A Reflection on the Casting Choices of The Lion in Winter

We had a great turnout for auditions, especially on the second night. If memory serves, we had a total of somewhere near forty people audition for these shows over the course of two days, which is nothing shy of remarkable. The downside, of course, is that the higher the number, the more difficult it is to cast. For all the characters except for one, there was enough talent on the night of callbacks to give me three or four choices for casting.

The fact that I have an excellent cast despite the fact I had to sacrifice my number-one choice for both Lady Sibyl Ponsonby and the Duke of Cornwall speaks volumes.

Despite how content I am with the end results, I would be remiss not to mention and discuss some of the struggles and reservations I had—and to a certain extent, still do have— regarding certain casting decisions. As I explained in an e-mail prior to auditions, I was concerned about the options I had for Captain Lemuel Gulliver.

Namely, I was worried casting Geoff Roelants would prove to be undesirable as the rehearsal process began.

I’m currently performing in The Lion in Winter—a Windham Theatre Guild show-with Geoff as a costar, and I’ve noticed some things about his decorum and the way he treats others in the theatre that perhaps aren’t exactly desirable in an actor when making casting choices. He often interrupts the director while giving notes, talks loudly backstage during scenes, and carries himself with a general holier-than-thou attitude.

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The fact that I’m a student and not an adult makes me worry that he might not take me seriously as a director. I do believe, however, that with the talented cast and dedicated stage management team, we will be able to solve any problem that might present itself.

As for the others, however, I have no worries that Emily, Hanna, Andrew, Austin, Ed, and Kevin will behave respectfully and professionally during the whole process. I’ve worked with each of them before and I can confidently say that each of them are talented and dedicated enough that I will hardly have to do any “directing” at all. And in the moments I do, they will listen to instructions and treat me the same as they would a faculty director. With any luck, Geoff will follow their example and not repeat his behavior from the Theatre Guild.

The next step in the process is getting down to brass tacks and entering the rehearsal process. The very first step is planning the schedule, which alone for me will be an ordeal. For the rest of the month of February I will have to schedule around Lion in Winter rehearsals and show dates, which means we will be forced to start slowly. I plan to meet with Ellen soon to work out the kinks in the scheduling process.

The next step is blocking the show. I’ve seen directors who decide to plan out the blocking in advance (e.g., J.J. Cobb) and others who leave blocking in the air until they see performers actually on their feet onstage (e.g., David Pellegrini), and I think I’ve divided I prefer the former method personally. It seems to me like the more prepared and professional technique, so before our first blocking rehearsal I will plan out some general blocking notations. All of this is of course subject to change as we move along, as seeing the actors on their feet creates problems and opportunities that must be solved or acted on. I’m excited to move forward and work with the actors.

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A Reflection on the Casting Choices of The Lion in Winter. (2023, Feb 19). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-reflection-on-the-casting-choices-of-the-lion-in-winter/

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