8 Down & 33 To Go – Casting Season 8

by moxielicious

We’re not cast. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Season 8 is a beast. 5 shows and according to the scripts there are 41 parts to be cast. We cast another actor today, a first timer to the MOXIE stage!  Congratulations to Michelle Brooks who we met in one of our classes. We can’t wait to work with you!

That’s 8 down and…33 to go. That’s a big ol’ job.  People always ask how we find our actors. Here is a
little taste of what goes into casting at MOXIE.

The casting director, who in MOXIE’s case is also the Associate Artistic Director and Marketing Director a.k.a me (Jen Thorn), begins a conversation with the director of each show, which in two cases this season is again – me. This year I am lucky enough to have the support of a Casting Associate, Jennifer Berry, who is also a Subscription Coordinator and works in the box office. Where was I…oh yeah, we start a conversation with the Season 8 directors Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Dana l. Harrel (Associate Producer at the La Jolla Playhouse) and myself. We ask:

1. Are there any actors you have in mind that you want to see immediately?
If there are we call them in asap. It’s way easier to cast a show out of your favorites
who you imagined when you read the play.

2. Tell us how you see these characters. What type are they?

Then we take those answers and set up a first call. We bring in a mix of people we know and love and people recommended to us by other trusted sources. Favorite sources include: The San Diego Rep, Ion, North Coast Rep, Intrepid Shakespeare Company, Diversionary and New VIllage Arts. They send us names of people we may not know that they saw at an audition or in a show. We find a day when the majority of those people can be in one place at roughly the same time, this is nearly impossible by the way, and they read. Think of a lobby full of jittery actors hopped up on coffee pouring over scripts and wondering “why do I do this to myself?”

The actors come into the theatre one at a time or in pairs, ushered this year by our fabulous assistant Jennifer Berry, holding their head shot and resume and they take the stage.

“Welcome” the director says “Do you have any questions about the sides?”(Oh yeah, that’s shop talk for the pages from the script you were given to prepare for the audition.) The actors usually say “no” or sometimes a clever actor will ask the director to tell them about how they see the character and presto…they get the inside scoop before they waste time doing just the opposite of what the director was looking for. Then they begin reading. Scripts in hand, they jump right in. Sometimes they’re crawling on all fours, they kiss complete strangers, they burst into tears, they open themselves up in the most vulnerable way to be judged and usually they have about 5 minutes in which to do so. “Thanks,” the director says, “that was great, thanks for coming in.” And sometimes it’s as short and abrupt as that. We don’t mean to be cold but you were right or wrong and we knew that in the first 30 seconds.

Casting isn’t always about talent. It’s often just about type. The actor is thinking hard about how they approach the scene and meanwhile we’re thinking: “She looks too young to play the mother of that other actress we cast.” Hours go by. We sit as pair after pair come in and out. Some leaving inflated by the feeling it went well, others leaving deflated because they had imagined it differently.

Then we talk about them…or don’t. The door shuts as they exit, “Holy cow, he was perfect,” or “That’s too bad, I hoped she would read better.” By the end of the day there is a game plan. We need a call back, we need to see more people or, in rare cases, we’re done and we found all the right people so let’s call them and offer them roles.

We’ve got a season audition coming up on the 14th of this month and you can bet your bottom we’ll be casting people we see that day. Will you be there? Email us to schedule an appointment: jenberry83@gmail.com.
Learn more about what we’re looking for here: http://moxietheater.com/AuditionSeason8

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