Inside “Servant” Callbacks

by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg

As previously mentioned, director Stephanie Breinholt has a big, bold vision for her production of The Servant of Two Masters.  So, naturally, in order to accomplish it, she needs a cast that is up to the task.  Which means we had one hilarious audition process.

As is typical, Stephanie held a two-part audition.  For the first part, interested actors came in and either did a prepared monologue or a cold-read (where they read a scene from the script of Servant). This is pretty normal in the audition world.

Then things really got interesting.  For the second part – the Callbacks – Stephanie had the group of actors she was thinking about casting come in for a 4 hour improvisation and reading extravaganza.

The first hour was focused on the lazzi (physical comedy) part of the show. The actors were divided into groups and given a certain prompt (i.e.: you are about to get on a roller coaster ride and one member of your group is too frightened to sit down).  The groups then had 10 minutes to plan and prepare a scene, which they then performed in front of the whole group.  Stephanie was particularly looking for the actors who made strong and interesting character choices and who were willing to push the physical comedy.

I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard during a callback.  Ever.

And since we caught it all on video, it means we get to share the experience with you.  So here’s a sneak peek at two of the improvs:

For the second hour, Stephanie pulled out the kazoos.  Yes, I said the kazoos.  Since part of the Stephanie’s vision includes the cast creating all the music for the show through kazoos, she wanted to see how creative the actors could be through song and dance.  Again, the actors were divided into groups, given a musical genre (i.e. Country) and then given time to plan and prepare a “musical offering.”

Kazoos + Riverdance = lots of laughter.

Here’s a look at two of the groups.

We concluded the day with the actors reading scenes from the script, vying for the different roles.  At the end, we had so many great actors to choose from…and came up with one fantastically creative cast.

 

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