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BWW Blog: Whee Tell the Story - Auditions, Standardized Patients, and More

BWW Blog: Whee Tell the Story - Auditions, Standardized Patients, and More

Hi, y'all! This last week was crazy oh my goodness! Over the weekend, I went to one of my first professional auditions, trained to be a Standardized Patient, and went to a two-and-a-half-hour dance call for the Dance Showcase in April. All wonderful things, and I'm already exhausted!

On Friday, I ended up having no classes except for my dance tutoring with Kelly, because it wasn't my group's week for Piano, and my other two classes were cancelled because of meetings/illness, so I got to have a chill day of preparing for my Unto These Hills audition at 3:30PM. I've worked/interned for The Lost Colony in the past, so I figured why not hit up another outdoor drama? I performed a monologue from Messiah by Martin Sherman that I stole from my best friend, and a cut of one of my new rep songs for this semester; 'Will He Like Me', and it went fairly well! Since getting to college, I've had so many random auditions for a variety of audiences: professors, NCTC adjudicators, Terrence Mann, film students, and even my own peers, which has helped significantly with nerves. Walking into that audition, I didn't feel nervous at all because they were friendly, my acting professor, Colin, was working the video camera, and it took place in the studio from my acting class, so it was a comfortable situation. Yay summer stock!

Immediately after this, I met some of the freshman MTs, Alaina, Emily, and Aubrey, and we drove to the Health and Human Sciences building across the highway for the introduction for our weekend of Standardized Patient training. Prior to this signing up for this experience, I had no idea what SPs were, but it's actually a really cool opportunity as an aspiring performer because it's a day job that uses skills that we need to keep sharp anyway. Standardized Patients are actors who are carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation can't be detected, and are often utilized in med school to help students improve patient care. This not only includes memorizing the facts of each case, but also replicating body language, physical findings, and the personality characteristics of the subject. It was originated by Dr. Howard Barrows, and the weekend at WCU was lead by experienced actor and SP, Brian Plocharczyk. In addition to transforming into our assigned patient, we also have to observe the student examining or questioning us, evaluating their patient care based on a checklist given beforehand. This plays a crucial role in their grading, and their pathway to becoming doctors.

BWW Blog: Whee Tell the Story - Auditions, Standardized Patients, and MoreAs part of the weekend, we were split into three groups and were each assigned a different case to memorize and replicate for a trial run on Sunday. My case was for M. Anders, and involved acting as a grad student who has been having panic attacks for the past six weeks. We sat in a circle with our fellow group members and were quizzed on the specific facts of the case in character, as to standardize our behaviors and tics with the other members of the group, and on Sunday, we got into groups of three with one member of each of the other groups and got to test it out. The patient aspect, which we were training for, was not as difficult as I had anticipated; once the facts were memorized, it became easier to separate the emotional side portraying my character's anxiety and the clinical side of analyzing the student's bedside manner. When it was my turn to play the clinician, it was much more challenging than expected. Figuring out the right questions to ask while maintaining a polite and personable demeanor was not a simple task. I have much more respect for the medical field after this weekend, and am excited to hopefully continue working with them in the future.

Finally, after returning from the final session of SP training on Sunday, I went to the dance call for student and faculty choreographed pieces in the Dance Showcase. Though I was cast in Marthaluz and Caleb's tap number last semester, I didn't go in with high expectations, since all of the pieces were more modern/ballet based, which isn't necessarily my strong suit. Two of my dance tutors, Alexa and Kelly, were selected as choreographers, which was nice since I was already familiar with how they taught steps and made the process a little less intimidating. We learned six combinations from five choreographers in two and a half hours which was crazy, and it went surprisingly well. I've never thought of myself as a particularly technically strong dancer, but by finding a story within the music, it became more fluid and doable. The cast lists for those come out later this week, so we'll see what happens!

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From This Author Student Blogger: Micah Patt

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