Robert de Niro
Term has ended.
It is in the nature of such things that the last few days of the school term have a tendency to accelerate to an uncomfortable canter, as each and every one tries to get done all that which cannot be left undone before the community as a whole – with the pitiable exception of those hardy souls who manage without school holidays – departs the hallowed halls for the green fields and sunlit uplands of their respective holiday haunts.
Notwithstanding that, at this time last year, I was myself flying off to British Columbia to pay my first visit to the Kickass Canada Girl subsequent to her departure thence – there are no prizes for guessing where I will be during this particular break.
The first part of this last week was occupied by the auditions to which I have previously made reference. I will elaborate on the exact nature of this school production in future posts – all that need be said at this point is that the piece requires a cast of twenty four of which four play the leads. In form the piece is manifoldly picaresque and of no little complexity. Its cast will need to work closely together and must therefore be most carefully selected.
Over the first two days I saw forty nine 13 and 14 year olds. The standard is pretty decent but – as might be expected – it becomes ever more difficult to make valid comparisions the more one sees. On the third day I called back eighteen of the more gifted potential thespists, in an attempt to nail down the choice of the four leads. I could easily have recalled twice that number.
To facilitate the choice I also took time – at this point – to consult others. Those who teach these particular boys Drama or English – those who are their tutors – those professionals on our theatre staff who encounter these boys in other productions… all have useful insights into the nature and abilities of those who have submitted themselves for approval.
Then came the hard graft. Two of the leads were reasonably easy to cast – though again I had two or three candidates who might equally have been selected for each. The other two parts are – for reasons that will become clearer when I explain the nature of the piece – considerably more difficult to fill. After considerable head-scratching – however – I thought I might just have cracked it.
At this point – as dictated by School etiquette – I took my cast list to the Head of Drama for his approval. He pointed out that one of my choices for a lead role might not have been entirely wise. Forewarned is fore-armed – and on reflection I was most happy to have been spared making this discovery further down the road.
The cast list was posted on the last morning of term. Some very happy faces – some potential grudges that may come back to bite me in future drama classes. All part of the rich tapestry…
Now for the fun part!