The Severna Park High School drama program’s performance of “Bad Auditions…On Camera” won big at the virtual Maryland Thespian Festival in April, getting both Outstanding Vocal Work and Outstanding Ensemble.
“Bad Auditions…On Camera” is a virtual version of the comedy “Bad Auditions, Bad Actors” created by playwrights Ian McWethy and Carrie McCrossen. The story revolves around a casting director who had one day to fill the role of a lawyer for a courtroom drama and gets a pool of actors that includes stage thespians who can’t tone it down for the screen, performers unable to keep themselves in frame and an actor who seems to think they’re auditioning for an athlete’s foot commercial.
Atticus Boidy was the staff director of the show. Cade Halloran, a senior, served as the student director, along with his role as the casting assistant, Roger. Henry Wright, a junior, served as student producer.
According to Halloran, directing in the show helped him as an actor.
“It gave me a more complete understanding of the show and where we were taking it,” said Halloran. “It also pushed me to do my best in every scene because I was an example for the rest of the cast.”
Halloran’s favorite part of directing for “Bad Auditions” was the ability to create jokes that have nothing to do with the script, such as visual gags or jokes based on how an actor says a line.
“You’re taking a script and making it your own,” said Halloran.
To help the cast get into character for the play, Boidy taught the students to put a little of themselves into their characters. Students did character worksheets to help them understand their characters and feel more connected to them.
According to Boidy, the more in-depth character work helped the cast portray their characters better, especially in a virtual format.
“It's good to have that kind of personal connection to the characters, especially since you can't focus on the physicality as much,” Boidy said.
Kaitlyn Mummert, also a senior, played the casting director. According to her, one of the advantages of performing in “Bad Auditions” was that it was written to be a virtual play, so they didn’t have to adapt it to a virtual format.
“We were able to focus more on the actual acting performance,” Mummert said.
The Severna Park production mostly stayed true to the original story, with one significant alteration. In the original script, the audience was supposed to vote on which actor they thought should get the part. The selected actor would then do a special scene. However, due to concerns about technical difficulties, it was decided early on to make the show pre-recorded.
Collectively, the team helped rewrite the ending scene to include a montage of everyone’s final scenes so the audience could see what would happen if each character had gotten the part.
The drama program’s production raised money for Burgers and Bands for Suicide Prevention, part of a fundraising effort by the National Thespian Society. They mostly used Facebook fundraisers, as well as a charity video to raise funds and encourage people to donate.
Along with the overall awards, Mummert and Halloran also won Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, for the school’s one act production. Mummert was also named Maryland State Distinguished Thespian.
Mummert was excited to hear that the show won at the festival, especially in categories about the talent of the cast as a whole and how they worked together.
“It just made me really, really proud of everybody in the cast, and how much work everybody put in,” Mummert said.