2019 UGA Stats and Auditor Survey Results

Stats on: 495 monologues & 183 songs

Most popular playwright:
73 – William Shakespeare
9: Anton Chekhov
8: Steven Dietz; Aaron Posner
7: John Patrick Shanley
6: Stephen Adly Guirgis; Arthur Miller; Theresa Rebeck; Tennessee Williams
5: Kenneth Lonergan; David Mamet; Sarah Ruhl; Neil Simon
4: Edward Albee; Bekah Brunstetter; Gabriel Davis; Lillian Hellman; David Lindsay-Abaire; Duncan McMillan; Terrence McNally; Tom Stoppard

5 of Shakespeare’s plays were NOT performed:
Comedy of Errors; Henry VI Part III; Henry VIII; Richard III; Timon of Athens

Most performed plays/musicals:
8: Twelfth Night
7: Stupid Fucking Bird
5: As You Like It; Hamlet; Romeo & Juliet
4: Jesus Christ Superstar; The Odd Couple; She Loves Me
3: [title of show]; All’s Well That Ends Well; Bonnie & Clyde; Brigadoon; Death of a Salesman; A Doll’s House Part 2; The Dreamer Examines His Pillow; Fun Home; The Greatest Showman; Gruesome Playground Injuries; Guys & Dolls; Henry IV Part I; Hunchback of Notre Dame; Into the Woods; Jekyll & Hyde; Measure For Measure; Much Ado About Nothing; Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Peter and the Starcatcher; Richard II; Shrek the Musical; Stage Kiss; To Kill a Mockingbird; Uncle Vanya; The Wild Party

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FEEDBACK FROM AUDITORS:

Every year we allow our auditors to give feedback on what they liked/disliked about the annual Unified General Auditions. Over 30 auditors filled out the survey – this is valuable information for future UGA actors, containing information about how best to prepare for your 2019 audition.

While this survey contains a lot of great information, each specific opinion should be regarded as exactly that – one person’s opinion. Getting positions from 30 different casting directors means the results contain many contradictions – for example, one auditor may say “never do Shakespeare at the UGA” while another may say the exact opposite!

*The perspectives offered in this feedback do not represent those of Theatre Puget Sound. Names have been redacted — otherwise comments have not been altered in any way.


We attended this General to cast for projects occurring between: (Please check all that apply)

Spring 2019

29%

Summer 2019

35%

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

50%

We keep headshots/resumes on file for currently unscheduled projects.

59%

How many 2018 UGA actors potentially fit a future project of yours?

Less than 10

28%

11-25 actors

41%

26-100 actors

9%

I keep all or most of the actors on file.

12.5%

Not Applicable/Other

6%


What were the most surprising, enjoyable, memorable moments from actors?

