by Padraic Lillis · August 25, 2014
Talked with Scott Hudson Thursday night after his callbacks at Ashland. It was thrilling to hear about the process. It was exciting for a lot of reasons. The first being that the college collaboration play is cast. That is an amazing step - these are the first people that will bring a new play to life. It is an honor and a responsibility to breathe life into a character for the first time. To hear about who was selected and why was exhilarating.
Scott had a wonderful audition process where he created an environment for the actors/students to truly embody the characters as well as to experience the play. Everyone was auditioning in the room together. Actors took turns and the ensemble was created as the audition went along. Scott created an opportunity for each actor to step in to the ensemble and play fully in the world.
As a director it sounds as if he got the right people for the right roles. A lot goes into casting - chemistry of the ensemble, people connecting internally, and feeling the potential for the play in a new way. I heard all of that when I heard him talk about his choices.
I also heard the enthusiasm of an educator. My favorite phrase of Scott's is when an actor 'catches' something. He shared how each actor came in with a general understanding of the character they wanted to play but after working with each - when the specifics dropped in for the actor and they 'caught' something about the character, I could hear his enthusiasm. Each time it was about surprise and growth. Surprise of the life breathed into the character and the potential growth for the student actor entering the role. That is the excitement as an educator - how will a role facilitate the growth of each particular artist. Also, there are exciting moments like when a non-major shows up to an audition and surprises everyone with their passion and commitment. There is also an exciting element about the process of casting which is watching the fight drop in for an artist. He was proud of the commitment of each student as they realized they had to dig deeper and bring their best because the competition was clear.
The other exciting thing that happened was the enthusiasm he described that started to come out of the students about Lindsay's play. They all liked it before but as it came to life during the audition it became clear to them that it was special. It was written in a voice familiar to them. With humor and understanding of them. That too is the goal of the college collaboration. To connect artists to new plays, new voices, that reflect them - give them an immediate voice in the world. It feels like this play is doing that and I am thrilled.
There is a part of casting that is not wonderful, which is there is a limited number of roles. So not everyone will be cast. Scott and I didn't talk about that part. What I heard in his description of the night was his pride of what everyone brought to the room and him seeing a strong interest in people wanting to be involved in the play regardless of role in the process.
I wanted to post the cast on Friday but he was waiting for the notice to go up in the department first because then they would announce the entire team. Meaning that all of the roles of crew would be announced as well. I love the idea that it is a team. Very much in line with The Farm Theater. And it is a team. Everyone is part of bringing the play to life. I look forward to meeting the entire team.
Here is the cast list:
Mason Adams--- Connor
De Andre Peterson---Trevor
All of the players will be shared as we get that list. First rehearsal is Tuesday.
Talk with you soon.