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Handbook Appendices Forms Theatre Scholarships For Theatre Majors, Minors, and Intendeds University Theatre Handbook Table of Contents Theatre Home

• C.6  Auditioning

If you are planning on being a performer, professional or amateur, you will be doing a truck load of auditioning in the next few years.  The only actors who escape the activity are people like Dustin Hoffman or Meryl Streep, and others of their magnitude: they don’t audition because casting directors already know what they do.  Therefore the famous are generally not allowed to grow and transform themselves without major power brokering on their part, which at times con­tribute to their image of egocentricity and contrariness.  So, audition, audition, audition.

Auditions send some people into major bouts of traumatic stress—none of us like to be scrutinized and measured, after all—but it’s generally true that, as in all of life’s events, the more you do them the less “dangerous” or “fearful” they seem.  You can actually come to the point of having fun with the process.

Two notions are of greatest importance in allowing you to control your auditions.  Con­vince yourself of these and you’ve got it made! 

1) You are not doing the casting.  That’s the casting director’s job, and it’s fraught with any number of pressures and anxieties of its own. Your job is only to present yourself.  You should not be like a hard-sell salesman, but you do need to demonstrate what you have to offer at this point in your career.  So you need to place your consciousness entirely on your topic—that’s your performance material!—and not on your emotions or the casting director.

You can only be responsible for your skills and your attitude.  You can’t immediately control your age, your vocal range, your physique, your personality.  You can only present them in the best light.  And, most importantly, you cannot control the others who happen to audition with you, their abilities, or how you mix with others in casting combinations.

2) Do not think of auditions as a chore.  They are performance opportunities in and of themselves, something you want to do.  Prepare for them as carefully as you would any performance.  Just keep the production elements simple.  Select the right material, interpret and rehearse it appropriately, leave your jitters backstage, and give it your best try.  You’ll never have a better audience.  The person or persons you play to are sympathetic with you!  They’ve been here, remember.

Casting auditions are difficult work for those watching as well as those on the platform, with long periods of intense focus in which one must be friendly but not overly encourag­ing, careful not to betray too much of what’s going on inside.  This is made all the more dif­ficult when, after they have been through several sessions, they can discover in the first forty-five seconds of an audition most of what they need to know. 

So, with those two precepts in mind, let’s look at some specifics of the auditioning process.  Obviously, what is offered here can only suggest some concerns for additional investiga­tion.  Entire books are available on the auditioning issue.  You are urged to acquire some and keep informed as to how the process changes or is restructured.

Next Section: C6a: Your Personal Conduct

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