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Afridiziak’s resident blogger, Joseph Rowe, is a student at Birmingham School of Acting. In his second blog for Afridiziak’s Theatre News we learn about his experience of find his casting.

Back to School and Finding Your Casting

quotation marksIt has been an interesting term so far, upon the return of drama school, and it being the third year therefore my future now becoming a reality. I am asked to consider what my actual casting is.

I had never been too bothered about that, and simply focused on the job in hand, which was successfully achieving any character that I was working on at a time. Because so far that’s what my training has been about, bettering myself as an actor, finding challenges and pushing myself. But now has come the time in my training when this knowledge will help me understand my strengths, and allow me to create a portfolio of speeches and songs for auditions that help to represent me as an actor and a person. Long gone are the days where I was happy to grab any old play and say “That’s a nice speech, I’ll do it!” Now I have to spend hours on end rummaging through plays to find one that suits my casting, very frustrating.

So we were asked what parts can or should we play? It would be nice to think that with the wonders of acting, we could use our training and achieve any character we wanted, but that is just not the case some people just have a certain look, and suit certain parts, some people are more diverse and some people have specific casting.

So we took it one by one, we stand in the middle of the room and everyone observes, they feed back on what they think of your appearance and vocal/speech qualities etc, I personally felt a little exposed, something slightly unnerving about having a room full of people analyse you in such detail.

But the detail was fascinating, how some people have much more intensity in the eyes than others, how some people naturally ooze vulnerability or confidence. How some people hold focus and status without even moving or speaking. On the contrary how someone who physically lacks status can vocally own a room. The observations were endless. Before then I didn’t have a clear opinion on what kind of guy I am, or the type of roles I should be playing. It was interesting to have people tell you things you might never have known. I heard things I had never considered about myself. It was insightful to know the first impressions that are usually formed when a person initially sees and hears you. It’s valuable because it highlights individual strengths, for a young actor starting out, with relatively little experience, it good to know what you can offer and do well at the click of a finger.

On the other hand it allows you to be aware of what you may need to manipulate in order to potentially be viewed as someone else, which you may need to do if you were going for a role against your typical casting.

quotation marksIt was as much a lesson on casting as it was on how our physical and vocal characteristics have a huge impact on how we are perceived not just as actors, but people.

Joseph Rowe is starring in The American Clock by Arthur Miller, directed by Lise Olson at The Crescent Theatre (studio), Birmingham from 22nd - 25th Oct 2008.

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