I really thought that this would be the easy bit. I know, I can see all the raised eyebrows, I can hear all the tutting, and my hair’s been ruined by the gale force of your pitying sighs at my directorial naivety. I see now why being a casting director is a job in itself. To clarify, our show Closer has only four actors: Anna the photographer, Alice the waitress/stripper, Larry the doctor and Daniel the writer. Choosing an Anna and an Alice was blissfully easy – I see no point putting on your own show if you can’t cast yourselves in the leads: therefore, I am playing the former and Francesca is playing the latter.
So on to the boys, and it is here that disaster has struck. Our dear Musical Director, Josh Sneesby, is also a very talented actor, who I originally asked to play Larry as well. However, due to his disgusting wealth of talent, the National Theatre has nicked him to be Assistant Musical Director and Front Man for the band in some show no one’s heard of… um… oh… One Man, Two…. Uuhh. No matter, no one’s seen it. He’ll continue to do our music, but he’ll be shot if he tries to escape across the border. Daniel, was meant to be played by my lovely mate David, however, he has been captured by the Dark Lord himself and forced into writing a comedy for Sky. Fine. Whatevs.
Cue a steadily growing sense of panic. We have limited time to rehearse having to work around full-time jobs so we need to start, yesterday. The issue is this: as an actor, talk of “the right look” has irritated me since about forever. I reckon piles of talent and potentially amazing performances have been missed because people cannot untie themselves from the idea of a look. “He’s good but not quite the right cross between DeVito, Blessed and Depp, also I was hoping for McKellen’s eyes, they’re ever so blue.” Yes, there are certain things that ultimately, cannot be ignored. The characters have to look the right age and I think their physicality ought to be able to reflect certain character traits. But far more important, to me at least, is the personality that the actor brings to the part. No point looking like his Pittness if you have all the charm of a poo-slinging gorilla. Finding an actor with both qualities is hard.
Enter Alex. Excellent at blending the required attributes of being both likable and an arse, he is an old actor friend from university whom I hadn’t previously asked, mainly because he’d known me long enough to be dubious of my directing abilities. But after a long talk in the sun at a café, I threw self-doubt to the wind, pitched my idea and asked him if he’d Larry me. Praise the theatre gods, he was more than happy and has been a lovely addition to the company.
And so, I am still without a Dan. Hence I’m writing to the wire, I’d hoped to introduce everyone. I have finally been convinced to post an open call. My reluctance so far has not been down to “cliqueyness” or an unwillingness to branch out. It is simply this: the company is just us. We will be doing everything ourselves. We need not just rehearsing time, but building and sawing time, fundraising and promoting time. This is much easier to ask of a friend whom you can trick into slave labour. But who knows, we may find a new Hardy, Fassbender, or husband for Francesca… I’d just really appreciate it if it was in the next week or so.
Images: Chi-San, Francesca, Josh and Alex
Written by Chi-San Howard