Ah, Casting. The time of year I both look forward to immensely and dread almost as much.
All the excitement of a new play, with new characters to embody and new actors to engage with.
And all the angst and heartbreak of having to make decisions that leave some out and others in.
When I was an actor, and not accustomed to seeing things from the director or producers side, I of course struggled with the disappointments of not being cast and often felt the pang in a personal way. I pictured myself as being able to play almost any role, and couldn't understand why a director might not see it the same way.
Only after being in the director's chair for a while, did I really learn what is at issue in making casting decisions. It is so much more than just about whether an actor is good or not.
Every actor, every person really, is a flavor. Forgive me for extending what might be a bad metaphor, but when you are baking a cake, you have to find the right flavors to make a particular kind of cake. You are looking for a particular combination of qualities that will contribute to the success of the whole.
Each actor's unique characteristics exist, in everything from body type to age to energy and a thousand other mysterious intangibles. Good actors can change and morph and play a wide variety of roles, but no-one can totally erase who they are and how they sound and feel.
We director's do our best to fulfill the vision we have of the character's we are seeking to have embodied.
It's the hardest part of my job to have to say no to all the wonderful, courageous and talented people who offer their talents up.
It's much nicer to be able to say....YES!