Cast planted for ‘Athena and the Apple’

In March the Kleinau Theater will present “Athena and the Apple,” but the audition process is already over.

Director Nico Wood said the play is a coming-of-age love story between three high school seniors, led by the character Athena, and the way Athena is changed after an encounter with modified fruit.

“Essentially, together they are science lab partners and through one of their experiments they kind of magically alter a piece of fruit,” she said.

Emily Thompson, alumna of theater from Rock Falls, Pearlshana Cummings, a junior studying performance studies from Chicago and Nico Wood, a doctoral candidate in performance studies, recite a play Tuesday during auditions in the Communications Building for Athena and the Apple. Wood is the director of the play, which will debut in March at the Kleinau Theatre. “The play is made up of desire, love and exploration,” Wood said. “I want to see how well the auditioners can perform and collaborate.” REMY ABROUGHT · DAILY EGYPTIAN

Emily Thompson, alumna of theater from Rock Falls, Pearlshana Cummings, a junior studying performance studies from Chicago and Nico Wood, a doctoral candidate in performance studies, recite a play Tuesday during auditions in the Communications Building for Athena and the Apple. Wood is the director of the play, which will debut in March at the Kleinau Theatre. “The play is made up of desire, love and exploration,” Wood said. “I want to see how well the auditioners can perform and collaborate.”
REMY ABROUGHT · DAILY EGYPTIAN

Any story can be told and be displayed with artistic sway and freedom. Finding people to play the parts can be a difficult process, but through it the director can assess the ways one individual works with another as well as the way they present themselves and their act.

Kleinau Theatre publicity director Andrea Baldwin said there are multiple ways a director might choose their cast from those auditioning for a part.

“(Casting) varies from director to director,” she said. “I think the most important is the candidate to be willing to provide energy and commitment to the audition. Students who do this show the director they are willing to fully commit to the role and are open to giving strong performances.”

Baldwin said she looks for candidates who display both high energy and seem to be tapped into their emotions.

“In my opinion, those who can showcase the two can play roles with passion,” she added.

In preparation, there may be an expansive list of things to accomplish. What a performer must go through varies and each strategy culminates differently.

Emily Thompson, a senior with a theater degree from Rock Falls, went to the auditions but did not try out for a specific role.

“[The audition] was good, I did a monologue that I am pretty solid with and then we did a warm up, which was really great,” she said. “I like to do that, it helps you get centered.”

When auditioning, it helps to be familiar with what may be proposed within the text of the play, Baldwin said.

“For example, if a performance calls for the exploration of a historical text, I want to be familiar with the text,” Baldwin said. “This dictates how I would approach the readings in the audition. I make a commitment to myself prior to going to an audition to give my all at the audition, and that each audition is a chance for me to grow as an artist.”

Of “Athena and the Apple,” the main characters as well as the secondary characters are shadow workers, live-projection and puppeteers. With multiple parts that could be played by one actor, there is a great deal to consider when auditioning.

“Be confident! Be yourself!” Baldwin said. “When you are confident in yourself, it reads to the director that you will be a great asset to the artistic process.”

Auditions for “Athena” are complete and the month long production for those involved begins. “Athena” will be presented on March 27-29 at the Kleinau Theatre.

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