Once Callback Auditions are completed, the waiting game begins. At Journey, we encourage students to relax, take their minds off the process, and just be patient. The TREK students host a social gathering (“3-2-1 Movie Night”) and we hope that families will take Sunday to have a “Sabbath” and be refueled for the coming week. Still…the wait is difficult. Maybe knowing what’s happening behind the scenes will help you find some peace in time before the Cast List goes up.
What’s the Artistic Team doing?
Once students have all left and the callback venue has been locked up, the Artistic Team finds a place to eat, take a moment to just relax and breathe, then they dive into deliberations. After prayer, they typically start tackling discussions about the principle characters. They review their notes from the dance audition, the music audition, and the cold readings. The Show Coordinator alerts the team of any conflicts that are listed so they can compare to the rehearsal schedule. Depending on the needs and vision of the show as well as the limited rehearsal time allowed, conflicts CAN have an impact on casting decisions, so the Show Coordinator’s role is extremely helpful.
Casting a show is a difficult puzzle for even the most experienced Artistic Teams. The difficult reality is that, at the end of the day, only ONE student can be cast in each role. As students grow in their experience and demonstrate increased skill and thorough preparation in their auditions, there are often several choices for lead characters. Casting choices can come down to a singular moment at callbacks that resulted from someone making a big choice. It’s not that the other potentials did anything wrong or could have improved at all. It’s just that the choice of one spoke to the hearts & minds of the team in a unique way and the decision is made. After that first character is cast, the “shake down” begins as the team discusses chemistry in scene reads, matching up of vocal tone, physical type comparisons, etc. They exclaim over who showed what at the audition. They rave over growth in students. They smile and clap over new students who surprised them. It’s a joyful process where they celebrate each student!
After the Principle characters are determined, then they start the task of casting all the ensemble roles. Examining their rehearsal schedule and thinking through other design elements (costume changes, etc), they begin to fill in the ensemble roles, looking to give each student the amount of stage time that will help them to grow in skill, be successful with expectations, and help the overall energy of the show. Each show has unique problems and concerns, so the team prayerfully considers a myriad of viable options.
Once the cast is determined, then the Director works with the Show Coordinator to place students in Crew positions. Students’ maturity and focus are considered when determining the needs of the show.
When they feel unified in vision and have the cast pretty well determined, they are sworn to secrecy and they part ways. There is always a plan in place to touch base by mid-afternoon on Sunday to confirm the casting choices. This is done because the team recognizes their own need for rest and quiet to contemplate the choices in a non-rushed atmosphere, with the clear-mindedness that comes after a good night’s sleep. They are actively asking the Lord to convict their conscience and give the team unity of spirit as they work to affirm the choices from the day before.
Even as they confirm their selections and grow in excitement over the show that the Lord has given them, they are mindful of those that will read the cast list and be faced with disappointment.
Dealing With Disappointment
As I stated in a previous post, the auditions are not a competition. You can only offer your best. So, when your offering did not win you the role that you desired, the sting of disappointment can sometimes be unbearable. Students are caught in the juxtaposition between genuine excitement for their friends and disappointment for themselves, or the reverse.
In these moments, it is important for students (and parents) to remember that they do not know the fullness of the script nor the complete vision that the Artistic Team has. There are often needs within the show that the team knows about; opportunities for leadership and feature, that are not part of the official cast list. For shows that come from independent sources and are not part of the familiar lexicon of shows, the students only have a limited scope of featured roles and show-stopping character moments.
Again, there can be some comfort in knowing that the team is genuinely EXCITED for the outcome! They know they have carefully considered each student, their strengths, ways they need & want to grow and then, also, are trusting the Lord for GOOD things for the student. One of the defining characteristics about Journey Theater Arts Group is TRANSFORMATION.
“Journey Theater Arts Group encourages and inspires youth to grow into and embrace who God designed them to be. We believe in the transformational power of Jesus Christ working in us and through us to guide our youth to embrace their identity as a uniquely gifted and talented child of God.” (taken from About on the Journey website)
It is impossible to know for certain what the Lord is wanting to accomplish through the show experience. What we DO know, however, is that disappointment in casting often leads to development of the most rewarding relationships of a student’s life. Because of extended Green Room time, or character groupings, some of our alumni give testimony of how they found their best friends, members of their wedding party, long time Bible Study partners, etc. Students are invited into a faith-development experience even while they are going in their theater performance skills.
With eager and expectant hearts, the cast list is posted. To God be the glory!