  • Actors who presented short and strong pieces.
  • Actors who were able to laugh at themselves and who were able to enjoy the auditions.
  • Humor in at least one of the pieces helps, especially when it works. And trusting the material. We’re afraid we can’t remember specifics, but the one thing that sticks in mind was a dangerous standing backward leap onto a block that then began to tip. The auditors gasped but the actor did a clean dismount, finishing his piece, and all were relieved. Not a talent we were looking for, but memorable.
  • When the actor is able to connect with the audience in such a short amount of time.
  • I enjoy it when actors make mistakes like tripping or forgetting to move their chair and being able to laugh it off or make a self deprecating comment.  My biggest surprise was when an actor did a monologue from a play I wrote – very thrilling.
  • Monologue or song pairings that that showed range and ability to do something big and comedic vs. simple and dramatic.
  • [PERFORMER NAME].  I know her and it was so wonderful to see her work.   I know this is a new area for TPS, but she made it clear how worth it  it will be to include Deaf and disabled artists.
  • When actors had a radical contrast in their second piece. When actors were truly enjoying the piece they were performing.
  • One actor’s shoe malfunctioned. And she made it into a moment that revealed her skills.
  • Comedic monologues – often when the actor portrayed an inanimate object, animal or other non-human entity.  This provided a welcome relief from the “woe is me”, or “self effacing” monologues, which tended to blur together.
  • The most surprising, to me, was that hardly any did Shakespeare or verse poetry of any kind.  We tend to not consider anyone who doesn’t, apparently they’re being told not to, but it’s a vital tool in the tool belt for our Company.
    The most enjoyable moments are when actors just let go of the thing and entertain us–especially if they’re good at it.
  • I wish all of the adults who were auditioning could have watched the youth auditions.  They killed it. They chose genuine material that fit their age and were so honest and vulnerable.  They killed it.
  • Surprising – except not – as it has been so for the last several years – very few people did Shakespeare and even fewer did it well.
    Enjoyable was when they simply entertained us – made us laugh, preferably. And I mean within the audition, not that clunky way of trying to be casual with us in their intro..
  • Actors over the age of 40-45 seemed to provide the most interesting, charismatic moments. Something for playwrights & producers to think on.
  • We had some amazing older actors represented this year! Actors over 55 who just brought incredible material and beautiful auditions. As someone who hopes to hang around for a decades to come, it was wonderful to see.
    And if you are an auditor who doesn’t stay for the kids – do it next year. Even if you don’t need kids. They are astonishing and well worth the extra hour of your time. And it’s good for them to have the support/people in the room!
  • That they came prepared
  • One of the best transitions between two monologues occurred when the actor ended her first piece on her knees ( it fit the monologue) and then just moved her body in a slow circle as she stood and started the next monologue. Another actor put her jacket on a chair when she started and then moved to put it on in character for her second piece. The best moments were actors who used the stage fully and showed a range of emotion.

In a General Audition like this, what factors make an actor stand out?

  • A quick and honest polished slate
    Actors who did unique monologues.  Actors who did their own works. Actors that selected monologues that were in their wheelhouse.  
  • Because we sit there for days and hours, seeing so many actors, the most successful auditions were ENTERTAINING! I know you want to show off your skills and talent, but don’t forget to entertain. It makes you very memorable!
  • Trusting the material and giving good, grounded performances of it. We grew tired of gesticulations, and they seemed to come in droves when actors were delivering Shakespeare in particular. Those rare instances of an actor simply(?!) embodying a character speaking caused us to take note and issue invitations to audition.
  • Well thought out material choices, knowledge of the material, and acting ability.
  • Preparedness is key.  Quirkiness helps some of the time, but talent will out; if you aren’t connected to the material, the gimmick of your audition won’t help you.
  • Being real and genuine as they enter and introduce their pieces.  Choosing monologues that are more unusual and unique. I paid more attention when the pieces had fun physicality.  Being engaging and full of life in dramatic or comedic works.
  • Simplicity, clarity of intention, no accents or dialects. High energy and engaging content.
  • Ease, comfort, not letting the stakes get too high.  I think we can all support this by not providing so many “rules” for auditioning.   It is part of our culture, but I think we end up with folks who think success is being obedient.  
  • A confident entrance and greeting goes a long way.
  • Presence and warmth. Connectedness. Performing for the world, not just the room, without bring too big.
  • Energy.  Strong energy directed toward the story telling, not nervous energy which tended to get in some actors way.  The confident performances stood out most.
  • Actors who make it look and sound easy and natural;  as if they’re having a conversation with us.
  • I think authenticity and honesty is really important in an audition.  I think it’s important to see the acting but also to know the kind of person who you are inviting into an audition and/or rehearsal room.  I also think some actors think they are being edgy and different when they choose material of a sexual nature and/or has a lot of cursing in it.  When in actuality it makes most of us in the audience tune them out and shut down instead of listening to them.
  • A clear and business-like, brief introduction that we can actually hear (lots of actors mumble this part or their voices disappear towards the end.
    The ability to move well.
    Someone who does something other than sit on a chair!
  • Presence. Intelligence of feeling, if that phrase makes sense. Material tailored to the actor’s strength. Clearly defined moments.
    Sometimes, the thing that makes an actor stand out is a choice of material that avoids the tiresome self-centered self-righteous rants so many seem to choose to show off their “skills.”
  • Being relaxed and owning the space. I know that’s REALLY hard in a situation like this. But the actors who walked in and made it look like they were so comfortable and pleased to be there really nailed it.
  • Hearing something new
  • A monologue which shows a range of emotion. I’d rather see one longer solid monologue than two mediocre ones, especially when they show no range of character or emotion across the two of them.
    You’ve got to exude confidence and OWN the stage. Use the full space you’ve got, don’t just stand in one spot.

