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Still Life With Iris Double Casting

  • 1.  Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-10-2018 18:00
    Edited by Nancy Vitulli 01-15-2018 08:52
    Hello All,
         I am in a dilemna over casting for Still Life With Iris.  While the script suggests character doubling, I have seen many different interpretations for casting choices at various websites.  For those that are familiar with the script, do you think it is integral to the playwright's vision to double cast the residents of Nocturno with the residents of Great Island?  For example, I have two very strong candidates for Gretta and Grotto Good but would like to afford two younger actors the chance to participate as Hazel and Elmer.  Also, I have a large number of good kids who auditioned so I wonder if I can split characters such as the Leaf Monitor/Annabel Lee or The Flower Painter/Mozart.  I am still struggling with the dual realities in the play and the importance of having characters appear in both worlds.  Any advice or insight is appreciated.
         Much thanks,

    Nancy Vitulli

  • 2.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-11-2018 04:39
    I don't think it's critical to Steven Dietz's vision for actors to appear in both worlds, though it does depend on your vision for the show.

    I directed Still Life with Iris last school year with my Middle School students.  I split all characters up, so I had 21 kids in the show.  It allowed more students to be involved.  (My Tunnel people also appeared as citizens in Nocturno, and my Nocturno citizens (Hazel, Elmer, Thunder Bottlers, etc) were extras in the Tunnel.  This gave all students more things to do.) This also made participation more manageable for students, as they did not have to be at every rehearsal.  In sum, it worked really well for us.

    My suggestion would be to look to how you can provide opportunities for your students.  Maybe you cast one student as Gretta and another as Hazel/Captain Also.  This brings two kids in instead of one, and gives them both really cool things to do. Or maybe you split into three and then you've got three kids involved instead of one (though two with admittedly smaller roles)!

    Have fun with this awesome show!

    Robin Willis
    Middle School Drama Teacher
    Johannesburg, South Africa

  • 3.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-11-2018 05:52
    I did this show in the Fall. I not only split all the parts, I cast multiples and split lines! So there were three flower painters who did a great job coming up with how to split their lines (chanting them in unison was just creepy, so I sent them out to work on it, they came back with a really interesting way where they shared some lines, or words, but then just finished each others thoughts - it was cool).In all I stuffed 36 kids into this show, they all had a blast and it works. I used just about everyone in the tunnel of the unwanted.

    Jeffrey Davis
    Plainsboro NJ

  • 4.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-12-2018 07:55
    Unless there is a directors note that specifically mentions the director's vision and casting, It is most likely that Dietz doubled the casting so regional theatres could afford to do the production by hiring fewer actors.

    Jeana Whitaker
    Theatre Director
    Mesa AZ

  • 5.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-11-2018 09:04
    I did this a few years ago, and loved the play- so creative and imaginative. I did not double cast anything. We did it as the fall play where there are lots of kids and you want to give parts to all. If you have the kids, there's really no point in double casting those roles. Have fun!!

    Sent from my iPad

  • 6.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-11-2018 11:40
    Nancy, We did Still Life a number of years ago and I did a little bit of both.  I had the Goods played by actors who did not double, but the other pairings I left intact because there just wasn't enough for the smaller characters to do if they were just the Leaf Monitor, etc.

    It worked very well and all of the actors felt like they had significantly contributed to the production.

    Good luck with the show, it is a  lot of fun.

    Stewart Hawk
    Garfield Theatre Department Chair
    Washington State Thespian Co-Chapter Director

  • 7.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-11-2018 21:10
    I thank you all for promptly offering insight on Still Life With Iris casting.  I usually try to embrace as many students as I can in productions and will continue to search for what's best for the play, the students, and the program as a whole.  I am grateful to have this community to learn from and share experiences and ideas.

    Nancy Vitulli

  • 8.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-12-2018 12:15
    For those who have done this play with middle school students:  did you go for the 100 minute or the 60 minute version?  Any play-specific pros or cons to the shorter or longer version?  80 is actually our ideal ... so I am a bit torn!

    Kristin Hall
    Drama Director
    Lincoln Public Schools
    Arlington MA

  • 9.  RE: Still Life With Iris Double Casting

    Posted 01-13-2018 21:00
    We split the roles so we could have a larger cast.  Worked great.  We took a cutting to competition and did well.

    Carol Gebert
    teacher, director
    Celina OH