See you at callbacks…!

Dear actors,
Thank you to everyone who auditioned, and congratulations to those who I’ll be seeing in callbacks. I’m excited to work with you! Questions you might have…

  • When’s my callback?
  • What will callbacks be like?
  • What part am I called back for?
  • What’s your take on AYLI?
  • What can an AYLI ensemble member expect from the process?

When’s my callback? This information is coming soon – I’m working on the scheduling as you read this, creating groups and considering conflicts. Because of my schedule¬† working with some area theaters, ensemble callbacks will be Friday-Saturday evenings, so you can hang tight for a little while and enjoy your Wednesday/Thursday.

What will callbacks be like? You’ll be called with a group of 8-12 actors for 60 minutes. The first half of the hour will be ensemble work – a little information about the show woven in with movement, text work, and group scenes where we work our comic beats. Then, I’ll send you away with 1-3 scene partners and a side to work on independently. You’ll bring it back into the room, we’ll workshop it for a few minutes, then I may have you do another scene with new partners, or send you on to the rest of your blissful evening. I may see all the I need to see on our first day, or as I may give you some take-home text to work on for a secondary callback. You might declare yourself to be Rosalind and I will not ask for more of your time this week, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get “homework.”

What part am I called back for? At this point, everyone is up for all roles. Well, no gentlemen are up for Rosalind or ladies up for Orlando, but there are several roles like Le Beau that may be male or female, so everyone is up for those. Obviously I’ve tried to sense from auditions what roles might suit you, and will guide us in that direction or the precise opposite to find out, but the callback is about working together and exploring those possibilities. You may challenge me to rethink everything, and I will do so joyfully!

What’s your take on the play? Because you can never be sure what someone is doing with Shakespeare, I wanted to provide some information on what my take on this play is so far, and what the ensemble’s role will be in challenging and ultimately creating the play as we like it.

I’ve zeroed in on AYLI because I’m interested in exploring the two worlds of the play, court and country, and how these tropes are relevant to us twenty-first century people. Specifically, what’s our relationship to the natural world? How is it perhaps stinted by the trappings of the city and technology? It’s easy to see artifice everywhere these days – just look around you. But where does authenticity live? What might you gain if you stop the incessant conversations on that Bluetooth and share a moment of silence with a friend at your side? What do you lose when you can scrape the sky but you can’t see the stars?

My questions suggest answers, obviously. I have my own ideas and that’s part of why I’m drawn to this play which I first saw in the place I consider “my Arden,” but I want the ensemble to be actively involved in both challenging and contributing to the conversation. All actors have the opportunity to play one “city person” and one forester, or a character that takes time to dwell in both. We’ll do character work to determine how we think the character types and manners of the Elizabethan court and pastoral translate into a modern-day setting. I encourage actors to engage with Shakespeare’s story and the questions of the play headlong.

What can an AYLI ensemble member expect from the process? Since “speaking the speech” is undeniably intellectual, visceral, and human, text, breath, movement, and character work are closely interconnected for me. Also, this is a comedy! We’ll be doing bits and beats and laughing a lot. There’s some song and dance. As an actor, you will be active, challenged, and fully utilized. You will be a member of an ensemble: any part in AYLI can steal this show, which is one of the reasons I love it. There will be music, and whether or not you play an instrument, you will get to play. With words, action, and the audience’s expectations of this old, old story.

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