You saw a lot of headshots and resumes.  What were common mistakes actors might want to avoid in their headshots and resumes?

  • No one needs your edgy head shot
  • Headshots should be current.  Contact information should be listed on resumes.  Parents names and contact info should be listed on resumes if talent are under 18
  • Make the resume readable: well spaced, good sized font, some blank space. No need to cram everything in if you’ve had a long and successful career, just put the highlights.
  • It’s worth it to have a good, professional-looking (even if not taken by a professional) photograph that is an actual headshot — and fairly recent. Overly casual (even blurry in one case) photos suggest a casual approach to acting. However, don’t go overly dramatic either (wearing too much make-up, posing in a throne-like chair). I’d also rather see the suggestion of a smile than a stern face — you look like you’d be a pleasure to work with!
  • Please do not appear shirtless in your headshot.
  • Unprofessional headshots and leaving off contact information.
  • Actors should put their PERSONAL contact information on the resume.  It’s fine to include their agent’s information, but theatres don’t contact agents to cast their projects.  So actors should put their own e-mail address and phone number ON THE RESUME.
  • Patterned clothing, pictures of more than their heads. Not looking like you. Keep them current.
  • Personally, I don’t need to see the entire staff of Cornish Theatre department listed on every Cornish actor resume.  All I need to know is they are or were a Cornish Student.
  • Many resumes seemed cluttered. It was hard to sort out key information, often training.
  • I liked most of the headshots I saw.
  • For most of us, we’re looking for stage actors.  I would prefer to see more theatre in the resume than films, commercials and modeling.
  • Having a headshot that does not look like you when you walk into the room.  There were moments when I thought I didn’t have the right headshot, but their picture just looked completely different than who walked into the room.
  • Neglecting to put theatre, directors, years or contacts.
  • Not sure on headshots – that’s an art. On resumes, clutter and pretention should be avoided in favor of clarity & readability.
  • Not looking like their headshot. And usually they look better in person – wondering if the common advice I was given in college to make sure the headshot isn’t too glam or touched up went the other way or something. I’m shocked by how often I see a headshot that I wouldn’t look at twice, and then this STUNNING person walks onstage – and I’m not just talking traditionally pretty faces. I mean striking, expressive, beautiful humans.
  • For resumes, PLEASE list the theatres you’ve worked at, not just role/show. Also – we don’t need years, but don’t be disingenuous. If you played Maria in West Side Story but it was 25 years ago, don’t place it at the top. Put something that reflects your niche now, and if you want to show me that you’ve still got that killer High C, do it in your audition piece.
    Also – don’t forget contact info on your resume! If I’m seeing 400 people in a week and you make it a scavenger hunt to find you, I probably won’t take the time.
  • Not being updated with their new look
  • Look at the camera in your headshot! Remember-“headshot”, not full body shot. Also, center your face in the headshot. Directors need an accurate image, not some highly stylized artwork.
    Also, please put height, approximate weight, age range you can believably portray, and how soon you can accept a role.
    Lastly, don’t put your resume in a Google file and then not give access.
  • Check your spelling! Several resumes contained more than one spelling of the same word within them, one being wrong.
    I don’t care where you studied if you’re not fresh out of school. Tell me where you’ve ACTED.

General comments you wish to make to actors who may want to do the general auditions in the future.

