Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Directors

Audition angst

A friend of mine went to an audition recently. He was excited and well prepared, in a terribly realistic way. While he didn’t think he stood a very good shot he really wanted the director and others involved to get a glimpse of him and see what he was capable of. You never know.

I spoke to him after the audition and he was miserable. He had gone blank, even though he was well prepared. We spoke about it and he suggested that he he had walked into a really negative energy. Nobody had introduced themselves, or given him a chance to introduce himself. There was very little generosity in the space. And I just don’t get it.

Auditions are by their nature stressful. I have been to many and held even more. And when I am holding auditions I want everyone who walks into that room to be able to do and give their absolute best. It is my responsibility, regardless of whether I can see instinctively that they are wrong for the part, to give them my full, positive attention and to encourage the best out of them. I want to see the potential. I want to recognise the possibility. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get irritated with people who are unprepared, or with agents who clearly haven’t read the brief, or with actors who do Shakespeare for an industrial theatre audition. My end of the bargain is to create that positive space for all who come and ‘do something’ for me to see. That’s what I want when I go and audition.

So, when I hear horrible stories about directors (and producers and designers and managements) being the stereotypical sour pusses at auditions I can’t help but wonder how hideous the rehearsal process will be. And that’s the exact opposite of what any theatre experience should be. It should be a joy.

A weekend of Theatre

A cat stomping on my head is what forced me awake this morning when I should still be sleeping. I got home late (for me) last night and today is the final day of Directors and Directing. Yesterday was long, intense and crazy, with that heightened reality of Grahamstown festival about it. First was the panel discussion of directors about their ‘signature’. Then it was ‘From the Trenches’, a panel discussion by actors about directors. What was very interesting for me is that, in general, I’d rather see the work directors and actors make than listen to them talk about it. Directors are mostly convoluted and obscure when trying to explain what it is that they do, and actors are mostly inarticulate without a character and direction.

The rest of the day was dedicated to the watching of plays. Three of them. We watched The Mechanicals Lie of the Mind first. Then, we went on huge Jammie Shuttle busses to The Theatre Arts Admin Collective for Capturing Sanity, which is the emerging director’s bursary production directed by Pusetso Thibedi, and then it was back on the bus to The Fugard for Fred Abrahamse’s R & J.

The most interesting part of yesterday happened in the conversations I had in the corridors, foyers, parking lots and stairwells. I spoke to playwrights, critics, directors, actors, teachers and friends. Everybody had a passionate point of view. Everybody was excited or exploding about one thing or another. And that’s the whole point.

I am grateful that today has a bit of a later start. My head is crashingly full, and I need to walk the dog with Big Friendly. I need a moment of real life perspective before the world of theatre takes me in.

Jay Pather has managed to turn a monster three day theatre event into a delicious, well oiled learning machine.

Directors and Directing

It’s not comfortable trying to write a post on a Blackberry even though the fact that it is actually possible remains miraculous to me. That’s what I’m doing!
I am waiting for the first panel discussion of the day to start. It’s day 2 of the Directors and Directing ‘thing’ presented by GIPCA at Hiddingh Hall. I am sitting next to Bo Petersen and vaneshran Arumugam as everyone gathers.
The fact that an event like this can happen and is well attended is a reason to love Cape Town. Now let’s see what the content delivers.
This morning the panel is Clare Stopford, janice Honeyman, Geoff Hyland, Mandla Mbothwe, Carolyn Holden and James Ngcobo.

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