Lee Comedy Club Blog
November 17, 2004
By Rebecca ("Beck") Krefting
University of Maryland
This week marked the second week in a three part series of auditions. The first orders of business were audition sheets, requiring students to list their physical features as well as any skills or experiences relative to the casting of this show. I walked around telling the kids what color eyes they had; otherwise they might have tried to pop one eye out to see for themselves (and you think I'm kidding - that's cute). (Director) Harry (Bagdasian) took Polaroid pictures of each student and attached them to the audition forms, which added an element of sophistication and reality to the process.
During this audition, students were given smaller scenes to tackle, working only with 2-6 people instead of the groups of 15 we had last week. This allowed for something more intimate and dramatic, a chance to really improve on method and characterization. In particular, it was rewarding and fun to see the auditions of some of the people new to the Comedy Club, and start hatching plans to combine the staid talent of some of our veteran Comedy Club members with the fresh skills of incoming students.
I worked with a team of three students on a scene that pokes fun at the pet psychic program. I encouraged them to do at least three readings of the scene with three completely different characters before committing to the character they thought most suitable for that part. It was fun to watch them transition from a Gen X-ie "whatever" host of the show to a Cleo (Jamaican) rip-off, or from a jerk-off elitist to a dour and depressed pet psychic. I really wanted the students to understand that there are multiple ways to engage a character and the outcome is different every time you change the persona. After reading through the piece three times we talked about what worked and what was funny, and more importantly what wasn't funny! I was pleased to see us in agreement about what was working and noticed that the more we read together and really focused on the characters, the more chemistry there seemed to be between the three characters, the kind of cohesiveness directors look for when casting a show.
Unfortunately, my time with the students is somewhat abbreviated due to a class conflict so I did not get to see the final version of their scene performed in front of everyone closer to the end of the practice. I look forward (in three weeks) to attending the practices in full and being able to devote my time to the class in its entirety. Next week marks the conclusion of auditions, though we will not officially be casting the show until sometime in January. After all, we still have a show to write, and no, I'm not stressed at all. This is Beck. Peace.