Great Casting Wins the Battle by Kristen Coury

Here we are!  We started running the show and the fun began.  Now our usual plan includes a full run of the show each day.  We also spend several hours a day working on dialects, pronunciation of German words, and other things that make the show happen like costume fittings and recording answering machine messages that show up in the play.  And of course, most of our time is spent going through the play little piece by little piece.  I find myself saying things like, “if you could just move your head 15 degrees to left it will be clearer,” or “we have no need for that extra look over your shoulder, just come straight down.”  These are the types of things that are slightly different than a “normal” rehearsal process.  In a normal process with more than one actor, you don’t have to say “look 15 degrees farther left” because normally their job is to LOOK at their fellow cast member!

This has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.  It’s ancient wisdom in the theatre business that “good casting is half the battle.”  Well, in this case I would say that GREAT casting won the battle!  Kraig Swartz showed up at the New York City audition at 10am, having driven 4 hours from New Hampshire where he was working on another show.  He had 16 script pages, which comprised at least 14 different characters, already memorized replete with accents and gestures.  And at one moment, he did something that was so touching that all three people in the audition room including me clapped our hands to our hearts.  I knew he was the right guy for us then and it remains to be true.  So much work goes into playing 38 different fully realized characters with a full range of emotions and Kraig Swartz is up to the task and more. Working with an old-fashioned phonograph that plays Edison Amberol rolls is pretty cool, too!

Next week we add the lights, sound, costumes and all the other parts and pieces that will become characters in this play as well.  It’s amazing how a blast of sound, or a different colored light can immediately bring you into another age, another place, and another person just like that.  Warplanes flying overhead or the colored lights of a seedy bar help bring the mood and setting to life before your eyes and add a touch of humor along the way.  I’ll tell you all about it next week in the “Tech blog.”

I look forward to seeing you at the show!  We open on the 18th!  But of course we have reduced prices for our preview on the 17th as well.  See you then!


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