Having spent the first 5 weeks of rehearsal getting to know the characters and the plot of Cyrano de Bergerac, in week 6, we got to have one of our favorite classes: AUDITION DAY!
Unlike a typical show, A.B.L.E. shows don’t have just one lead. We split casting so that everyone plays multiple roles. Our production of Cyrano will feature 10 different Cyranos, 7 Roxannes, 5 Christians and more! Audition week is a chance to see which of these characters our ensemble has resonated with, and which moments of the story they are drawn to.
To prepare, everyone received a packet with you will find “sides” or lines from each character from each of their scenes throughout the play. We ask every actor to choose their 3 favorite roles and prepare your favorite side from each of those characters for your audition. They also completed a short form to help our teaching artists know how to place them best.
Both groups came into rehearsal with their forms in hand pumped and ready to go. We had some great dance parties and good, focused warm ups to get our bodies and voices prepared for the auditions ahead. Kendra taught our Friday team a new tongue twister – “The kitten was in the kitchen eating chicken” that was as much fun to act out as it was to say! From there, we played an old favorite ensemble game, Whoosh Whoa. This helps us work on give and take, quick responses, and listening to our ensemble members. And then it was time to start auditions!
We sat in a big line to serve as an audience for each other. We worked our way down the line one at a time sharing our first, second, and third choices for characters. Each actor would come up, ask a facilitator to drop them in, and then take centerstage to “slate.” Slating is how an actor introduces themselves in an audtion. “Hi, my name is ____ and I’m reading for ____”. We had some nerves to work through and some embarrassment, but everyone was happy to cheer each other on and support their work.
After auditions, guest artists Kendra and Peter spent some time working on our group songs and choreography. Each ensemble has a pop-rock insprired musical number to share in the play. They are sure to be showstoppers!
Casting this show was incredibly difficult. Cyrano has several larger scenes rather than shorter vignettes like some of the other classical plays we’ve done, and our beloved main character, by his nature, talks more than almost all the other characters combined! In order to give equal stage time to each actor, some of our ensemble will have one very large scene where they play Cyrano, Christian, or Roxanne, and then a second appearance as a non-speaking background character. Other ensemble members will have 2 or 3 speaking scenes in smaller roles like Montfleury, Duenna, Le Bret, or De Guiche. Every one will appear together in our group songs, and in swordfight sequences choreographed by the ensemble. Be a part of the fun and come join us on Thursday May 17th at 7pm at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare!