BY ERIC MULHOLLAND
April 4, 2014
Spring is the season for auditions…lots and lots of auditions. It feels like every theatre in the greater Seattle area is holding their general auditions this time of year and I should know—I’ve been to most of them. I don’t think most non-actors really understand what it’s like to “make the rounds.” So, in an attempt to bring people in for an up-close look, I thought I might share a little of what it’s like.
First, an actor spends months in an acting studio, honing his/her craft. We pay a lot of money to develop monologues and scenes with our acting coach, to have him pick apart our work so that we can build a stronger, more believable performance. This is the part that’s most difficult. You spend all week preparing your speech at home only to bring it to class and have it ripped apart. And no matter how much you try to understand that it’s not “personal,” it still feels personal. I think its because we, as actors, put so much of ourselves into our work. It’s hard to remain objective when taking in tough feedback.
After you feel like you’ve got a little footing with your audition pieces (usually two contrasting monologues or a monologue and a song), you bravely start putting yourself out there. There are a couple of places to find out where the jobs are, so, like anyone else looking for work, you start submitting for them. If you are lucky, you get asked to come in by a casting director to read for a part in an upcoming play, movie or commercial. I find this part the most fun! I love meeting production teams and hearing about their projects; I love the chance to perform for them and show my hard work. Even if I don’t get the job, I still love meeting new people.
This wasn’t always the case. In my early years as an actor, I spent so much time agonizing over an audition. Sometimes I would get so nervous I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before. And forget about eating! I was so hopelessly nervous that I would get a knot in my tummy and have absolutely no appetite. I’d show up, sweaty palms, nervously pacing before being called. Then I’d go up in front of the directors and proceed to do everything 10 times louder and faster! It was not fun.
But that was then. Coming back to a full-time acting career a little older and perhaps a touch wiser is a good thing. I was on a long break from acting as a career and I forgot how much work goes into getting the work. And once you get work, its even MORE work to create the part. But that’s why we do it! For the chance to create a compelling character in a well-crafted play that has the potential to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way.
An actor doesn’t get every job he/she goes out for. In fact, we experience more rejection than work won. But I don’t really mind. Every time I am asked to audition, I get a chance to do what I love doing most—ACT! I love diving deeply into a play and sharing the humanity I discover in each character that I have the privilege to create.
In the past three months, I have auditioned for Intiman theatre, a music video, an industrial film for Microsoft, Village theatre, Theatre Puget Sound’s annual audition with over 50 production companies, a play with the newly-formed “Theatre 22,” three voice-over jobs and a talent agency.
And I have many others lined up before audition season is over. And I am proud to report that I got cast in the music video, the Microsoft film, “The Lisbon Traviata” with Theatre 22 and I even got an agent for film, TV and commercial work. Not bad! I guess all those intense hours in the acting studio are paying off. Oh, I almost forgot! Want to join the fun? Here are some local opportunities to audition. Local audition announcements
- Outcast Productions is looking for actors for their current season! Visit the website for more information: http://www.outcastproductions.net
- Island Shakespeare Festival’s Classic Conservatory for Young Adults is open for audition. This year’s production is “The Importance of Being Earnest.” For more information, visit: http://www.islandshakespearefest.org/Training/Training.html
Here are some productions coming soon to a theatre near you:
“The Snow Queen,” conceived and choreographed by Asharaine Machala—Whidbey Island Dance Theatre at WICA, April 4-13 http://www.wicaonline.org
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee—Seattle Repertory Theatre, April 18-May 18 www.seattlerep.org
“Good People” by David Lindsay Abaire—Outcast Productions on Whidbey Island, May 9-May 24 http://www.outcastproductions.net
Eric Mulholland is an actor, teacher and writer living on Whidbey Island. He can be seen in upcoming productions of “The Lisbon Traviata” at Richard Hugo House in Seattle and in “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Richard III” at Island Shakespeare Festival.
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