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Actor, Worker Shortage Plagues Dramatic Club

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

A shortage of actors and technical workers this fall for Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club productions may force a limit on the number of plays done in the future, club president David G. Victor '87 said Sunday.

"Quality productions are experiencing casting difficulties because actors are few," Victor said. He said common casting week--which was insitituted in the spring of 1984 to centralize all auditions for house and Loeb Theatre shows--has proved enormously successful and led to an increase in the number of shows each year.

Last term there were 33 productions, and almost as many are underway this fall.

Up The Supply Curve

But the number of people available for these productions has not increased significantly and so producers are drawing from a limited pool of actors and technical directors, Victor said. The result is that qualified actors are performing several parts, and less experienced ones are learning on the job.

Victor said he definitely would not want to end common casting week, and would seek other ways to deal with the shortage. "Since the initiation of Common Casting Week, there have been some phenomenal productions. We're not going to kill fantastic theater," Victor said.

Directors and producers interviewed yesterday said ways of easing the shortage could include putting plays on a staggered schedule, or having actors fill multiple roles within a play.

The shortage is most apparent among technical directors, who are often sought only after casting is completed. Ann E. Pforzheimer '86, the club official who helps directors find technical workers, said she believes the problem is caused by the lack of a central office to assign "techies."

"There is a shortage, but it affects the person and not the show," said Michelle L. Deskus '88, a technical director for one show and master electrician for two more. "Trying to do your best in simultaneous productions may mean getting less sleep."

But not all students producing plays this term said they believe there's a lack of actors or techies. Marcie L. Bobis '88, producer of "Dogg's Hamlet" and "Cahoot's Macbeth" said that "120 people tried out for our comedies and we could only accept 10. We were not at all constrained in our choice of actors."

Anne Mimi '88 of Adams House, who is acting in three productions, said directors this fall are being understanding about scheduling difficulties caused by the lack of actors. "Also, the productions are larger this year so there are more small roles to fill. An actor cast in several small roles can generally handle it," Mimi said.

Victor agreed that although actors and techies are often doubling up, he feels the quality of plays will not decline.

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