THE AUDITION IS NEVER OVER!
Maybe you’re new at acting, maybe you’re a seasoned veteran, maybe you’re somewhere in between. Maybe you work in amateur theater or professional theater. But one thing’s for sure: the audition is never over! So, what do I mean by that? You may go to an audition and be done with it but you’re work doesn’t start or end there. And I’m not talking about the prep work you should be doing for an audition, though you should be doing a lot. (I’m sure I’ll write an article about that in the future.) I’m talking about your life before and after an audition.
Professionalism. It’s not just some fancy word.
Let’s say you’re in a play. How are you conducting yourself? Are you polite and professional? Or… not? Do you consistently show up late? Are you late in being off book? Are you rude to those around you? If you gain a reputation of being difficult to work with there’s a good chance you won’t be invited to work with that director again. But don’t think that’s the only consequence you’ll face because word gets around. It’s more than possible that a director who’s associated with that company will be putting on your dream show. And if they get word that you’re trouble, it’s likely that you can kiss that opportunity good bye! I’m not saying you’re there to make friends, though that’s certainly fine. Just don’t make enemies!
Someone you run into will be producing and/or directing a project eventually, if they’re not already!
A few years ago I got a small part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was working on a show I wanted to direct in the future and there was an actor in the cast who I thought would be perfect for a role. When he was working in a scene I wasn’t in, my eyes were on him. In fact, there was one rehearsal where I deliberately sat at a specific part of the room just so I could see him better. But I wasn’t just watching him when he was rehearsing, I was also observing whether he was good to work with. He was auditioning for me this entire time, he just didn’t know it! As a matter of fact, as of this writing I’m producing three plays (which will be performed online due to Covid) and each waking moment I’m going through the actors I’ve worked with in my head and considering what roles they might be good for. Directors are always doing this! (Of course, I will audition anyone who’s interested.)
But, getting back to Midsummer, when I attended callbacks for this show, I was meticulously watching all the actors when they were reading for roles and making notes in my head on what role they’d be good for. These people were auditioning for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but they were also unknowingly auditioning for me as well. The audition is never over—and it’s also everywhere!
Still not convinced yet? Well, buckle up!
About a year ago I directed a production of Hamlet. A couple weeks in, my lead bailed on me. Not a fun experience. There was another actor who I had cast in a few bit roles about a couple weeks before this. I needed someone as one of the players who could also play one or two other small parts. I didn’t know this guy from Adam. But from day one he was very good to work with. He was talented, reliable and always bringing in a lot of energy and good ideas to his work. Once I lost my Hamlet… he asked if he could audition for the role. So, I read him for it, while considering other people for the roles I had originally given him. He gave a great audition and since he had already proved to be a dream, I cast him as Hamlet. Here’s the point: if he had been problematic in any way, he would have missed the opportunity to play what is arguably the most coveted role in all of theater!
Do I have your attention now?