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* Phase 1Casting

Jay Smith and Rachel Benbow Murdy had interested me for a number of

reasons. What I saw in both of them was an orientation towards the work of acting

that was, in a word, professional. I found that they rarely came into a rehearsal

without evidencing work that they had done since the last rehearsal. They had

almost always advanced during the intervening time. This is a basic quality which I

trust and value not only because it saves time but also because it indicates the

actor's ability to allow the work to live within them. As well as the actor's ability to

live within the work. In rehearsal both of these actors had proved to be attentive,

tenacious and concerned with the overall theatrical effectiveness of a given

moment or scene, rather than only their role within it.

Both actors also had a quality associated with the tortured artist. Although

often flamboyant and fullof extroverted confidence in performance, they were also

capable of incisive and cold self criticism and/or condemnation.

In lesser actors these qualities are admirable but when backed with the

performance talents that both Rachel and Jay possessed, they added up to the

qualities of effective and profound collaborators.

Individually, Rachel was an actor with a insatiable hunger for theatre. Her

half-crazed enthusiasm for the process of creating a play, when focused into a

suitable project, was a powerful force. What I found particularly interesting about

Rachel's attention to theatre was that it was concentrated on the present moment.

Rachel had a firm grasp on the fact that the essence of theatre was in the ephemeral

moment to moment nature of real time.

In contrast, Jay was a craftsman. He would calmly and methodically approach

his work with careful attention to the structure and underpinnings of what he was

doing. Not that Jay was a stranger to the capricious winds of the muse, but that he