It’s play time again at Ferris.
After gracing the school with “Legally Blonde” last semester, the drama department has decided on a more serious direction this semester. They’ll be performing “The Best Man,” the 1960 Broadway play penned by Gore Vidal. It’s a tale of political intrigue with a heavy dose of thinly veiled political potshots.
The Torch followed three hopefuls on their journeys to the stage: Ashley Fetterhoff, Ferris sophomore in pre-mortuary science, Kitwana Clark Ferris freshman undecided, and Gerald Smith Ferris senior in digital animation and game design.
The auditions were held in Williams Auditorium. The students trying out ranged from long-time veterans of theater to fresh-faced upstarts looking to make their first mark.
Clark fell into the former category. Speaking on his beginnings in acting, he said, “I started taking dance classes when I was five and started acting and performing around the seventh grade.”
Past experiences were certainly a big draw for many of the students gathered. When asked why he was trying out for the play, Clark said, “I did acting all through high school and I was also in the last musical here at Ferris and really enjoyed that.”
Tactics for auditions varied from person to person, with some having carefully prepared and others trusting their ability to perform on demand and do what comes naturally.
As to his own choice, Smith said, “Usually when auditioning for something like this they don’t want you to prepare; they want to see what you can do on the spot…so I didn’t do any prep.”
The auditioners were first put in groups to do some improv, validating those who valued their off-the-cuff skills. They were evaluated on their performances, with some students’ skills really shining in the loose setting.
They were then paired off to do actual readings of the script, putting their best foot forward on the material they hoped to one day be orating from the stage itself.
The roles desired were just as varied as the backgrounds mentioned earlier. Not everyone wanted the lead roles, to become the charlatanous Sen. Joseph Cantwell or the likeable and honest presidential hopeful William Russell. A number of people found the smaller supporting roles to be juicier, more desirable parts.
Fetterhoff said, “I’m looking to do a supporting role, which is what I usually do,” whereas Smith said, “I would enjoy a second lead role more. Those roles are typically what helps push the main character in the story.
It will be a while before we see how well the chosen ones project the “will he or won’t he” of the outgoing president’s possible support of either candidate, but a peek into the process gives confidence that the best men and women with be chosen.