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How to Audition from the Director's Point of View - At the Theater
This continues a series that began with How to Audition from the Director's Point of View - Preparing. Please read that hub first.
Go through the right entrance.
Depending on its size, a theater may have one or more entrances. If the audition notice didn't state an entrance, or you haven't called the theater before hand to find out, be sure and check all the entrances if the one you found is locked. I find it annoying to have to send a stage manager out to help a clueless actor is pounding on the wrong entrance.
Be nice to the lobby personnel.
The lobby person may be anything from a hired temp to a theater company member and he or she has lots to do to ensure that you eventually see the director for an audition. Be patient, pleasant, and courteous. I often ask the lobby person what impression he or she had of an actor and that can sway my casting decision. In this case, one actor was so rude that the lobby person told me about it without being asked. That actor's audition ended before it began.
Read all the stuff in the lobby.
I typically put a copy of the script, character descriptions, a list of stunts and romantic scenes, contracts, rehearsal schedule, descriptions of coming attractions, costume pictures, and other goodies in the lobby to help the auditioner. Read that stuff carefully to gain insight into the theater, play, or character. Such insight can only improve your audition.
Practice the sides.
Practice your side with your scene partner for as long as it takes. Concentrate on your dialog and your role. Do not direct your scene partner because that presumes you know better than he or she about the scene. Practice your reading the sides in several different ways (see below). Memorize the first and last line so you can start and end your reading with a bang.
Skip the chit-chat.
When you enter the stage, expect the briefest of pleasantries, if any, and then launch into your audition. I don't need to know how bad the traffic was for you or how it took you forever to find a baby-sitter. If I have 20 auditioners to see, and each spends 3 minutes talking about their lives, that's an hour wasted on useless conversation. If there's time, I may ask you questions but usually only after you do your reading.
Give a memorable audition.
Make a choice about your role and go for it. I'd rather see a wrong choice performed with commitment and bravado, then the right choice performed timidly. If you memorized the first and last lines, you have an opportunity to give me an exciting first impression and leave me with a memorable last impression.
I often ask the actor to do the audition in a totally different way from his or her original choice. This is not a judgment on the choice. But it does show me the range of the actor and whether he or she can be directed.
Clarify what happens next.
After your audition, be clear on whether you're staying for the next round or are leaving. I've been baffled by an actor who shows up at callbacks, even though I've told him not to come. I've also been disheartened by a brilliant actor who disappears into the night even though I've told them to stick around. The only way to be sure of the next step is to ask.
After the audition, forget about it.
When you're done with the audition, go home and forget about it. Eat dinner, watch a movie, or plan for your next audition. Nothing you do now can change the previous audition. No amount of begging or whining will persuade me to give you a part if you're not right for it. On the other hand, I will track you down to Timbuktu if you're the actor I need.
Please let me know in comments whether you found these articles useful and if you have any suggestions for auditions from the director's point of view.
© Copyright 2011 by Aurelio Locsin.