The response to our casting call for TEST was gratifying, with more than 250 candidates sending us their bios and applications. In the end, we invited about 50 actors to Basel for the TEST auditions on May 3 and 4.

As is typical for auditions, the time allotted to each actor is short: 15 minutes maximum. With so little time available, one of the big questions an actor needs to ask when preparing for an audition is this: shall I take a risk, or shall I play it safe?

The risk means daring to stand out, having the courage to phrase a song with a different nuance than the way in which we’ve all heard it before. Playing it safe means taking the well-worn path. It means interpreting the role the way it is expected to be played.

In addition to contemplating the level of risk, the actor needs to generate energy and momentum throughout the audition. The key point for the actor to remember is to create the character. The audition organizers look to see not only how an actor delivers the dialogue or sings the song. They want to see how the actor becomes the character. They want to see the unique characterization the actor brings, and how that actor, and that actor alone, is the right one for the role.

The TEST auditions attracted a very high level of professionalism. The outstanding quality of the actors we invited did not make the task of choosing the actors easier, of course. It only made it more difficult. But also more satisfying. As the auditions came to a close, we knew we had the opportunity to assemble a stellar cast.