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AUDITION - By Michael Shurtleff


Prologue - Bob Fosse

  • Humor can’t be isolated but can only be found in exploring character and situation.

  • To go into acting is like asking for admission to an insane asylum. Anyone can apply, but only the certifiably insane are admitted.

  • To become an actor is an act of insanity.

  • Not being someone else, but being you in different situations and contexts. Not escaping you, but using yourself naked and exposed.

  • Most actors make themselves unhappy by searching for sanity, by insisting on their normalcy; it’s a grave mistake.

  • The ’character’ must come from inside the actor - immediately

  • Auditioning is in direct ratio to his willingness to give up searching for another character and to use himself.

  • Learn to use yourself - in unusual predicaments

  • There’s only one person like you in the entire world. Trust yourself to use that with truth and imagination.

  • Finding a reason for being there on stage.

(1) Practical Aspects of the Audition

  • physical aspects of readings: being seen and being heard

  • be in the light

  • Ask “Am I in the light?”

  • Listen to the answer - ask again if you’re in the light

  • Ask “Can I be seen?”

  • Virtually no actor is too loud

  • If you are asked to read “cold” without having seen the script in advance - always ask if you might have time to go offstage to look it over.

  • If no time to read it over - be very brave

  • Give it your all every time

  • The moral is: (1) Always go to audition for everything, if they allow you, even if you are wrong for it. (2) Whomever the auditors say they’re looking for can change into someone totally opposite. The actor who is talented and interesting and committed is more likely to get the role than someone who is “right”

  • It’s all in knowing how to use yourself fully, in employing your imagination, in being willing to take risks.

  • It would be helpful if actors would remember that the directors and producers are afraid of the actors.

  • Control your hostility.

  • When you think they’re dumping on you, they just may be trying to help you

  • Is he easy to work with? Does he take direction? - YES

  • I am easy to work with, I am affable and rational, I take direction well, I am imaginative and cooperative, I don’t pout or become hostile.

  • Most of you go into an audition situation closed up, in order to protect yourself. Learn to open yourself up, so that you can receive the experience.

  • Exit and entrance

  • “What have you done?”

  • This is your biggest chance to express who you are rather than merely what you have done.

  • Combine with the factual information your humor, your charm, your personality.

  • Present it with pride; believe in your own worth.

  • What do I do if I’m late for an audition

  • say nothing about it

  • “I’m sorry I was late. I was help up at another audition”

  • Superstitions - rather not mention what it is

  • Should I memorize the script?

  • Never. It’s a waste of time

  • It’s called a reading, so do a reading

  • Learn to regard those pieces of paper as your friend and ally. They state: “This is a reading I’m doing, not a performance.”

  • Directors directing you at a reading

  • Add to what you have done

  • He does not mean throw away everything you were doing, or he wouldn’t have spoken to you, singled you out, and given you direction in the first place.

  • Judging your own reading - judge it not on the basis of whether or not you fulfilled what you think they wanted but on the basis of how fully you were able to express your own emotional life in terms of the character and situation.

  • Being an actor takes twenty-four hours of each day

  • An agent is necessary

  • It is a lot harder to interview people than it is to be interviewed.

  • Help the interviewer

  • Wear the same thing every time you audition