Theater students go behind the scenes of auditions
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01
Excitement runs high at the beginning of the semester with new classes, professors, and ways to get involved on campus at Sam Houston State University. However, for theater students, every semester brings a new set of challenges as they crowd the halls of the Performing Arts Center going over in preparation for a season full of performances that starts with the auditions.
The long process starts as students prepare for weeks leading up to auditions and are given just two minutes to make an impression with the hope of landing a role. For students preparing to audition, it’s not just about the acting, but also about knowing their character.
“First I would research the show I was auditioning for to see what characters I could play and what kind of style the show is,” junior Adrienne Whitaker said. “From there I would look for other shows in the same style or other shows by the same playwright to get a monologue from. I would do the same thing to find a song. Then I would memorize them and practice them as much as possible.”
For other students, along with the time limit come other challenges that add to the pressure of auditions.
“It is a feeling of not knowing what the outcome is going to be,” junior Brett Mourglia said. “Other than doing what you consider good, there is virtually nothing you can do beyond that.”
But no matter how much preparation, a lot of what happens in an audition depends on the show and the director. Some directors ask actors to memorize two contrasting monologues and simply perform them. Other directors have the actors read straight from the script, which is referred to as “cold reading.”
“I like cold reads when you get to read with other people auditioning because you get to have fun with the text and you don’t have to worry about memorizing,” junior Adrienne Whitaker said.
Other directors will ask actors to merely improvise something. An actor can prepare as much as possible before an audition, but a director might ask them to perform it differently.
After preliminary auditions, students are called back for another audition if they are being considered for a role, adding another layer of nervousness for students. However, once the hours of rehearsing lines, waiting and auditioning are over, many breathe a sigh of relief and see the process as a learning experience to grow as an actor.
“First off it is a relief to not have to worry about prepping, waiting and nerves anymore,” Whitaker said. “I mostly feel the sense of accomplishment for getting through them and growing and learning throughout each audition,” Whitaker said.