By Noah Foster-Koth
Dramafest has been a part of Roosevelt High School for 59 years this November. And yet, information about how the audition process works is sometimes hard to come by. The Roosevelt News has not been able to report on Dramafest auditions in previous years because only directors and their assistants are allowed to attend an actor’s audition. This year I am both a writer for The Roosevelt News and the director of a Dramafest production, so I can offer some explanation of how the audition process works.
Getting cast in a Dramafest show involves auditions, callbacks and director bartering, the latter of which is completely out of the actors’ control. The bartering system is unpredictable and elaborate, so a director cannot guarantee a friend a role in their show even if they would like to.
The first part of the process, auditions, are traditionally held over a two day period. During auditions the directors and their assistants sit as an audience in either the theater or the black box. Hopeful actors line up outside and are called in one by one to present their memorized monologues. Student directors listen to actor’s monologues and take notes on their characterization (how much did they become the character), vocal qualities (mainly annunciation), and physical acting. After the actor presents their one minute monologue they leave the stage and the next actor is sent in.
A persistent rumor about Dramafest is that male actors are more valuable than females. This is not entirely true however. While it is true that male actors can get cast in a role more easily than females, this is not because the drama department is sexist. This trend is due to the fact that more girls try out for Dramafest than boys do, placing the few boys who show interest in higher demand. This has been a consistent trend in previous years, and has continued this year as well. Last week 60 girls auditioned in total, as opposed to a total of 41 boys. This means that there are roughly 1.5 girls for every boy, in a competition where many casts have an close or equal ratio of male/female characters.
On Friday, September 25th and Monday, September 29th, the directors will host callbacks for actors that they would like to see in specific roles. Lists identifying who is called back for which shows will be posted in the drama hallway on Friday. Callbacks are not binding. An actor is not guaranteed a role in a play if they are called back. Furthermore an actor maybe cast in a show they did not receive a callback for, or not be cast in any shows at all. Conversely, actors who auditioned may still be cast in a show even if they did not receive any callbacks. Nothing is set in stone until the cast lists are hung in the drama hallway sometime next week.
For more information about Roosevelt’s 59th Annual Dramafest, visit the Roosevelt Drama department’s website at http://www.rooseveltdrama.org/