Pre-casting…. A terrible word for any actor, it means you don’t have a shot at the role you want. I’ve endured a couple auditions where I found out afterward that it was a pre-cast situation and that I wasted two whole days on pointless auditions. I hate when directors pre-cast. But do you know what I disliked more? When actors pre-cast, when they walked around talking about who they wanted to be and who they were going to be, it happened to me in high school and college (not so much in the professional world, because people don’t get to tell everyone who they want to be). In high school I was surrounded by girls who walked around saying they wanted to be so-and-so and were going to be such-and-such. And maybe they meant well, but you know what? I didn’t want to audition for that part because they had already claimed it. It didn’t matter that Mac (our director) had no idea what the high school kids were doing and was going to cast it the way she wanted, but it was intimidating to go up against other girls. And sometimes it wasn’t the person saying they wanted to be the part, but others saying “Oh, they are totally going to get the lead,” that made others scared to audition. Pre-casting sucks, especially when you are a scared, nervous, shy and very introverted person (yes, that is who I really am).
Auditions are scary enough, so when someone older or “more important” in the theatre department says what part everyone is going to be, the other people just get more nervous. My sophomore year South Pacific was pre-cast by the seniors and it all went awry when a Junior got the lead and a sophomore got the dancing lead… they hated my friend and I the whole rehearsal process and shunned us because their pre-casting didn’t go right. We survived, but it turned me off to high school theatre for awhile and I spent my whole Junior year on stage crew instead.
The mission of the Theatre department is to include everyone and anyone. Sure we have auditions, but if people don’t feel they have enough confidence to audition, they won’t have any chance at being the play. So why I am writing this, is just a plea to stop pre-casting. You can talk about who you want to be in a show, but not who are going to be or who someone else is going to be. Allow the younger kids a chance…please.