Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog Prompt 4: Casting Your Scenes

Tuesday marks audition day for our final showcase, so in preparation for this event, this week's blog post will be about casting based on the needs of the script/scene with which you will be working.

Please outline in your post the characters you will need to cast, what you are looking for in an actor for each role, possible difficulties you foresee within your process, and how you are brainstorming to fix these issues (i.e. how to do a scene from the "Yellow Boat" without the help of major props - the boat itself, large crayons, etc). Also think about a warm-up you would like to do with those auditioning that would both prepare them for the audition as well as allow you to see their strengths as performers.

Consider Bloom's chapter on casting, discussions we've had in class, and our Q&A with Laurie Carlos.


  1. first scene from Raised in Captivity.
    Sebastian Bliss
    Bernadette Dixon
    Kip Dixon

    So Two male and One female.

    I don't think I will encounter any major difficulties with that scene. Except for the unexpected. Which I will be expecting anyways.


    /Benjamin S

  2. I am casting Scene 5 from Raised in Captivity.

    I need a Bernadette and a Kip.

    I would like the actors to have a familiarity with each other. Kip should have a warm attitude, but be unaware of the strength of Bernadette's emotions. Bernadette should come across as having lost her optimism, but kept her desire for things to be different.

    I worry about this scene becoming stagnant, as both of them are supposed to stay still (Kip painting Bernadette), so there are not many opportunities for movement. I have been considering having Kip change his position to get a better painting angle occasionally and Bernadette on her feet for some of her dialogue to prevent this.

    I'm not sure what kind of warm up I would want to have the actors do, but I think it would be interesting to have them do something with a lot of movement. Since the lack of movement is part of the challenge of directing this scene, I want the actors aware of their bodies and thinking about how they can incorporate movement into the scene.

  3. Scene 4 of Act 1 in Raised in Captivity.


    I'm not terribly picky about the appearances of the actors. My top priority would be making sure the actor who plays Sebastian will be able to cary the scene, as Dylan and Bernadette spend the whole scene appealing to him. Though I would say Bernadette is probably the hardest part in the play as a whole, her role in this scene shouldn't be a problem.


  4. In my director’s showcase, I want to direct the first scene in Raised in Captivity. I will need three actors, Bernadette, Sebastian, and Kip. Bernadette will be the hardest to cast in my opinion, specifically in this scene. She is such an outrageously loud and overdramatic woman. However, I feel that she is the most sympathetic character in the show. It will be very difficult to cast someone that can create the loud, energetic performance that is necessary for Bernadette without making her an annoyance to the other characters in the scene. I will need to find a very strong female performer that is up to the challenge of dominating a scene without becoming overbearing. Kip should be played by a very mild-mannered actor in this scene. A man that is capable of producing a quiet insanity on stage. Sebastian should be played by a man that can create a character that is troubled and yet noble. A meek man, that still appears stronger than Kip in comparison.
    The set shouldn’t be that hard to recreate since it’s played in a graveyard. The graves don’t necessarily have to be on the ground for the audience to understand the formality and quiet intensity that a graveyard represents.
    In order to warm-up the cast, I think it would be best to do some sort of group meditation. This would help the actors focus on their bodies and reaching outside of themselves to find the characters. Possibly, having them sit in a circle, holding hands and focusing on breathing.

  5. I'm going to direct either act I scene 1 or act I scene 3 in Raised in captivity, but most likely scene 1. I will need 2 actors and 1 actress for Sebastian, Kip and Bernadette. In the best scenario that I'm hoping for, I will look out their command of the humor and how they are willing to make unusual choices to their characters.

    Phi Anh

  6. For the director’s showcase I am doing act 1 scene 2 from Raised in Captivity. I will need to cast the parts of Hillary and Sebastian. I need these actors to have a good sense of comic timing and they need to be able to connect to each other in a way that makes it seem as if they could have known each other for a long period of time. For Hillary I need someone who is incredibly strong in her convictions, no matter how wrong or off-base they may seem. I also them to be able to ground her a little and not make her into a caricature that she could so easily become. For Sebastian I need someone with a slightly cynical outlook on life that is troubled but also willing to try and make the best of what turns into a very uncomfortable situation. The only real obstacle that I see is getting the actors to where they need to be in the sense that their lines should be slightly overlapping and it should be relatively fast-paced.

