Casting 1.0 – Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong

Unfortunately, last week I had to skip my Saturday dedicated to blogging. This because I had to work on Saturday as well. I made a point to dedicate one day of the week exclusively to myself (otherwise I’d basically be working non-stop which I don’t think is very healthy). Don’t ask me why Saturday in particular. Not that I’m Jewish (I’d probably consider myself a medieval Christian… I like Latin masses) but given that I’m a contrarian by nature I like the fact of considering myself resting when everybody else is up and about, whether shopping during the day or clubbing in the evening.

Last week, however, I was struck by the implacable tenet of Murphy’s law. I had not 1, not 2, but 3 actors that need to be replaced. One for a silent comedy show I need to perform in December (a single date) and another two for a tour of a new show about cyberbullying that will take place in March.

In the first case the solution was easy to find. I do know quite a lot of actors I’ve either worked with during the years or that I’m acquainted with and I saw performing on stage. The actress of the silent comedy show that was in the original cast sent me a message she was ill and couldn’t possibly recover in time.

Inhale, exhale. Zen meditation.

I grabbed my phone and called Helen (fictional name… her real name is not important now). I’d been told she has incredible physical skills by a couple of colleagues.

Ring, ring, ring


“Hi Helen, how are you? This is Tom.”

“Hey. How are you Tom?”

Small talk for 7 minutes

“Hey listen. Would you like to be in the cast of a show I’m doing? We have a date in December.”

“Wow, I’d love to. How much time do we have to rehearse?”

“2 days.”

Silence. Has she fainted? Is she thinking about an excuse not to come?

“Well… that’s definitively going an experience I guess.”

Solution found. However, this means I’ll have to work these coming Saturdays as well as we’ll have to rehearse on Saturday (I’m always on the road otherwise).

The second situation is tough one instead. I have to cast two English mother-tongue actors with physical theatre training and my mental database ran out of names. Which means that this time I’ll have to work with somebody I don’t know.

That’s scary for me. I have all of these horror stories running in my mind about horrible experiences other producers had with actors they had wrongly cast. On top of that I’ve never recruited anyone outside my circle of competence, whose boundaries, as I said before, are set by the many people I know.

This means I’ll have to publish an on either Spotlight or Mandy, tour with people I don’t know and on top of that on a new show.

That’s scary.

That’s thrilling.

Hey! That’s great blogging material as well!

I bet there are lot of books out there about the casting process seeing from the actor’s point of view, but what about the opposite?

To be continued…

Have a nice Saturday everyone. Off to work.