Friday, July 22, 2011

I HATE THEATRE - Auditions

"An audition is a sample performance by an actor, singer, musician, dancer or other performer. It typically involves the performer displaying their talent through a previously memorized and rehearsed solo piece or by performing a work or piece given to the performer at the audition or shortly before."
A local theatre company is holding open auditions for an upcoming production. Roles for 2 men and 2 women all in their 40’s. Auditions will consist of a monologue of the actor’s choice, no more than 90 seconds in length and cold readings from the script. Come dressed to move.......Uh oh.

The drama begins. What play? It’s a new play that nobody has ever read. It’s an old play but the director has a new interpretation of the classic. Scripts are available for a $20 deposit, refundable upon return. If cast, you get $10 back.
All in their 40’s? Do you have to look like 40? What is that? Do you have to be able to play 40? What is that? Personal age is irrelevant most times on stage. Check your age at the door. A 50 year old thinks they look like they are 40. A 20 year old looks older beyond their years and they have make-up skills. The director thinks otherwise. How old do you have to be to do props?

A monologue? Should it be from a Greek classic? Shakespeare? Maybe from the script if you can find one and get it memorized. Maybe something you wrote or from something literary. A cold reading sounds painful. Come dressed to move. Move what? The last production's scenery? Or across the street to a new location? Or do you want to see if I can dance? Is there dancing in this production or do you just want to see me in tights?
What about the poor directors and producers? Will anyone show up? Will they have the right combination of talent and life skills? Will you cut your hair? Do you or can you smoke? Can you kiss a person of the same sex?
What about the opposite sex? The filling out of audition forms is probably the worse way to begin this process. Oh, I see you were an extra in Law and Order.

Directors need to be careful in encouraging people to audition. Encouragement is not meant as a secured part in the cast. Directors want the best choices possible for any production. Does actor A and actor B have a connection? But A has a better connection with Actor C but B is taller. And actor D’s dad has a garage space and can build the sets. The combinations should be endless.

Don’t come to auditions looking for a date. These rarely work out. Don’t show up if you have deep personal and family problems at home. We have a show to produce and this isn’t the Dr. Phil Show. Come to audition as an actor. Prepared and open minded. It’s not like a typical job interview. Then there is this old home week moment of hugs and kisses. "I haven’t seen you since the last audition, the last production, the last cast party, or since last week." Then there is the actor... “I’m not here to audition but since I’m hear I’ll read for you“. Thanks, you are so cool.

I spent three years as the time keeper at KTA auditions. “Time!’ and “Thank You” were the only words I spoke. But the dialogue between the judges was memorable. Early American Idol. Hundreds of people there to audition for a few summer jobs or the chance to go to nationals at SETC. I always wanted the national time keeper job but I wasn't gay or dressed artsy enough.

Best KTA audition memory? The judges and I sat about twelve rows back from the stage putting us a little above eye level to the stage. “Number 720 you are next.” Number 720 slinked onto the stage in a tight knit purple sweater dress.  She threw a chair downstage, sat and delivered her audition ala Sharon Stone before we knew who Sharon was. And yes toward the end of her monologue she uncrossed her legs straddling the chair exposing herself and the bare fact she had no underwear on! Great audition! That was incredible!!....What was that? Was she any good? Who knew? Break! "The judges need a smoke break but we’ll be right back." She didn’t advance in that audition process and she didn't understand why. Nor did we. I think she got a job at Lost Colony as a seamstress.

Whether you go commando or not it’s just like real estate......
Audition, audition, audition.

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