  7. I am directing a section of part of the beginning of “The Yellow Boat”. I need to cast the roles of Mother, Father, Benjamin, and four ensemble members. Ideally, I would cast more than four ensemble members but I do not know if I have the resources or time to do that. I want to have a larger ensemble to create more movement and activity onstage. I would love to cast dancers or acrobats as ensemble members. I wrote a lot about casting for “The Yellow Boat” in my previous blog post, and much of my ideas for casting remain the same. I wrote that the things I would be looking for in all actors I cast are “creativity, wild imagination, playfulness/love of play, reliability and responsibility”.

    I see scheduling as a challenge. I hope to create a good schedule that accommodates everyone’s schedule and hold the entire group to their word. I think being on time is a major issue for many students. I hope to address this by having a brief discussion about roles and expectations at the first meeting.

    In terms of warm-up, I would like to first do some vocal and movement warm ups, and then move into playing some warm up games. One warm-up is to have one actor make up a story while the other actors act it out, and then reverse roles. This will allow the actors to explore their imaginations. Another game is to ask the actors to play recess games such as tag and red rover. I also want to do a Viewpoints based game that explores the colors of the rainbow through sound, movement, tempo, breath, and duration.

  8. The scene I am going to be directing is from Raised in Captivity, Act 1 Scene 8. The casting breakdown will be as follows;

    I believe for the sake of the isolated scene Dylan and Roger can be a dual role preformed by one actor (if I were to put on the entire play I would approach this differently despite the directions from the book). Cold. Hurt. Strong. (Teen - Early 20s)

    Needs to have emotional chemistry with both Miranda (his mother) and Dylan (his lover/pen pal). Hurt. Needs love. Depressed. Desperate. (Teen - Early 20s)

    Needs to have emotional chemistry with both Sebastian and Bernadette (her children). Strong. Trustworthy. Ambiguity. (Teen - Early 20s or Older Actress)

    Needs to have emotional chemistry with Sebastian (her brother) as well as Miranda (her mother). Flighty. Emotional. Strong. (Teen - Early 20s)

    I propose casting for Sebastian, Bernadette and Miranda together. After the initial casting call I will bring back a few choices of actors to play these parts, at the call backs the actors playing Sebastian, Bernadette and Miranda will have opportunity to work in groups of three playing either an improvisational game or reading a scene together. These three actors will be chosen based on their compatibility with one another.

    After Sebastian has been cast I propose casting Dylan, I feel as though his emotional chemistry with Sebastian is extremely important to this piece. Given, I would only cast Dylan after having made the selection of the person to play Sebastian alongside the rest of the family. I also think it is important to cast this actor post-casting of the Sebastian character because in his dual role Dylan will also be playing Roger, who will also need a bond with Sebastian.

    For this scene they have mentioned isolated rays of light from the stage falling upon the characters to represent their inclusion in the scene. In order to make this feasible I propose using practical lighting such as flashlights for my characters to be holding, lighting their faces when they are supposed to be present in a scene.

  9. I am directing Act 1 Scene 2 of Raised In Captivity.

    Sebastian: Sebastian is cynical, bitter, and sarcastic...but he's also sadly reminiscent. I'm looking for someone who has a wide, interesting range with his voice acting abilities...but also at least a base knowledge of how to project that into his body. I also want someone who can map out each movement, no matter how minimal, so that we can go through the process of giving motivation and purpose to each of them.

    Hilary: Hilary is loud, obnoxious, selfish, but really just wants to be loved. I would to cast someone with a really big personality who can exaggerate even more if they want to. Preferably someone with experience in musical theater, but that's hardly necessary.

    The largest problem I foresee with this scene is mapping out the entire first half of the scene, where it is just Sebastian talking about his past, in an interesting way. Initially I thought it would be so boring...just a block of text in a therapists office...a really big block of text. But eventually that's what made me want to try the scene, just to see if I could make it interesting enough to keep the audience.

