A quirky cast of characters filed in and out of the audition space at the Capital Repertory Theatre in downtown Albany on Monday, Feb. 12. It was audition day for both equity and non-equity actors hoping to land a role in Capital Rep's upcoming production of The Crucible, scheduled to open in April.
An equity actor is one who belongs to a union. Because Cap Rep is a member of the League of Professional Theatres (LORT), it is required to give a percentage of roles, including featured parts, to union actors.
When an optimistic thespian delivers his or her monologue and sheds the everyday veneer for the few moments of an audition, Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill looks for those who make a connection with the audience as a believable character in a world created onstage.
"I look for an actor who can be very focused and very relaxed at the same time so that it doesn't look like they're acting," Mancinelli-Cahill said.
When Ruth Salter enters the room, it is hard to ignore her vibrant personality. She brings the eccentricities of Sarah Goode to life during her audition.
"Your rags will be glamorous," said Mancinelli-Cahill, referring to the costume her character will don.
"Can I take that as an offer?" Slater, an Albany resident who is a non-equity actor, asked.
Salter has been working with Cap Rep since landing the role of Granma Joad in the "Grapes of Wrath in 1996. It is the artistic expression of creating a persona on stage that has inspired her to participate in more than 30 productions.
"I tend to have supportive roles, bit parts," said Salter. "But those can be fun and bring you into the company of a theater, which is an experience in and of itself."
Salter also believes in the importance of exposing people to the theater.