Friday, January 21, 2011

Audition Journal #2: Utah Shakespeare Festival

Date: January 19, 2011, 3:35pm
Auditioned For: David Ivers and Brian Vaughn, Artistic Directors, Utah Shakespeare Festival
Pieces: Joan la Pucelle from Henry VI Part 1 and Steph from Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute
Attire: Denim trousers
Canvas Blowfish wedges
Yellow button-down with cravat-like ruffly goodness
Blue and white striped blazer

After such a fun and satisfying audition for Chautauqua, this seemed like a bit of a downer. I didn't bomb it, but there's nothing exciting about leaving the audition room knowing you received little attention, especially having taken the 6+ hour trip to get to Savannah.

Before the audition, I dropped by to see my teacher Vivian to give her the dramaturgy casebook from 'Art' and say hello. Having worked with me on my pieces for Chautauqua, she gave me a few pieces of advice: take up space and get out of my head. (The latter has been a constant note for me.) I proceeded to not re-visit the warm up that I had done earlier in the day and mingle with the lovely people that I miss being around when I'm home. Somewhere in this time frame, I grabbed a sip of water from the fountain, choked on it, and earned myself a strange-sounding voice.

When I was called into the room, I entered in what I thought was a confident manner, shook hands with David and Brian (they were offered, I was not busting into their personal space) and gave them my headshot and resume. They asked what I had for them and I, in a more causal manner than slating (since they asked), named my pieces. And then I stood and waited as they sifted through headshots. And waited. And waited for them to both look up. Eventually I asked, "Ready?" and they nodded me on.

I did my best to apply Vivian's advice in the audition, although playing with specifics of sitting and standing may not have looked thought-through. But, as I like to say, it's "fresh" not "unprepared." And I was trying to not think too much. Amidst all of this, I began to notice that my two-person audience was looking at resumes more often than they were looking at me. In between pieces, I asked for a chair in hopes I could summon their attention for the second, shorter part of my audition. No luck. When I was done, they asked what year I was in school and I explained I graduated in November. Thank-yous were exchanged and that was it.

Not so great. What was great was the margaritas with friends afterwords.

I did take a few thoughts away from the audition. I need to seriously focus before an audition. It was particularly hard to do so in this instance, being a graduate surrounded by friends I never see anymore. But that's what the post-audition margaritas are for. Also, I seriously have to re-visit that vocal warm up. It can only help. After the audition, I realized I have no idea how to actually go about getting out of my head. I know I need to do it, but I always interpreted it as "just stop thinking." Which sounds really dumb now that I type it out and maybe I misunderstood all this time. So now I'm questing to find out just how does one "get out of their head."

This audition made me have a pretty serious tangle with that awful "second best" feeling I lived with throughout college. I thought that shiny diploma granted me freedom from that. Not the case. What to do about that is another big question.

I had debated doing Vivie Warren from Mrs. Warren's Profession for this audition, but decided against it simply because of the dialect work. I think I rooted out all those "ask list" words and all the cases of scooting the final 'r' of a word over to the beginning vowel of the next word. But it felt a little weird, and then I bumped into a friend who suggested doing a contemporary piece instead of two classicals. Maybe she was right, and I think the contemporary piece was the stronger choice, but this leads to another of my many issues: I have to stop letting my peers change my mind. It's happened so many times before and I'm tired of watching myself do it. In the case of my peers at school, I think they are all well-intentioned. I simply shouldn't be such a push-over.

I think Steph and Joan have gone slightly stale in their over-working, so I'm going to give them a rest for now and find more pieces to add to my repertoire. While I'm disappointed in the audition, as I was really hopeful to go to Utah this summer, I discovered a few things to work on, and so I move onward, forward, upward to the next opportunity.


  1. I know this is late but i came across your column searching for some info on this company. Having my first audition with them Monday. I've had the same problem of getting out my own head and being less distracted at auditions. Since its been more than a year Dont know you've found your system to fixing this. I like to carry headphones in with me and constantly look at something does only a few times Dont over read it and then maybe some inspirational pieces. So people don't really want to disturb you. Even if you're not listening to anything. And getting out my own head...i constantly ask for it to happen through prayer. What ever out whomever you talk to for inspiration use it. I just had my breakthrough last Saturday i woke up and just felt it i was officially out of my own way. The fog had cleared and i could see a little better. It's something you have to do on your own when you're ready. Believe there is only one of you. Not that there are a 1000s of girls just like some say. No. There's only one. And what you bring to an audition no-one else will do if you are true to yourself. Bring your self to the audition and be yourself. You are unique and absolutely amazing.


    1. Thank you for this lovely comment! I love your positivity and belief in individuality. I think these problems (getting distracted, getting stuck in your own head) are common, but each actor has to find a way to sort it out for themselves, like you said. I have found a confidence in myself since I auditioned for Utah Shakes that has helped me a lot, at least with simply enjoying the audition experience. That came with putting myself physically and emotionally in a better place (I moved to Chicago!). I am still playing with ways to retain focus, but a full, 20-minute warm up helps A LOT! And you know what? I had a group audition where I was very glad I socialized in the hall-it helped all of us! Every audition is different. Every actor is different. We just have to experiment constantly. Thanks again for reading and commenting. I hope you'll stop by again!