    My warmup idea is that each actor takes turns saying the poem "Peter Piper Picked..." using a different emotion every time, and that they say it to the other actor and use their body to strengthen what they are saying.

    -Alek S.

  10. For the director showcase, I am working on a scene from "The Yellow Boat," roughly in the middle. I'll need to cast Mother, Father, Benjamin, three doctors, and Joy.

    Casting Mother and Father, I'm looking for similar people: they need to be caring and have the capacity to be likable while also being overprotective, and yet sometimes seem lost and confused a angry.

    The doctors should be able to be completely robotic and emotionless even when in a touching scene, yet they will eventually transform to more realistic doctors who care.

    Joy is the center of the scene I've chosen, and for her I'm looking for someone who's gentle but has a great sense of humor and loves playing and being silly, but she can still manage to be more adult and caring.

    Benjamin in this scene has to show the side that is angry and lashing out at his situation, but showing the anger of an eight year old will be difficult to find at Hampshire.

    The first difficulty I foresee is just finding the number of actors I need, and if I do find them scheduling them will be just as difficult. The scene I'm looking at doesn't have an excess of props like many others in "The Yellow Boat," but it will need some, such as kazoos for Joy and gloves and charts for the doctors, both of which could be found upstairs in the props loft, or I wouldn't mind spending money on (kazoos are a good investment). Working without the boat will be slightly upsetting, but because this is a hospital scene the boat is acting as a bed anyway, and rehearsal blocks will have to be good enough.

    For auditions I want to look for the actors to be ready to experiment and extremely physical. I'd start out with a good game of sound and motion, and then move into a game of statues (wherein everyone walks in a circle and one by one as they see fit one strikes a pose in the middle and everyone else adds to it until everyone is in the middle in one giant human statue). After those games test to see how comfortable the actors are using their bodies, I'll move into sides, focusing on the doctors with parents, and then Joy and Benjamin.

    Because of the challenges I see myself facing about finding enough actors, I'd be fully willing to change any genders or races I need for this scene, especially since the characters are open to that interpretation here. Benjamin could be a woman as could the father, or mother could be a man. Joy is the only one who I would prefer to remain a woman.

  11. I will be doing scene 2 from Raised in Captivity. The characters are Sebastian and Hillary (the therapist). For Sebastians character I am looking for someone that sounds natural when being blunt. It is important to show this character's difficulty with expressing emotion in a subtle way. Also they must be good at long monologues of memorization. For the therapist, I would like an actor who can easily portrait someone who is in touch with their emotions. Since she loses it in the scene I would like an actor who can play the crazy as completely normal. Without this aspect of normalcy I feel the acting will appear fake/dramatic and the audience could never understand the Hillary character. In the end, Like Laurie Carlos recommended, for both characters I am extremely open ideas/voices I would not expect. I am just looking to see what actor can convince the audience that their character is not crazy.

    I foresee the biggest difficulty in directing this scene when it comes to the lack of physical movement in the scene. I feel this will force we as a director to really work on the small and big beats of the scene. Not to mention the arch, in order to keep the audience fully invested.

    A game I feel would help with choosing actors would simultaneous rap. The actors would face each other and pick a side of an argument (snickers vs. M & M's / abortion pro or con). At the same time they begin speaking on behalf of the side they choose, making sure to try as many methods as possible to convince the other side. While they are doing this I am allowed to make calls such as slow motion, one person at a time, stage whisper, train over head, double time, and use your bodies not your words. I feel this game will allow me to see how these actors are when it comes to pushing their characters intentions onto others. I feel this is what the scene is all about, and this game will help me see if they are able to do this. Since it is improvisation, I will see their strengths as actors for thinking on their feet. This is the plan and I look so forward to directing!

  12. I was casting for Eddy and Benjamin, for the hospital scenes from The Yellow Boat involving only Eddy and Benjamin.

    There were no specific qualities I was looking for (including sex); I was open to any possibilities, but ideally seeking two skilled and enthusiastic actors with a strong rapport - the strong rapport being the most important aspect; with it, anything goes; without it, nothing matters.