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Updated Thursday, February 9, 2006
In the play production process, the scariest part for me has always been auditions.
In the play production process, the scariest part for me has always been auditions. Once I was cast, everything was all right...until opening night jitters reared their ugly little heads and turned my insides into a quivering mass of Jello.
The cure for opening night queasiness was easy: go out there with my friends and do what I was trained to do. Fear quickly turned into excitement, and then joy. But I never got to the point where I felt comfortable at an audition, even when I knew the director personally, and I never walked away from an audition feeling I had "aced" it.
Auditions just aren't natural! There you are, standing up onstage all alone, doing a monologue completely out of context of the play it's from, with no costumes, makeup, sets, props or even other actors to lean on. And why are you up there, feeling exposed and alone? To convince someone to like you and give you a part. They have all the power, and you have none. And even though they say "thank you," what you suspect they really mean is "go away," "we don't want you," or "you're just not good enough." You have every right to feel self-conscious.
Some people breeze through auditions, win or lose. Some are exhibitionists who don't care if you like them or not so long as you look at them. Others are extroverts whose self-esteem is secure enough to take occasional hits. Some are simply professionals who realize that getting rejected for a part is nothing personal, that this is how show business works, that even failure can be a learning experience, and even a rejection can lead to a job later on down the line if you make the right connections.
But what are the rest of us supposed to do? If we don't audition, we won't get cast.
There are several books available on audition techniques, selecting monologues, etc., but the point of this blog is to reassure you that the best way to overcome the fear of auditioning is to face it, and take control of any areas you can..
Auditions are a necessary evil, and we can make the best of them. It's sort of like going to the dentist. You've got to do it, but you can do things ahead of time to make it as painless as possible.
You do have some say. You can begin by selecting the right monologue. Don't do something outside your comfort zone, and one area of insecurity is eliminated. Choose a character you feel comfortable with, and that the director could easily see you playing.
Next, be prepared. If you go to an audition under-rehearsed, you deserve to be afraid. Put as much work into your monologue as you would into a full production. Practice it over and over, out loud and in front of your friends until you have it cold. One of the worst fears associated with auditioning is worrying about messing up. Building confidence in your preparation will help prevent that.
Getting through an audition is never easy, but with experience you can reduce the fear, and spend the rest of your energy worrying about when the cast list will be posted!
Keywords: auditioning for a play auditions monolog monologue onstage scared solo trying out
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