Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch

Trying out for Stratford

It’s been only a day and a half since Gillian Barber first heard that Stratford Festival artistic director John Hirsch would be at the Granville Island Arts Club on Thursday conducting auditions for next year’s season, and with the Talking Dirty matinee Wednesday, she’s had only a day to prepare.

She’s chosen speeches from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Michel Tremblay’s Forever Yours, Marie-Lou, but rather than follow the lead of some of her colleagues who are silently mouthing their texts one last time, Barber is sitting idle, and outwardly. at least, composed.

When she auditioned for Hirsch last November he stopped her performance to offer some suggestions.

“I gather from other people that the people he did stop and work with were the ones he was interested in,” she says optimistically.

If there’s any truth to the rumor, the situation looks good for Barber’s predecessor, Pamela Rabe. Asked to run through her speech, also coincidentally from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a second time, Rabe is scarcely allowed a line before Hirsch interjects.

“Taste what you are saying,” he urges from a seat several rows back of the stage where Rabe is doing her best to navigate around furniture left from the Talking Dirty set. “Taste the words, chew them, and spit them out. Don’t let a single syllable escape you.”

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch 1982 | Photo by Ralph Bower

Pamela Rabe auditions for John Hirsch 1982 | Photo by Ralph Bower Read More