With The 24 Hour Plays rolling through IdeasTap like a beautiful juggernaut, and hundreds of you set to audition for this life-changing opportunity, we asked the head of Old Vic New Voices and casting main man, Steve Winter, to give us the five common audition mistakes he’d happily never see again…
1. Getting lost
Not knowing where you’re going is horrible. We understand that. And eventually finding where you’re meant to be going can take some time. We understand that. But turning up late or panic-calling from the arse-end-of-nowhere does not make a good impression. And auditions are, when all’s said and done, about making a good impression. As Steve puts it “Phrases such as, ‘I only ended up in bloomin’ Boots on Deptford high street!’ and ‘Oh, you meant 10 in the morning?’ don’t really fill the panel with confidence.”
2. Not understanding the context of your monologue
“You need to know the playwright, story and character arc of the monologue you are performing,” says Steve. For all you know, this might be the monologue delivered just before the character reveals that they are a pathological liar, or in prison, or actually in love with their mother. If you don’t know the context, it’s hard to give a really informed performance. Also, OVNV are looking for actors who are dedicated and enthusiastic enough to do their research. As Steve says, “Phrases such as. ‘I just selected it from the monologue book my tutor gave me’ are not words we like to hear.”
3. Getting naked and shouting in the panel’s faces
“We like to see flesh as much as the next person,” says Steve, “but not in an audition situation and close contact just scares us.” Truly, you can reveal yourself, show vulnerability and shock without stripping down to your smalls. Also, if you’re auditioning over 250 people in a day, being shouted at for eight hours straight can become a bit jarring, know what I mean?
4. Being too quiet
The Old Vic Stage is huge and imposing and we need for your voice to reach all those people in the back room. As Steve puts is, “It doesn’t matter how brilliant your acting is if we can’t hear you. Golden rule –you can never be loud enough.” But remember, being heard is not the same as shouting (see point three)
5. Playing outside your age group
“Don’t play a pensioner when you’re 21,” warns Steve. “Play to your strengths and embrace whatever age you are.” There are hundreds of great monologues for people in their twenties and thirties out there – so don’t just reach for the grandparent role.
Also, if you get through, the chances are that the writer will create something contemporary, young and exciting. Those are the sort of actors they’re looking for.
Heed our advice, pick a good monologue, keep your kecks on, belt it out and absolutely the best of luck from everyone at IdeasTap and OVNV!
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Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license.