So I ran "auditions" yesterday; it's in quotes because all of one person showed up. I must admit, out of all the things I thought might happen, such a complete lack of interest from the students was not one.
Thinking back to when my friends produced a play which I performed in, the summer after my first year of university, a few differences jump out. First, I was a year removed from high school; perhaps university students have a bit more free time? Certainly, the impression I got from the head of the drama department at my high school (aside from her being kind of a ball-busting bitch, but that's neither here nor there) was that kids's schedules these days are packed. I wonder if they were that full when I was in high school, and I've simply forgotten what it was like.
Second, the vast majority of those cast in that production had a personal relationship with the people directing and producing. I'm not saying that we were all the best of friends, simply that we were mostly known to each other, if not directly then by being friends of friends. I think this personal connection was vital in securing the cast, and is probably where I went wrong here. I might have been able to generate more of a connection with the kids had I been able to come in and chat with them. One of my friends suggested doing so a couple of times. My fault for not listening to his advice. It might not have changed anything, but it might have.
In terms of the production, I'm not totally sure what this means. The girl I saw today was decent. In need of some good, basic acting classes to make her aware of her physicality (as all actors are at some point or another) in order to more effectively channel it, but I can certainly respect her willingness to show up. It's been somewhat of a surprise, how little I've been able to squeeze out of my high school; I suppose it shouldn't be, as they have no reason to be bending backwards to help me. I've got this girl, who I could work with, but I don't have anything else.
As it is, I see a couple options: try to cast kids when I get back (probably not going to turn out any better than now, since they'll be just starting exams then and will most likely have set summer plans by that time), try to cast alumni, hold a more open call or push this project to a further date. The first probably isn't going to work, for the bracketed reasons. The second and third would work, but they lead to a question: if I'm not constrained by high school-age actors, why am I doing Skin? Why not go back to my first choice, This Is Our Youth, or another script which excites me more? The difficulty then is that I lose the built-in audience of school friends and family, but the head of the drama department pretty much dumped on my estimations of that interest, so I'm not 100% sure I'm really losing all that much there. The last option is fine, but it still begs the question: why Skin, and not another piece?
I leave for Europe tomorrow (well, tonight); I suppose I'll have plenty of time to mull this over.