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Audition Advice

Some Specific Advice about Auditioning
Courtesy of Ms. Hall, Maine East Theatre Director

  • Read the play in advance, if you can, and see what parts you want to audition for.
  • Make some action and voice decisions about the characters you will audition for. For instance, you might decide one of the characters is awkward, loud and tactless. You might choose a voice that is rather booming, maybe abrupt and gruff. You might choose broad, sweeping, abrupt, movements, which lack any grace or poise.
  • HOWEVER, do not try to do too much with your voice and body. Make three or four voice and action decisions, then go with them. Keep gestures and movement to a minimum. Make them meaningful, not too literal. DO NOT WAVE YOUR ARMS ABOUT IN MEANINGLESS GESTURES OR WANDER AIMLESSLY!!! If you don't have a reason to move, don't.
  • Be brave and bold. Make sure you convey a positive attitude of excitement. Auditions require a firm, no holds barred attack. This is not a time to be shy. Even if your choices are wrong, a director wants to see you make definite choices and commit yourself to those choices.
  • Speak clearly and loud enough to be easily heard at the back of the theatre.
  • Dress appropriately. Relatively conservative dress is always better. You want to call attention to your talent, not your wardrobe. It is always impressive to see someone dresses up for auditions- it shows a professional attitude and appreciation for the art.
  • Do not look at directors while auditioning. Look at the actors in the scene with you.
  • Remember, the director wants you to succeed. He or she wants you to be the ideal person for the role. Never take rejection personally. It’s not about you, it is about what the director needs at one moment. Always leave the casting director with a positive impression of you. Thank him or her for the time spent with you, and state your interest in the role. Remember that a theater or director will always have other projects.
  • If you don't get a part in a play, then volunteer to help on the stage, costume, set design or lighting crews. Becoming involved in theatre productions, even behind the scenes, will give you important experience in how the performing business works and can be included on a theatrical resume as well. Remember, even the best actors started with behind the scenes work and small parts. Take whatever parts you can get. As you improve your skills and experience, you will get better and better roles. Learn the craft slowly; improve your knowledge and skills step by step. You'll find building that resume a lot more fun and much less discouraging if you take a smart and methodical approach to your training.

3 Tips for a Successful Cold Reading Audition

  • Read the script in advance and familiarize yourself with the plot and characters.
    • What’s the show about?
    • Who are the characters?
    • What do they want?
    • Which characters might be a good fit for you?
  • Practice reading aloud as much as possible.
    • Grab a storybook and read aloud to younger brothers and sisters, or kids that you babysit. Be sure to do all the voices!
    • Get together with friends and read play scripts aloud. Assign everyone a different character. (If it’s good enough for Joss Whedon, it’s good enough for you too.)
    • Read aloud from the newspaper. Imagine you are a TV newscaster presenting the news.
    • Find a really boring article (like the terms of service or warranty for an electronic device) and figure out a way to read it aloud in a way that’s entertaining.
    • Then try all these suggestions again, only in a totally different style.
  • During the audition, remember your theatrical basics:
    • Breathe.
    • Slow down and enunciate your words clearly.
    • Project your voice.
    • Cheat out.
    • Don’t hide your face (especially with the script you’re reading from!).
    • Use appropriate gestures and movements.
    • Listen to your scene partners and react to what they’re saying.
    • If you stumble over a word or phrase, just keep going!