Preparing your Audition

Recommendations for Preparing the Audition

Please be advised that the following are suggestions and tips provided as a guide.  It is important to remember that they are NOT rules by which the auditions will be evaluated.

Selecting Material

Time management is a very important consideration in selecting material.  Actors will be stopped at the time limit at all levels of the audition.  There is no grace period at any level.  Actors are strongly encouraged to allow for room in their audition both for audience reaction and for taking the time necessary to fully develop the acting moments.  

Actors and coaches are also strongly encouraged to select material which will help demonstrate the audition competencies listed below:  

•Use material that is within your age range, your vocal range (especially if you're singing), your emotional range, and within the scope of your movement skills.

We encourage participants to have a value and respect for all people.  Students should be mindful and sensitive about choosing material that is distant from their own life experiences.  This includes, but is not limited to issues around disability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and age.

• Avoid a cappella singing as it is not the standard of professional auditions.

Choose material that features the nominee while the partner takes the supporting role.

•Choose material that has a clear beginning and moves to a conclusion.

•Avoid material that you have performed in a complete production as it may hamper your ability to re-stage/re-think the scene for audition, rather than production purposes.

•Discuss your choice of material with your director, and your other acting teachers to make sure you have acquired performance rights and/or permission to perform the material

•Choose material in which you have faith and that allows you to gain confidence as you rehearse.

Rehearsing the Material

•Make strong, positive and varied choices aimed at putting your character in charge of the scene.

•Locate and exploit counterpoints and tensions between yourself and the character, tensions within the character, tensions between the character and the dramatic situation.

•Take a journey and allow the text to surprise you. Use discoveries, realizations, unusual tactics, and make nonverbal choices in the scene to keep the journey the character makes spontaneous and surprising.

•Give movement specificity, dramatic validity, and theatrical finish. Simple but completely realized movements and gestures are the most effective. Avoid literal interpretations of the text in movement and gesture.

•Avoid working on too many physical levels (on chairs, tabletop, etc.) simply to dazzle the audience with unusual staging choices. Look for staging choices that grow more from a thorough understanding of the text than a desire to use the audition venue in a unique and clever way.

•Maintain vocal control throughout the scene. Don't let emotions drive you beyond vocal expression you can control.

•Imagine the physical space appropriate for your scene; set the boundaries and maintain control of that space during the performance

•Movement should develop organically from the material; the connection between the physical action and its emotional source should be strong and clear.

•Ask your acting teachers and your coaches to help you with your audition. Bug them until they do. Don't let the regional festival be the first place your audition will be seen by others. Feedback from coaches and as much rehearsal in front of others as possible is essential.

•Your introduction is an important part of your audition. Make it count. Script and rehearse it as if it is an additional scene in your audition. Be sure both you and your partner are introduced by name (but do not identify your school), and that you identify the title of each piece you are performing. Keep the introductions brief, personable and professional.

•Adequate rehearsal is vital. A five minute presentation should be rehearsed a minimum of six hours, excluding time spent learning the material and discussing it with coaches.

At the Audition

•Wear simple, attractive, comfortable clothes and shoes suited to your movement choices. Current stylistic trends are not necessarily the most professional attire. Remember, your clothes aren't auditioning — you are.

No costume as such should  be used, unless absolutely essential to the scene.

No properties should be used, unless absolutely essential to the scene.

•Minimize jewelry. Style your hair so that it doesn't  hide your face.

•Warm up your voice and your body. Take time to connect to your partner.

•Assess the acoustic qualities of each performance space and make choices regarding how much vocal energy you will need to be heard.

•Command your space. You are being watched even as you place the furniture in preparation for the audition.

•You may certainly end your audition with "Thank you."

A Note about Time:  

Do not run scenes together.  To avoid going over the time limit, a good rule of thumb is to use no more than 2 minutes, 45 seconds total in the preliminary round, 4 minutes, 45 seconds in the semifinal round, and 5 minutes, 45 seconds in the final round.

Time the performance carefully so that it is always within the required limits; audience laughter is part of your time—you don't get extra time if they're laughing too hard to press forward.

The confidence, poise, and polish characteristic of outstanding auditions is the result of dedicated, concentrated rehearsal and astute coaching.