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Audition Tips

Nobody likes auditions, I mean it's not like we look up the theatre guides and say "look an audition at Peridot this weekend, let's go because they're such a blast!". But auditions are necessary.. so how do we make the audition process both valuable and successful?

How To Get Ready

Step 1 - What's The Play? Find out as much about the play as you can. Better still get a copy of the script and read it (try the VDL library). Decide whether you like the play or the roles. If you don't like any, then you won't be as enthusiastic and motivated as someone else.


Step 2 - Who's Doing It? Which company is putting on the play? Are they far from home so is travel going to be a hassle. Find out where they rehearse and on which nights. Sometimes rehearsals are in a different venue that may be more difficult to reach. Make sure you can commit to the full rehearsal process.


Step 3 - Which Roles Can I Do? Examine the roles in the play. Make a judgment as to which roles you are suited for. This is mainly to do with the usual characteristics of age, gender and appearance. Read those roles a bit more carefully and work out which ones you want to read for. Perhaps call the director and ask what they are looking for.


Step 4 - Prepare. Read the script, familiarise yourself with any sections that you have been advised will be used in the audition. Think about the character you are auditioning for, think about their physicality - how would they stand or walk; are they confident or mousey; how might they wear their hair; what is their style of dress - and then show the director that you have invested some time in being ready for the audition.


Step 5 - Ready, Set, Go. Get to the Audition early. Familiarise yourself with the venue so that you feel like you belong there. Try to relax. Have a list of any other roles/plays/companies worked for if you can't remember them as you will be asked to provide some details to give the director an idea of your experience level.. Be confident. Enjoy - believe it or not, while being scary auditions can still be fun.

 

How Do Auditions Work?

There are 3 typical ways that the audition will be run.


1 Individual - The director will audition you alone, perhaps with someone else to read in parts. This is probably the most scary way of auditioning as you have the director's full undivided attention which can be somewhat unnerving. The disadvantage of this method is that it is very time consuming for the director and is consequently not often used.


2 Small Groups - This is the most typical way used I have seen. The director will call into the theatre 3 or 4 auditionees who will then read sections of the play together. The director will have chosen the roles and people so that a section of dialogue can flow smoothly. This is a good method of seeing how different people interact as the action will typically be on the stage including movement.


3 Everyone at Once - This is where everyone gets in the theatre at the same time and the director will ask people at different times to read different sections of the script. They will then swap people from role to role trying different combinations until they (hopefully) find what they are looking for. This can seem like a competition to auditionees, but try to understand that directors are trying to juggle a whole range of criteria. It's not just your talent, but how the cast balances for height, colourings (particularly for families), experience, vocal production etc.

 

Why Didn't I Get the Role?

The director will typically have a reason why you didn't get the role you read for. Here are some of the more common.


1 Did not fit in physically with the other cast members already chosen.
This can potentially be such seemingly trivial things as too tall, too short, too fat, too thin. Directors are trying to juggle a whole range of criteria. It's not just your talent, but how the cast balances for height, colourings (particularly for families), experience, vocal production, similar accents etc. For example an overbearing oafish male character is not likely to be cast to a short, thin, bespectacled gent. Exercising some common sense when choosing your role to read for should preclude this from being a reason.


2 Can't do the accent required.
Unfortunately, many of the plays we do require an accent of some description or another. Directors will specify in audition notices the type of accents required; if then not prepare a general accent from the country in which the play is set. Try using the accent at home or with others and see how it sits for you - practise, practise, practise. The strength of a play can be diminished by by actors not using the correct accent. Try to make sure you can do the accent before you audition.


3 Acting is not strong enough.
This is always a rather touchy. As auditionees we put ourseleves on the line in front of other people and we can be hurt by a rejection. But sometimes there is a distinct difference in our perceptions of our talent compared with other people's perceptions. Be honest with yourself as to your abilities; while it is good to "reach for the stars" try not to bite off more than you can chew. No actor started out by being perfect. Many fine actors and directors started out in theatre by playing small roles. Do you remember Kevin Costner in The Big Chill - his first movie role? Of course not; Kevin's first role was as a dead body - and his scenes ended up being cut! So try to be realistic about your abilities when choosing which role to audition for, additionally, think about taking some acting classes to brush up your skills. There are classes advertised and some of the local companies have acting workshops. Peridot conducts it's Future Development Workshop each year; this is a cost-effective way to improve your skills, to meet new people and to put those skills into practice on stage.


I hope this helps and Good Luck!