Casting Call Pro Production - Straw Polls

  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    As you are hopefully all aware, we are currently in the early stages of attempting to come up with a production which will be put together by CCP members, and performed by CCP members. Discussion has ranged widely about many aspects of this hypothetical production, but in a few weeks, a small group of us will meet to discuss the real possibility of getting the ball rolling in earnest. As one of this group, I am interested in seeing if I can gauge a few general attitudes as to what you either approve or disapprove of in relation to this production. Your answers will help contribute to a better informed development of the final product (and, of course, we hope that many of you will be coming aboard in a direct capacity at some point, too).

    So, to recap:

    1. The initial idea was to perform a non - specific original production, but this seems to have gradually edged towards the notion of creating a panto. It wouldn't necessarily be a panto held over the Christmas period, but would probably see the light of day early next year. Still, would you like to see us do a 'panto', or are you more interested in exploring the notion of a CCP original play?

    2. We have had some discussions on the boards already about whether or not we wished to update panto ideas, if we did go down that route (the 'Tarantino' style panto, for instance), or whether we want to stick to good, traditional family fare. Which would you prefer to see us do?

    3. There is a question about whether or not we should be looking to earn money from the production - do you think the production should be aiming at profit share, or are you happy to see it as a charity fundraiser?

    4. Do you feel there are other ideas for the production that have been sidetracked, and ignored in the course of discussions? Please state them.

    These are all the major questions I can think of for the moment. It would be great if this thread could serve as a free statement of viewpoints - I have no personal axe to grind with supporters of doing this work for money, say, nor those who insist the work should be charitable. I want this thread to attempt to provide those who will make decisions in the following months with some idea of what different people think about the entire situation.

    Many thanks

    Lee.

    • 17th Sep 2007
    • 1722
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  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    Hi Lee,

    I think the logistics for this are potentially impossible (especially 2 productions running north and south), but I have huge admiration for that fact that this is not stopping things being planned and discussed. Let's surmount the impossible!

    I still feel that a fundraising showcase would be a good way forward initially and could be put together relatively quickly and very cheaply. It would also enable people to dip their toe in the water of working together.

    I am not sure about the panto aspect, if it were able to happen before Christmas or very early new year then fine, and I think that if this production is going to be public and for profit then it needs to follow a more traditional panto line rather than subversive.

    If the production were to be mainly 'in house' and aimed at fellow CCP'ers and people in the business, then a more subversive panto with theatrical in jokes would be lots of fun.

    I think profit-share for the main production is the way forward, Lord knows there are enough unpaid jobs around for us to apply to!

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I think that the production should serve as a SHOW CASE for the wonderful and under used talent that is obviousy around this CCPro membership.

    Maybe a series of short scenes, a concert of all the skills associated with "acting".

    Perhaps there are some "Angels" out there who would lend a stage for an afternoon or a dead day.

    After all, that's why we're here people...to put ourselves about for useful work opportunities.

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 2
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Right! Let's get radical!

    Time to get sensible and throw off all self doubts. Here we go!

    Let's do a 'panto' that is totally different.

    We have several scenes of two or more actors all based on Panto with a 'theme' running through them. Could be anything you like. Each scene can be a showcase of that artists talent, so singing is in, sword fighting or whatever is in, machine gunning the crowd is in...if you want it.

    BUT it means that rehearsal shall be the choice of those involved in each scene with an end scene with ALL the characters coming together for the finale.

    Comedy, tragedy, panto, stage fights, songs...what else do you need for a great show.

    Also no real reason for all to be together for long rehearsal schedules as long as they get a FINAL rehearsal before the show.

    What? Venue? Of course...what venue could turn down a chance to host the most innovative showcase they are ever likely to see in their theatre. They can do the advertising. We will do the show and split the profits with them.

    End Of....

    Alan

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 3
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    I like that idea Alan- it makes the whole rehearsal process so much easier to manage. As long as there's a thread running through, we should be fine. Either one character moving through, or maybe something like a relay with someone taking the "baton" from one scene to the next. Very Monty Python, but we should always steal from the best!

