Unfortunately, not many schools have the resources to nurture a student’s passion for musical theater, notes Julia Reinstein of internet and media company Buzzfeed News. Shane DeCamp was in seventh grade when he fell in love with musical theater and since then, he has been in “three more school musicals, playing two leading roles in two of them.” Can Shane solely rely on school productions and drama clubs? Not anymore!
On Instagram, a subculture of “fake casting” boomed over the past year, allowing users to audition and cast their own imaginary musicals. In Shane’s case, he started a fake casting account with his best friend, Lila Carino, this summer. A few months ago, 14-year-old Shane found fake casting accounts while browsing Instagram’s Explore tab. He auditioned for a few and later decided to make his own.
Shane enthusiastically narrates, “I texted Lila, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is a really good idea.’” He adds, “We can be, like, really professional and actually try hard to make a nice casting account.” Shane and Lila are part of the growing community of fake casting on Instagram, with 800 accounts using the #fakecasting in 2019. Users post on their account “what Broadway musical is next in their ‘season.’” For auditions, users will have to send a video of themselves singing a song from the show. Then, the casting director will post the cast list in a separate post.
Lila reminds, “It doesn’t turn into an actual show.”After all, people are doing it out of passion. Or for bragging rights if a user scores a lead role. However, it brings theater lovers under one community. Sophie Byrne, a 15-year-old in Ireland, casts a fake production of Hamilton on her Instagram account. According to Bryne, the platform is a great place to talk about theater because people “don’t really get that in school” or some are not really into it.
Interestingly, auditionees “almost never use their real faces or actual names.” Some members want to be big-time stars, but others prefer to get over their teenage shyness or stage fright. 15-year-old Abbey Carlson from Ohio states, “I know that I’m not usually comfortable showing my face, just because I hate my facial expressions when I’m singing.”
Fake casting can be better than a school musical, as drama teachers cannot interfere or balk about their students’ preferences. Further, it evokes a sense of community where kids can feel belonged and share their love for theater, bringing joy to a person’s life.