Thanks to several area theaters offering ridiculously good deals for students, I started regularly attending theaters in the 1980s. Almost from the get-go, I was exposed to what is generally termed “non-traditional casting,” including a production of Macbeth with a cast that included actors who, at the time, I would not have instantly guessed as “Scottish.” Any preconceived notions I might have had of what the Scottish characters “ought to look like” were retired by the curtain call. The production was full of energy and all the actors brought their ‘A’ game. Franchelle Stewart Dorn, for example, will always be a definitive Lady Macbeth. She was that character based on what she did and how she did it.
Now multiply that by every single show I’ve ever seen with “non-traditional casting.”
Why am I mentioning this? Well, for one thing, from running auditions in the DC-Baltimore area for 15 years, I continually found myself needing to remind filmmakers that very skilled and enormously appropriate actors were available for their production if they focused on what the characters needed to do and how they needed to do it. And so few stories these people were telling demanded the characters be a certain age, ethnicity, or even gender.
In fact, I’ve found an overwhelming amount of great stories that don’t have those restrictions. Just tell the story with the best people you can find.
For a second thing, people in general still need to get this memo, and the author of the Percy Jacksonnovels evidently needed to give people a version of this memo, because, yes you guessed it: some folks are up in arms that a character is going to be played by an actor who isn’t who they pictured. I appreciate his call to stop the bull and remind people where the buck stops. Hopefully, a few more people will become more open about who could be a Greek demigod.
After all, growing up, I never imagined The Doctor from Doctor Who being Scottish… and we’re about to have our third Scot in the role. I’ll let you guess why I thought of that.
As several of you are likely aware, I do casting for independent productions in the DC area (not just for Jabberwocky Audio Theater). Much of this is centered around the Stonehenge Auditions, which I’ve done since 2005.
One of the fellow annual events that DC actors are well aware of is called Monologue Madness.
It’s usually scheduled around March, to coincide with another well-known madness, but as with so many events this year, it has been pushed back and is now online.
I will be one of the judges this year, which makes me very happy, as I know there’s going to be some great monologues.
Every Spring, I get social media posts –usually very vague ones– from friends closely involved with “Pilot Season,” that period every year where writers, actors, and others hope to get staffed on potential TV shows that will go from potential to actual (i.e., they get “picked up” and move into production for additional episodes).
I have a number of events coming up in the next 30 days, so I fear my posts may become a tad more erratic. Luckily, indomitable blogger Mark Evanier had a post this past week that perfectly meets my needs: how actors are like cats.
Yes, I know many actors who are dog lovers. Don’t worry guys and gals, you can still love your dogs (just as surely as they love you), but you’re still cat people. I’m with Betty White on this one.