At first, I hadn’t planned on auditioning for the New Play Development Factory. I was too much of a chicken.
It was totally last minute that I found myself hopping into my car and driving over to the Pear Theatre.
I had NO idea what to expect, let alone who I would be auditioning for. But SOMETHING in my thought jelly kept saying “ya gotta do this.”
So I waited in the lobby. I think I was that last one there.
The Factory producer, Jeffery came out to collect the headshot/resume and only gave me one side to read after looking at me. A side, just in case you are unfamiliar with the term is just another word for a scene or section of a scene. At first, my head told me the usual, “oh, he only gave you one side and other people got multiples. You are a courtesy audition.”
Finally, when it was my turn to read, I took a deep breath and said “Welp, let’s see what kind of wacky choices you can make with these pages.” I didn’t care if it was going to make sense.
I was told to look at Mr. De La Cruz for the play The Killing Jar by Jennifer Lynne Roberts. So that’s what I focused my peepers on. At first, in the pages that I had, I could see the good nature of the guy. There was no information about where the scene took place, so I placed it in a large building, in the lobby, and the majority of the chatting was happening while the characters were walking down a long empty hallway. After my first read, they asked me to make it a little more serious. I was happy do do so. So I started off upbeat, but then shifted gears after a third of the way through. I thought I was done after the second read, but then, much to my surprise, they asked me to read one of the other sides.
I didn’t have much time with it, but I feel I made some strong choices that may not have been what they wanted, (I even turned my back to them at one point) but I figured maybe I’ll be weird enough that they would remember me.
After the audition, I went home and continued work on my role as Daphne for “Sugar.” I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. So I began rehearsals for “9 to 5” and I almost completely forgot about the whole thing.
Then, I got an email.
It was from the director, Heather Noelle Robinson, offering me the part of the guy that I read for the first time. Well! I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! I didn’t think I’d made the cut.
I have been so excited to to participate in the NPDF because it was another new experience. The idea behind the event was to allow Bay Area Playwrights have their work read to the public three times with the chance for feedback and to adjust the script to fix anything that’s unclear or simply didn’t work. So we have one rehearsal during the week. Then we performed the show for an audience. After, the playwright went and worked on suggestions and would come back during the next week and give us any new scenes or pages or cuts to the script. Then we’d rehearse the play. Then repeat the process twice more.
This play is very well constructed and, I feel, clearly shaped with new things being discovered throughout. Some of the feedback that people have is “feeling like there was no closure with (insert character name here)” I know it’s just because I have lived with the script for a month, but I know the closures are there. They are written out. We spoke the words aloud. I honestly
felt that feel like this play is ready for production. I believe in it so much that I find myself wishing I had a theatre company of my own to mount this play. Hmmmmmmmm….THAT is something to think about….
For now, I have decided to keep all of my pages and all the new ones to see how much it changed during the event. I cannot wait to see what the finished script looks like.
Congrats on an awesome play, Jennifer!
Working on this production at the Dragon Theatre was wonderful. We had a number of helping hands, and I got to see my buddy, Jason more times in those 3 weeks than I have in a year or even two! Artistic Director, Meredith Hagedorn, said one of the things that she hoped the actors got out of this project was that the Dragon was a great place to work. Mission Accomplished! I had fun and I can only hope that one day, I’ll make it into one of their main productions!
I think I was so lucky to work with such an amazing cast. It was only 5 people but I had so many laughs and was amazed so many times by these incredible people. If you are curious about who these people are, here’s the list – Michelle Cabinian, Brian Flegel, Chris Gaoiran and Amber Somerfield.
Here’s to more wonderful projects with more wonderful people just like this.
Thank you, Dragon Theatre for the New Play Development Factory!