Acting in Plays, Singing/Theatre Auditions
Okay, so, I've been stressing over this for quite a few weeks now and I finally decided to ask. My first big play audition is in two weeks and I really need some help. The play is Narnia and I am auditioning for Lucy (I'm eleven by the way.) I've practiced and practiced and I still can not connect to the character. How do you get in character and make the audience (in my case the audition people) really believe the act, like, how do you make yourself sound believable or act well?
Also, I've auditioned for plays before and I knew the characters very well but when it was time for the auditioned I messed up and stuttered. How do you keep yourself from being nervous??
Hi, Savannah --
Thank you for the question.
While there is no one absolute answer to your question, here are a few points you may want to consider.
I’m sure you are familiar with the film, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). Judy Garland was seventeen at the time the film was made. In spite of the pig tales, the breast-binding, and pouty expressions – she looked seventeen. In her next film, BABES IN ARMS, released the following month, she played a full-fledged young lady in love – who, in most states, would not have needed her parents’ consent to get married.
Author Frank Baum’s “Dorothy” is actually ten years old, probably closer to 11. The original plan was to cast Shirley Temple in the role, who was exactly that age at the time and #1 Box Office money-making star. All of her roles were courageous characters who stood up to every challenge and every variety of adversity, bad guy, loss of family (particularly the father figure), and social catastrophe (like the Depression). At the conclusion of these films, she was everybody’s heroine. She would have been perfect in the role of Dorothy Gale as created by the author. But MGM decided to re-invent the author’s entire concept. That also accounts for the lack of a sequel – Judy would have been way-too-old.
“Lucy Pevensie” is around eleven. Had the role been available back in 1939, Shirley Temple would have been the perfect choice. She was a very determined young girl who had a natural aura about her that attracted just about everybody. All she had to do was memorize her lines, show up on time, follow the Director’s orders, and not bump into the furniture.
What does this have to do with you?
Let’s say this production was for a major company. The moment you enter the room to deliver your audition, before you open your mouth, the Producers are going to know if you are what they are looking for.
It’s not about you evolving into a “character” that you – as an actress – can get behind and then hypnotize the audition panel into hiring you. Lucy Pevensie is just another role for a very determined ten or eleven year old who has a winning personality, projects it to the last row, and doesn’t freak-out during an audition.
Simply stated, it’s YOU they will be hiring – who you are right now, not something that has to be invented and programmed over the next six weeks of rehearsal. That is the hardest thing for most actors to accept.
Your nerves and anxiety are about selling You and the way you are right now – no matter what role or which company you are auditioning for. Even though you may be the most “prepared” person in line, that is why you stumble.
If you suddenly walked through a closet door, a looking glass, or fell down a rabbit hole and suddenly found yourself in NeverNeverLand with a witch standing by a spinning wheel next to a basket of poisoned apples – You would have to use Your energy and wits to quickly figure out what to do next in order to survive the moment or at least yell your way out of it. Like confronting a cougar on the way home from school. The advice is to just look and act bigger. But, how?
I’m sure your family and friends have seen you in defense mode and would understand what I’m talking about. They would also be the first to recognize if you weren’t being and sounding like Yourself on stage – right?
The rest will be about whoever shows up at the audition and is willing to work without a salary, lunch, or bus fare.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I'm also a music critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
. When you want to make an appointment, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com. I am also available for sessions on Skype.
Below are links to my recent articles and interviews:
Zuill Bailey Triumphs in New Recording of Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony and Sonata
Launching the Dicterow-DeMaine-Biegel Piano Trio: Old School Genius in the 21st Century
SY SMITH – Just the Thought of You
JEANETTE MacDONALD and The Great American Songbook, Pt. 1 — Close encounters with “Dinah” and “Some of These Days”
Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke: Unmasked at SF Symphony's Masquerade Ball
New on CD: ‘As Long As There Are Songs’, by Stephanie Blythe
A Conversation with Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band
A Conversation with Lucas Meachem - San Francisco Opera’s Barber of Seville
Composer Jake Runestad’s ‘Dreams of the Fallen’ - A Veteran’s Day Happening at the National WWII Museum
Joshua Gersen conducts the San Francisco Symphony in screenings of Hitchcock Classics, 10/30--11/2
Organist Todd Wilson plays ‘The Lodger’ (1927) at Davies Symphony Hall, Halloween Night
GREG FEDDERLY – A Comprimario Tenor Extraordinaire
Olivier Latry – Organist at Notre Dame de Paris, at Davies Hall, 10/12
A Conversation with Soprano Alexandra Silber – This week at Feinstein’s, 10/11-12
SF Jazz Center Goes Baroque - A Conversation with Countertenor David Daniels
Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne—A Daring World Premiere at San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera Opens 2013 Season with Boito’s “Mephistopheles”
Introducing Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber as San Francisco Symphony’s Tony & Maria in “West Side Story”
THE GERSHWINS AND ME – A Conversation with Michael Feinstein
A Conversation with Ted Neeley, Hollywood’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
Lawrence Brownlee—On ‘Carmina Burana’, with the SFSymphony—Tuesday, July 30th
On “The Joyless Street” at the Silent Film Festival—An Interview with Matti Bye
Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”
Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano bids ‘Adieu’ to opera stage
‘A Grand Romance’—A Spectacular CD from pianist Jeffrey Biegel
Philippe Sly Debuts In 'Cosi fan tutte' at San Francisco Opera
Nicole Henry redefines the '70s with her latest CD, 'So Good, So Right'
Tenor Noah Stewart Debuts with Berkeley Symphony in World Premiere of New Work by Steven Stucky
Marnie Breckenridege, A Modern Soprano for Contemporary Opera
A Profile of Choreographer John Neumeier and his "Nijinsky"
In Conversation with Peter Gallagher – Coming to the Venetian Room
Melody Moore steps into Tosca — Opening Night at San Francisco Opera
'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie
'Drama Queens' – A Conversation with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato
Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera
A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19
Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'
A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall
RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'
A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo
ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation