With our upcoming production of Athol Fugard's "The Road To Mecca" in mind, we thought we'd give you some helpful tips on how to best prepare for your audition. Many newcomers say that they find auditions daunting, but there are ways to make it a more relaxed and pleasant experience.
Read the audition notice with attention
The first thing to check is that you will be available for rehearsals and for the run of the production. It is important to remember that a considerable amount of your time will be required for the production if you pass the audition. If you’ll be unavailable for some rehearsal dates you might not be considered for a big part. Some directors work around unavailability if it is a small part or a cameo and schedule rehearsals accordingly. Our actors perform for the love of the arts and although you are not paid, your full commitment to the production is appreciated.
The prescribed audition material is always available from the director. Read the character description carefully and make sure that you are auditioning for a part that suits your age. For example, if the director is looking to cast a character who is a middle-aged housewife, it is unlikely that you will get the part if you are much younger or older. Most character descriptions however include an “age window” and actors who look the part, irrespective of their actual age, will qualify.
Preparation is key
You should always arrive fully prepared for your audition! Read the prescribed material several times and familiarize yourself with the content. Write down your own short description of how you see the character other than what is already mentioned. Should the director ask you for your interpretation, you will already be prepared and it will show that you have given your character some thought. Practice your delivery beforehand in front of a mirror or even better with family and friends. Practice, practice, practice!
Some directors will ask you to fill out an audition form, which will include details of your previous stage experience (if any). It is a good idea to take along a short resume of your acting / relevant experience in the event of the director simply making notes and not using a form. Include a headshot picture to help the director “put a face to the name” afterwards.
The audition - speak up and slow down
It's good to be a few minutes early, it will help you to relax a little and loosen up (and also study your contenders). After introductions you will wait and be called when it is your turn. During your reading it is important to the director to see your face and hear your voice. Insecurity or nervousness tend to make one internalise one's voice and body language, so beware of this and focus on speaking out. It's a good idea to try and memorise short pieces of your lines so that you can look up from time to time. You can follow the lines on the page with your thumb so that you don't get lost on the page. However, you do not need to be afraid of reading from the script. It is ultimately more important to the director to see how you can interpret the part (and not how well you can memorise). Deliver the lines as if you are saying them for the first time and the director is hearing them for the first time.
Remember to not drop your voice just because your audience is right in front of you. Your ability to project is judged at the audition. Voice projection is very important and the director needs to know that the audience in the back of the theatre will be able to hear you. Watch your posture.
We know that an audition can be a stressful situation and this stress often causes many actors to unintentionally speak too fast. Remember that it is not a race and remember to vary the pace of your speech as well as the volume, inflection and tone - but most importantly - make sure that the casting director can hear you clearly.
Be open to other parts
There might be other parts for which you are considered perfect, so don’t be surprised if you are asked to cold read another part! This is one of the reasons why it is good to read all the audition material and not only the part you are auditioning for. You might not get the much sought-after part that you want but get an equally challenging role. Be willing to assist if you are asked to read a part that you are not suited for or interested in, as a stand-in.
A question often asked is "How do I dress for the audition?". At MADS we are fairly informal and although directors are very good at visualizing the characters, it won't hurt dressing the part, if possible. Wear the right shoes. For instance, if you are auditioning for the role of a smart, well-dressed woman who most likely wears high heels, do so for the audition. A woman’s posture varies according to the shoes she is wearing … it may just help you get that part! Generally avoid slip slops as they tend to make you drag your feet.
Good preparation and a relaxed, positive attitude will serve you well. Good luck with your audition!
Related articles you may also be interested in: Finding your way around the stage, for beginners
You can subscribe to this news blog (in the sidebar) to receive new articles such as this one via email.
Muizenberg Dramatic Society
Our Directors’ Forum will be held on 20 April 2013 at 14:30
at The False Bay Rendezvous, 57 Promenade Road, Muizenberg.
We invite all directors (old and new) to present the plays they would like to direct for MADS in 2014. The MADS Committee will then submit its selection to the Masque Theatre for their approval. We require a copy of the script for the committee to read and additional information which is contained in the form available here as a downloadable pdf.
You may complete the form beforehand and send it to email@example.com (with a copy of the script if you like) or it can be completed at the Forum.
Please also confirm your attendance at the Forum by no later than 17 April by emailing Eve on firstname.lastname@example.org or giving her a call on (021) 797 7286.
This invitation is open to anyone who wishes to direct for MADS.
Theatre stage geography
As a cast or crew member in any type of stage production you should know the customary terminology used for stage placement. When your director talks about movement on stage, he or she will use these terms. First we will take a look at the different areas of the stage itself and then explore some of the directional terms (such as Upstaging, Give Stage and Take Stage).
Different types of stages can be found and the terms used vary in relation to them. The example that is used here is for, what is called, the “proscenium stage”, which is the most common form found today and which is also the type of stage found at the Masque Theatre, as you will see in the illustration below.
A proscenium stage is oriented in such a way that the audience directly faces the playing area from the front only. The playing area is separated from the audience by a portal (the proscenium arch, or "pros" in short) and the stage is usually raised, higher than the first rows in the front of the house.
The different stage areas and what they mean
In order to keep track of how performers and set pieces move around the space, the stage is divided up into sections and oriented according to the performers' perspective to the audience.
• Centre Line: Many directors refer to the centre line, which is an imaginary line that indicates the centre of the stage (playing area) and runs in an up- to downstage direction.
