The 99 Diaries: Entry #15 – Casting
Okay – so 99 Impossible Things is officially cast! Yay!
Our cast is:
Ellen: Tiffany Cole
Harold: Jason Britt
Casey: Mason Hallberg
Paul: Geoff James
Jaye: Jessica Lightfoot
Sea Monkey: Jillian Eastman
Lydia: Ashleigh Boiros
Gabie: R.J. Farrington
Alice: Barbara Scolaro
We got a great turn out of people for auditions – I had about four days of auditions actually. First, because this is a company show, we did a separate company member call the first day, Monday Oct 4 – about six members came out, and two others came later in the week, which isn’t bad for the amount of membership we have. And they were all freaking amazing.
The second and third day of auditions (Oct 5 and 7) I called people who had submitted through Actors’ Access. For those of you who don’t know, you can post a listing on there for free for plays, shows, films, etc., and actors can go through the listings and submit their information. I spent a good week going through everyone, contacting them individually, sending them sides, setting up a time for them to come in, etc. Rather tedious, but definitely worth it. For some parts, such as ‘Jaye’, I got over 200 submissions, which I could never (and would never want) to see everyone – so I had to breeze through their pictures, resumes and videos and see who felt right to call in. If people left a personal note to me, it definitely swayed my decision, I’m not going to lie. But for characters such as the ‘Sea Monkey’, which probably seemed rather silly and daunting and unknown, I only got about 20 submissions. It’s an interesting world.
The Monday after, on Oct 11, I had a few remaining Actors’ Access people, as well as another company member or two who weren’t able to audition the week before. During all three days, I also had some great old and new friends pop up and audition for me – which was an honor, really, to even have my friends be interested Then, realizing I had only seen TWO actors actually read for the role of ‘Alice’, I did a last minute call for a few actors on the morning of Wednesday Oct 13. And by then, I finally had a huge pool of talent to choose from!
I stress over casting – but it’s actually one of my favorite things about putting on a play; it’s like a gigantic puzzle to put together, and if you do it right, it makes your job so much easier down the line. About 80% of directing is casting. The other 20% is making sure the actors and designers don’t kill each other. But I definitely stressed over this casting once I had my pool to chose from – just ask my Assistant Director, Questa, who had to tell me a couple times that I was over thinking it and that I should go home and STOP thinking. I would, of course…but then proceed to email her with an brilliant casting choice that came to me on the drive home.
I don’t like call backs though; I don’t know why. I suppose I’m pretty quick to read a person and see where they might fit, so unless I’m completely stuck, I try to avoid the call back process if at all possible. I never take notes during an audition, but can recall at the end of the night exactly who I liked and why and can usually remember their names. My memory is never this good with anything else.
So I have almost my whole team – just still need a stage manager. Otherwise, we are ready to roll this thing out!
I’m still working on a few rewrites, which I’ll finish in the next day or so, and I did a rehearsal schedule for everyone, so they know when they are called. Next Sunday, we’re having our first production meeting and November 15 will be our first rehearsal!
I’ve also started a make-shift marketing plan for this thing – I want so much to have decent audiences, that I think I can sink a couple hundred bucks into some advertising. We’ll see what we can come up with.
Once rehearsals begin, I’m planning to update this blog every day – like a countdown to opening night. Maybe it’ll be exciting, maybe not. But it’ll happen.