Wheaton Drama, Inc. (WDI) in downtown Wheaton is holding auditions for the World War II drama, Full Circle. Auditions are at 7pm January 27 and 28 at Playhouse 111, 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton IL 60187. Men and women are needed. All roles are open.
Here, Full Circle director Sean Ogren answers Wheaton Drama Publicity's questions about this exciting show.
WDI: What is Full Circle about?
SO: At the twilight of WWII, in a war-torn city on the verge of being overrun by the Russian army, the lives of a young Berlin woman and a German prisoner on-the-run become entangled, and it isn't long before a Gestapo Captain begins to suspect who they are. Full Circle examines - with incredible clarity - the struggle between survival, love and responsibility that sometimes threaten to unravel us all.
WDI: How did you learn of Full Circle?
SO: I stumbled across this play while browsing the shelves at my local library. The authors' names sparked my interest (Erich Maria Remarque, writer of All Quiet on the Western Front and Peter Stone, writer of 1776), and by the time I finished reading, I knew it was something I had to be involved with. The story, characters, dialogue - this play, almost forgotten since its New York production in 1973 - is a forgotten treasure.
WDI: What do you believe makes this script interesting for actors?
SO: A story worth telling and beautiful character arcs. Even the small roles have amazing moments to play. I don't believe there is a single actor who has read the play who hasn't expressed an interest in auditioning.
WDI: How will you run the auditions?
SO: Auditions will be held in groups based on appointment times. Sides are being sent to those who sign up in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins will be welcome, but will be at a slight disadvantage having not received the sides in advance - they will be reading cold opposite actors who are fully prepared. Each group will participate in an open audition format.
WDI: Why the open audition format?
SO: I know that some actors do not care for open auditions, one in particular mentioning to me that it made him nervous to perform in front of other auditioners. But to that I say two things. One, if you're not already nervous at an audition, then something is wrong. And two, I've always felt that open auditions actually increase the performance levels of the actors involved. The playful progression of one-upmanship that inevitably ensues allows me to see more of what each actor can accomplish.
WDI: What do you expect from actors at auditions?
SO: Their best. Auditions should always be treated like a performance, maybe your one and only performance of that part. I am always looking for the actor who shows me that preparation is a key part of their work ethic.
WDI: Any words of advice for auditioners?
SO: Set an audition time early so that you can get the sides in advance. Prepare, prepare, prepare and work on your German dialect.
WDI: Once the show is cast, what is your directing process?
SO: Schedule-wise, I believe in a basic blocking structure (able to be altered throughout rehearsals), then a couple weeks of working out key scenes, then stumble-throughs to iron out more details, then run-throughs, then open. Philosophy-wise, I always encourage my actors to try their ideas and mix them with my own. The story will only be the better for it.
WDI: What do you want your cast to achieve?
SO: What makes this show so powerful, its story so gripping, is the truthfulness of the piece. This truth, this bare and candid reality, must be the actors' goal. When they achieve that, then the suspense and drama of the story will carry the audience along with them.
WDI: What would you like actors to know about your directing experience?
SO: Growing up in the world of theatre, my sister and I put on plays in our living room, so I suppose I was directing before I even realized that I was doing it. Since then, I've directed shows in Florida, Virginia, California and Illinois. I've also recently taken on the job of directing kids (ages 7-17) for productions by Stacey De and Company in Lombard. But no matter how many shows I will eventually direct, I believe I'll always come to the same two conclusions about doing it: 1) Being an actor really helps me as a director. 2) No matter how much I think I know about directing, something will always surprise me.
For Full Circle character descriptions, visit http://www.wheatondrama.org. Performances of Full Circle are Thursdays-Sundays from March 15-April 7.
Next on stage at Playhouse 111 is Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure which runs January 25-February 17. Wheaton Drama's current season will close with Into the Woods, playing May 17-June 9.
Proposed titles for next season include Lend Me a Tenor, Beauty and the Beast, Steel Magnolias, and The Music Man. Director applications for next season are accepted through February 15, 2013. Applications are available at http://www.wheatondrama.org.
Visit http://www.wheatondrama.org or call 630-260-1820 for show tickets.