Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Sunday and Monday I’m holding auditions for the play HARVEY.

Remember that one? (Maybe not) Perhaps you’ve seen the 1950 movie, starring James Stewart, who is befriended by a six-and-a-half-foot-tall invisible rabbit. (Oh. Yeah. THAT one.)

Okay … I’ve seen stranger plays … I’ve WRITTEN stranger plays.

With HARVEY, in any case, playwright Mary Chase uses an invisible rabbit as a springboard for gently dated social commentary wrapped into a still cute and clever show. I liked it the first time I read it. The plot moves along nicely, and the characters offer a nice range of interpretation.

So I’m journaling this for you – a few of the things a director experiences in putting a show together. Maybe it’s interesting stuff.

The theatre in which HARVEY will be performed is interesting. Actually … it’s not a “theatre” at all. A little over twenty miles from home is a quite large and abandoned shopping mall. I love just wandering around the place, looking in sad and empty windows at the ghosts of commercial enterprises. The theatre took over several side-by-side stores. One entire building is the lobby. Opening beside it is the theatre auditorium. With a proscenium perhaps twenty feet high, the stage width and depth are at least fifty feet across. Down the street are two other buildings occupied by the theatre – one is rehearsal space, and the other is storage. I’ve never in my life seen a theatre with so much space. They could be in performance for one show and have TWO in rehearsal at the same time.

It’s a great place – once you find it. As I mentioned, it’s in the middle of an empty shopping mall the size of a small town … or so it appears. It’s a place you drive TO, not anything you would simply be driving PAST … unless you are as prone to getting lost as I am.

So. Auditions are Sunday and Monday. I have no crew for the play as yet – no stage manager, no set construction people, no lighting or sound people – nobody. (This year I’m doing two plays back-to-back, and my “regulars” opted for the second play – “Inherit The Wind.”) The other problem is that this is my first directing assignment at this particular theatre, so I don’t know their pool of people from whom to draw. Strangely, I’m more inconvenienced than worried. Crews appear when you need them. They always do.

Casting. In the end, it doesn’t matter how well a show is written, produced, or directed. If it’s well cast, the play will be a success. With this in mind, for months I’ve been recruiting performers to come and audition. No promises, but … On the other hand, there are other people who WANT to be in the play, and it’s not escaped my attention how pleasant and thoughtful THEY have been over the past few months.

It’s a a game, isn’t it? It’s fun if everyone plays fair.

First of the week I’ll let you know how it went.


And how was your day?


from the royal fortress meadow said...

Sounds like you're having fun. I'm sure you'll find who you need.

Julie M said...

Can't wait to hear how it all turns out. Will you be availble to retreat first weekend in October?

Kaleidoscope said...

You make me wish I had the gift of acting. I'm staying tuned for all the updates. I'm sure this will be a smashing success! NG