Since April of this year I have done 5 theatre auditions after not doing any for over a decade. The journey has been very informative and a hell of a lot of fun so far!
Almost all of the auditions have required me to perform two contrasting monologues, each no longer than 2-3mins. It’s a very bizarre process. You are asked to come into a room (rarely do you audition on an actual stage) and after a few introductory exchanges you begin to play a piece of text (taken out of context of an entire script) without the presence of the other actor to whom you would normally be speaking these words to. Or, if your character is speaking to the audience in the piece you’re playing, you still are restricted by audition convention, in that you are strongly advised to never use those auditioning you as your audience. You are to look slightly above them or to one side, but not in their eyes! Whereas in an actual production, you would be speaking directly to those sitting in front of you and engaging them in the story you are telling. Acting in an audition is like performing in a vacuum in comparison to acting in an actual production. For the actor it is an alienating experience in many ways and there are numerous actors for whom auditioning is a dreaded experience.
I’ve approached each audition as simply an opportunity to play in public once again. Of course I’ve prepared for each in advance and have gone in “knowing my shit” as it were, but I when I walk into the space for each one, I enter with only one over-riding intention: to freely play within each piece. If I can achieve that, then I feel it was a successful audition; regardless of whether or not I am hired by the director. I suppose that to anyone not an actor such an intention is the obvious one to choose and not in any way remarkable, but to be able to truly play freely in such an artificial and alien environment as an audition room is to me no small feat of accomplishment. One only has to read any of the countless books on “how to audition” to become aware of how common it is for nerves and anxiety to dominate an actor’s consciousness while auditioning, instead of simply playing the piece without any unwanted interference from those former two. I am happy to say that, in my own estimation, I’ve had very successful auditions….it’s sad that I’m not the one making the ultimate decision though, and that brings me to my final point.
Reflecting back upon these five auditions I’ve done since April, it’s become all too apparent to me (once again) that having to rely on someone else in order for me to work as an actor, is just too limiting of an existence. There’s an old adage which states ~
“If you’re not being given work, then make your own.”
I have a number of ideas which are all candidates for this course of action, and by creating a piece for myself to perform I will be able to share with an audience what excites me theatrically. I will continue to audition for others as the opportunities arise, but I will no longer exclusively rely on others to give me the opportunity to practice my profession.
Latest posts by Brendan Patrick McClarty (see all)
- Brendan: On Filling the Audition Room with Imagination - October 10, 2014
- Brendan: Relying on someone else to give me work as an actor is just too limiting of an existence - September 3, 2014
- Brendan: Theatrical Magic in The Winter’s Tale - August 8, 2014