Auditions’ break-up creating complaints

Ali Elkin

This Valentine’s Day, the Student Theatre Coalition will be recovering from what some say is the end of its relationship with the Theatre and Interpretation Center.

“In late fall, they broke up with us,” said Andrew Karas, co-chairman for StuCo.

Before Winter Quarter, StuCo and TI held auditions together. Students were cast according to their preference sheets, which allowed actors who were picked by multiple directors to choose the show they wanted most.

TI productions, or “main stage” shows, are organized and funded by NU’s Theatre Department. StuCo shows, however, are run and produced by students.

TI held meetings with StuCo starting in early spring to brainstorm new methods for running auditions, Karas said. At the end of Fall Quarter, TI announced it would be running auditions independently.

Try-outs for Department-backed shows were held in January, and casts have been finalized. Callbacks for StuCo auditions are going on now.

Emily Anderson, a Weinberg sophomore, said the change has added a new level of anxiety to the process because students now have to make choices that may limit their options.

“It’s just going to be a lot more stressful of a process for everyone,” Anderson said. “Students will have to make decisions going into it based on incomplete information.”

Though StuCo is hurting from its recent breakup, TI artistic director Henry Godinez said he still has feelings for the organization and wants to stay friends.

“Student theater is one of the most incredible things at Northwestern,” he said. “I value it and I support it.”

Godinez said casting shows “purely on preference” would not prepare students for audition processes in professional theaters.

“I said, ‘No, there’s not much educational value in this,'” he said.

When picking casts between main stage shows, however, Godinez said TI will still consider an actor’s preference, although it will not be the deciding factor. Actors can also choose not to attend a callback for a role they do not desire.

Godinez also said breaking up the auditions would make the process less intimidating because students will try out in front of smaller groups of people.

“Auditions in the fall were for 22 shows,” Godinez said. “It was unhealthy. Students felt like they were performing.”

But some students said spreading out the auditions creates a more drawn-out process.

“It’s got its pluses and minuses,” said Douglas Hosking, a Weinberg sophomore who was called back for a StuCo show. “It elongates everything and spreads it over three to four weeks.”

Although logistics and student comfort were major factors in the decision, Godinez said TI has one priority it cannot avoid.

“Part of my job is to make the TI shows as good as they can be and casting is a big part of that,” he said.

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