Theatre Auditions

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How To Audition
My Audition Goal
Kinds of Theatre Auditions
Theatre Audition Questions
Dressing for Theatre Auditions
Selecting Audition Monologues
Rehearsing the Audition
Performing the Audition
Singing Auditions
Sample Monologues
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Theatre Audition Questions

Hopefully, you are now beginning to ask yourself some general questions regarding your preparation for the audition process. 

Questions like:

“If thousands are auditioning; what will help them remember me?” 

Ultimately, when you really think about, whether or not they remember you has more to do with THEM than with YOU.  They MIGHT remember you if your monologue is significant, real, truthful, vocally and physically interesting, and PROFESSIONAL.  But they WILL remember you if your audition is everything we just mentioned…. And if and only if…  you LOOK like what they’re looking for, you SOUND like what they’re looking for, and somehow you do the monologue in a way that makes you appear appropriate to them and their unique vision of their art.

Notice the conspicuous and deliberate absence of every actor’s favorite neurotic question:  

Was I good enough?   

Not a fair question to be asking yourself.  You are prepared; you are confident; you are creative; you are relaxed; you wear your beautiful body confidently; you speak with your individual and unique voice.  You may not be what they are looking for, but you are always “good” enough.

You are worth remembering.  And you will be remembered: if you are what they are looking for.   And “what they are looking for” is not something that you can control.  You may not look, sound, act, whatever like what they envision for their production or organization.  Oh well.  What they envision is not a comment on you.

“I know,”  you say,  “but if I am good enough, I can change their mind and make them all want me.”   

No, you can’t.   Don’t be so egotistical.  Not everything is about you. 

Not everything good or bad that happens to you is your doing or your fault.   You may be hired because you remind someone of their high school boyfriend or girlfriend.  You may get fired because you sound like their ex husband or wife. 

Not everything that happens to you is going to be to your credit or blame.  But it’s not fair!  So what?  Get used to it. 

I used to believe that if my shows were superbly directed, every audience member would sit enthralled and vicariously participate in even the most subtle character experience.  In reality, half the audience thinks I “hung the moon” and the other half recommends that I “be hung from the moon.”  Learn to be fair to yourself.    

Learn to live joyfully within that wonderful theatre paradox

Strive for the impossibility; celebrate reality.

Even Don Quixote had to eat and use the restroom between his attacks on the windmills.

“How big is the room … how far away are the people.” 

The most common acting problems have nothing to do with Stanislavski.   The success of most acting comes down to three banal considerations. 

Was the actor SEEN, HEARD, and UNDERSTOOD. 

Who cares how much inner turmoil the character is feeling if no can hear it?  Who cares how many tears are raining down the character’s cheeks if no one can see them?  Who cares how much rage is rumbling from the rafters if no one can understand the words? 

No one cares. 

Technique, inner life, movement patterns drawn from a platypus; all great stuff;  but fundamentally the only people who care about those marvelous character facets are the audience members who SEE, HEAR, and UNDERSTAND them. 

Keep your eyes up; stay open to the audience.  Be sure everyone in the room can hear every syllable you utter.  And diction, diction, diction!  The theatre celebrates language.  The playwright’s words completely contain and create the play’s special world.  Diction, diction, diction!

“When is the first moment that they will see me?  Is this when my audition starts? ” 

During my production auditions, I deliberately arrive in the room early and “busy” myself with shuffling papers and jotting down “important” notes. 

What I am really doing is watching the perspective performers interact with each other.  I particularly watch how they listen to each other.  The audition situation is a high energy, nervous experience.  I note how their bodies and voices respond to this heighten energy and pressured situation. 

But importantly, I watch how they treat each other.  The courtesy, egotism, and empathy expressed among the performers in this situation tells me exactly what to expect in the six week rehearsal process. 

If I’m going to spend four to five hours a day for six weeks with someone, I want to be absolutely certain that that person is courteous, interesting, proactive, and FUN.  

Life is short.  True art is exceedingly rare.  True artists are even rarer.  We need to spend life and create art with people we like and respect. 

 When does the audition start?  The moment they meet you.  When does it end?  Never.  As long as they know you and work with you the audition continues.  Every rehearsal is an audition for your next job.   Everything and everywhere you see the directors/teachers/agents you ARE auditioning! 

“Where should I stand on stage or in the room during an audition?”

You were born onstage.  The theatre lights are your sunshine.  They fill you with life, with energy, with confidence.  The lights illuminate the images of your words and your memories. 

Your eyes never seek these images in the darkness of the floor.  Your eyes never wander down and inside yourself looking for your emotional temperature.  Upward always upward.   Find the light.  Tip your head into the light until you feel its glow on the top of your vision. 

This insures that every marvelous nuisance of thought and action traveling from your heart to your eyes will be seen, experienced, and appreciated by the audience. 

“Will I be performing on a raised level or ground level?” 

The stage height directly determines your movement/blocking choices.  If the director/teacher/agents are sitting at a third row floor level table, and you start your audition sitting down, you may just as well be auditioning in the next room.  They will not see you.  Remember, your whole body is your instrument.  You need your whole body to express the complete dramatic action of the moment; they need to see your whole body to understand the experience. 

“One minute…. Are they kidding?  How can I reveal the entire depth and width of my incredible acting skills in just one minute?”

An experienced director/actor/teacher usually watches for about fifteen seconds; which is actually five seconds longer than they need to make an informed opinion about your experience and skills.  Only directors in colleges and universities seem to require three to five nights of four hour call backs….which continues to astound me.   To me that time is much better spent in rehearsal.   

“I know!  I’ll do something really outrageous… then they will be sure to remember me!”

They will remember that you did not trust or honor the integrity of your art; that you insulted them with silliness; that you chose the cheap shot over the practiced considered presentation.  They will indeed remember you, but not the way you had hoped to be remembered.