Sitting here this morning, pouring over the audition forms, the notes I took, the several lists I've made and reflecting on what a wonderful, magical, full-of-surprises, delightful life I lead.
See, there's this group of kids I know. They fancy themselves to be theatre kids. They are--to the bone.
We had auditions last night for our show. I sat through an hour of prepared audition pieces, followed by dance auditions, followed by two sets of readings. It was a process that has gone chaotically in the past, but went as smoothly last night as it's ever gone. And I couldn't be happier.
See, I've been concerned about the state of KidsPlay for the past few months. Auditions for our previous show were lackluster and unmemorable. Many of the so-called 'prepared' audition pieces were clearly thrown together at the last minute. I sensed an aura of complacency, of parts being taken for granted. That mentality continued until the last couple weeks of rehearsal with lines yet unlearned, a cavalier approach to rehearsal, an underlying attitude of 'way too much fun'and not enough of 'the reason we're here'. However, after an evening of individual 'come to Jesus' meetings (as we used to say in IPS), they managed to get serious and pull it out in the last week with flawless execution, brilliant timing, and dare I say 'show-stopping, encore performances...'?
Still, the touch-and-go situation of our fall show made me seriously reconsider what I'd been planning for our spring show. It was to be a challenging show needing top-of-the-line performances, work ethic, and dedication. And maturity. Did I have that this this group? From what I'd seen and experienced with the fall show, I didn't think so.
I fretted long over the spring show selection, looked at my choices, weighed my options. Decided first one show, then changed my mind. And changed it again. And finally went back to my original choice.
And that brings us to auditions last night. It was a complete turn-around from the fall show auditions. Kids were there to prove they deserved parts. They were prepared. They were quiet, respectful of each others' auditions. They came to show what they were made of.
Auditions are supposed to go from 6-8:30. Ours ran until 9:20. I sent some home, then rotated people through parts, and rotated them through again. Those who knew they were in contention for lead roles sat right at the edge of the stage and watched what their competition was doing. They watched me, and what made me laugh, and they ramped it up. They took direction and suggestions. It was, in all ways, exactly what an audition should be.
And I lead a lucky, fortunate, blessed life, rich in rewards. Because I know these kids. And I get to cast my show from them. I get to work with them to create a wonderful piece of comedy that will, of course, be the best show ever. They think they're all that, and well they should. Because they are. The kids of KidsPlay.