Tuesday night I sat down with (most of) the cast for the upcoming production of Measure for Measure. As always, a first read is an extremely exciting time. For the past few weeks I have been auditioning an amazing array of gifted actors. Though yes, just like with any job search, there are people who show up unqualified or unprepared for the job, one of the great boons about living in New York is what huge number of very talented people living, working, and auditioning here.I was very much left with scrambling to try to find parts for everybody I wanted to work with, a task which I had the great luxury of failing.
In every actor who comes in and auditions there is a story, an individual intangible quality about them that only they will add to the show. On basically every part I was left with the question not of ‘ok, who can I slot in here’ but of ‘ok, so which version of this part best serves my telling of the play’ and, above all, ‘how do these pieces best fit together.’ I think it’s fairly easy to see which is preferable. But still, the process of taking the raw talents of these potential collaborators and fitting them into the strict confines of a pre-written text is a violent one. For every role, but particularly for women (even with my choice to make Escalus a woman there are only six women in Measure compared with fourteen men) there were many actors eager for and perfectly able to take on the part. While this left me with some intellectually challenging decisions, I do not regret them and am terrifically proud of the cast that has been assembled for the show.
Measure for Measure’s cast includes six actors from Mercury Glass’ previous production of Romeo and Juliet: Kasidy Devlin (Prince / Claudio), Adam Zivcovic (Tybalt / Lucio), Jack Plowe (Capulet / Provost), Elliott Brichford (Montague / Friar Peter), Jeff Hathcoat (Sampson / Pompey), and Samantha Bergman (wench / Juliet) and fourteen new faces to bolster our ranks. I’m terrifically excited to be working with each of these additions, and we will be profiling many of them in the coming weeks. All of these actors bring with them the background of myriad different training programs, theatrical backgrounds, and personal specialized knowledge. I think it is fair to say that I have never been more excited to work with a cast.
It’s going to be a fantastic 49 days.