A New Appreciation
The day after sitting in on the looonng casting day for A Charlie Brown Christmas, I feel compelled to share the deeper appreciation I have for WAG. Having been involved in five of WAG’s eight productions to date, I figured I knew the ins and outs of the time, money, blood, sweat & tears that goes into a show. Well, like an ice berg, I only saw what had been exposed. Yesterday, I experienced some behind the scenes work that I won’t soon forget.
I loved watching over 60 kids brave the audition panel. I admired their courage, their flexibility and their honesty. I learned first hand that we have a lot of local talent, and I’m reminded of that Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come.” Wow, WAG sure has proven that true; Wylie is bursting with creative kids just looking for a venue to share their gifts close to home.
When the last kiddo finally left, a full seven hours after auditions began, the panel really got to work. With a sigh, the judges piled up the audition packets according to role. The Snoopy pile loomed high & threatened to fall over. My eyes widened, as I had a daughter’s paperwork nestled in there. First, the panel took the highest mathematical average of each actor’s audition sheet, which quickly narrowed the stack to just a few. Yep, my kid was still in there. Gulp. Then, the conversation really began: What about stature? What about previous experience? The questions kept swirling among them as the judges labored over a decision. Finally, a co-director said about one of the candidates, “his time has come.” It was at once a declaration of wisdom, compassion and resolve. As the mom of the one not chosen this time, I could go home and tell my daughter that she did really well, second best out of a whole stack! Knowing the labor that went into that decision, I could look into her disappointed little eyes and comfort her while believing wholeheartedly in the casting call.
The process was repeated again and again for every role in the play…and the choir…and the crew. One more time, one of my daughters came in second for a role. One more time I had to break the difficult news. Several years younger than her sister, this little actress crumpled & cried. Even then, I could hold her close and look into her moist eyes and comfort her without bitterness for the process.
I was invited to auditions because I’m directing the choir, but I wish every parent involved in WAG got to witness the joys and struggles kept behind the closed door of the casting room. Until you see the directors pulling for every kid, until you hear the judges revisit each audition packet again and again, until you yourself grow weary at watching the delicate balance of the art and science of casting, there is no way to fully appreciate the gentle, strong heartbeat of WAG.
– Sara Meyer