Dear Musicals.Net Posters,
Well, I went to last Saturday's acting workshop, which was more like a lecture, and boy, was the entire day interesting! I WISH that my old high school Drama teacher had bothered to teach all of us high school students everything that I learned within the space of 3 or so hours during this workshop!
There were several facts that I didn't know about the audition process:
* "Big Brother" watches you from the moment that you walk into the building on the day of the audition! If you're late (Being early is actually favorable), you're looking disinterested, you're behaving in a pretentious way, or you're whiny and panicky, etc., you WILL be noticed, and you WILL be mentally judged, AND you might be thought of negatively during FUTURE auditions, because of any unfavorable behavior that you display during your FIRST audition!
* During the audition process, you must be symbolically "naked"; that is, you should arrive dressed as yourself (NOT as the character that you hope to portray), because, should you be chosen for your dream role, the director will "strip you down" and dress you in the way that THEY see fit to dress you. You should come prepared, with your own sheet music, and you should sing your audition song with as FEW of your own flourishes/ imitations as possible, because, there again, should you earn your dream role, you will do so because the director likes YOUR OWN voice, and not the voice of, say, Idina Menzel. When you dress like Judy Garland's Dorothy, your costume distracts the directors, and when you mimic Frances Ruffel, SHE is who the director will hear, and your more than likely WON'T earn your dream role.
* Those extra few cookies CAN bite you squarely in the derrier! If you are trying out for the role of a "waif", and you look like Adele, you more than likely will NOT get your dream role, unless your voice is such a winning, quality voice that the director CAN'T ignore you as a possibility for the role! The director would rather NOT order you to loose 10-15 pounds AFTER giving you the role of a waif. If you want the star of the show to be a size 15, you'd better start writing that new musical...NOW! Of course, in the case of my wanting to be Eponine, I actually fit the dictionary's definition of the word "waif"; that definition does NOT mention the term "thin"! Besides, what with the Thernardiers habit of thieving, Eponine ALWAYS had clothing, food, etc.; her life was just a STOLEN life, instead of being an EARNED life, and she had to learn to appreciate what her parents had been able to steal.
* Thou must train thy children WELL! On the day of the audition, your kid, no matter how young, is expected to sit in the front row, ever ready to perform for the director, ever well-behaved and attentive. Misbehaving scallywags will be looked upon as unlikely candidates for plum roles, and your constant parental involvement in the audition process (Ie: Preening, scolding, prepping, prodding, arm-twisting, hissing in ears, etc.) will hurt your child's chances...I feel sorry for the children...but I do understand that "if you've got it, then you've got it, and if you ain't, then you ain't"...even if you're a kid, because a director can't work with a child who needs to be babysat, or with a child who comes with excess baggage (The Stage Parent from Hell). I'd have made one heck of a slipshod child actor, and to think that when I was really young, adults would bug my mother about getting me into commercials, never understanding that I was NOT the kid who took directions without trying to change them.
* The directors try to be fair. Even if they know you well, and/ or you've been in so many of their plays that you're practically FAMILY, they'll expect you to behave as though every audition is your FIRST.
* You need to be well-rested, and well-fed on the day of the audition, because FOOD IS NOT ALLOWED in the theatre!
* Be honest! If you have a most important engagement, write about it on the audition form! The directors DON'T want surprises, and they DON'T like dealing with people who are dishonest.
* Take your audition SERIOUSLY! If you're going to audition, then you're auditioning to GET A ROLE, NOT JUST FOR THE SAKE OF PROVING TO YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN AUDITION/ GET A ROLE. The child actors are ESPECIALLY hurt and bewildered when a showoff auditions, gets a role, and then leaves the entire show, claiming that they just had to prove to themselves, or Aunt Sally, or whomever, that they could GET a role, and that they weren't really SERIOUS about the show itself.
* Dress comfortably for your audition (Comphy shoes, clothing that you're not going to have to pull at in order to feel comphy, etc.)
* People are UNBELIEVABLE, even in small towns! At the end of the general session, the people who were wanting to be in "Les Mis" went to the other side of the room, in order to meet with the show's director, ask questions, get information, etc. There was this sort of tallish, dark-haired boy who came over with his large, imposing father. The kid had a snobbish look to his face, anyway, but when his father sat behind him, and next to me, I figured that the father wanted to be Valjean or Javert, and then the two of them began talking about Little Gavroche, and I realized that this nearly teen guy, who seemed to be on the verge of adolescence, was going to try to be Gavroche!
Well, the father began asking intense questions, leaning forward, being SO pushy and loud that I was actually beginning to fear the fact that he was right next to me! The poor kid was obviously a classic stage kid (an older version of Adore from "The Day of the Locust"?), and the director quickly let the boys know that Little Gavroche was a role that a little GIRL could play, if a girl proved to be better than all of the boys at auditioning convincingly. Wow!
Then, there was the woman in front of me. She had brought two blonde, blue-eyed children (A boy and a girl), and she was more than likely preening the little girl to be Young Cosette. The child did not have what I would have called an attractive face, but her hair was a pretty shade of blonde, and I could see her playing Young Cosette (if her voice was good). Well, at one point, the little girl, who couldn't have been more than about 6 or 7, began playing with her hair, and pretty soon, her mother was grabbing her arm, hissing in her ear, and just being so mean...RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DIRECTOR... that I was shocked and horrified!
This was AFTER the speech about stage parents, etc. I hope that that kid DOES get the role of Young Cosette, just because she's more than likely a sweet little girl, and because she didn't deserve to have her arm literally twisted for the sake of a role that Mother wanted her to get. I was the kid who would literally take every conceivable form of hair decor out of my stick straight hair, so, had my mother been a stage mother, she'd have been very tempted to twist MY arm on just about every occasion. I'm SO glad that I DIDN'T try to be a child actor of ANY kind! Then again, I'm glad that the kids' auditions are today, because if I had to be in the same room with two dozen arm-twisting parents, I'd be too angry with them to perform a successful audition song.
If you've been to any acting workshops, feel free to discuss them.
Thanks in advance for your replies.