Hello readers! Early tomorrow morning I will begin a journey to Memphis, Tennessee for the sixteenth annual Unified Professional Theater Auditions. There I will be chained to a chair in a dimly lit room while scientists monitor my ability to endure repeated performances of Sophie’s monologue from The Star-Spangled Girl in various stages of sleep deprivation over a period of several days. Should I survive, I will be transported back north in an unmarked vehicle and returned to my loved ones on or about the evening of Wednesday, February 10th.
In rare moments of lucidity, you may well find me somewhere out in the manga blogosphere, Twittering over breakfast or celebrating another Manhwa Monday. My captors make no promises.
See you next week!
Kris saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm
Are you casting for a show? Or a company? Is this a national theatre thing, or is it local to Tennessee? Just curious. :)
Melinda Beasi saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm
I’m Managing Director of a touring children’s theater company based in Massachusetts. We cast five touring companies a year, currently. We go to these big group auditions regularly because it is a great way to see hundreds of actors all in one place (from all over the country) for minimal cost. :) UPTA is one of the best-run of these, so on one hand it’s fantastic. On the other, we’ll be holding callbacks until 1 or 2 in the morning each of the audition days, which is exhausting and seriously mind-numbing. Also, I’m getting to be an old lady and it makes my back hurt. Heh.
Kris saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm
That sounds both really interesting and really tedious. I noticed your family ran some sort of school or company (from a link you showed me before), but didn’t realize you also directed a touring company. That’s really cool! You really depress me actually, lol. You do all this great stuff! I’m a little jealous. Though not jealous that you have to do auditions and callbacks on the same day, all day. Ouch.
At least you’re not the one getting up all nervous to sing/dance/act for people. That ought to be a slight comfort. You get to sit there and quietly judge people. :) Though…the nerves of an audition may be canceled out by having to hear the same songs and monologues over and over again.
I know here, everyone bloody sings “On My Own.” It’s so cliche. Every time I saw someone get up to sing that, I groaned. It’s a good song, but EVERYONE does it.
Melinda Beasi saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm
Yeah, teaching in my parents’ studio is a side job for me right now. The theater company is full-time. :) And don’t be depressed! It took me a long, long time to settle into this life, and I’m still always looking for something new to do. Heh.
I like to think that I’m very sympathetic to auditioning actors since I spent a lot of years on the other side of the table. :) Still, something that actors never realize… we’re on their side! We really, really want them to be good. We *need* them to be good in order to do our jobs! And even more than that, we want them to be nice, fun people who we will enjoy working with. If actors just realized that we’re just a bunch of theater nerds and all we want is to like them, maybe they wouldn’t be so terrified. :)
Kris saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm
Oh, I have horrible audition anxiety. And every time I audition and don’t get a call back (which…has been every time since HS), it gets worse. I just haven’t had the best audition experiences, to be honest, and it really got me down. The last one I went to I botched BAD because I was shaking so badly I lost all breath support. Hit all the right notes, but too softly (rather, I should say, was loud enough, but not in my belt voice). Still, thought they might see the talent in there somewhere, and my height as an advantage, maybe. Just for a Ziegfeld chorus girl (Funny Girl). But not even that. :(
What really crushed me was an audition I had for a college production, where it honestly seemed like everyone who auditioned was cast…but me. I don’t think I ever got over that.
Er, anyway! I don’t mean to make this my little sob story over here. When I go to auditions, I’m very smiley and polite. I was taught to shake hands when I could, and I’m always polite to the pianist and make sure my music is easy for them to follow. I’m professional about it; I think it’s important to respect everyone involved. I rather wish I had focused more on technical theater in college; I ended up not focusing anywhere and just generalizing, which I think was a huge mistake in retrospect. Think I would have made a good techie.
Anyway, have fun and good luck choosing some good people for your company!
Melinda Beasi saysFebruary 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm
I have a student right now who I think is experiencing similar anxiety when she auditions. It’s so hard to conquer! I have a lot of sympathy for that.
I do think a lot of theater programs don’t prepare students well for the professional world, and that includes not urging them to find their greatest strength and focus on it. Even performance-only programs these days I think put too much energy into trying to create triple threats and not teaching students how to use their true strengths to their best advantage.
Thanks for the well-wishes! I’m hoping the talent is big this year! :)