Monday, September 29, 2008

callbacks using feeders

A word of warning: it goes slowly. However, it offered me a chance to figure out who can read - and who I could use as a "second" if needed. I also made notes during auditions about who was a strong reader, even if they weren't a strong enough actor to cast as a "partner".

Casting seconds allowed me to use almost twice as many kids (one second is doubled up), to bring kids onto the team that I wanted to work with, and good actors that wouldn't have been used otherwise. I now also have a good back up system in place in case someone drops out or their GPA dips below 2.0. It might add the pressure they need to stay on top of their lives - they know there's another person capable of stepping in with no notice. I'll keep you all apprised.

This is my explanation/justification of the term "second" that I am sending home with students.


I borrow this term from dueling, one of the most civilized activities in modern society – at least by reputation. Like acting, dueling is a visceral experience, one that draws from the most primitive of human emotions, yet it has been dressed up with rituals, rules and routines to make it acceptable to a polite society that shuns such passionate acts.

In traditional American duels, the parties in dispute would both name a “second,” a trusted confidante who would make sure the duel was fairly arranged. The second had many duties: the first was to protect and support their friend by reconciling the offense without violence. If those attempts proved unsuccessful, the second would communicate with the other party’s second to arrange a fair “field of honor” and examine the weapons. In extreme cases, the second might step in and fight for a wounded friend.

Here at AHS, the second’s duties are much the same. She supports her partner and shares the challenges of rehearsing, creating a character, learning lines, and being at every rehearsal and performance. The two partners work together seamlessly, and will ultimately find that the rehearsal process is twice as joyous when it is shared.

Though the second may not perform for an audience, their role in the production is vital, and their contribution is to be honored as much as that of all other members of our team and family.

-Emily Coalson


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