Everyone who could be there from the core BrickaBrack company was in the room with the auditionees --- some of us in work clothes, some of us in glittery make-up from a show, and some of us in audition clothes. We all gathered at the Temescal Arts Center to create an event; floating in from our hectic days and lives to meet some new faces and new bodies and engage with the craft we love.
As a company we have been meeting on Gabriel’s tiny studio floor --- also known as his bedroom/office/dining room --- so it was exciting to be back in the old Duck Duck Octopus space where many of us had last performed, danced, pizza-ed, and celebrated BrickaBrack. The energy of the space was buzzing! Gabriel did his intro to the company and our work — which I LOVE every time I hear it because he reminds all of us, old and new, why we are there and what we are about and besides…who can resist such charm? Our assistant choreographer jumped right in, leading everyone in a loose, languid, flowing warm-up which drifted easefully into learning a part of the dance. The movement was gestural and crafted, moving organically into broader strokes of lines and leaps. Meanwhile the rest of the team sorted through headshots and conflict sheets and watched bodies moving like traffic lights at night…shifting all around this beloved space. Glo ran the music in the corner. Lindsey was paperworking in an opposite corner. We were a new machine at work.
Callbacks! We saw the auditionees move in the space and dance the dance again; same song, different day. We watched their bodies closely. We read between the joints, looking for a story and it’s storytellers. We cold read some scenes…till late into the evening. Some of those words I had not yet heard aloud, but had only sped-read swiftly on a google doc. We laughed. Nervous energy bounced around the room as we put people on the spot…and asked players to sing and to feel free to make mistakes. It was one big room with everyone watching, and yet somehow the group automatically created an audience on the far wall of the room, and a set designed of bodies in the shape of preparing sides behind the person/s auditioning.
These two nights were such a different experience for me, as a performer, to be on the other side of the table, so to speak. (We didn’t have any tables at the Temescal Arts Center.) An opportunity for me to see what the “other people” see. The thoughts that pop up in your head as you’re deciding whether this is a person you want to work with or whether this is a person who would fit the general role, knowing that the script is flexible and open to change. We were really looking for an ensemble: people who could work together and easily jump in with any of their many skills and voices. Every typical actor's thoughts about what the auditor thinks was pouncing through my head, starting with outside appearances: “They're hot” “I like her hair” “Wow, they have a great smile” and working my way more inward as I saw more… “He has real spirit” “Her laugh could carry a show…” etc.
One of the challenges here was casting with a group of people — there were seven of us casting: artistic director, choreographer, assistant choreographer, production manager, and three additional company members. We were all behind the same curtain but each of us was looking for something slightly different. Some a heart, some a brain, some courage, and some home. Oh wait, that’s the Wizard of Oz. I think you catch my drift. However, it was brilliant when opinions aligned, which they often did. The moment when we all got into a huddle and with only a few words, head nods and finger points everyone came to the same conclusion. Now this machine is oiled and ready to jump into the rehearsal process!
(never fall so heavily again workshop began rehearsals this week...)