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“Romeo and Juliet” Auditions Draw Students to the Craft Theater

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“Romeo and Juliet” Auditions Draw Students to the Craft Theater

Students choose between monologues to practice and use in auditioning.

Students choose between monologues to practice and use in auditioning.

Students choose between monologues to practice and use in auditioning.

Students choose between monologues to practice and use in auditioning.

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Auditions for Community Ensemble Theater’s (CET) latest production, “Romeo and Juliet”, took place on the 10th and 11th of January. The sign-up lists were soon covered with names next to time slots from 3:40 to 6:35 pm. Callbacks took place a day early, on Wednesday instead of Thursday, and the official cast list went up on Thursday January 13th.

Students rushed to sign up for an audition slot for CET's "Romeo and Juliet".

There was a large and diverse turn out for auditions outside the Craft Theater. This is the first time acting for some students, such as Kitty Depa, Community High School junior and head of CET’s make-up crew in its previous production, “Little Shop of Horrors”. Others, like Sara Long, have done it all before. “I’ve been in about twenty plays, some of them I did tech for, but most of them were acting with the Young Actor’s Guild, although I have done a few shows with Pioneer Theater Guild,” said Long before her audition on Monday. With all of this previous experience under her belt, Long was more enthusiastic than nervous to audition. “I’m really, really excited for this. I haven’t auditioned for a play in a few months, and I love doing shows,” she said. Depa was a little less confident, but brought along a friend for moral support. “I’m just trying to breathe,” Depa said.

To audition, students were required to fill out a form with contact information and any possible conflicts with future rehearsals. They could pick one or two characters from “Romeo and Juliet” to audition for, and read a monologue around twenty lines long. Copies of monologues per character were available, but students could also find other speeches in the play to use. A new addition to the process was the option to display a talent, like a musical ability or a dance routine. Quinn Strassel, CET’s director, added this to help him find a way to incorporate these talents in the play.

“I think it’s good, because then he can use people’s talents to make the show better,” said freshman Oren Steiner. Steiner, who played Agent Snip in “Little Shop of Horrors,” was waiting to audition for Mercutio. His talent was juggling. Also auditioning for Mercutio was Gabby Thompson. Her roles in “Little Shop” included a Skid Row bum, a reporter, and make-up crew member. “It gives [actors] a chance to show, ‘Hey, I can act, but I can also do this in case I don’t get a lead role,’” said Thompson.

Students choose between monologues to practice and use in auditioning.

Strassel is also changing up auditions by encouraging students to try out for any role, regardless of gender. In this way, he gives everyone an opportunity to go for where they will fit best and benefit the play as a whole. “I think it’s going to be a much better play. Much more interesting at least, ‘cause you’ll get to see how different people and different genders can interpret a role,” said Thompson about the “gender bending” option.

Sarah Holmes, auditioning for Tybalt, said, “I think it’s a very open way to…audition, and [Strassel] has some cool ideas, for example, if a girl gets the part of Mercutio, they can either play that part as a boy or as a girl. So, for some of those parts it’s flexible.”

An experienced, ambitious director and a determined, talented cast and crew ensure another CET success. Casting flexibility and many other methods are being used to keep everyone involved and to update the play while keeping the original language. After “Little Shop of Horrors”, CET has a lot to live up to, but they are ready to meet the challenge.

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