Justin Callis, Opera for All Teaching Artist
Assigning parts for our show is always such a challenge. Our students come in excited and prepared, and everyone wants a part! Fortunately, it is always an ensemble experience, and everyone who wants a role gets one. From a busy team of narrators, to a Cyborg Dinosaur, to a pre-teen zombie, there’s something for everyone at Field Elementary School! We even found a featured role as a magical plant!
For me, so much of the process of choosing parts is about what the students bring with them to their audition. Because it is an original piece of theatre, and everything is a work in progress, the characters and script are entirely shaped by our students. New lines are always a welcome addition. Essential character traits might appear out of a rehearsal. It is always so exciting to see what our students bring to the table, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint.
During the audition, each student read from the same scene from their show. That way, we got to hear everyone say the same words. Plus, the students all watched the auditions, and were able to learn from and be inspired by their peers. We also discussed with them how their attitudes and dedication in class play a big part in the casting process. Roles can become larger or smaller depending on the circumstances. One student, who initially had a small part, so impressed us during review sessions and the dance day that he received a lead role in the show!
We’ve watched auditions, and through it, we’ve watched our students learn and grow. Now comes the difficult days of staging rehearsals, where I hope to have just as much fun with our students creating the visual language of our show as we did writing the words and melodies they will perform. I can’t wait to see A Terrific Tale!