Actually, the auditions are more for the candidates to evaluate whether or not they want to work with me than they are for me to judge their talents. Why? Because most Theatre people here aren’t used to the idea of a long term repertory unit, let alone one that is going to specialize in a type of collective creation. (I think dance people are, but that’s a whole other blog post.)
I’m asking the people to sign up to essentially commit for an indefinite term, an unspecified number of shows, and an intense (3 days a week) rehearsal schedule. I think we all will have the goal of doing this for a living, but for now, there’s no money in it. I am asking people to do this for the love of making collaborative Theatre. And that’s a big ask.
That’s why I’m not running the auditions to weed out people based on skill level. A Theatre producer friend of mine once gave me the advice, while we were casting one of the Amos Takes Hogtown shows, that I shouldn’t mistake enthusiasm for talent. Which is good advice when you have a 6 – 8 week, three day-a-week rehearsal process gearing up for a show that is going to get just one production. It’s less good advice when building an ensemble for a long-term creative project.
The fact is that someone can learn to be a better performer (indeed, one of the principles on which I’m founding the ensemble is that we all must always be open to learning new skills), but what can’t be taught is a desire to express oneself through live performance. That desire, that need, is what I am looking for.
What I’m keeping my eye out for in auditions is a flexibility of mind and a desire to jump right in and participate. So far, I’ve seen a lot of that. It seems like the kind of people who come out to this type of audition are already cut from that cloth. This is encouraging to me.
So, one more set of auditions on Tuesday, and I should have a company of between two and five people set up and ready to go by the end of the week.