Thursday, August 17, 2006

Audition Ills

I continue to have trouble in auditions. This is becoming a greater problem as I find myself invited into audition rooms I wouldn't have gotten into just a year ago, to be seen by a few, top-of-the-market companies with whom, I feel, I will have only so many chances. My resume has been doing this for me, lately, though this latest callback DID come from my PATA auditions, so they had at least seen me work. Should I put off auditioning for theater companies working at a higher level than I have worked, so far? Maybe take Neal's advice to aggressively seek the spear carrier positions with these companies--while shunning principle roles--so that I can learn from them before I risk losing their interest? There's wisdom there.

But the temptation is so great to just go for it, or course, grab for the affirmation! And there's the trap in my actually having a smidgeon of good critical taste: I know what a compelling performance looks like, and knowing that, believe that I can produce one; but we all know the chasm that separates artists and critics, don't we?

My work in Neal's ongoing acting class has done a tremendeous amount to help me 'stay with myself' on stage, as I have so often noted, here; so much so that I do feel some genuine spontaneity and instinct beginning to kick in, especially in workshop, on camera some--especially in MADE CROOKED--and, more and more, on stage.... so, maybe--just maybe--I need to focus more on brass-tack audition skills, while keeping up on the scene work, too (to that end, I'll be checking out Sam Hull's commercial acting workshop, to round out a scene study class.) Maybe my audition ills are just that--audition ills--rather than signs of my limits as an actor. Maybe?

Does anyone else out there feel like this about auditions?

p.s. I'm also chewing seriously on pursuing an MFA with the focus on classical acting. You'll have any notes on that?

p.s.s. This post is about me trying to figure out my own process. I deny fully any reading of this post as a comentary on other actors' work (I'm really tired of getting hammered by readers for sweeping conclusions I don't think I've made. Really. Tired.)


Trish Egan & Harold Phillips said...

My take on it? "...just go for it, or course, grab for the affirmation!" I've gone through a bad spate of auditions myself (I don't even want to talk about my West Side Story audition for PCS...), but as mah daddy always said, the only thing you can do is pick yourself up and get back on the horse. If you go in wanting a spear-carrier role, that's the expectation you're going to project. Go for it hard - if you fall on your face, it's likely that the auditors will realize that you were going for it and give you marks for that (and then give you the spear carrier). Then it's a win-win :)

Anonymous said...

"Should I put off auditioning for theatre companies working at a higher level than I worked, so far? Maybe take Neal's advice to aggressively seek the spear carrier positions with these companies..."

David, I will always remember a mentor of mine talking to me about starting out in theatre. He said, "Would you rather be a big fish in a little bowl, or a little fish in a big bowl?"

Where will you have opportunity to grow the most and learn the most? Perhaps the best place to start is where you constantly surround yourself with people who are better than you that you can learn from...but can you learn to grow even if you end up being a big fish in a little bowl?

erin said...

I find it amusing that when readers "hammer" you for sweeping conclusions, it doesn't cause you to look more deeply into what you were thinking and/or feeling when you made said sweeping conclusions and to maybe-- just maybe-- take on another perspective of your own words and see the sweeping conclusions for what they are: just that. Stop making sweeping conclusions and maybe people will stop "hammering" you for it.

Just a thought.

Now, actually on-topic, we should always strive to be better than ourselves while accepting who we are and our own limitations. Self-awareness and ambition are not mutually exclusive. Strive on.

David said...
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Anonymous said...

I know what a compelling performance looks like, and knowing that, believe that I can produce one...

Well, sir, I know what a Picasso looks like, and knowing that, never in a million years would assume so brazenly that I could simply "produce one" at will.

There's working from the outside in; there's working from the inside out; and then there is this - a "be the ball" assumption of acting osmosis, which may be insulting to every great actor, anywhere.