For over a month we have been searching high, low and seemingly everywhere in-between for the cast to our new production Emmi (formerly known as The Choice). Casting is exhausting and rewarding in equal measure. The good news is that we have now found our all female cast (very exciting!). Before we announce our cast members, I’d like to dedicate a post to our auditions.
For the first time we decided to hold traditional auditions as well as inviting online submissions. There are a few clear benefits with online auditions: no need to worry about scheduling woes, securing venues or travel arrangements. No need to calm any nerves beforehand, actors can perform their audition in an environment they are comfortable in (and get the chance to re-film if they are unhappy with the results). Like everything there can also be downsides: you can’t really direct effectively and there are some technical hurdles to overcome.
Then there are the traditional auditions which are more personable and dynamic. In particular I want to single out one audition where I gave an actress my keys as a prop to help the performance. She played the scene beautifully, pretended to unlock the door, put her keys in the bag and pushed a pram through the door. It wasn’t until later (and finding myself locked outside of the house) that I realised the keys were still in her bag. Thankfully she was local! To me there was something incredibly endearing about this, some distinctly human element largely lacking from some of the online efforts. But this isn’t to say the human element is completely absent: one audition worked in some lovely improv whilst the actress was babysitting her little niece.
Another discovery whilst doing our “practical auditions” was just how good one of our production team members was acting against the other actresses. In fact she very nearly got the role! If nothing else this helped to highlight a particular character trait no-one else was bringing to the role (one we will definitely try to expand during the workshop process).
This has been the most extensive casting process I’ve experienced on any project to date. Picking who to play the roles has been agonising and I’d like to thank everyone who applied via whatever method. And I take away from the whole experience the belief that there is a place for both online and traditional auditions.