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I generally try to be as objective as possible in how I look at the world. Look at all sides of the issue, you know? That whole “Never met a man I didn’t like” Will Rogers outlook on humanity. But every now and again I am confronted with something so disturbing that I can’t be bothered entertaining how someone arrived at such a questionable decision.
Today it was brought to my attention that actors were asked to audition IN COSTUME for the upcoming Broadway production of On The Town.
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
If you are a part of a creative team and you cannot imagine what an actor will look like in costume, I don’t believe that you deserve to be called a CREATIVE at all. Actors are artists. They bring skills, talents, and personalities into the room with them. Now you are going to ask that they spend time and money, both of which are in perpetual short supply for actors, to aid YOU in doing YOUR job? As far as I am concerned this is like telling a customer at a bar to go make his or her own drink. NO. YOU GO MAKE IT. It’s your job.
I understand and support asking actors to come in looking smart, well groomed, and appropriate for the style of the show. I am all too familiar with dancers rolling into auditions looking as if they just came from the gym (which most of them have because of the outrageous physical standards dancers are now required to meet in addition to being at the top of their craft but that is an entirely different blog entry). But this sort of exploitation of an actors’ willingness to book a job is disgusting and disrespectful.
AND if I were to take this a step further I would say that part of the art of costuming is in making each individual actor beautiful and appropriate for the production. Addressing each person’s body and face, and designing a look for them that lands them squarely in the world of the show. Perhaps if you focused on finding the right TALENT to bring your production to life and hired an exceptional costume designer to address the actors’ and show’s needs…never mind…that would probably involve more work for the “creatives.”
As my rage haze begins to clear and I return to my objective point of view, I feel calm enough to say simply…
I am disappointed.