Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Believe it or not, I was downgraded

Yesterday I posted about how despite the fact that I was merely a dancing prisoner, I was still going to give Kiss of the Spider Woman ("KSW") my all, and say my ten or so lines with all the conviction and ability God gave me when he knit me together in my mother's womb and said to me, "smc, thou shall be an attorney. Or a famous actress."

And then yesterday we had the read-through. And due to some of my very important dancing-prisoner responsibilities, I was no longer allowed to play the double that I was told by the Director that I would get to play. But no matter, there was still the prisoner song, and the doubles as orderlies and servants, and I had two or three prisoner-type things to say, right?

Wrong. It was announced that since there wouldn't be female prisoners in a 1970s Latin American jail for men, those of us cast as female prisoners would have no speaking lines. And probably not sing the prisoner song, although they hadn't decided for sure. And the doubles for the orderlies would probably be actual men, too. And I have to admit, dear reader, I felt even more disappointed. And confused.

Why confused, you ask? Because I don't understand why they cast me. I mean, I'm a decent dancer. I learn the steps and execute them properly, and with some attitude. But I am by no means so great a dancer that the choreographer stamped her foot and insisted I be cast as a non-speaking, non-singing dancing prisoner or she was walking out. Trust me. My abilities are in acting, not dancing. Which leads me to think there are other reasons I was cast in this part:

1) The choreographer is a woman who will dance in the show, and they couldn't have her being the only (female) male prisoner, that might look weird. So they needed more (female) male prisoners to dance with her. So they cast two more, me and another woman who is as equally confused at her casting as I am.
2) I have become friendly with the creative team who is producing the musical, so even though I did not have a strong enough voice to play an actual female, they gave me the part of silent, dancing prisoner as a friendly gesture.
3) I am directing the Spring Parody, and the creative team was terrified that I would retaliate by giving them horrible parts in the Parody if they did not cast me in the musical. This is of course ridiculous to anyone who knows me, but perhaps an otherwise valid fear in the dog-eat-dog world of law school drama societies.

That's all I got. I guess what really frustrates me is that before auditions, I asked if there were any good non-soloist roles to play, and I was told that the Warden and prison guards were great roles that didn't sing. But if they didn't intend to have females speak as men, why did they say that role was open to me? Why didn't they just say, "No, we picked a musical that only has three female roles. If you aren't one of those three, you won't have any speaking lines." And assuming they decided after auditions to limit all speaking roles to men, why didn't they just cast men? I'm sure there were two other men who auditioned for this musical and could be trusted to say "I hope my girl is still waiting for me" while doing a box step.

Oh, I am trying to stay enthused. I am trying to remind myself that some people were not cast at all, and I should be thrilled that they wanted me to be a part of this musical so badly that they cast me in a completely mismatched role for my talents. And then told me not to say anything. And I am not saying that this role is beneath me, or I deserved to be cast as a leading female. Not at all. I'm saying I'm disappointed. And I don't know why they cast me for a role they won't let me fully play.


E said...

I say you throw a little improv in there to liven things up. Feel free to say whatever comes to mind, whenever you happen to be on stage. That includes other people's lines, if you can say them first. What are they going to do, tape your mouth shut? I don't think that's historically accurate. Who picked this stupid play anyway? It's depressing. I had higher hopes for something named Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Melanie said...

Haha, I'm with Beth on this one. Remember in our musical when Sam made up all sorts of good lines, even though he had no speaking parts? "Join the Navy they said! See the world they said!" and "I once showed a girl my dingy." Just to name a few... he stole the show (well, maybe not because there were three pretty incredible female leads, if I do say so myself).