Spring is audition season for most theatre companies. Recently I was sent “Things All Actors Should Know About Auditioning” on Facebook and did agree with most of the advice it gave, but directors are a fickle lot and it is true that what you might do for one gig might not work for the next.
After completing the 12th year of season auditions and watching the auditions of hundreds of actors over those years I do think I have the background now to compile my own, very bias list - for what it is worth. Here are a few things I would recommend that actors do to make themselves stand out in the overpopulated theatre crowd.
1. Be Prepared
There is no excuse for not knowing the words, or not having a solid monologue or song. You may not have the best monologue/song in the world, but preparation builds confidence for you to do the best audition possible and that same confidence tells the director, “You can rely on me, I will do a good job for you.” And that folks, moves you up the ladder in the selection process.
2. Do Not Talk To Empty Chairs or Spend The Entire Monologue Sitting
Two of my largest pet peeves, ever. You are at an audition to connect with the director and production team. You cannot do this if you are constantly in profile and talking to an unseen person. Go ahead, place that person out into the audience and you will have magic happen. Sitting through an entire monologue is lazy and uninteresting. How you move as a character and interpret the piece speaks volumes about you as a performer. So move it, mister.
3. No Shows, No Job
It is the rudest thing in the world to not show up. You have not only wasted the time of people who are interested in hiring you, but taken the time away from another person who would like a shot. No shows are rarely asked to audition again so never, ever do this.
4. Be Original, Be Fearless, Take A Risk
This is your chance to stand out in the crowd. Do something that makes you interesting. I am happy to say I have been part of some of those moments where the actor took the expected and put it on its head - Telly James Hunt, Briana Lowe, Bruce Novakowski, Leda Davies, Jesse Harlton, Matt McKinney, Sarah Wheeldon, Elana Bizovie, Celeste Cameron - these actors gripped me at their auditions and, for some of them it has been many, many years. I still distinctly remember the experience of seeing them the first time. I knew I had to work with them, it was just that they were that compelling and stood out from the crowd, whatever we had for them, we would make work. Their five minutes sang. Be one of these people-fearless, unforgettable, and yes, talented.
Unforgettable Actors and Actresses
5. It Is Sometimes Who You Know
It’s true. Having connections can get you the job or sometimes nix the job (if you have let down or been difficult with another company in the past). But you can get around this. Take a class from a company you would like to work with. Volunteer. Let them know you are interested in the company and would like to someday audition. And for Heaven’s sake see the company’s plays. I get inquiries all the time from actors who want to work, those who follow up, volunteer and make the effort to come out to shows tell me they are motivated and because they are interested in our work, we are interested in working with them, too. Those who are only interested in the easy gig - not so much. Remember kindness goes a long, long way. I call it Theatre Karma.
Those are my tips. I know everyone has their own, but those are mine. Our auditions for the year are mostly wrapped up, but we do have a few openings for our Black Cat Cabaret and an improv soap/sketch comedy team we are hoping to put together. Whether you audition for us, or one of the other fantastic companies we are so lucky to have in Kelowna go out there and “kill it”!
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.