Magazine article Black Masks

About Auditions

Magazine article Black Masks

About Auditions

Article excerpt

This woman I know messaged me about listening to her daughter do a presentation and then giving her daughter pointers to help her daughter improve an audition she was preparing for. In essence I refused. What I did was give her six referrals to pursue with her daughter-three with other theater people who play the "audition charade," one with a dance instructor, one to her church choir, and finally, I suggested regular attendance at plays to help her develop some more theater background.

She hasn't messaged me yet to say thanks. I don't expect her to.

I gave her good advice, though she probably doesn't know it. It wasn't what she wanted to hear. She wanted me to waste my time on a ritual, an audition, that is itself a waste of time.

Ok, why are acting auditions a waste?

The auditioning actor is doing a script that's not going to be produced. If they're reading the production script, they are reading; they're not acting. They can be very good readers and very poor actors, as well as the reverse.

Next, auditions are usually solo moments. Theater, in contrast, is ensemble. Chemistry among all elements of the production is the key, starting with the entire cast. The reality is that it's all guesswork, subsidized by experience, talent, fortune, and resources.

Directors do auditions all the time because most of them aren't directors, for one, and because they are just going through what they've learned, which isn't very much, or very meaningful in the first place. So what they do is simply perpetuate a meaningless process. …

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