There have been so many different things going on both behind and during rehearsals.
Our cast and crew has been greatly affected by whatever is going on in regards to Robert Hurley's mysterious disappearance along with the original shooting script.
There has been at least two gentlemen who were involved with this production who are now, mysteriously, no longer attached to the project. It can make one feel a little unnerved.
Nathanael Thiesen, a highly talented actor, may stand up to fill the shoes of the lead role, Steven, but we are awaiting a confirmation. You all know life and how it LOVES to throw many things at us ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I hope everything works out, as I truly believe that he will be a marvelous Steven, with lots of subtle nuances to his character and performance. The entire cast seems very connected, open, and well-suited; we should be able to create a lot of magic for the screen.
I am trying to finalize a few of the missing pieces of my character, Michelle: which base was her Father stationed, his rank, their living quarters, and her education, how is it different in Japan as opposed to America, et cetera. It can be very time consuming, but well worth the time spent, for all of the deep layering it can bring to a character.
My association with “Notes from the New World” began when I added the role of Irina to my Actor’s Access Casting Cart. There was something in my gut that told me I would hear from this production. Just as my feeling had foretold, I received contact from Casting Director, Rich Crater, shortly thereafter and an audition was established.
On that day I attended a separate audition in Hollywood Overall, the audition was okay, but not all of what it should have been. It was what it was; although, unlike in the past, I did not allow myself to become despondent, for I had another audition in North Hollywood.
I next drove to the center of the NoHo (is it just me, or does that just sound SO wrong?) Arts District for the next audition at the Hub Theater. This audition was a dreaded "cold reading." Cold reading, as in MAJOR PROBLEMO for dyslexic people like 'moi'! Anyway, I silently entered, signed in and familiarized myself with the words. This greatly alleviated the anxiety of facing a "cold reading” and, once I felt pretty secure with the unfamiliar script, I re-entered the Theater and was soon paired up with an Actor with whom I would audition for the lead role of Irina, a high class Russian call girl in "Notes from the New World."
We walked outside, introduced ourselves, and read the first time through the scene together. When we finished, he asked me if I spoke Russian, and I smiled and said that it was one of the languages I did not speak, but that I knew a friend who could assist me in learning whatever I needed to learn to better present the role. We worked through the scene several more times. After two other couples, they called us in for our turn, and we ascended to the stage, gained clarification that the camera would follow us throughout the audition, slated for the camera, prepared ourselves, and began the scene when ready.
As Irina, I was calculating, centered, cold, manipulative, sassy, seductive, and strong with a small amount of vulnerability seeping through occasionally as my Russian accent easily carried throughout the entire theater ( it had absolutely AMAZING acoustics!! ), and I connected with him and listened with all senses, interacting fully, and we even received several rounds of laughter during different parts of our audition. The only thing that I really remember from this audition for certain is, at one point, where Irina wanted to change the direction of the conversation, she unbuttoned a cover-up jacket to distract him, removing and dropping it slowly to the stage. I still remember my last line, which answered his question ("Is any of this the truth"); it was: "does it really matter?" I recall walking back to him and slowly, ever calculatingly, leaning over towards him like a 40's pin-up model.
When I checked the web site later, I was surprised to find a picture from our audition up on the site, so I guessed upon seeing that it must mean something! At the time, I was sure that if I had been thin and back down completely where I should be, I would have been cast as Irina.
I heard nothing for the longest time, and so, I knew I was not to be chosen, but there was still a part of myself deep inside that was a little surprised. Then, just when I had nearly totally forgotten about it, I remember wondering whatever happened with the casting of the film, and so, I researched the site and read their progress. Shortly afterward, I received a call from Rich out of the blue late one evening. During the conversation, he said I was a “great actress” and that they had decided to go a different way with the casting (which, innately I already knew), but that they were so impressed with my audition that they wanted me to come in for a co-star role if I was interested in accepting an audition for the lesser character, and, of course, I agreed (I am no Prima Donna in any form at all!). He apologized for the late notice, but asked if I could attend an audition on that Monday afternoon.
After the first audition, I drove for the Hub. Arriving maybe a minute late, I soon met Rich again and the director, Vitaly Sumin. We all talked for a while and passed on the known information about the character. I felt pretty good about the audition and quite excited. At the next meeting, Vitaly took me aside and offered me the role of Michele, and I graciously accepted with excitement.