Behind the audition table

Recently I was behind the audition table on the panel for Urban Bard Productions as they are doing Comedy of Errors this summer downtown Toronto. Here are my observations to be taken in stride for anyone who thinks my opinion/advice is worth anything more than the breath I spent saying it 😉

1. If there is a script, STOP and read it. And if you don’t read it, do not announce that you have not read it! This happened more than once believe it or not. Just do yourself a favour and read the script.

2. If there is a sign on the door STOP and read it. Huh. I sense a theme here.

3. If it calls for an accent then do it. If you can’t do it: try. The panel wants to see you play – your willingness to just do it. (“the scripts are called Plays for a reason, so PLAY!”someone once told me.) Or if that scares the bee-jebus out of you, decline the audition because that’s the gig. But please don’t lie to the panel and say you can do a *insert region here* accent because they will likely ask you to do it: and when you come up short EVERYBODY FEELS AWKWARD. Own what you know. Work on what you don’t. But don’t try to get away with a lie.

4. Do NOT bring a knife to your audition. And then use it. And freak out the panel. Or just me.

5. Do have fun! When you are having fun we are having fun! Most audition panels are made up of people who have been in your shoes once-upon-a-time and we get it: it’s a weird thing to showcase all of you in 2 mins or less. What they want to see is your willingness, that’s 80% of the audition. There are some non-tangibles like “do you look the part” which may just be in the directors brain and never shared, or if you fit the costumes that were pre-made/rented. But really it’s your willingness to take direction, be relaxed with these certain people, showing us your homework without showing us your homework – all that in 2 mins is HARD and they know it. So just have fun and it will all be okay.

6. STAPLE your résumé to your headshot for the love of Shakespeare!!!

7. Read the room. You may not be able to do this yet but it is a skill every actor should have. If the panel keeps looking at the time, or has one word answers for you maybe you should wrap up your candid post-monologue chit-chat and get outta there. If they are looking at your résumé do not start your monologue until they look up! It’s the little things. 

8. Go there. Just do it. The whole “we would rather see too much than too little” is fine for a theatre audition (again read the room and do your homework to see if this is contrary for that situation) but mostly just GO THERE. Fill the room. I’m not saying “be loud. be impressive. be a diva” no I’m saying own it. You got the audition now take it and make it yours. Don’t apologise (oh us Canadian actors) just do it!

I think that’s it. They seem so obvious but nerves and life get in the way. The trick is to not bring that into the room. That is the hardest part of all. But that’s what auditioning is. Take all in stride and keep going to get better at the audition part, and sometimes you will even GET the part 🙂

And now if you’ll excuse me I have to practice what I preach…

 

 

Fringe keeps on giving

I have participated in many Fringe Festivals. I can’t exactly say how many (I think 6? More than five, less than ten…?) But it’s not the shows that I particularly remember, it’s the awesome people that I meet.

Every time I participate in the Fringe Festival I walk away knowing some amazingly talented people. Sometimes I make a friend, sometimes I make a best friend. And a rare time I met a boyfriend 😛 The Fringe Festival is a community – a gathering of like minds – a place where people are passionate about theatre, communication, entertainment, and storytelling. Actors, playwrights, directors, producers, dancers, audience members; everyone gathers to have the best two weeks that summer can provide. It’s tradition! But not only that, all of these people want everyone to do their best to have the best time (at least in my experience) and that’s such a great feeling to be around. It recharges your creative battery. It inspires and it pushes you as an artist, and as an audience member it just makes you feel proud to be a part of this in your hometown.

I have been in shows that got one N rating. I have been in shows that sold out and ones that we had to give tickets away just to have bums in seats. I have been in the Best of Fringe. I have been in the Alley Plays Shed and main stage space at Tarragon. All of this seems to matter and not matter at the same time – because at the end of the Fringe it’s always the people that last.

I would like to take the time to thank those Fringe artists that went beyond the festival and stayed in my life to make it that much richer, that much better for having known them. Some I can say I have known for years, some even a decade! Those artists that met me by chance, by audition, by the whims of The Tent – those that I am happy to call friend – I stop to think “what if” from time to time and think how awful it would be had I not been in that show or not been in that audience. It seems silly to think, but truly, The Fringe has made me some life long friends. It amazes me.

I am happy and proud to be a part of this year’s Fringe as it was the 25th Anniversary but even better, I once again made connections with amazingly talented people at Shakespeare MD through Spur-of-the-moment Theatre Collective. I’m excited for them to continue and to toast them soon, even if it’s a year from now at The Tent and we can say “Remember that time we did Shakespeare in a shed?!” and laugh and reconnect then and there.

This is a long winded post about how wonderful it is to have a community gather and share like this can be. Thanks everyone. I had a blast (again) and I’m burnt out (again!) but once again I’m even excited now for next year.

Cheers, thank you, and all the best to you and yours,

-Adrianna