The Hamlet Project – Memoir – Chapter 5

Chapter 5

An Actor Please….PLEase!!!!!!!!!

Edwin_Booth_Hamlet_1870 Audition day. The day we were looking forward to. A day where we were going to get all our actors, assemble our cast, and…wait….there’s only three people here.


Well, what do we do now?

That’s right, our audition day came and only three people came. Now, we did have three other friends Sam had contacted, including Mel, who we already had been contacted about having roles in our production. But seriously…three?

But hold on one second, first, let’s go back. We’ll get back to this.

It was a few weeks before the actual audition and I was driving to meet my family in Brentwood, but I had one stop to make. It was in Concord, at the Under the Sun Studios. Sam had done the negotiating with the Studio and signed a contract, all I needed to do was deliver a check.

We had originally found the space when a friend of ours was doing a show of his at the Studio. The Studio was perfect and if we got the right price, we could do our Hamlet there.

As I drove there, I kept trying to talk myself out of it – and Kim kept trying to talk me back into it. You see, as much as I felt I really needed to do this show for me, for my father, for my uncle, I just kept wanting to back out.

You see, when we did our first show, Midsummer, it was because we found a space that better fit that show than our original show, Macbeth. And I spent months working up idea after idea for that show. My whole heart was invested in that show, and when it had to be pulled, I was utterly devastated.

Add to that all the drops from actors we had when we did Midsummer, a real attempt to salvage our need to do a show to continue the Summer Shakespeare tradition, I had nothing but bad memories flowing through my head. And this was not about continuing some cool acting in the summer with friends tradition, this was doing the show of shows, THE show we had dreamed out doing.

But Sam had signed a contract, and I knew I had to do it, regardless of my fears of massive actor drops and stressed out rehearsal days. Not to mention having a few hundred dollars missing from my account.

But I dropped off my check, hoping for the best, and my first thought after getting in the car after dropping off that check was: “Well, no backing out now”.

Flash forward to audition day.

My first thought is: “this is going to be rough”. Having three people show up to auditions is not a good way to start a show. When all was said and done and Sam and Mel did their reaching out to friends and actors we knew, we had a cast. All that was missing was an actor to play Laertes and an actor to play Gertrude.

We contacted an friend to play Laertes and we felt like we were set, but after only one rehearsal he had to drop out because a doctor told him the pain he was feeling in his hip needed surgery. Just our luck.

But that was fine. Through a website we were directed to from one of the Studio heads, we set up an audition day for Laertes and Gertrude. And we found two actors to play them.

But then…our Horatio dropped out, because of schedule conflicts with work. And Now we were out a Horatio. And then our Laertes had to drop out because they were offered a role in a web series filming in LA.

All of this in one day. I did an emergency cut to try and cut out Horatio from the play so we could just focus on getting a Laertes (and it worked)…

And then on the way to rehearsal that day, while stuck in traffic, I get an alert on my phone. It was an email from our Gertrude. All I could see was: “Hey Kevin, I’m really sorry to do this…” I had seen this line used before. And I knew what it meant.

We were a production of Hamlet without a Horatio, without a Laertes, and without a Gertrude.

It’s the day I kept imagining when I was trying to talk myself out of taking the risk. Now what…?

To Be Continued…

Next: One by One: Putting The Pieces Together

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