Sunday, January 07, 2007

Auditioning For Yourself

Not all of us in theatre are cut out to be directors. It is a whole separate world, with different required skill sets, that not very actor has the ability, or desire to cultivate.

Yet, even if you have no directing aspirations, there is one time when at least taking on the symbolic role of a director can be helpful. When you audition.

I hear the collective confusion out amongst my readers now.

"But Ty, even if I like directing, I certainly am not in director mode if I am auditioning for something. That would make me an actor. I cannot very well audition for myself, can I?"

In fact, you can.

When you audition, you should always be putting you very best foot forward. This task, however is sometimes more nerve wracking than one might think.

You may wonder what the director is looking for. You may try to determine, based on his/her look if you are doing well, and try to change what you are doing mid-audition. Perhaps you try to read on the faces of those that have gone before you what sort of individual is conducting the audition. Perhaps you can piece together just enough info...

Or perhaps you can worry yourself sick about just how you should be auditioning. You may or may not be familiar with the director of a given show, but one thing is for certain; you are never more familiar with anyone than you are with yourself. So instead of driving yourself crazy, gather up all the information you have been given prior to your audition and ask yourself the following sort of questions:

--What sort of traits would I want to see from an actor if I had to cast this show?
--If I were putting this whole show together, what, on the part of the actor, would make my casting decisions easier?
--How would I like to be treated, viewed, or spoken to if I were conducting this audition?

When you answer these questions, proceed to audition accordingly.

Now of course, different people will view a play, role, or audition in different ways. Chances are they will not see everything the way you would see it if you were in their place. Yet the point of auditioning for yourself is not to read the mind of the director. It is to give you a base approach to start with when its your turn to audition. It will remind you that directors are human, just like you. Most important of all, it will help prevent hyperventilation, stress, and other general freaking that comes along with working overtime trying to know everything a director wants before you even enter the room.

If a director wants you to try something different, they will tell you so, if they are worth anything. And if not, at least you did the best you were able to do with the audition, and can walk away knowing that.

The one weakness of the auditioning for yourself approach? It does not grant you the power to cast yourself in the show when you are pleased with yourself. But that wouldn't be any fun anyway.


Susan Abraham said...

A director feels a bit of a demi-god to me, Ty.
Great read as always. :-)

Anonymous said...

Freaking out is the worst part of auditioning. I long to be one of the actors/actresses that are able to walk into an audition, show no fear and belt the song like they own it. With time...with time...