Casting for Character BY DON FREEMAN
LIKE MOST OF THE artists and writers who have dwelt lovingly on the
varicolored life of New York City, Don Freeman comes from
somewhere else in his case, California, where he was born at San Diego in 1908.
After attending high school in St. Louis, he became an itinerant trumpet player.
Even while practicing his “hot licks” on the trumpet, however, he was drawing as a pastime.
With training under (among others) John Sloan and John Steuart Curry,
he began a new career as a caricaturist, with special emphasis on theatrical subjects,
and is now a free lance, producing posters for shows and work for various newspapers and magazines.
He has been a Guggenheim fellow.
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Casting for Character is Mr. Freeman’s interpretation of an actual scene he
came upon accidentally while walking down a side street just off Broadway.
In a splash of artificial light the casting director-whom Mr. Freeman describes as
“very amiable”-is interviewing applicants for a type part.
A clutter of scenery, sluggish supernumeraries, a tray of refreshments, and a
lady with dog in a property chair are congealed in a print that gives the
required feeling of being crowded, without appearing jumbled.
The framing of the chief character in the scene is aptly achieved by the
lighting and the placing of the three figures nearest him.
The humor of the situation is implicit rather than obvious, and is a tribute to Mr. Freeman’s selective eye.