I had no idea how difficult it could be just to sit on the other side of a table.
Casting was always going to be an intriguing process for me. Being an actor myself I have been to so many auditions, with varying degrees of success; now that I was running auditions for Hedgepig’s Playhouse Creatures, I would be privy to what happened after the actor leaves the room!
It must something about the word “Audition” that instinctively sets me on edge. Although I didn’t have much to do other than to observe and answer questions, those old familiar stomach butterflies made an appearance. It felt very strange to be sat in the seat of judgement, but it did make me try to find every positive in every candidate. I found myself trying to find a reason why they should be cast, rather than picking up on every stumbled line or misplaced pause as a reason to disregard them (as I’d always suspected might happen in auditions). We were more in need of the right actress than any auditionee was of the role.
The most eye opening aspect of the whole process was the final decision making.
I’ve often heard this, although up until now I’ve never believed it: it’s not how good or bad you are; it’s how right you are for the role.
But when you have a number of people who are all perfect, who would each bring something unique to the part, it really comes down to nit-picking. “Is she too tall?”, “Is she too short?”, “Do we have too many brunettes in the cast already?”. Seemingly tiny or insignificant reasons are used to narrow down the field because you have to make a choice. When it comes down to it, you have to cast just one person in the role.
The process has given me a very different perspective on any future rejections I might receive. It may not be that I’m ‘not good enough for the role’, it could just be that my eyes are green or my hair isn’t quite long enough or simply a gut feeling from the casting director; a world of elements outside my own control. It’s quite a liberating realisation. I found that I felt just as wretched turning people down as I do when I myself have been rejected.
But after all the brain-racking, list making and awful phone conversations, decisions have to be made. And I believe we have picked an amazing cast.
Come along and judge for yourself:
41 Monkgate Theatre, York.
– Gemma Sharp
Hedgepig Theatre founder