Saturday, January 7, 2012


Two days until auditions begin for the Carol Burnett Show Tribute being produced by the Saline Area Players.  From the audition info:  The Carol Burnett Show was an icon on TV during the 70s.  The television family variety show is a fond memory for many, and now the Saline Area Players, under the direction of Tami Hindes, are bringing back the fun comedy sketches with the Carol Burnett Show Tribute.  We will be casting a minimum of 2 women and 3 men, and likely more, to play a variety of zany characters and you don’t need to look like Carol, Vicki, Harvey, Tim or Lyle to audition.

Auditions.  The word itself can produce emotions from excitement to fear.  For some, auditions are incredibly exciting.  I’ve seen people who go to auditions and light up, like it is the actual performance.  They seem to thrive on auditioning and their adrenalin just overflows, with incredible animation and charisma.  Then there are those who are petrified…. They come in with sick stomachs, clammy hands, heartbeats racing…   I’ve experienced a few auditions in which I ended up physically ill from the stress.  Then there are those who seem pretty low key, laid back, taking it in… que sera sera.  Or perhaps the outside appearance is just an illusion. Some people are eager and volunteer to read first.  Others are shy, and hang back waiting and waiting until the last possible second to read.  I waited so long once that the director didn’t realize that I was even auditioning.  Turns out that I got the lead, but you would never have guessed it at auditions.

Then there are the jitters about how to BE at auditions.  Should you really go out there and overplay everything so that the director knows that you can really ham it up?  Or will that make you look too eager and create questions about whether you can play the subtleties of the characters?  Or should you try to play the nuances of the roles, which may show your sensitive side, but leave people wondering if you have any passion?  Some say to just be yourself… but how do you do that when you’re playing someone else?  Should you risk it and try to play a character in a new way to differentiate you from the rest of the pack?  Or should you try to play the character in the familiar, most recognized way, for a safer route? 

And how many parts should you audition for?  Should you go out for just one and show them how perfect you can be for that role?  Or should you try for multiple roles, widening your chances, and show off your versatility, which might risk them thinking that you are too much a chameleon but not able to make any character that interesting? 

And then there is the question about if you should agree to take a role that you didn’t audition for.  It can be really tacky if you say that you will, but then don’t take the part, making the director scramble to fill the role.  On other hand, will you look like a prima donna if you say you’ll only take one part and no others?  Will they think that you aren’t a team player?  Some directors seem to like the truthfulness of it, while others question your commitment to the show as a whole.  And what if you want one part really badly, but you know that you could play another part well too and you might be more suited to the latter role.  Do you just go for the one you want?  If you play the latter role too well, will they not even consider you for the one you want the most?  So, many decisions…

And what to wear?  Should you wear something bold so that they remember you?  Do you get all dressed up or come in more casual attire?  Should you dress at all like the character you want to portray or is that too obvious?  

Or perhaps, the best plan is to be in the moment, feel the character as the part is given to you, don’t over prepare, be true to yourself and react to others in the moment.   The bottom line is, no matter what you do, it is up to what the director sees and is looking for and, even if you are stellar, you still may not get “the part”.  So, as with life in general, you’ve just got to go out there and do your best (and for me, lose a few more fingernails in the process).

1 comment:

  1. Well put, Mary. I have faced sooo many of those audition dilemmas.