Dr. Kate Busselle
Auditions Part 1: The Director
Welcome back to another exciting academic year! Many departments across the country are gearing up for auditions for the fall productions, and some of those shows may include intimacy, nudity, and/or sexual violence. I wanted to offer some tips and tricks to help your auditions run a little more smoothly. In this two-part blog series, I will be offering guidelines for directors and actors.
You have a vision. You just need the cast to make it a reality. When selecting a script to direct, know your non-negotiables. What are moments of intimacy, nudity, and sexual violence that you need to present both for your artistic vision and to maintain the integrity of the script? Whatever these moments may be, it is important to include them on your audition flyer. Being transparent with your potential cast gives actors the opportunity to opt in or out of roles that they are comfortable performing. Be clear about which specific roles will be involved, and to what extent you plan to stage the intimacy, nudity or sexual violence because this is an actor's first opportunity to tell you that this isn't the role for them.
At the audition, have a form for your actors that includes all of the anticipated moments of intimacy, nudity, and sexual violence in the show. Be specific as to which roles require these moments. This provides a second opportunity for your actors to opt in or out of these roles just in case they missed it on the flyer or if they haven't read the script. I recommend that you don't look at these forms until after you have decided your cast. This way, answers from your potential pool of actors don't cause unfair prejudice or bias. Instead, have your stage manager check the forms once the cast has been selected to see what those cast in the roles with intimacy have said regarding those moments.
If the actors you have selected have indicated they are willing to perform moments of intimacy, you're good to go post that cast list! If not, consider whether these moments you want to stage are truly non-negotiables. If the moments are non-negotiable, recast.
Respect their boundaries and get what you need!