Sunday, December 4, 2011


I can already tell that December is going to have a lot less posts than November.  With my job picking up in regard to hours, and good friends in town who I haven't (mostly) seen in months, and sewing Christmas presents, and then the holidays themselves, I'm fairly busy.  However, here is the post about casting which I mentioned yesterday:

As a stage manager, I've sat in on a lot of auditions.  I've sat in on auditions for my shows, shows that I thought I was working but didn't, and shows that I knew that I wasn't working but was helping out with as a favor to a friend.  The thing that always struck me was how horribly horribly shallow the process was.

Certainly there was discussion of: "Oh, he's really talented" and "She just commands the room" but for all of those comments, there were a lot more: "He's just too fat", "She's just too tall", "I wish she was a brunette", "He just doesn't fit the vision in my head".

And the thing is, to some extent, directors are justified in many cases.  A character whose supposed to be a starving orphan just wouldn't make as much sense played by a chubby actor. A character who is specifically said to have red hair in the dialogue of the script, couldn't really be played by a blonde (unless hair was dyed).  Casting is a horribly superficial process, but I'm not sure there is a way to make it better.

You can talk about color blind casting, but really that only works in plays that aren't about gender issues or about racial issues or etc etc.  It would just be horribly offensive if you cast a white man to play a black slave. Not to mention blackface is ILLEGAL, for quite good reasons.

My choreographer was talking to some of the actors the other day and she had worked at Disney Land as Wendy.  And she was just listing off the height requirements for the "face characters" (the ones not in masks like Mickey or Goofy).  *Note: these are rough guesses of what she said, I'm just ball-parking.  Wendy and Alice need to be 5'-5'2"; Belle and Cinderella need to be 5'3"-5"6"; Tinkerbell needs to be 4'8"-5'; any Disney prince needs to be 5'11-6'3"; on and on and on.

She said that the audition process was just brutal because the people picking would just look at you and kick 90% of the people out based on nothing more than looks.  And apparently the mask characters are treated poorly because they are viewed as expendable.  It was just astounding how much actual people were treated like nothing more than a piece of meat.  And this isn't even discussing the fact the the princes are expected to be (at very minimum) 5" taller than the princesses.  Because apparently the magic would just be ruined if they were about the same height or (oh no) if the woman were actually taller.

I talk all the time about how nice and non-judgmental theatre is, but in this one area, theatre is behind nearly every other field in existence.

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