Early on in the casting search for the play "100% San Diego," it was pretty easy to fill demographic slots. How hard is it, after all, to find a white woman, in her 50s, from Carmel Valley. But now there are only 25 slots left, and it’s getting harder to find the right mix of demographic criteria.
The play will feature 100 San Diegans who represent the demographic makeup of the city, including race, age, and area of residence. The Playhouse is basing the demographic criteria on statistics from the U.S. Census. The final 100 will represent a snapshot of San Diego.
"This is one of the most challenging phases," says Tom Dugdale, one of the casting assistants on the production. "We are in particular need of men, who are 25-54 years old in North County, particularly in Oceanside."
They also need someone from Coronado, and people who identify as Hispanic and Filipino.
Once cast, each person agrees to four rehearsals and four performances. They don’t have to do any solo work; some won’t even have to speak.
"100% San Diego" is not a play with a scripted plot. It will contain a series of short scenes. The cast may be asked to pantomime what they do over the course of a day. Or they may be told to sort themselves based on a topic. For example, they may be asked how they feel about gay marriage. If they feel one way, they would move to one side of the stage, while the opposite viewpoint would move to the other side.
When all 100 San Diegans are on stage, audiences will see who lives here and get a sense of what they value.
Similar productions have been staged in Australia, Germany and the UK, all under the 100% moniker. The series was created by German-based theater artists working in a collective called Rimini Protokoll. They are considered the leaders of a theater movement known as "Reality Trend."
According to the Rimini Protokoll website, "each project begins with a concrete situation in a specific place and is then developed through an intense exploratory process." You can find videos of past productions here.
The La Jolla Playhouse is staging "100% San Diego" as part of a four-day festival of innovative theater in early October.
If you're interested in participating or know someone who fits the criteria, contact casting assistant Tom Dugdage at: email@example.com.