This year, freshmen interested in working on theater at Yale could begin the process just three days after they arrived on campus.
The first casting call date for productions is this Friday, and auditions for shows in the current casting cycle started on Monday — three days after freshman move-in day. Starting last fall, theater productions at Yale have been following a new casting system — all shows that are grouped into the same ‘cycle’ must hold auditions and casting call days during the same week.
“There is a lot of excitement that surrounds the first few shows that go up, since everyone is casting all at once and people are hearing about these shows at the same time,” said Isaac Hudis ’16, who is directing a production of “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller in October.
Irina Gavrilova ’17, who is directing “Art” by Yasmina Reza in November, said that many production teams have been reaching out to the student body during the summer over social media due to the tight scheduling of casting cycles toward the beginning of the year. Many of the crucial roles in theater productions — including design crews, assistant directors and assistant stage managers — tend to be filled by freshmen, Hudis added.
On Sunday night, the Yale Drama Coalition hosted its annual Season Preview, in which members of all productions going up this semester were invited to briefly discuss their shows in front of roughly 100 freshmen at the Off Broadway Theater. On Monday, the Yale Dramatic Association held a freshman information session at the University Theatre. Hudis said he has found that shows that are staged early in the year typically see a high level of interest from the student body, particularly from the freshman class.
YDC Freshman Liaison Sabrina Bleich ’16 explained that representatives from the various fall theater productions not only described their artistic visions for their shows, but also told the attendees about the cast and crew positions they need filled. While the amount of information presented may have been overwhelming to the freshmen, all students had an opportunity to talk individually with the featured shows’ representatives as well as with YDC board members after the event, Bleich added.
On Monday, the YDC also hosted an audition workshop for freshmen actors and actresses hoping to join the Yale theater community. The event was attended by roughly 35 students and was led by Miranda Rizzolo ’15, Eric Sirakian ’15 and Zina Ellis ’15. Rizzolo explained that the audition process for Yale theater productions is different from what most freshmen are used to coming out of high school.
“At Yale, there may be 30 shows per semester, you can get into multiple shows or no shows at all and you have to run around to different locations,” Rizzolo said. “It’s especially overwhelming when you have all of your freshman events on top of all of this.”
Questions asked at the workshop focused on a large variety of topics, ranging from what to wear to an audition to how casting cycles work. Bleich said she believes that the workshop was well timed because it took place the day that the audition process began, which allows actors who are unfamiliar with Yale productions to better prepare for their auditions.
The next casting call day will be Nov. 9.