A 2-man play. A world premiere. An unknown (relatively speaking) author. The odds seemed stacked against us ... and yet I couldn't believe the out-pour of interest when TO TREE's auditions notice was released. As a newish theatre company, having over 30 men audition for 2 roles for a fresh-off-the-presses play was incredibly humbling.
Anna Schutz, BPBCo.'s managing director, Adam Amidei, our secretary, Patrick Butterfield, friend o' the company last seen in Reefer Madness!, and myself served as the audition panel and facilitators (think American Idol with Starbucks holiday blends instead of Coke cans). With only two characters, it was an extremely difficult job finding the perfect pair of Julian and Peter for Aaron's play.
Much to the assumed annoyance of our actors (sorry, guys), I purposefully gave little information on the show and characters. I wanted our auditioners showcasing their strengths based on very little preliminary knowledge of the piece and who these men are. In our casting notice, I used Aaron's light character descriptions from the script as the springboard of who these guys are:
Julian Fisher: 25. Black. Short. He has given up.
Peter Claypool: 24. White. Good-looking. He is still going.
For callbacks, I included this brief memo to the gentlemen:
"We're going to treat this very relaxed. Come casual. Have fun with the material. No need to have it down cold. The biggest thing I'm looking for is natural, honest, one-on-one conversations between Peter and Julian."
BoHo's space is terribly intimate, so natural un-pushed performances won us over. In the end, we cast the phenomenal Christopher Hart and Lance Newton as our featured performers. I am thrilled to begin the rehearsal process and cannot thank all the auditioners enough for coming out to our call.
-M. William Panek, Director of To Tree
Brown Paper Blog
Making theatre. Writing about it. Maybe some hilarious Youtube cat videos in between.