Video Killed the Radio Star

Such a strange thing to hold auditions from 3000 miles away. I’ve been sifting through taped auditions–but not the kind of auditions for film where I could still have a human moment and I could give a note to an actor. These auditions were taped at home on phones, ipads, cameras, computers and sent through email, vimeo, youtube, wetransfer and some google drive thing I  had never heard of. Actors from NYC, Philly, Nantucket, and even a few from LA. There’s a part of me that is thrilled by this-how amazing to be able to open a wider range of opportunity, to be able to audition from anywhere-we can now do our jobs from anywhere–I could be in Bali casting this show. The actors could be in Bali and not have to miss out.  Grand in theory. But the reality is this is theater- this is a live medium, there is an energy, a life force that just doesn’t transfer to film.

It has been in fact painful for me to watch these actors working so hard to show me what they have –when what they have is so personal and can only be transferred through human contact and interaction. In one aspect it’s easy, I can stop the video after 30 seconds without feeling bad, I can fast forward to something specific, I can laugh out loud or scream “what?!” without interrupting, I get to be a voyeur and see apartments, or in one case the inside of the car, I wonder who their reading partners are, I  get to “meet” their boyfriends, I can remain pleasantly detached. For me, when I like someone I always feel a pang of guilt when I can’t hire them.  These actors have no idea who I am, I am  guilt free.

The flip side: This does not in fact save me work. Part two  is the phone call or the Skype session. I now need to know how they interact with me, do they have a sense of humor, can they take a note. So now we have to figure out working around time zones, skype or facetime?, do we both know what we are doing?, do we have decent service or is the  program freezing or creating awkward time delays?

I found myself nostalgic for  resume on fine linen paper. We used to have to send the head shot, wait for the call, it  was cutting edge to use my pager or check my voice mail. We used to invite people with written  invitations to our plays, we were forced to look at postcards of our friends shows covering the fridge, we wrote  down the ones we were seeing in our schedule books. There just seemed to be a rhythm, a process, a natural order. There was time.  There was touch. There was artistry. There were imprints and memories.

I write this blog. It should leave an imprint, it should go  further faster, it should float through the air connecting to a million other air wave voices, but some how the technology killed my drive, video killed the radio star, it doesn’t feel real to me, therefore I will write this, and I will post it but it will sit here like an unsent piece of mail.

One of the reviews I read of Dead Man’s said the stationary store scene was too sweet for them-contrived. I found it to be my favorite scene, a moment of connection, of realness, touching the earth, like a night home curled up watching movies after being social too many nights in a row.  The play reads like technology,  quick connections, simultaneous windows,  bits and pieces converging.  It’s easy to forget the play is about a woman concocting a persons existence, and her own personal existence in relation to a  life seen through the eyes of technology–the journey is the realization that what she wants is actually so much simpler, she wants a  connection to a real person, a worker among workers, a person who will actually take a moment to braid her hair.

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