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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.a  Your personal conduct. 

Your goal is to get a job, and everything you do should be calculated to contribute to that end.  That means you have to appear to be intelligent, capable, skillful, social, adaptable,  friendly, sensitive to social settings, in control of self, healthy, a good communicator, a good listener, good under pres­sure, easy with authority, and better than anyone else for the job. 

You either are all these things in the context, or not.  Or you’re probably better at cre­ating good impressions in some of these areas more quickly than in others.  But you should make conscious preparation for all of them, with one caveat: do not seem calculated or contrived in any of them.  Draw on truth while controlling effects. 

When you hear about auditions by keeping your ears open, the first thing you need to do is acquire all the information you can.  This list can get lengthy, but some of what you need to know includes the following:

  • Where are the auditions being held?
  • When are they?
  • How do I sign up?
  • Is there an audition registration form to fill out (very neatly and accurately, since this is your first communication of yourself)?
  • Are my résumé and head shot due with the registration or at the audition itself?
  • How much attention time do I get?
  • What are the requirements for audition materials?  Length?  Type?  Sing?
  • What ‘s the nature of the space in which I will be auditioning?
  • Will I be “held” in a green room until my performance, or will I be witnessing other people’s auditions? 

Be on time.  Be friendly but not obsequious.  Appear nervous if you want (it might even help in flattering your listeners) but in good control.  Remember that your audition begins when you walk in the door of the audition hall, even if you’re only dealing with functionar­ies initially.  Make your best impression, but be honest.  Everyone can smell phony a mile away in these settings.

The matter of personal appearance is of great importance.  One flawed line of thought says “hey, this is what I am, take me or leave me.”  A more successful approach says “I understand this is a professional setting, and I want to show you I can adapt appropriately to a variety of needs.”  This is what acting is all about.

A comment about tattoos.  Actors shouldn’t have them where they show in the first place.  But you can remove your nose ring at least, and if you’ve shaved half of your head—well, at least neatly comb the other half.  Hold off on the make-up.  Try to appear pleasant but neutral, capable of taking on a number of looks.

Your clothing choice should facilitate the following, but should not appear studied or calculated:

1) You should be able to move in your outfit.  This means cutting back on your mini-skirts and high heels when in comes to auditioning.  It means having enough room in the seat of your pants to bend over without creating tension.  Wear sensible shoes, and keep them on.  Nothing is more irritating than needing to watch an audi­tioner prepare for “just the right mood” or needing to adjust attire to achieve it.

2) Your outfit should complement your body.  Some men should not wear shirts open to the navel.  Nor should ladies.  Some auditioners should wear fuller and looser cloth­ing than others.  Choose your colors carefully, and make sure the show a sense of coordination and generally accepted taste.  Black clothing can make you blend into the walls of black-box spaces or into the unlighted upstage for proscenium platforms.  Don’t fall for the idea of creating a really distinguishing memory of yourself by wearing something outrageous or overly sensual.  That’s all that will be remembered.

3) Your clothing should be comfortable since you may need to hang around for a while.  It should not appear to be brand new, so wear it a few times before you audi­tion in it.  However, comfortable does not mean ripped-knee jeans or your lucky T-shirt from sixth grade.  Use common sense clothing and you’ll be assumed to possess that quality.  Don’t wear some T-shirt with a slogan on the front such as,  “Welcome to the Roadkill Cafe”.  This could be your fate.

4) Be cautious in this, but you need to wear clothing which suggests the major character in your audition piece.  This does not mean that you come costumed, since this controls and limits the imagination of the casting director and designers who might be sitting in.  You are presenting yourself, not a fully rounded production.  However, men, a full-sleeved shirt for Shakespeare, a casual suit for a businessman, and overalls for a farmer, would be appropriate.  Women need to address the question of long skirt or shorter, tight fitting top or loose. 

Next Section: C6b: Audition Techniques

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