A few weeks ago we held callbacks for our upcoming production of Henry 4. It was my first time casting and I can say the view from the other side of the table is a humbling one as you get to witness artist after artist come and wrestle with this impossible task that is the audition process. It is a brave, strange, act, this. On the plane home I felt deeply grateful and confused as to how anyone makes a choice as to whom they are eventually going to go with. I had a few hunches, mostly based on what I perceived to be a shared pleasure in working together, or actors who came in and seemed not afraid to try things at risk of failure.
The rubric I finally decided upon was that of my idea of what it must be like to put a sports team together. Match people’s strengths, get a variety of training, go with those whose collaborative spirit seem to match their talent and facility.
All of this is attempted to be gauged in a total of spending no more than 30 minutes with someone over the course of auditions and callbacks. It’s a harrowing task for both those who are casting and those who are auditioning.
And yet, one by one, actors came in practicing patience, ease, grace, bravery. It was a sight to behold, and I hope more get to experience it.
To all who came in: thank you for your work. For whatever it’s worth, it was a gift to us sitting in that room.
All my best,
Jonathan Hopkins Falstaff
Hannah Sloat Prince Hal
Jane May King Henry, Hostess Quickly
Michael Hanson Hotspur, Pistol
Lauren Pennline Poins, Westmorland
Beth Ann Hopkins Bardoph, Douglas, Warwick
Jonathan Minton Worcester, Chief Justice
Sam Reiff-Pasarew John, Gadshill, Shallow, Doll