Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Writer's Perspective: Casting

October 30, 2008: It's week 247 of casting. Rubin and I can't agree on anything. I think it comes down to the fact that I'm looking for the best possible actors for the roles, and I think John's looking for a new best friend. John is a very sensitive man, very sensitive to actors, probably because he once was one a long time ago. You can still find some reviews of his early work on the walls of some caves in Lascaux. So John really engages every actor that comes into the room. It's truly lovely, the inclination behind it. Well, it's lovely if he's just being kind. If he's actually become disoriented and thinks that he's in the process of directing each auditioner's one-person show... well, that's troubling. During one woman's audition he actually opened up a bottle of a 1987 Borolo. If LAB could afford candles, I'm sure he would have lit them. I began singing that America song, This is for all the lonely people Thinking that life has passed them by Dont give up until you drink from the silver cup And ride that highway in the sky.... He shot me a look that even by Herzog/Klaus Kinski standards could not be considered collaborative. But I don't care 'cause Judy, our casting director says she's going to put me up for a juke box musical.

October 31, 2008:The array of actors we have seen is stunning. Every one of them is truly amazing. The professionalism!! for grown adults to be willing to come into a room, one after another and humiliate themselves in this way is stunning. The sides I have provided the actors for the auditions actually contain nothing that's actually in the script. Going that route would be a missed opportunity. I thought to myself, "What are some of the things you've always wanted to see grown men and women do or say? If you had the power to control people, to make them do anything, what would you have them do?" Needless to say, the casting process has been a scream, if not productive. A shout out to Judy, our casting director, for playing along and sacrificing her professionalism in the name of having a really good time.

One of LAByrinth's artistic director's suggested I work on having some more empathy towards actors. I thought this was a good idea, despite the fact that he's an actor so this is clearly a transparent effort to just have me understand him more. But I dug in anyway. I imagined it was I walking into that audition room. I could hear Judy's voice saying to me, "Cindy, this is David Bar Katz, the writer." I caught my reflection. I was a pretty blonde actress!! Repressing my desire to run to the bathroom, undress and for the first time spend some quality time alone with a naked blonde, I extended my hand to meet... ME! There I was, my hand extended towards my new actress hand. I looked up into my own eyes, and my actress mouth opened and I started screaming. And crying. Weeping really. Fetal position. The whole nine. So this is what it was like to meet me. Though I was hysterical, sobbing, pounding the floor, writhing, there was still enough actor in me to think, "I wish this was a Medea audition." But I couldn't calm down and just kept saying over and over, "Won't some big Indian pretending to be mute come over here, suffocate me with a pillow and smash his way out of here with the new sink we got with Celebrity Charades benefit money...?!"

November 1, 2008: If I'm as old as the people Judy has cast as my contemporaries, I'm gonna kill myself. I kept thinking that all these people must be fifteen years older than me. She insisted that they are not. I couldn't take it anymore, so I interrupted Rubin, even though he hadn't quite finished that auditioner's foot massage. "Could I see some ID, please?" I asked. Rubin handed me some document stamped with the seal of Vichy, France. "Not you! The actor." The actor handed me his driver's license. He was four years younger than me! So I am going to kill myself. But my death will still serve the production, since I know Rubin prefers to work with dead playwrights.

1 comment:

  1. I have often wanted the big Indian to come and suffocate me during some of my auditions. Sadly, it's never at the right moment when he appears.
    He's really gotta pick up those cues.


We're still developing Philip Roth in Khartoum so, while we'd love to read your comments, this isn't the place for reviews, complaints, personal comments, or screeds.

(Please note, to keep things clean, we will remove offensive or inappropriate comments. Any problems, contact

Finally, please don't post anonymously - put your name to your post.