Sunday, August 15, 2010

audition notes

It's been quite a few years since I cast a play with auditions. Today and yesterday I watched the first round of auditions for Stories Left to Tell, the play I am directing in San Francisco. Some thoughts about what I saw:

  • Many people did not seem to pay attention to the audition instructions, which called for either one or two contemporary one-minute monologues, or for learning a monologue from the play provided as a side. Of the people who did monologues not from the play, I don't think one person did one that came in under a minute. All it required was a few minutes thinking to figure out how to cut a two minute or 90 second monologue down, but no one seemed to bother. Most directors know after sixty seconds of watching you act whether they want to see more or not. Giving them sixty seconds more than they asked for is inviting them to become impatient. They can always ask for more, or ask you to redo the original with an adjustment, if they want to see more.

  • Far too many people think that acting is something that they do with their faces and mouths, and their bodies are just there to move their heads around. True acting happens deep in the core of the body, and emanates outward.

  • Most monologues have imagery of some kind. Many people allowed themselves to become preoccupied with the imagery, at the expense of the fact that the imagery is there to help them communicate with someone. The connection with the someone in question seemed to be totally eclipsed by the speaker communing with his or her own imagery.

  • Those among my students who auditioned acquitted themselves well on the whole, if I do say so myself.

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