Director’s Blog: The third garage

1st production meeting today. Mike made a long list of all the technical things to think about with the tricky things written in BLOCK CAPITALS. There were a lot of capitals by the end of the evening.
We now have two garages (thank you Paul and Adelle) for temporary storage of the Absurd kitchens and are seeking a third, or an unused room to house kitchen cupboards in December and January – Please help if you can.

Director’s Blog: Auditions with #doodle

Over the past two weeks I have auditioned 36 brilliant people for 6 roles and now I need a lie down.

I find auditioning hard, I know some directors run auditions by letting people use any audition piece they like but I  am not that skilled or brave. In order to know how someone would be in the part, I have to hear them reading the actual part and usually 2 or 3 different snippets from different scenes particularly if they are portraying different emotions. This makes for a long session, actually it ended up being four evenings which is the most I have ever had to do.

I know from auditioning myself that it gets boring hanging around waiting and that when you do audition you want your fair shot at everything you may have read through at home. Quite right to, so I need to organise an evening where people don’t get bored but also everyone gets the time they need.

This year I came up with a secret weapon, a doodle poll. In past years, auditionees have all completed an audition form on arrival stating which roles they want to audition for. Usually most people want to audition for more than one. This means that at the start of the evening you are presented with a big pile of papers that you have to immediately sought into order and work through in as much order as possible. This is where things go wrong, a big pile of papers in my world tends to spread all over the table, drop on the floor, and get completely mixed up and cause stress and delay. No more. this year by the wonder of the internet and a doodle poll, everyone signed up in advance to say which evening they were coming and who they were reading for. One piece of paper replaces 36.

I did get it dreadfully wrong in one case. I was working from left to right on my doodle poll taking one character at a time and trying I thought to be efficient. It was only at 10.15pm that realised that one person had only chosen to audition for the part furthest right on my page. If I had done that part first she could have gone home, rather than spending 2 and a half hours sitting waiting. I did feel bad.

Seeing people on different nights is not easy, memory problems get in the way, so my learning for next time is to video on an ipad and watch at home one after the other for comparison purposes.

At the end of the day what I can report is I saw some really great auditions and met some really lovely people. I am so happy with my wonderful cast and at the same time quite sad that I couldn’t offer roles to a number of people who were also excellent but perhaps slightly too young or old for the roles.

I hope everyone who auditioned will keep involved in some way. Backstage, Front of house, sourcing props etc, There is so much to do.

Director’s Blog: Is a play reading an audition?

It arrived, the day of the play reading, the day I get to explain  my vision to all interested parties and hope that some of them like it as much as I do.

We started slightly late with the play reading, having overlooked that electing a new committee at the AGM immediately prior to the reading was probably going to take a little longer than the 10 minutes that we have, nevertheless 9am there was a packed room full of members old and new. I have been to some play readings where the turn out is really low so my first panic that no one would turn up was completely unfounded.

People read very well with some great comic timing which made for a lot of laughter.  I try very hard to give everyone who is there and wants to, a chance to read, but even swapping every few minutes I didn’t quite achieve  this and I am so sorry for the people who didn’t quite get a chance (You know who you are).   There are always a few people at a play reading who genuinely want to listen but most of  us are just lovvies and want to read and be part of the ‘show’. I have always wondered when I used to act, whether a play reading is actually an audition and therefore it is important to be heard if you want to get that starring role. I have also wondered whether Director’s have already chosen their cast before the auditions ever happen. I know of one amdram company (mentioning no names) where parts  were allocated on a strict rota basis, irrespective of what age or skill the role called for. I suspect that each Director works differently.

I will certainly encourage people to read who I think will read well, (bearing in mind the fear that no will turn up – see above!), but beyond that I have no thoughts. On Tuesday I start auditioning and anything could happen. . I haven’t a clue who my cast will be, finding out will be exciting and scary all wrapped up in one.

If you are reading this and thinking of auditioning, come along, you will be warmly welcomed.





Play Reading v AGM

It is a tradition of SUP that after the AGM which always takes place at the start of September as a society we read the January production, which if you have been following this blog is Absurd person singular directed by me.

I am  Vice Chair of the society as well as the incoming director which is giving me an interesting confusion of thoughts. The director in me wants to go as fast as physically possible through the AGM so we can get onto the play. As Vice-Chair I want to have a really productive and participative AGM, elect some new blood on to the committee to inject new ideas and also celebrate  the achievements of the membership over the past year. 

I will do both but I know I will have one eye on the clock. (Ssh! don’t let the committee know)