Friday, May 2, 2014

Unified Auditions: Why You Should Go, Or Shouldn't

So, the big unified triangle audition day is tomorrow.  Judging by how fast the slots filled up there is a LOT of interest this year.  I will be attending again this year on behalf of Southstream, so I wanted to write a quick word about what it is and what it isn't.

First, let me say about auditions generally: I really like what Taylor Mac wrote here. I'm not crazy about auditions in general, either as a producer or as an actor.  And let's be honest, I know a lot of people in the area.  When I'm looking to cast a role, I am probably going to invite people I know or have seen on stage to work with me (that's one of the reasons I go to see so much theatre). I think it's more respectful to the actor and the process.

That said, if you only stick to what you know, your circle will never expand.  As many shows as I've done and seen, I haven't seen everyone, new people come to town, etc...  You NEED a way to find new people or you wind up ossifying. Unified is really a great way for me to see who else is new, to think about new options.  I didn't cast anyone from unified last year, but I did call someone back based on it (the actor's schedule didn't fit with my show).

So: why do unified auditions?  Jaybird describes them as a "one minute headshot" and that's a pretty apt description. It's not about getting cast in anything. It's just about being seen. It's "saying hello." So if you are new to the area, or if you haven't worked with many of the companies here, it's a great way to introduce yourself.  It can also be a good opportunity to show you've grown as a performer.  If you feel you have really learned and grown and can express that, it's a nice opportunity to let that show.  Notice, I am not saying "if your resume looks better" because honestly, no one is going to look at your resume until after the audition. If you get my attention, that can be a nice bonus, but it's your growth as a performer people want to see.  It can also be a nice opportunity to show a new side of yourself.  If you are always cast as the heroine and you want to play a villain or a clown, bring it!  Finally, it can be a fine thing just to remind people you are still around.  Most people last year really were quite good. You never know when someone is going to want to cast someone your age/shape/race/youness/etc... and stopping by is a good way to remind people you are an option.

So, why should you NOT go?  Don't go because you feel obligated.  Don't go if you are just going to do the same thing you did last year.  Don't go if most people in town already know you (well you can, but you don't need to). Don't go if you expect to get feedback or get cast in something.  Most people are just looking. Sort of a memory bank so I know what is out there. Heck, maybe I'll get an idea from some cool people I see and change my mind about the play I do... Who knows?

Really and truly it's an honor to watch auditions.  Everyone last year was so good.  I know that's cliche bullshit, but really, maybe 5-8 bad auditions out of 80. You people were damn good!  And know, KNOW that everyone in that room is loving you and wanting you to nail it. And if you don't hear something it's not because you weren't great, it just means you didn't fit in a particular show.  So relax, have fun, and break a leg!

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