My Directorial Debut: Part I Ready For Auditions

Dee Dee O'Connor

  • Washington Columnist

I’m about to embark on my directorial debut. It’s just a few days before auditions and I am both extremely excited and just a little nervous. The play is “A Shayna Maidel” — a script I love and believe in. I have a fabulous crew backing me up and I’ve done all my homework. All that’s left remaining before I hold auditions is some photocopying…and a little nail biting. I have friends who are good actors planning on auditioning, some for the same roles. Like most community theatres, we are a close-knit bunch so the fact that I have friends auditioning is not surprising. It’s just a little nerve-wracking.

Obviously, I can’t cast everyone. I’m going to have to leave friendship at the door and cast the best actors for the roles. I’ve given this advice to other directors in the past and now I must follow my own advice as difficult as that may be. There’s some solace in the knowledge that, as far as I know, no director ever lost a good friend by not casting them.

My play is a drama…and a good one. But as we all know, dramas don’t attract the biggest houses. I’m fine with that, actually even though I think it’s an absolute shame that more people don’t show up for dramatic plays. I just want the people who do come to see “A Shayna Maidel” to walk away knowing they’ve seen a great production and to be touched by the story. And that makes it imperative to cast well.

As a friend of mine told me, “Even if only you fill half the house for a drama, that still means around a thousand people have seen the show. There’s nothing wrong with that.” So in the ensuing days leading to my auditions, I’ll focus on my excitement, squelch the angst, and enjoy the process.