13 Sep 2017
Entering his 24th year at Loyola, Walter Wolfe is set for his 47th production of the Hannon Theatre Company. The fall show will be “Argonautika: The Adventures of Jason and the Argonauts,” a world drama written by Mary Zimmerman.
In terms of choosing the play, Wolfe said that the school has a policy of rotating the plays from world dramas, Shakespearean plays, and American plays.
“Rotating the plays helps us limit what we can choose. Also, someone who starts in their freshman or sophomore year has an interesting resumé if they decide to pursue theater in college,” Wolfe said.
Given the type of play had to be a world drama, “Argonautika” fit all of Wolfe’s needs. “It has a large cast with enough fun roles for everybody, is male-centric but also has great roles for women, is by one of my favorite playwrights and has a lot of fun including monsters and dragons,” he said.
Wolfe plans to have a cast of 20-25 actors including eight to 10 girls from various high schools around Los Angeles such as Marymount, Marlborough, Notre Dame Academy and Westridge. Although the cast consists of almost half women, Wolfe said he does not recruit girls to audition.
“I found that if I try to recruit the other girls, their schools get upset if I am taking the best girls out of that school’s theater program. Sometimes I have siblings of girls that are in the program,” Wolfe said.
Auditions took place on Sept. 5-6 with callbacks on Sept. 7. Students were asked to audition with three other students in a 45 minute to an hour time slot. “Students read and have to do a creative movement piece,” Wolfe said.
Although Wolfe directs the production, he does not decide the cast, rather a group of alumni led by English teacher Daniel Robles configures the cast. Wolfe said, “I sit in and watch and cheer them on. I have found that over the years if I cast [the play], it seems like there is favoritism. Some person who is perfect for the lead in one show might be in the ensemble in the next.”
Although “Argonautika” will not begin showings until Nov. 10, Wolfe looks forward to the day the cast can begin full rehearsals. “My favorite day is when the show and blocking is set and when we are able to start doing run-throughs,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said he dislikes hearing students say they are not good enough for the Hannon Theatre Company.
He said, “We help students become better at doing what they are doing.”
Wolfe said he is just as nervous for this show as any other, as “Argonautika” has so many different aspects. “Every show is like reinventing the wheel. I like to challenge myself,” he said.
Depending on the production, Wolfe said his favorite aspect of the process varies but said he loves letting the actors and actresses control the show.
Wolfe said, “Sometimes it’s the group of kids that I can let be creative. I love giving ownership of the show to them. There is nothing better than having something beautiful happen on stage that the kids thought of.”
This is my 24th year at Loyola and directing plays. This is my 47th production.
I taught at St. Bernerds for 5 years
We have a policy where we do a rotation of plays. We do a world drama, a Shakespeare, and an American play. It helps us limit what we can choose. Somebody who starts in their freshman or sophomore year has an interesting resume if they decide to pursue theater in college. This year was the world drama but this one seemed to fit our usual needs: a large cast with enough fun roles for everybody, male centric but also great roles for women, by one of my favorite playwrights, and lots of fun including monsters and dragons.
I am hoping to have 20-25 with around 8-10 girls.
I do not recruit the girls. They find out by word of mouth. I found that if I try to recruit the other girls, their schools get upset if I am taking the best girls out of that schools’ theater program.
Usually we get Marymount, Marlbs, NDA, Mayfield, Westridge, or Flintridge Sacred Heart. Sometimes I have siblings of girls that are in the program.
Auditions are two days with the person doing a 45-1 hr slot on one of the days. If they do well on that audition, they come for call backs the next day. There is going to be singing in this production because Mr S is writin an original score to go with the Greek Chorus. He is writing a beautiful original score that is both modern and classic at the same time. They do reading and there is also a creative movement piece the students have to do.
I do not decide the cast. I sit in and watch and cheer them on. I have found that over the years that if I cast it seems like there is favoritism. Some person who is perfect for the lead in one show might be in the ensemble in the next. When his daughter joined, he felt he needed to step away. We have alumni who decide, led by Mr. Robles. It is usually pretty evident if you know the piece of literature. For the fall show there are 3-4 alumni who help, but in the spring there are 20-25 alumni.
Usually 30-35 audition for 20 spots. The thing I hear the most is people say they aren’t good enough for the Hannon Theatre. “We help you become better at doing what you are doing.”
My favorite aspect depends on the show. “Sometimes it’s the group of kids and I let them be creative and I love giving ownership of the show to them. There is nothing better than having something beautiful happen on stage that the kids thought of.”
Everyshow is like reinventing the wheel. I am just as nervous for this show. I like to challenge myself and this show kind of scares me.
My favorite day is when the show and blocking is set and when we are able to start doing run throughs.