On Monday we held an 'open audition night', the purpose of which was to meet new actors & actresses who had expressed an interest in our company. What a lovely evening it was. No ego's arrived through the door, no pretentiousness, just a bunch of great actors wanting to get their hands dirty and produce good theatre. A refreshing change I can tell you!
We are a funny lot us actors - a breed unto ourselves. People full of confidence & insecurities. Outgoing people full of shyness. People willing to put themselves on the line & yet nervous to do so. We are a psychiatrist's dream ... although we tend to use acting as our own prescribed treatment.
I have met every type of actor over the years, and believe me there are a whole big mix out there. From the super talented and don't know it, to the totally incompetent and yet think they are the next Laurence Olivier or Maggie Smith.
Monday highlighted for me the qualities I look for in an actor, and this is a pretty accurate list:-
- The ablility to take direction - that may seem like a given, but believe me it is not!
- The actor who works as part of a team and not for their own 15 minutes of fame.
- The selfless actor who does not upstage. Who supports their colleagues both onstage and off.
- The actor who learns their lines, and has their books down when asked.
- The actor without an ego.
- The actor who realises, you are only as good as the people you are on stage with, and more importantly, the people who are backstage supporting you.
- The actor who will happily get their hands dirty
I am a passionate director I know, and boy the thrill I get when I see talent is so exciting. The thrill I get when I see actors improve beyond what they thought they were capable of is a joy. The thrill I get when I see a play come together is what makes all the hard work totally worthwhile.
So I come to a story about lines ... I was once in a play where one of the cast had not completely learnt his lines by the first night! It was a complicated play, where characters were coming and going. He came into several scenes he was not it in, appeared through doors he should not, and was in general a complete nightmare. One night, he appeared in a scene he (for once) should have been in, but started saying his lines from the next act! There were five of us on stage, we all tried to bring him back into the right scene/act, but the more we ad-libbed to get him back on track, the more confused he got. In the end (of what seemed like an excruciatingly long time) one of the cast annnounced we should all go for a walk in the garden, at which point every cast member left the stage! We all had a very quick de-breif as to how to get the play back on track, went back on stage (minus the actor, who when it boiled down to it, didn't even know what play he was in) and managed to get through the scene saying all our lines, and his too. Suffice to say he never acted again, and I lost 10 years off of my life.
I am looking forward to working with some new actors and creating some more wonderful stories to tell, and on that note ... our next production of 'Everything Between Us' comes around on October 3rd - 5th. Tickets are on sale now.