The Upstage, Centre Stage and Downstage areas are each further divided into left, centre and right:
Other stage areas and components
Directional stage terms
Next we will explore some of the common terminology your director will use during rehearsals, to get you (as a performer) to move from one area to another. The use of these terms saves everyone time and serves as clear instructions.
Look out for more news articles in which we will explore other aspects of theatre such as stage management, the role of a production secretary and properties (props).
You can subscribe to this news blog to receive new articles such as this one via email. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
The prestigious, annual CATA awards ceremony was held on Monday, 18th March 2013 at the Masque Theatre in Muizenberg. Cape Town’s thespians, dignitaries, doyens and followers of theatre arrived en masse, with much enthusiasm, to recognise and applaud performing arts talent on and off the amateur stage. Muizenberg Dramatic Society was awarded five times.
Special thanks to the CATA team for all your hard work, and to all the participants for another special year of theatre!
Please click the READ MORE link below for the complete list of this year's CATA winners.
Hedda Gabler reviewed by Danie Botha (in Afrikaans)
regie deur Richard Higgs vir Muizenberg Dramatic Society
met Tamara Richards, Richard Higgs, Kelly Kowalski, Philippe Pringiers, Luke Brown, Pilar Pringiers, Jana Botha, CJ Opperman en Gareth Stewart
Ek had geen erg aan hierdie opvoering nie.
Die regisseur glo hy’s verhewe bo ‘n beroemde dramaturg. Hy’s oortuig dat ‘n gehoor van 2013 hulp nodig het om ‘n klassieke, naturalistiese tragedie van 1890 uit ‘n somber fjordlandskap in Noorweë te verstaan en meegevoer te word. Ja, (sarkasties)want ons veertig-plussers wat die lugverkoelinglose teater volpak, is mos analfabetiese skorriemorrie. Ons is kultuurloos, lees nie, weet niks van vervloë eeue se gebruike en tydsgees nie. Geskiedkundige aanbiedings op die televisie, verhoog en in rolprentteaters is mos tjol.
Nee, ons móét VERRAS word. Hy wil eg menslike emosies en sielkundige insigte vermeng met selferkende absurditeite soos die ingevoegde twee werkers wat die hele lange drama muurpapier opplak. Nes jy dink dié sinlose, aandagversteurende handeling is verby, begin hulle eers weer van voor af. Ai, die gehoor word heel aan die begin aan die giggel gesit en eroties gestimuleer as CJ Opperman en Gareth Stewart voor die toe gordyn bietjie kaalheid wys terwyl hulle hul moderne oorpakke aantrek. Wat is die betekenis van hulle optrede? Die simboliek? Realisties is dit nie, oortuig dit nie. Daar is geen kontak tussen hulle en die “moeilike” Hedda wat seker die opdrag gegee het. Die hoofkarakters praat vreeslike dinge oor mekaar en dit voor hierdie “ore”?
Die kleredrag is van gemengde style en tye. Arme juffrou Juliane (Julle in die program)Tesman (Pilar Pringiers) is hewig geklee in die donker drag van destyds, kry moelik gesit met haar boeseltjie op die moderne, glinsterende stoele. Hedda (Tamara Richards) se gewade is outyds vloeiend én ook iets stomps en alledaags van ‘n hedendaagse kettingwinkel. Die regisseur wil vir ons illustreer: Só was dit gister; hoeveel anders as vandag? Asof ons die prekie nodig het.
Die verhoog is oninteressant kalerig. Die blink stoele staan vervelig in ‘n reguit ry soos personeelstoele op ‘n skoolsaalverhoog. Want daar word mos huisopknappings gedoen. Van die meubels swaai aan drade om ‘n erg moderne, minimalistiese indruk te skep. Skuus, maar ek het leedvermaak gesmaak toe een van Hedda se golwende gewade ‘n keer vasgehaak het aan ‘n dun kabel.
Die spelers se stemprojeksie is deurgaans goed. Maar verder sondig hulle. Hulle neem mekaar se toonhoogtes en spraakritmes oor sodat almal so hoooog praat. Ek het dikwels opstandig geraak oor die blote praat-praat-praat . Jy kry nie die indruk dat daar iets psigies met bv. Hedda aan die gebeur is nie. Slegs by twee spelers skep spraak en liggaamstaal iets dramaties. Hedda se liggaam kom byna heeltyd ontspanne voor; kyk onder gesakte ooglede deur en gebruik hoogstens drie stemtone. ‘n Mens mis ‘n energieke, kragdadige gedrewenheid.
The Muizenberg Dramatic Society has taken a risk in presenting Henrik Ibsen's classic drama Hedda Gabler. Richard Higgs directs a dedicated cast in this deeply thoughtful production – but it is not everyone's cup of tea. I felt especially in the long act one that in the direction the script had been so loaded with meaning, that it became heavy and the audience had to work very hard to follow. Act two was shorter, contained more action and was easier to digest.
The play is set in the villa of Jorgen Tesman and his wife Hedda, née Gabler. Just returned from a five-month honeymoon, Hedda is bored by her academic husband and seeks to entertain herself by manipulating people in her immediate circle. She's cold and calculating, a foil to the oily judge Brack.
Tamara Richards takes the role of Hedda, one of the first modern woman roles in Western theatre. She speaks and moves well. Her dead and often narrowed eyes convey her narcissistic lack of emotion. Director Richard Higgs admirably took over the role of Tesman at very short notice and excelled in the part. He irritated and evoked sympathy at the same time.