Auditions for the fall productions begin next week. Some students have auditioned before, others are auditioning for the very first time. To prepare everyone for auditions, we want to share some insights about auditioning in series of blog posts. In the first post of the series, we asked Professor David A. Miller—who teaches all levels of acting at BU and will direct this fall's production of Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom—five questions about auditions.
What are auditions?
Auditions are an actor's version of a job interview. Unlike a more
traditional interview, however, we start working together during the interview.
The actor has a chance to act and the director has a chance to direct during an
audition. The director is looking for not only someone who is talented and
right for the role, but also for someone they want to work with.
It depends on what the audition is asking for the actor to prepare. These
differ from audition to audition. If you take a look at all the auditions on Playbill.com right now,
for example, they are asking for different things. They may be similar in some
cases, but there will probably be variations. One of the "standard"
things that an actor may be asked to prepare for a general audition is a
monologue--a one to two minute piece of text from a play in which one character
is speaking (continuously) to another character, to the audience or to
themselves. For musical auditions an actor will likely be asked to prepare a
song or a cutting of a song and will be asked to dance during the auditions if
the musical requires dancing.
What should an actor wear to an audition?
This is always an interesting question because I don't think there's a
perfect answer. My advice is to wear something that is professional, an outfit
you can move in, and one that you feel good about. In this case professional
does not meet formal. It's an interview for a performance position, as opposed
to an office position so a suit and tie are not really expected and would
likely restrict your movement.
What should an actor bring with them to an audition?
There are some things that an actor can expect at most auditions. Actors
should bring a headshot (a standard photo for all actors) and a performance
resume. (For auditions at Bloomsburg, you have the chance to hand write your
experience and we don't require a headshot.) An actor may be asked to complete
an audition form that includes their potential conflicts with the rehearsal and
performance schedule. It's so important that an actor look at the calendar
closely before they arrive at an audition. If they are going to be out of town
for the performances, it may not make sense to audition for the show.
Do you have any other tips about auditioning? Anything that an actor should
be sure to do? Anything that an an actor should be sure to avoid?
First and foremost, remember that the director wants you to do well. They
are on your side. They want the best possible cast filled with open, friendly,
talented folks. Be confident and be yourself. Second, be prepared. Understand
what you are asked to prepare. Then be sure to prepare and over-prepare
the material (because when nerves kick in, the preparation has to be there).
Finally, learn as much as you can about auditioning. Take an acting class
if you haven't already. Read a book; there are entire books on auditioning. My
favorites are Audition by Michael Shurtleff, Auditioning by Joanna Merlin and In Performance by JV Mercanti (a
series of books which have a fantastic introduction about auditioning as well
as a lot of great monologues). And BU students should be sure to attend the Audition Workshop, generally offered
each fall, with the Division of Theatre and Dance faculty at Bloomsburg
Professor David A. Miller teaches
acting, directing, devised theatre, and playwriting at Bloomsburg University.
He regularly directs productions for BU Players (Macbeth, The Nosemakers
Apprentice: Chronicles of a Plastic Surgeon) and professionally (Amphibian
Stage Productions, The Artful Conspirators).
Note: This year's Audition Workshop will be offered on Tuesday,
September 1 at 6:30pm to 8:30pm in the Theatre Lab. No need to prepare
anything, just show up. Auditions for BU Players productions are open to all