So tonight I ran callbacks for Tartuffe, the production I’m directing this winter in Tokyo and Yokohama. The people I called back were all definitely people that I plan to cast, the question is just placement.
The concept for the show is this:
A bunch of passengers, which includes the audience, are stranded in a rural train station during a snowstorm in early 1941. A number of the stranded passengers are members of a Theatre troupe, and they decide they want to put on a show for their fellow passengers. They recruit some people from among the other passengers, figure out casting, dress the station house up as a set, pull “costumes” out of whatever they have in their suitcases, and start to do Tartuffe.
So tonight, I put the callbackees through what a rehearsal with me might be like. I’ve decided for this show that I want to do much more ensemble work; I felt that group unity was really lacking on R3, and I really want to build a strong bond between the cast members. So we did a warm-up, played some games, did some physical Theatre improv work, and then did some show-related improvs. Overall, I was really impressed with the group, their instincts, and their willingness to just go for it. Casting is always very difficult, and I saw some good actors during the audition process who I felt unable to cast because I felt they were more talented as solo actors; more at home in a professional production in which people come in, rehearse their scene, and go home. The point is, I felt vindicated in my choices tonight.
There’s still a lot to do. I’m missing three or four actors still: two Japanese men, one Japanese woman, and a Japanese teenage girl. I can probably work around some of those roles, but I really would like to create a more realistic balance of foreigner to Japanese.