Respond to two tips from section III of Notes on Directing.
29. Directing is mostly casting.
I was nervous going into this casting process. I wasn't sure how I was going to know what I wanted or needed from actors. If I get it "wrong" then my whole production could suffer. I was in A Midsummer Night's Dream in high school. I was cast as Hippolyta opposite a boy as Theseus who didn't know the first thing about theater, much less Shakespeare. My director probably held a manifesto as an educator that would compel her to offer students a chance to learn and develop through theatre. But, this kid was the worst. He was never prepared and made no effort to memorize his lines. I suffered as his scene partner and the show around us suffered as well. My director eventually cut most of his (and as a result, my) dialogue and gave a few of his lines to me. This was a case of casting that affected her directing and the cast as a whole.
Looking at casting my own show, I really don't want to make that kind of mistake. I know that it is unlikely here to have an actor display that level of unprofessionalism. I have to look at other factors, of course. As it is a comedy, I need my two leads to have good comedic instincts as I know that is something that I know I can not teach. I'm not really sure what I want out of the person puppeteering Beer Girl, so my callback was helpful to see who has some instincts with movement. I'm also looking at physical architecture as well as who I feel like I can actually work with personality wise. I'm hesitant to cast my room mate because I rely on her now as a sounding board which would be off limits if she were part of my cast.
31. Put the actors at ease, but don't befriend them.
Holding auditions where many of my peers and friends would be present was a bit of dance for me. I have had some leadership experience where I was distinguished from my peers as an authority, but this was totally elevated. I had to check myself from being too friendly with my close friends when there were people in the room I didn't know to avoid the look of favoritism. I could work the room well, telling people logistics and what not, but when it came to watching peoples' side readings I was unsure as what to say to them or what was appropriate to say. I hope in the end I came off as friendly and professional, most people admit they are intimidated by me on first meeting.