Monday, January 6, 2014

Demystifying Auditioning at Freehold by Bart Smith

Freehold's Auditioning class gives students an opportunity to work on contemporary and/or classical monologues, to learn about audition-specific acting techniques and also to gain real world auditioning experience by participating in mock auditions with several (surprise!) guest directors from the regional theatre community.  More information on our upcoming Winter Auditioning class can be found here.


Auditioning for a play? Sounds like fun, right? Not for most of us. For me, thinking about an audition brings up many flavors of fear, insecurity, trepidation, etc.  I took Christine Marie Brown’s Auditioning class at Freehold this fall in hopes of confronting those fears, learning more about what an audition is, and developing some tools for preparing and performing the audition.

I found the class to be made up of both experienced actors, with long performance resumes, as well as others like myself, who have little experience in the audition room. It was comforting to know that the process can be intimidating and a challenge regardless of your experience. Christine brought in her years of expertise and first-hand knowledge of what goes on during an audition. We practiced our audition pieces (contemporary monologues) in front of the class. The feedback was supportive and informative.  Through repetition, we could feel the progress in ourselves and witness the growth in our classmates. Already the idea of auditioning was becoming less intimidating.

Christine coached us in all elements of the process in class as well as in a private session: selection of a piece, preparation, warm up, the waiting room, acting choices, dress, resume, headshots, entering the room, presentation of your piece, and exiting the room.  We talked about auditioning in Seattle in particular – what casting directors expect, and how to prepare for different situations. We even explored what can go wrong in an audition, and how to cope when things don’t go according to plan. She held a mock audition in which she played the part of the auditor, and gave us a chance to work in a realistic scenario.

Once we had a chance to hone our audition pieces, Christine set up different audition scenarios with guest casting directors.  In addition to our monologues, we worked on a musical theater audition piece and did a call back audition, reading one side of dialogue from a play. These sessions were enormously helpful; we got to practice our craft in front of some of the same auditors we’d see in the Seattle theaters, and get their feedback and suggestions.  Following these in-class auditions, we had great discussions with the artists about how casting works in their theaters, and what they look for in the audition room.

These sessions were instrumental in demystifying the whole audition process and
before we could really think about it, we were all auditioning.  In fact we were EXPERIENCED “audition-ers.” There was an element of “just do it” that worked in our favor. By turning our focus from all the things that could go wrong, and directing it toward the work itself, dare I say, auditioning became fun. Who would of thought?

One of Christine’s many bits of advice that helped me to take the teeth of out the audition experience: think of yourself as the host when you walk into the audition room. The auditors are your guests – they are here to enjoy themselves and are looking forward to seeing you. Make them feel comfortable, put them at ease.

Really the class, in a nutshell, did precisely that for me. It helped put me at ease, made me feel like I hold something valuable, something that needs to be shared, and that an audition is a great opportunity to share it.

No comments:

Post a Comment