    Possibly scope for several writers and directors working on bits with one overall director and script editor overseeing the final product.

    At first that sounds unworkable, but as long as there is someone at the top who has the ultimate responsibility of what goes on, I think we can all work together and respect that.

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 4
  • Nadia Ostacchini

    Actor

    Yes Alan, I really like that idea too. I was a founder member of a theatre co specialising in new writing and we had short plays all linked together by a common theme. This way, writers and directors can showcase their skills too.

    A v.good idea & we'll discuss it more at length this Sun!

    I still feel challenged by the fact we can do this same show both in the north & in the south. One must at least try!

    Lee - you're a star.

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 5
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Alan's idea is certainly workable - it's the way my drama school showcase functioned and he's right - so long as there is at least one 'run through' before the final performance, everything seems to go pretty solidly.

    I like the notion that a 'thread' of some sort ties all this together - it could either be a common theme, or, perhaps, there is some overarching storyline. It may be possible to come up with a 'frame story' that will star several actors who *are* readily available, and *can* rehearse more scenes holding the other scenes together somehow - so they provide the 'running theme', and the other performances are given their moment of glory individually. That's perfectly doable, although it may take some clever scripting!

    Re: The script. If we go with this kind of 'showcase/music hall/ variety bonanza', then there are a number of possible options:

    1. There is a script penned by a small group of writers, and different sections are 'farmed' out to different individuals. This has the benefit of keeping the script more coherent, but restricts, I suppose, the possibility of dovetailing a section of the performance to specific 'party pieces'.

    2. We ask for solicitations of scripts from all interested parties - this might work rather well, although it's true to say that not everyone who wants to act will want to write something!

    3. We get what solicitations we can, and then rework them into a more coherent overall script (then send that script back out!).

    4. A very 'loose' script is written, with lots of [insert song here] - and opportunity for improvisation. Maybe we even hold auditions BEFORE we script, so we can see what material we have to work with, although that's probably just asking for trouble.

    Obviously, in a 'straight' showcase situation, what tends to happen is that the pieces chosen are pre - written, so people simply pick them out and go off and rehearse them. But what would make this production unusual is clearly the fact that the storyline is totally original.

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 6
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    I like options 1 and three!

    Something that I've been thinking about this evening, based on this idea of someone travelling through different "worlds" on their journey...

    What if the various places that our hero/heroine might encounter are villages like "Chekhovia" where everyone spends their time looking out of the window wistfully and commenting on the human condition, or West End Avenue where people burst into song for no reason.... you get the idea!

    Any composers out there? As any music, like the script, must be original, I guess. (It's a long time since I've had to deal with PRS and stuff).

    What might be fun is if we then get an idea on what "niche" people like (or tend) to be cast in and have the relevant groups in their own "world". We make it nice and easy for any potential employers in the audience to find the right type of actor they are looking for!

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 7
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    I don't think the music has to be original, can anyone clarify this?

    I think it would be a huge task to take on writing a lot of original (and great!) songs, although I do know a composer who would probably be very happy to have his work performed in this way. What do you think?

    • 10th Sep 2007
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    As far as I know music is not a problem,

    the theatre venue it's self has a PRS licence in the same way that a pub or night club has one, alowing for music to be played there!

    • 10th Sep 2007
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    oe thing I have to add is.. CASTING

    How are we oing to get aroung this.. I'm sure there are many, MANY actors on this site who would love to be involved in such a theatrical bonanza.

    Do we involve a casting director or shall we keep it to those who originated the idea in the first place?

    • 10th Sep 2007
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  • Zack Polanski

    Actor

    What that man said.

    • 11th Sep 2007
    • 11
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Did Blake offer to cast this? I think we'll definately need someone like him, either on the inside or outside to have absolute power on that front.

    I can imagine that through work commitments and various things that will turn up between now and then, there will be a form of "natural selection" that will whittle down the potential cast! If this turns into an annual event, casting would be less of a big deal.

