Fascinating UGA threads, one and all. I could spend hours writing about each one (if it weren't for this damn job I'm supposed to be doing). But I will contribute two (maybe three) quick thoughts...
1) It seems like many of the directors' pet peeves are about standing on formality. As a director myself, I say, who cares? I take real issue with someone telling folks they cannot
use a Shakespearean monolgue if they don't have the proper training or experience. As an auditor, I am the actor's advocate
. I am there to see if they have a spark, something burning inside them that, teamed with my support and guidance, can translate into a great performance. To tell them to avoid Shakespeare until they've mastered it is to tell them not to audition at all until they've landed a leading role at (insert LORT theatre of your choice here). I'm afraid too many directors don't really like actors, but rather see them as cogs in the director's machine. That sucks!
(Not so) quick story - In grad school, I auditioned a freshman who had the audacity
to do Juliet's overused balcony speech (and not do it particularly well). Every other auditor quickly passed her over (and a few gave me flack for wasting time when I stopped to work with her). I ended up casting her in a small role and employed her services several more times in leading roles throughout my grad school career. Now, she's about to finish her first year in the graduate acting program at Yale after turning down a roles at LORT theates across the country. Acting gems are to found everywhere, if we, as directors, are couragous enough to get a little dirty. And Shakespeare (or any material, for that matter) is not
out. But doing material you don't feel connected to, or passionate about, or understand is
out. (And brown, as I understand it, is the new black
) That said, I would love to see more folks doing Moliere for their classical pieces - look at all of Richard Wilbur's translations.
and 2) as for directors' ettiquette, I defer to the words of my mentor, Jon Jory - which I am reprinting without
his permission, in hope that one or four of you will go out and buy his books, TIPS FOR DIRECTORS and TIPS FOR ACTORS 1 and 2 - all three of which are written with a great deal of humor and insight. They will shave a number of wasted years off your career by warning you of mistakes that you don't need to make (but probably will). Enjoy:AUDITION ETHICS (for the director)
1. You, the director, should be on time.
2. You should be decently dressed in clean clothes as a mark of respect to the actors.
3. You should be polite, empathetic, and in no way misuse the power of your position.
4. You shouldn't spend a lot of time during the audition looking at the actror's resume. It's rude.
5. You should rise when the person enters and again when they leave unless you are aged, infirm or car sick.
6. Thanks the actor courteously but do not give false hope.
7. If you have a ten- or fifteen-minute schedule per actor stay on it. If you're behind, catch up. Don't keep people waiting for long periods.
8. Always introduce the actor to the reader, if there is one.
9. Keep the audition table neat and clear of doughnut wrappers, half-eaten apples, and used tissues. You are inviting these actors to your temporary home.
10. Courtesy and warmth cost you nothing.
okay, one more thought... auditioning actors is a skill - one that is'nt really taught. I have experienced far too many auditors who, lacking any codified auditing process (clarity about their role or what they are looking for) who quickly fall back to identifying the negatives. It is safe, easy... and beneath us as collaborative artists (wagging finger disapprovingly).
I'm sure I have violated a number of the things I've just written about, so... actors please feel free to curse me all you want. Just don't skip my next audition. I'm hoping and praying that you are the piece of the puzzle that's gonna make (insert project title here) sail.
And another thing...