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BWW Blog: Auditioning For College Theatre - What Do Student Directors Want To See?

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Ah, the age-old question. As an actor, I used to constantly wonder what goes in to casting choices. Now that I'm on the other side of the audition table, I've learned that the audition process is more than just a test of acting skill-in fact, the entire notion of "acting skill" is pretty much a myth. It's rare that I'll see an audition with outright bad acting. Every actor has their own unique talents and style, which might be well suited for specific types of work. The trick is pairing an actor's style with the style of the work at hand, and finding the right fit. An actor is never bad. Rather, their style might not be right for the play. In addition to getting a feel for an actor's style-auditions are also largely about an actor's personality. How easy will they be to work with? How do they conduct themselves in a rehearsal room? Depending on the type of theatre, sometimes directors might be paying closer attention to the way you wait for your audition than the actual audition itself!

A few more surprising things student directors are paying attention to during your audition...

1. Malleability: Can you make adjustments to what you have already prepared? If someone comes in with a polished audition, I might make a suggestion to alter something they've done, because I want to see if they're willing to try something new. My favorite actors are the ones who have the bravery to try out alternative choices or unfamiliar acting styles.

2. Professionalism: An actor with a professional attitude is someone who is focused on the work, not on themselves. A red flag for me is if I ask an actor to make an adjustment, and I'm met with apologies and explanations for the original choice-rather than seeing them dive in to the new direction. "I'm sorry" in an audition room rarely reads as politeness; it more often reads as defensiveness and a lack of focus.

3. Enthusiasm: Are you passionate about the material? If you've read the play, we can always tell. If you've read it more than once (even better!), we can always tell. It's a great look.

4. Temperament and politeness: Everyone who interacts with you in the audition process is paying attention to your behavior. A stage manager might observe rudeness from actors waiting to audition, and pass that information along to the director. When awaiting your audition, remember to be patient, professional, and friendly to everyone around you.

5. Collaboration: Do your scene partners enjoy working with you? Are you actively listening to them and embracing their choices? Directors adore actors whose scene partners are clearly enjoying the partnership. A major red flag for me is when I see an actor making impulsive choices that make only them look good, at the expense of their scene partner.

6. Love: Are you having fun? A love of the work and enjoyment of the process can radiate from actors in the most beautiful way. We can tell when actors are truly enjoying the experience of sharing their art with the room. If you're dragging yourself through the audition and find the process painful, it shows. Always remember to breathe, and don't get too caught up in nerves. Focus on your love: you're here because this is what you love to do!

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From This Author Student Blogger: Emily Hoffert