Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Skinny on Auditions: MACBETH

What you should know:
We're an original practice company--this means we're exploring producing and performing Shakespeare the way it would have been done in his day. How does this apply to our upcoming production of Macbeth?

  • We Have No Director. Directors didn't show up on the scene until two hundred years after Shakespeare kicked the bucket. Macbeth will be produced and staged entirely through the collaborative efforts of the Company.
  • "Whoa whoa whoa! Hold on a minute--how will the show be cast?" Open auditions will seen by current members of the Grassroots Board of Producers, who will make a preliminary determination as to who will be invited to callbacks. 
  • Callbacks: Actors invited to callbacks will have the opportunity to participate in a series of exercises designed to approximate the experience of being a member in the collaboratively staged production.
  • Voting: At the end of the callback, ballots will be distributed and each participant will be asked to nominate 10 of their peers present at the callback to join the company.
  • The Tally: The 10 actors receiving the most votes from their peers will be asked to join the company of Macbeth.
  • Assigning Roles: The newly formed company will meet to conduct readings for specific role assignments in the play. The final cast list will be determined by several rounds of reading, voting, and discussion.

  • The Crunch: Historical documents indicate that renaissance companies had very little rehearsal time. In some cases, it appears that the actors opened a show without ever having rehearsed that show together before, having learned their lines independently and coming together only to run the  fights or music on the morning of the performance.
  • 12 Rehearsals: In an attempt to recreate some of the madcap frenzy of creativity and collaboration that would have existed under such conditions, we will rehearse Macbeth in just 12 short rehearsals.
  • Con Your Lines: Actors come memorized to the first rehearsal. Casting is completed two weeks prior to allow time for learning the lines.
  • Collaborative Staging: Actors come prepared to the first rehearsal with a fully-fleshed out rough draft of their performance. Rehearsals are the time for coordinating those choices and for developing relationships as a company that will translate into performance.
  • Try it Once: All members of the company are expected to contribute to developing the show through assertive input and feedback. If one actor suggests an idea to another actor, he or she is obligated to try it at least once in rehearsal to see if it works for them. Final decisions regarding all choices are left to the individual actor. Call it 'cooperative anarchy'.
  • Actor as Artist: Actors are responsible for the creation of their own characters, including costuming. This is an opportunity for actors to express their vision of the character and their position in the unique world of the play independent of an over-arching concept or design. Costumes and props are all furnished by the actors and are often anachronistic or atypical.
  • A Stone 'O': Performances will take place at the Castle Amphitheatre in a set-up reminiscent of The Globe theatre. Two types of tickets will be available: standing tickets for the yard, and limited ticketing for seating in the galleries.
  • Lose the Fourth Wall: This production will be highly interactive and engaging for all members of audience, but especially for the groundlings who will be mere inches away from the action.


Open Auditions:
Tuesday Sept. 13th
UVU rm. GT631

Please come prepared with a one minute monologue from Shakespeare.

If you are unable to attend during the open audition, please email:
to schedule an appointment.

For further insights into the Grassroots Casting process, check out: