From The Audition Process: A Guide for Actors by Bob Funk (Heinemann, 1996):
“The audition begins when you walk in the door of the theatre or into the office of the agency. From the moment you arrive you are being watched.”
Bob Funk, actor and associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, served as a state adjudicator for the Southeastern Theatre Conference on several occasions. He watched college students audition at the state level for a chance to attend the Southeastern Theatre Conference auditions. Four areas the adjudicators considered were:
- Stage presence
- Communication skills
- Acting ability
This is the same as at any audition. Here are his tips for auditioning:
- Read the play! (At NC State, perusal scripts are available in the lobby at Thompson Hall.
- Check the libraries.
- Order from Dramatist Play Service, Samuel French, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
- Ask if there are certain scenes that will be read.
- Practice reading out loud.
- If you have a reading disability, let the director know.
- Know the main characters.
- University Theatre doesn’t need a resume: we use a casting card.
- Choice of roles: Write what you are most interested in, but it is a good idea to say that you will accept any or all roles.
- Attitude and first impression: From the minute you walk in, you are auditioning.
- Be professional.
- Dress appropriately. No T-shirts, flip flops, halter tops or cutoffs.
- Get hair away from face; shave.
- Make the director remember you: Wear a memorable color, scarf, tie, etc.
- Fill out your audition card correctly and print legibly.
- Be honest, but earnest.
- Come freshly showered with deodorant—easy on the cologne and aftershave.
Reading the scene
- Hold the script with one hand and use the opposite thumb to hold one’s place in the script.
- Hold script away from face.
- Memorize the first line if possible.
- Look up—the director needs to see your face.
- Make sure your partner is ready.
- Take a deep breath, relax.
- Don’t rush!!!
- Look at the first few words, look up and say the line like you meant it.
- Make eye contact with your partner; communicate.
- Listen and react to your partner—half of acting is reacting to what your partner says.
- If you mess up the beginning, don’t worry. Don’t apologize. Don’t go back to correct yourself.
- If you are after several people who have read the same way, read the part differently. Make a BOLD CHOICE.
- If director asks you to do something different in interpretation, go for it. The director is asking to see versatility.
- If director asks you to read a part you don’t want or like, do it anyway. This shows your versatility.
- Pronunciation: If you don’t know the word, hopefully you will see it before you read it and ask. If not, just go for it—don’t stop in the middle of the reading.
- Read differently for different characters.
- Don’t just say lines. Split them up: “He had these (think and remember) funny little legs (visualize) and he used to (reach for the word) splash about in puddle…”
- Projection: Be loud so the director can hear you. Read to the back of the house. If you are asked to be louder, you must do so.
- Diction: Enunciate consonants, no lazy tongues.
- Accents: If not called for, don’t use. If you have one, try to get rid of it.
- Dialects: If the play calls for a dialect, don’t do it unless you are very good at one. If the director asks you to do one, try!
- Posture is important—stand up straight.
- Walk tall.
- Control your body—don’t sway or use extraneous movement.
- Several steps and a cross here and there, but no wandering around the stage.
- Open your body out to the audience- 1/4 open.