definitions and refutations first. Sigh. What do they teach them at these schools?) Anywho, instead I will take on the far more pleasurable task of jotting down my thoughts re: audition styles and casting classes. It shall be done in randominity bullet points. Because they are prettyful. And I likes them.

  • I had (as seen below) my audition on Saturday. I think I did a fairly good job, but for reasons that will most likely become evident once I see the show and understand the director's concept (or lack thereof) for the piece, I did not receive a call back. C'est ca. What can one do?

  • Well, but it seems to me that one of the things I learnt or observed is that, as a director even more than as an actor, I am not a fan of the "Professional Five-Minute Audition" format. This format, which I believe is used in most places, is that each actor prepares a piece that will fit into five minutes. He goes into the vacuum of the audition before a handful of shell-shocked directors, does his thing, thanks them and leaves. The shell-shocked directors then decide - among those actors they can remember - which ones they want to see again in a call-back for a particular role.

  • The reason why I do not like PFMA format is that the piece is delivered in a vacuum. Yet acting is a communal affair. It is not done with a single actor sucked into a contextless void. And in this case, seeing so many applicants all in a row, the directors are as much pulled into this vacuum as anyone else. Their synapses are not fired by seeing an old scene from the play acted in a new and exciting way by actors they would have never considered. They are not awakened by any chemistry from the actor - unless it is the pheromones of his own audacity. In short....

  • Vacuum Auditions almost guarantee Theatre in a Box.

    Antonia (not Antonio) kicking butt and taking names in Much Ado About Nothing

  • I don't mean black box theatre or proscenium arches or anything as technical as that. I mean that Vacuum Auditions do not produce new ideas in the directors. If anything, they reemphasize standard or "thinking in the box" casting, underlying philosophy, physical stereotypes, etc. etc. Vacuum Casting causes Vacuum Theatre.

  • Which makes me think that part of a directing class should directly deal with "Casting Outside the Box" - or rather with forcing the director to really look at his show, the underlying principles thereof, and how to explore that with all sorts of actors. I'm not quite sure how to set it up, but I think I would want to set it up with a pool of actors who perhaps sign up for a credit from this experience and who agree to make themselves available to the directors, and then set up a series of projects - in class and in labtime - that require them to cast typically, cast against type, cast against gender, cast changing gender - basically to see what happens with one piece if you mix it up. Because sometimes the best way is the traditional reading, but sometimes the "traditional" reading has lost the true essence of the piece and needs an underdog actor to bring something new to the piece.

  • I still have to think about this. But I think it might be a valuable course in the battle against the Deadly Theatre.

    Mood: Don't-want-to-do-homework!
    Music: "It's Not Over" by Daughtry from New Life Mix CD
    Thought: According to the stacks on my desk, I have drunk entirely too much Diet Coke....


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