Sat at St Pancras waiting for my train back to Nottingham and reflecting on a good first day of auditions for Dolly.
Casting is arguably the most important single contribution that a director makes to the success (or otherwise) of a production. Assemble the right team and everything will start going well – happy rehearsals, leading to great on-stage chemistry, leading to strong performances, responsive audiences and the job-satisfaction for all concerned that comes from knowing that all that hard work was worth it – especially when that hard work involves the rigours of small-scale touring. Get it wrong and it can feel like a very long tour indeed. No pressure then!
With a show like Dolly – written to berformed by a cast of six actor/singer/musicians – the job of casting is complicated further by the need to balance the skills of our performers across these three areas – and that’s before we even start thinking about are they actually ‘right’ for the part!
On the bright side though, it does mean that I’ve spent the day being entertained by a succession of Country & Western classics – in addition to the various Dolly Parton hits we heard, I’m still humming The Wichita Lineman.
Three more days this/next week – aiming to meet c.100 actors in total – and then ‘recalls’ week after next, when we’ll have more time to spend with each performer and/or will sometimes get people to come back and read together – back to getting the chemistry right.
Watch this space for updates on this process as it continues.