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BWW Blog: At the Table Where It Happens

Casting has been something that has interested me since high school, and I was so excited to finally hear what goes on at the other side of the table. 

BWW Blog: At the Table Where It Happens

On January 4th I began my final semester of college, which for a theatre education major, means student teaching. My first week was spent observing and getting acclimated to the students, schedule, and school building. My responsibilities will grow as the semester goes on, and eventually, I will take over teaching all of the theatre classes. There is another responsibility that my cooperating teacher, Mr. Burgess, holds, directing the shows at the school.

Last week auditions were held for their spring musical Young Frankenstein and I got to attend. While I have directed and assistant directed in the past, I was never a part of the casting process for any of those gigs. Casting has been something that has interested me since high school, and I was so excited to finally hear what goes on at the other side of the table.

Let me tell you, it was so much fun! Part of me just enjoyed seeing young artists sharing their work and passion for theatre. It made me happy to hear the panel rave about how much certain students have grown. I got to watch the puzzle of the cast list be put together through the "well if this person gets this role, then this person fits better here" talks that I always assumed happened, but never got to witness firsthand.

Before auditions even began, Mr. Burgess told me that his students are informed of their type in his acting class. Having a type was something I was not really aware of until college and I think knowing one's type so early on can better prepare a student for what the college and professional theatre world are like. While some students do come in thinking they're an ingenue, others know they're the quirky side character and cater their audition to that, making it even stronger. Mr. Burgess explained how he chose Young Frankenstein because the pool of students he currently has are primarily character actors. I respect that his shows are chosen and cast based more on type rather than high school politics (which we all know happens too frequently).

What intrigued me the most about this process was what happened after the cast list came out. Mr. Burgess offered feedback to the students on their auditions, something I did not have the privilege of receiving in high school. Maybe the directors that do not offer feedback want to treat their auditions as they would be in the "real world." or maybe they think it will cause drama amongst the students. I respect Mr. Burgess for doing this because it shows that he values auditions as a learning experience, as they should be at an educational theatre level. It prevents students from getting in their head about what they think they did wrong by letting them know where their weaknesses and strengths actually were. These students took the feedback maturely and I could tell they will use it to grow.

While it is not required for me to observe or help with Young Frankenstein, I am excited to be involved, not only because I want to be around live theatre again, but I know this experience is one I will learn from.


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