1. Don’t Confess That You Aren’t Prepared
It never pays to advertise, and letting the director of the play of which you hope to be cast know this, makes no sense. This problem has more to do with boundaries than confessions, as auditionees are trying to be chummy, albeit honest, with their friends, the directors. Yet these student directors have done tons of homework to be prepared to direct their plays; admitting you haven’t is akin to telling a potential employer you plan to just wing it through the job interview.
2. Don’t Forget to Read the Audition Announcement Handout
All our shows here at NSHS come with directions, aka, a one-sheet handout that tells students where, when, and how to do perform the audition. How embarrassing for you if you show up to the musical theatre audition in your new shoes and sparkly outfit, rather than comfortable dance clothes so you can learn the dance steps! This connects to number one above, not being prepared.
3. Don’t Look @ Your Feet/Floor/Ceiling
Looking at the ceiling is a universal sign of trying to remember your next line. Trust us when we say that the the gods of theatre will not help you, as Thespis is way too busy helping actors who have prepared. Looking at your feet signals that you are shy. Good heavens! You want to be cast, don’t you? Open up your mouth, raise that chin and look at us. But be sure to scan the entire audience. Don’t focus on the director solely, because that gets creepy too.
4. Don’t Speak Softly
It’s crazy, I know, but we have seen tons of students sign up to audition and have been so surprised when we can never actually hear them. In our theatre, quaintly referred to as, “The Little Theatre,” we don’t mic our actors. If we can’t hear you in an audition, trust us when we say we are hesitant to cast you, even in the hopes that you will speak up for performances. Refusing to project in the theatre indicates an inability to communicate and theatre is ALL about communication.
Not sure if you are loud enough? Enlist a friend or two and recite your monologue or sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” from increasingly farther apart distances. Start @ 10 feet, then progress to 20. How far can your friend before she can’t hear you well?
5. Don’t be a Diva
Being nice to someone is not only the golden rule, it’s tantamount to success in the theatre. We typically end auditions here at NSHS Theatre with a short improv scene. Now in improv, the goal is to say “Yes,” to every idea, even if it’s silly or has no real place in the scene. Too often though, that essential give-and-take in an improv scene is lost because someone is showboating. The guilty party will seek to make the scene be all about him, or worse yet, talk on top of everyone until the scene is full of actors shouting to be heard. Can we say, “Nightmare?!” While movies make it seem that divas rule the stage, real actors know better. Be polite. Take your turn. Give someone something to work with in your scene rather than take something.
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So what other things should an actor be sure NOT to do at an audition?
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