    Thanks guys for the clarification on the PRS issue- I was thinking of Edinburgh where a whole different set of rules apply!

    x

    • 11th Sep 2007
    • 12
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    If there is to be a 'casting' session then I'm out.

    The idea, for simplification of the thing, should be that we have a beginning (like an introduction in 'Blood Brothers') a 'thread' linking together all the middle section and a great ending linking finally all the different sections.

    Example: Opening song 'Here is the story of...' whatever..'a sad/happy/comedy/tragedy of yesteryear/the future/now. Sit back in your seats and enjoy the show.'

    Then 'sketches' leading to the final Act where all is revealed in either comedy or 'Agatha Christie' style.

    Auditions will clog up my schedule and mean that a lot of working individuals won't be able to get involved.

    If each sketch is limited to about ten minutes with a finale of about ten there is enough space for eleven teams of two/three to showcase.

    Casting will mean that 20 to 30 people will have to get together at a central location over a short period of time.

    Why not leave casting to the scripts only. Get submissions of scripts from as many as you like on the same theme with a common thread. Then select those that work and a running order. Then let the individuals work out their own schedule and castings with a run through nearer the Event to align the final production.

    THAT'S what I call a showcase.

    If you want a section of say 'free runnig' in the show then that's fine.

    If you want a comedy stand up, that's fine too. Let the diversity shine through. With excellent performance being the standard it shouldn't matter what is in the middle. It's the BEGINNING and THE END that matter most. The middle could, as is said above, be a complete Monty Python. Remember. We are in the Entertainment business. This is a showcase NOT a West End Show.

    Alan

    • 11th Sep 2007
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I think that the separate scenes is a great idea, but perhaps if its going to be 'panto' with a difference, we should include a chracter like the Dame that would run through the play, tying the whole thing together. as for casting, if we are having north and south, i think that we should stick to the originators of the idea, as they know what they want better than a casting director. Thats just my thought anyway.

    • 11th Sep 2007
    • 14
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    A flash of genius! Here's a blockbusting IDEA.

    The show is about the casting of a show! The beginning is the DIRECTOR discussing how they are going to get the cast together for this FANTASTIC show for the West End. He has specific ideas of who he wants (which is of course a synopsis of the sketches he is about to see). Everyone can then work on a scene from a casting. Tragic, comic, nerve jangling, awe inspiring, Shakespearean, whatever.

    The end of the show is the casting complete and the BEGINNING of the show!

    You have then only to give a hint as to what the SHOW is about at the Intro. The scenes are then backstage (in black setting to one side of the stage) and the session itself is on the other in black also though lit differently. Casting director in the Audience/wings/ gods with mike and at each ending says 'Next'!

    Keep it simple. You could have someone or two in a scene who get the scenario of their casting totally wrong. All the stories of our casting mishaps can be brought in and it is a complex but easy production to put on with only the ENDING (or rather the BEGINNING of the SHOW) to actually put together in rehearsal.

    Each performer goes on stage and introduces themselves before starting the piece, as we do.

    The average attention span of the audience is about twenty minutes maximum anyway, so two pieces every twenty minutes is 'cool'. Five minutes, say 'BACKSTAGE' and five minutes 'ON' audition is sufficient to get the point across and it leads to success in the show. (Everyone gets cast, of course.)

    Add in a bit of 'Noises Off' and it's a winner! It also allows for writers and actors to get over their skills to actual casting directors in the audience.

    NOW that's what I call a SHOWCASE!

    • 11th Sep 2007
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  • Hayley Taylor-Jones

    Actor

    I love it - what a great idea!

    • 11th Sep 2007
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    bravo Alan.. good idea

    • 11th Sep 2007
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  • Sarah-Jane Vincent

    Actor

    great idea! You do need some sort of Dame/character to keep the thread going through to whom the audience can either love or hate to tie it all together. Count me in!

    SJ

    • 12th Sep 2007
    • 18
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Alan - you're a genius. I love it - a new take on the 'let's do the show right here' scenario.

    • 12th Sep 2007
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