October 21, 2013
Saturday it was foggy. Über foggy. So foggy I couldn’t see the Golden Gate Bridge when I was standing less than 100 feet away from it. Actually, I don’t know how many feet I was away, but I can usually see the bridge from the Golden Gate Transit stop that’s right before you cross the bridge.
Why was I catching a bus? Well, I was on my way to San Rafael for The River Bride auditions. I headed out early before morning fog got a chance to burn off so I could arrive early and collect my thoughts. Over coffee and an enormous muffin I made a few notes about characters, for qualities I was hoping to find in performance.
Then I walked to the auditions location where my co-directors Ann Brebner and Jeanette Harrison were setting up. We had 5 hours in the space and an almost no breaks to see the actors that had been invited to audition. Sidenote: if you’re wondering about the auditions, AlterTheater held general auditions about a month or two ago. The group we saw on Saturday was a mix of people who went to generals, people who’ve worked at AlterTheater before, people whose work my co-directors were familiar with, actors I was interested in seeing and AlterTheater ensemble members.
It was about an hour into auditions that I thought, “Wow, this is going to be hard.” I mean, we’d see someone and say, “That was great! We like them.” Then another person reading for the same part would come in and we’d look at one another and say, “Wow! That was great, too.”
And not only did we see actors on their own, we saw them paired up with other actors to watch them play off of one another, to see what chemistry they might have (there are three couples in the play).
Before we knew it, the afternoon had flown by and auditions were concluded. My co-directors and I retired to Ann’s home for tea and conversation where we talked about the performances we had seen. Most of our casting decisions were tough ones. That’s what you get when everyone you see gives you a compelling audition. Though it made our decision process difficult, it was very gratifying to know how much energy the actors we saw on Saturday put into their auditions. And while I thanked each one individually, let me just say here: Thank you. Thank you for bringing the characters to life. For making this process feel suddenly very real and exciting.
After about an hour we came to a consensus. I can’t tell you more than that because offers have to made and accepted before I can gush over the cast. And I think there will most definitely be gushing.