‘A blind date for actors’

Posted on 31 August 2016 by admin

What it takes to have a successful audition

noises off auditionsBy: Marie Schwarz
Managing Editor

The beginning of the semester does not only kick off classes, but also other activities that take place around campus.

Take the theatre department for example. Noises Off and Violet are the two productions for this fall semester. While the auditions for Noises Off already took place, students and community members still have the chance to audition for Violet, a musical based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts.

“I think with auditions it’s almost like a blind date,” said J. Michelle Rebollo, program coordinator for the theatre and associate professor at Meramec.

“They don’t know you and you don’t know them,” Rebollo said. Therefore, a lot of politeness fills the room, she said.

But ‘how to get the role I want’ you ask? Well, there are several factors that can definitely increase your success at an audition.

It starts with the basics, said Rebollo. “Good sleep, diet and hydration are important,” she said.

Before you go to the audition, familiarize yourself with the genre of the production. Also, know the plot and characters; the library has scripts on reserve.

Think about which characters you are interested in playing.

Also, to avoid showing up late for the audition because you don’t know where the room is, check it out beforehand. Rebollo even welcomes performers to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of the room.

“Even just popping your head into the theatre, and just talking to see how your voice sounds in that space is more preparation than just going there [to audition] and saying ‘okay I’m here and I’m ready to audition,’” Rebollo said.

For the audition itself, it is advisable to bring a print version of the script, and your schedule.

Actors pursuing a role should not dress up like the role because “we want to see the actor as the actor moving into the role,” Rebollo said.

The audition will usually take place for about three hours. The director will talk about the production for a little bit, following an introduction of each in the room to get to know each other. Then the main part of the audition takes place: Cold readings.

A part of learning how to audition is “learning of how to take material that you’ve had very little time with and bring it to life,” Rebollo said. This technique is referred to as ‘cold readings.’

Since only one will get the role in the end, the word ‘competition’ might cross the mind when thinking of auditions.

“… there is a level of competition, but in a friendly way,” said Rebollo who will direct the musical Violet this semester. She describes the audition as a ‘very supportive place’ and students usually enjoy it.

A key point to a good audition is to avoid comparison.

As in yoga, “keep your eyes on the mat” said Rebollo. And “Compare your personal best to yourself … It’s not about them, it’s just about you and how well can you do,” Rebollo said.

Every role can be played in different ways which makes comparison hard anyway.

“If you have an instinct [to play a role differently from others] follow it,” Rebollo said.

Auditions for Violet will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 20 and Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in HW 102 at Meramec. For more information about auditions and productions, visit the Meramec homepage (www.stlcc. edu/MC) and click on the left “Meramec Theatre.”

To have a successful audition, it all boils down to “Just have fun,” Rebollo said. “You will find yourself much more comfortable … and then your best performance will come out.”

Marie Schwarz | Managing Editor


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