The thrill of dangerous scrutiny | Joe Depasquale

We speak to director Joe Depasquale ahead of his production of James Johnson’s The Audition, in which a director tests how far an actress will go to get the part. A two-hander featuring young actresses Tina Rizzo and Aleksandra Andrea, the play will form part of Evenings on Campus

Joe Depasquale
Joe Depasquale

Could you tell us a little bit about the evolution of the play? What inspired the choice and how did you set about developing your take on the play?

I was browsing through various scripts last year on a Sunday afternoon, when I first came across James Johnson's play. I immediately thought that it would be something I would love to do. Evenings on Campus was the perfect opportunity to set it up. The most important step to develop the idea was to find the ideal performers.

The concept suggests psychological warfare: which buttons did you want to push with the play, and how do you hope the audience will react to it?

The play has a lot of raw appeal to it. The audience will, hopefully, be questioning their own moral stand: Should we embrace the cold, logical path or should we sometimes act illogically but kindly? We hope that the audience will love it and also leave the performance discussing whether they agreed or not with the characters’ outlook.

The play being a two-hander puts a lot of onus on the actors. Was it a challenge to find the right actors for the role, and what did Rizzo and Andrea bring to the table?

I have had the good fortune and the pleasure of working with both actresses on other projects and they came to mind when thinking of whom to cast. They are simply amazing. Their input, their dynamic, their character development and their attitude have made this project a wonderful  experience. 

The dynamic of auditions has, unfortunately, become something of a headline topic over the past few weeks owing to recent events. Would you say that this play can shed some light on this?

Absolutely. From what I read in the media a lot of people seem to think that it’s all black and white and that actors should know better. It really isn't the case. The director has control over a situation and the actor allows that control because he will really feel that he can give a great performance. From this play it is clear that the audition can be a very challenging moment for both director and the actor being auditioned.

What do you make of the local theatre scene? What would you change about it?

I do love the local scene with all its ups and downs. I would try and get younger members of society more involved.

The Audition will take place at Atriju Vassalli, University of Malta on August 5 at 21:00