Ten plays selected for reading out of forty submitted.
Four plays read chosen for full production.
Mandel’s “Audition Piece” made both cuts!
THE GENESIS OF “AUDITION PIECE”
I started writing this play about a year ago. It began as a result of a comment made by a friend named Harry. We are part of a group called Readers of the Purple Page. We read or act unusual or radio plays, such as “Under Milkwood” and “Spoon River Anthology” for small audiences. We had just completed a weekend of “Spoon River” and were talking about what to do next.
Harry said, “Gerry, why don’t you write a play?” Easier said than done, right?
“About what?” I said.
He had the answer. “About some actors who are auditioning for roles in a play or movie. Call it Audition Piece.’”
That’s how it started and that’s what the play is called. I sketched out some characters, which was easy. I used the members of our Readers group as models, built some back stories around them, and proceeded to put them into a situation. In this case, they were over-the-hill actors (and one playwright with writers block) in Florida, trying out for a couple of roles in a movie to be shot there.
I love the theater, I love movies, I’ve been through a lot of casting sessions during my time as producer and creative director for ad agencies. Most of those sessions took place in L.A. or NYC. But I figured those two cities were too expected. Florida was a wonderful place to find actors who no longer— -or never could—make it in the major markets.
I had the first act finished in a couple of months, dividing my time between that and some short stories I was developing. After several months of it just sitting there, Harry asked, “What about that play?”
Our group got together and read through it. hey liked it; I liked what I heard, and promised them to finish it. I revised the first act based on what I heard and their comments, changed some of the back stories, and proceeded on to act two.
In October of 2007 I got them together again for a reading. It was funny. We all laughed. It felt right. Someone then e-mailed me about a playwriting competition sponsored by First Run Theatre. Why not? So I cleaned up some of the dialogue, wrote a tougher ending (my original was too sweet and pleasant, too tidy a wrap-up, which is my nature) and sent it in.
The deadline was the end of November 2007. I got a call in January 2008 that “Audition Piece” had been picked for a reading, one of ten out of forty submitted. The reading was early February ‘08, and the following week I was told that it was one of four chosen for full production.
The next step, casting, was up to the director. I was there strictly as an observer. I kept holding my breath until I knew the right people could become the characters I first began to breathe life into a year ago.
(see post below for dates and location)