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
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By Hein Kotze Google+