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    It’s not a good sign when the casting director rips the script out of your hand in the middle of your reading.

    Auditioning for a part in a play or movie is very stressful. That’s why some actors drop out before trying out, because they simply can’t take rejection.

    However, the Director,  Max Anton Protzen, and I, knew that auditions were necessary to cast actors for the upcoming staged reading of my play, UNDER MIDWESTERN STARS, which will be performed in Tucson on November 11th.  

    A notice went out that auditions would be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at a central location. My son, Josh, who had been an actor in New York, suggested that it would be well to schedule auditions, rather than ask people to sit from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. So, I began to schedule auditions.

    And, this is how the cast was finally chosen:

    I received a phone call from a woman who said, “I live in Tucson, but I am in Cincinnati, and can’t make the audition. I will be back in two days. Would it be possible for me to audition when I return?” Before I could answer, I heard, “You need to get into the right lane.” I said, “Are you driving?” “Yes, I’m on the expressway, and my cousin is giving me directions.”  Then, I heard, “We need to get off at the next ramp.” Not wanting to cause an accident, I said, “Call me when you get home and I’m sure we can arrange something.” So, the Director and I arranged the audition. It was a smart move! Deanna gave the best reading for the part of the daughter. “Wow!” I thought, all the way from Cincinnati.

    Two more roles to fill.

    That’s when I discovered that some things are not probable, but anything is possible. In the middle of our auditions, an e-mail arrived. “I have recently moved to Tucson, have acting experience, and would very much like to audition for the part of the Father, but I am in Europe. He included his acting resume. Max (the Director) e-mailed him back, “We can audition you by computer.” “I will send you the play and the reading. Send us your audition by audio tape.”
    In the meantime, auditions proceeded.

    We received the audio tape on the computer. No doubt about it, we had our Father—all the way from Italy. There was only one problem. His experience was impressive, and the reading was excellent, but what did Joe look like? Would he be believable to the audience as a family member with the daughter and our mother-to-be?

    I told Max, “If he looks like the Elephant Man, a little make-up can go a long way.” Not to worry, the next day we received a photo of a distinguished looking Father. He can read the words and be believable. Whew!

    Now, on to Mama.

    We had several people auditioning who had extensive experience, some as actors both in Tucson and other cities, but no one exactly fit the role.  It was getting very frustrating.
    In between appointments, Max assured me that, “You never know if raw talent will walk through that door.”

    That’s when Sharna, the last woman to audition for Mama, walked through the door. She said, “I’ve never done this before.”  Max gave her directions for the assigned reading. It was like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. When she left, Max and I turned to each other and said, “We have our Mama!”

    Max Anton Protzen is a busy and experienced director. He accepted the venture of directing my play, because he wanted the creative challenge, and I wanted him to direct, because he is young and innovative.  In the Spring, he will move to Switzerland for a year, where he was offered a theatrical opportunity.  So, now, I have an international director.

    Deanna is back from Cincinnati. Joe will soon return from Europe, and Sharna—-Well, when I called to congratulate her, she said, “Max didn’t call me, so I thought I didn’t get the part.” I said, “Did you look at your computer?” “No,” she replied. I said, “Go look at it now.” It took her awhile to boot up, but when she saw the e-mail, she came back to the phone and told me, “ I am so surprised and happy, but I can’t e-mail him back to accept the role.” “Why is that?” I asked. “Because I know how to read e-mails, but I don’t know how to answer them.” I gave her Max’s phone number.

    So we have a terrific cast who came to us from Cincinnati, Europe and Luddite Land.  Not so strange, because I figure all of life is just one big audition anyway.

    Esther Blumenfeld

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