Char­lotte play fes­ti­val in­vites new ac­tors to au­di­tion

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY MYAH WARD [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Myah Ward: 704-358-5062; @MyahWard

It’s not ev­ery day you can try act­ing or di­rect­ing a show.

Donna Scott Pro­duc­tions, a lo­cal the­ater and arts com­pany, is putting on DSP Playfest, with read­ings of 10 short plays, all come­dies about art – and some will be di­rected by and cast with peo­ple just start­ing to pur­sue an in­ter­est in the in­dus­try.

“It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to get an op­por­tu­nity to try their hand at some­thing,” said Donna Scott. “If they feel pulled to­ward it, it’s re­ally im­por­tant that they get an op­por­tu­nity to try it, with ac­tors, in front of an au­di­ence.”

The Char­lotte Art League is still fi­nal­iz­ing its new lo­ca­tion (where the event was first sched­uled to take place), so the fes­ti­val will be held in a pri­vate room at The Pack­house restau­rant, start­ing at 8 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3. But the Art League is still spon­sor­ing the event, and pro­vid­ing art­work for the read­ings’ back­drop. It was a way to di­rectly in­volve her com­pany’s part­ner­ship with the League, Scott said.

Each play is less than 10 min­utes, and the restau- rant will be open for vis­i­tors be­fore the show.

Au­di­tions for ac­tors will start at 6:30 p.m. July 23 at Cor­ri­gan & Johnston Cast­ing. Both sea­soned and new ac­tors are sought.

Af­ter cast­ing de­ci­sions are made, re­hearsals will take place in the evenings in the week be­fore the fes­ti­val. The per­for­mance is meant to be ca­sual.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to have a project where you can go, ‘You know what? You don’t have to have a ton of act­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. If you think you want to do this come on out,’ ” Scott said.

Scott said 70 per­cent of the play­wrights are women and 70 per­cent are from the Char­lotte area. Forty per­cent of those se­lected are new to the genre. A few of the pieces come from sea­soned play­wrights, and have been pro­duced in New York, Los An­ge­les and Toronto.

While Scott’s com­pany is known for sup­port­ing women in the in­dus­try, she said, this is a unique op­por­tu­nity for cast­ing that’s not con­strained by a script. When they asked for sub­mis­sions in April, the come­dies had to in­clude a cen­tral fe­male char­ac­ter, but also al­low for di­verse cast­ing for the rest of the char­ac­ters..

“This is one of those times we can say we need all ages, all gen­ders, all races be­cause that’s how we asked for them to be writ­ten,” Scott said. “That’s ex­cit­ing, and we’re look­ing to meet a lot of new ac­tors.”

Plays were sub­mit­ted from as far away as Eng­land. A se­lec­tion group nar­rowed the 40 sub­mis­sions to 10 through a blind read­ing.

“We re­ally wanted to judge the pieces on their com­edy,” Scott said. “It’s good to laugh.”

IT’S EX­CIT­ING TO HAVE A PROJECT WHERE YOU CAN GO, ‘YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A TON OF ACT­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCES. IF YOU THINK YOU WANT TO DO THIS COME ON OUT.’ Donna Scott

COUR­TESY OF DONNA SCOTT

A re­cent show from Donna Scott Pro­duc­tions: “Eat the Runt” with (from left) Stephen Seay, Stephen West-Rogers and Ericka Ross.

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