B.5 Our Procedures
well-ordered and successful theatre production program must establish ways of
doing business which are consistent and understandable. SPU
University Theatre is no exception; we have procedural policies aplenty.
Most of them are standard theatre practice. And
while they may sometimes feel limiting, arbitrary restrictions on creative activity
is not the intention. Quite the opposite.
This section will attempt to at least outline policies related to our work
Audition and casting policies and procedures.
are the gateway to the performance experience. They
are seldom easy, because so much is riding on them. The
experienced director knows that appropriate casting is a third of the way to a
successful production. The actor knows that without
the role, he cannot practice his art. There is no
simple answer to this tension; all that can be done is for both sides to approach
the situation seriously, make the best effort, and move on.
Professional demeanor and trust are essential, as in any job interview.
for all University Theatre productions are open calls, which means
that audition appointments are available to anyone within a Seattle Pacific
constituency group: students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends of
the university. They are open to any student, regardless
of major, and to all theatre scholarship holders and non-scholarship holders.
periods are normally six to ten weeks in duration, and auditions are scheduled
to coincide with that pattern. Under our present practice
of three mainstage and two studio productions, we conduct auditions
at four times during the academic year. The pattern
is as follows:
I and II First
week of Autumn quarter
III and Studio #1 First
week of Winter quarter
week of Spring Quarter
University Players Mid
to Late May
are announced through standard campus-alert methods: theatre students mailing
list, theatre callboard posting, flyers distributed across campus (including dormitories),
campus newsletter (To The Point) article, the Falcon
(when cooperating), announcements in classes. Audition
dates are also announced as a part of the Fine Arts calendar released quarterly.
are normally conducted by appointment. This
means that auditioners are requested to sign-up for a scheduled block of time
with three or four other individuals. Location, times
and required preparation are announced in advance, as is the whereabouts of the
sign-up sheets. Auditions conducted the first week
of Autumn quarter seldom require advanced preparation apart from familiarity with
posted audition scenes. Auditions conducted later
in the year may require “professional-style” preparation of auditioner-selected
and memorized short monologues. Obviously, singing
and other special skills may be required by certain productions.
Call-Back auditions will also be required.
This is especially the case when large numbers of auditioners apply.
They are always group calls. A posting of the
names of called-back auditioners will be made at an announced time and location.
Call-backs are used to test combinations of auditioners and to confirm
initial impressions of the director(s). Cast postings
will appear shortly thereafter.
auditions seek to discover combinations of performers capable of creating
ensemble and to convincingly create the characters of the
play. Other qualities being tested
include stage presence, self deportment and confidence, applied imagination, vocal
control and flexibility, movement capabilities, ability to focus on task, sensitivity
to rhythms, and physical characteristics.
is made, first of all, with the best interests of the show in mind.
Occasionally (but only occasionally) the strongest person for
a role may have to be passed over in the interest of combinations
of performers. The director must be sure that
vocal coloration between performers is distinct, that movement characteristics
are distinguishable, and that the intended style of the performance is accomplishable
by the ensemble.
director must also acknowledge the educational purposes of the
production process. For this reason, a student performer
may have a slight “edge” in casting over non-student auditioners,
as may a Theatre major over non-majors, as may an upper class student who has
been passed over for casting in other auditions. This
“edge,” if it exists, is minimal, and comes into play only when casting
decisions are of the coin-flip nature. The best interests
of the show come first!
educational purpose the director must serve has to do with allowing
student performers to “stretch” their abilities, and includes a judgment
about the student’s developmental stage as a performer, and what may be
the appropriate next step. There is an element of
risk here, but such is the nature of education. However,
the best interests of the show and the student come first!
casting factor for the director is the sense that the performer is dependable
and will bring an unusual level of focus to the rehearsal and performance process.
This has implications for the interworkings of the cast, since ensemble
is partially based on this factor. The “whole
person” is being cast here, not just a character. The
best interests of the show and the ensemble come first!
individuals whose grade point average will be jeopardized is against University
Theatre policy. The university stipulates a minimum
cumulative gpa of 2.00 for students involved in such activities.
director’s decision on casting stands. Directors
will oftentimes consult with other Theatre faculty members during the casting
process and before cast posting.
production calendaring restrictions require rehearsal overlaps, performer
involvement in any production during the year will eliminate or compromise casting
opportunities in other productions. The term “compromise”
is used to imply that casting may be limited to secondary roles or may not be
possible at all. This is especially true when less
than four weeks of rehearsal time is available between the closing of one production
and the opening of another. The pattern is as follows:
Performers cast in Mainstage #1 cannot be cast in Mainstage #2
Performers cast in Mainstage #2 will be compromised for casting in Studio
Performers cast in Studio #1 will be compromised for casting in Mainstage
Performers cast in Mainstage #3 will be compromised for casting in Studio
Actor's Rehearsal and Performance Behavior