How Howie?

When I saw the Granary were looking for submissions for their New Directors Festival I knew that the time had come to start my directing career. Yes, it was time to stop sitting in the audience criticising everyone else’s work and put my own ideas to the test!

I had several plays in mind that would interest me but choosing the right one was not going to be easy. Having eventually settled on Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice, Dave and I prepared our submission to the Granary.

The artistic director, Tony Maclean-Faye, didn’t feel that this was the right play to do – and looking back now it would have been crazy to try and stretch the budget to a 6-hander – so we settled on Mark O’Rowe’s Howie The Rookie. Tony asked me if I had any other plays in mind and as it happens a good friend of mine had been talking to me about putting Howie on just the night before. He had been interested in doing a production of O’Rowe’s play ever since we had studied it in Coláste Dhulaigh, Dublin and UWA Aberystwyth, Wales. It was the first play that came to mind when Tony asked me for other suggestions and Tony liked the idea. Sometimes things just work out that way!

Casting the first part, The Howie Lee, was easy. My good friend was also a fine actor and had always wanted to play Howie. Nick Kavanagh was my first choice and was available to do it. This casting business looked easy. The Rookie Lee wasn’t as straight forward. I had a few possibles in mind. One was touring another play, another had just moved to Limerick, and so forth. I’d have to hold auditions for this role.

When it came to it I enjoyed holding auditions and it was great to see the pool of talent in Cork. I knew a few good actors that were Cork based but there were a lot of actors auditioned for The Rookie Lee that I had never seen before. None of them were quite right for the part but it did give me a good collection of CV’s for future castings.

At this point it crossed my mind to travel to Limerick or wherever to get one of the possibles to play the part but we decided we’d hold a second day of auditions. The setting up of this second day was a bit rushed and so we only had three people to see one of which cancelled at the last minute. I was down to my final two hopes of being able to rehearse in Cork.

Another two good auditions later I had found my Rookie, Stephen McCann. A native of Dublin he wasn’t going to have any trouble with the accent and the energy he gave to the piece made me convinced I had found my man.

Two actors cast and performance dates of 9th to the 13 of October agreed it was on to assembling a crew quickly so things would be in place before rehearsals began.


2 Responses to “How Howie?”

  1. […] can be tricky at the best of times, but casting for a reading of a play is even trickier as you have no money to […]

  2. […] O’Rowe, author of Howie The Rookie, has won the Scotsman Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Fringe First award […]

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