Sunday, March 17, 2013

Audition Tips for Stage Actors

I've been watching a great many prepared auditions lately. I love actors--I was one for many years. So it hurts me to see you ruin your audition with what are perfectly avoidable missteps. Remember that we really want to see a fabulous audition and we really want you to be the actor we cast, or the actor we recommend to our cute director friends. 

So here are a few guidelines that should improve your luck. 

1. Don't say "scene" at the end of your speech. Don't ever, ever say "scene." Who is telling actors to do this? Professional actors never say "scene" after an audition. So when you do, you are telling the auditors you are not a professional. Kiss of death. 

2. When  you enter, go directly to the stage or area of the room where it is clear you are to audition (in front of the auditors). Try not to dilly dally with your purse or backpack or whatever. Take your water break before you enter the room.

3. Greet the auditors with a friendly "Hi" or "Hello," then introduce the pieces by saying something like "Hi, I'm Laura Lundy-Paine, today I'll do doing Isabelle from Measure for Measure and The Girl from The Pillowman." Then take two seconds and go. Take two seconds after the first speech, then do the second contrasting speech. Pause for one- two seconds after the second one. Say "Thank you" in your own voice. Leave the room. 

Okay, Number 3 sounds pretty straightforward, right? Here's what we don't want you to do:

Don't do any speech that exceeds 2 minutes. It's never necessary. You may think the good part is coming so we're good to wait. We are not good to wait. We are annoyed that you didn't trim the speech. 

Don't come unprepared. Know your speeches. Work with someone on them. Make sure in some theater somewhere you might actually be considered for these roles (don't do Lady Macbeth if you are 14 years old)

Don't rush the intro, and don't rush your speeches. This really irritates the auditor and it's disrespectful to the playwright, who slaved over these words. And it won't get you cast. 

Don't say "I'll be performing.. . " You're not performing, you are auditioning. Say "I'll be doing. . . "

Don't scream at the top of your lungs. It freaks us out and we probably won't cast you. 

Don't stalk off the stage without saying "thank you." We'll think you're a jerk and we'll most likely shrug at each other like "What the hell?" As an actor seeking employment,  you don't want that. 

Don't do two speeches that are the same rhythmically and offer the same type of character in the same type of situation. 

Please, for the love of God, don't lock eyes with us. We will throw you as we look up and down from our notes, etc, as we write nice things about you.  Best to chose an imaginary person or spot or whatever, focus on that, not us.  

Enjoy your moment with us! Find truth and meaning in your speeches. Be focused.     
I truly hope you are cast in the role of your dreams. 

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