Auditions for “Lick” and “Drought”

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Fall of my junior year was the announcement that my play, A Lick And A Promise would be granted a full workshop production as part of the Spring Student Theater Festival. I’d directed a staged reading of my first play my freshman year and I’d directed Albee’s Zoo Story as part of the Spring Festival earlier in ‘97, but this announcement brought on a whole new level of pride. This would be a fully realized production, despite the advisors need to call it a “workshop.” It would be my chance to finally show off my skills in front of the whole school.

I think this was the beginning of the end of my Big Blue Funk. As a writer, I was finally going to be recognized. Now all I had to do was find the perfect cast.

Evil Deb (who was directing the play Drought by Bradford senior Pat Vogelpohl alongside my show) and I ran a dual audition to get the entire community to turn out. We placed copies of our scripts in the library for people to read up on, but most people didn’t read mine. Most just read Pat’s. He was the playwright on campus, after all.

At auditions we saw a number of talented individuals but Deb had the people she liked and I had the people I liked and I don’t recall there being much of a fight over who got who. I don’t remember Deb’s cast all too well. There was Jason and I think Coren was in it too and there were one or two others.

My cast, on the other hand, I remember by heart.

For the Veronica, the lead, I cast Robyn, who was tall, pretty, and really captured the domineering, manipulative character I’d imagined. Physically, she was imposing. She was the tallest of the entire cast and that sent a real visual message. Acting-wise, she sometimes went over the top, but this was a farce and I didn’t really mind.

For Veronica’s girlfriend Tracy, I cast Amanda. Amanda was a rising-star in the music theater program but she hadn’t done much else. I thought she could really make her mark with this part. It allowed her to show a good range of acting chops and I was out to help others get their start as much as I was out to help me get mine.

For the part of Tim, the kind of gullible fiancee that’s getting stepped all over, I cast DaPonte, a freshman at the time. He gave a good audition and put out of my mind the horrible play he’d acted in previously, Searching, which DaPonte would later deny he ever acted in.

And, for the part of Andy the non-Chinese Chinese food delivery boy who used to be a transvestite, I cast good ole Larsen. He had done mostly smaller parts in a couple of main stage shows and a couple of musicals. I thought this would be his chance to really shine. He didn’t look like what I’d imagined when I was writing it but that was the beauty of it. He was an unlikely gay man. It would work, I told myself.

It was a dream cast for me. I think any cast would have been. But when I saw what they did with my words on stage… well, that comes later. Needless to say, I wasn’t at all disappointed and neither was the Bradford community.