  • Your slate is a time for us to see you be professional, it is not a moment to do another monologue about what you are looking for and were you have been. I honestly feel if your slate is longer then 10 seconds the timer needs to start.
  • Cut the “fbomb” snd sexual referanced monologues. Just makes u look stupid !
  • Pick monologues that suit you. This is your chance to shine.  Do not sing if you are not really a singer
  • There are a million plays, and ten million monologues, but in one hour we saw three men do the same Claudius speech and two of them did the same Oscar Madison speech, along with another man. Please look for new material! There is so much to choose from!
  • Please choose something in your wheelhouse and something that might approximate a role the auditors are looking to cast. For us that would mean less Shakespeare but it was also odd to see a number of pieces drawn from television shows. We were not looking to cast a sitcom and I doubt many, if any, of the other auditors were there for that purpose.
  • Know your material and have fun!
  • Practice every aspect of your audition and have someone else watch it.
    Time your audition so you don’t go over.  If you have a comedic monologue, take a couple of seconds off to allow for the possibility of laughter.
    Be confident when you enter; if you’re not confident, ACT like you are.
    Do not comment on what you just did or what you’re about to do.
  • It’s important to truly be interacting with someone real (not the air). Be audible with high energy and good diction. Try to find monologues that are from new works – this is great for the playwrights’ exposure and will make you stand out from the overdone pieces from famous playwrights.
  • Do them! Be prepared. Know we are all rooting for you. Take a risk or it’s no fun.
  • Prepare, get good coaching, its really ALL ABOUT THE ACTING.  So make sure you know what “acting” is. When I say that, I mean that I want to know you understand that is about playing action, creating a relationship with an (invisible) character and adapt to the pressure you receive from “them”.   
  • Prepare, get good coaching, its really ALL ABOUT THE ACTING.  So make sure you know what “acting” is. When I say that, I mean that I want to know you understand that is about playing action, creating a relationship with an (invisible) character and adapt to the pressure you receive from “them”.   
  • Pick pieces you enjoy performing, it’s easy to tell who is genuinely having fun with their text.
    Don’t use a monologue that includes a racial slur for your general audition.
  • Pick material you really like and connect with.   Be comfortable in your body.
  • Find a creative way to tie your two pieces together.  A quick spin, or just forging ahead into the 2nd piece – while effective because we know time is limited, does not create a comprehensive presentation.  I’d like to see some causal relationship between the pieces you present, and then we can see you move between the two.
  • Be more creative.  Instead of doing two modern pieces about relationships, one is fine, but mix it up with verse or something else.  I always did at least three different characters in my auditions. You have two minutes, show how versatile you can be.  You don’t have to do all of Hamlet’s soliloquy, do a section and transition smoothly into something else.
  • Choose material that you connect to.  Choose material that takes you on a journey.  Be yourself and be proud of who that is. Make sure when you are doing 2 monologues that the characters contrasts in multiple ways, not just drama/comedy, but also in your body and your voice.  Please sing songs that are in your range and if you are not fully confident in your singing, then don’t, it’s alright to do 2 monologues. The best monologue that I saw at TPS Generals was a young boy who talked about seeing his dog that his family had to give away in his dreams.  We were all in tears because it was simple and honest.
  • Find something that is yours alone. It doesn’t have to be from a play, but do NOT do something you or a friend has written. Choose the material that appeals to you, but make sure it is really well written. silk purse, cow’s ear and all that.
    If you can do Shakespeare, do it. If you don’t, we assume you can’t.
    Be aware that a piece about your love and/or sex life is just not that interesting to the rest of us.
  • Time yourself carefully.Pay attention to pacing. Don’t be afraid of comedy. If you’re doing several pieces, make sure the transitions between them are very clear. Don’t rant: twelve actors in a row who spend two minutes working themselves into a fever pitch of righteous anger – especially the anger of the victim – is really tiresome. Pay attention to every word you say.
  • Keep at it and keep learning about yourself. It can take years to find material that is completely the right fit for an audition. But it’s worth it and YOU are worth it!
    If you have a piece that is really different/unusual and you know you can nail it, do it. Different takes on traditional material, new works, experimental, whatever. If you think it really shows the best of you it’s worth thinking about. But don’t be weird for the sake of weird. It doesn’t make you stand out in a good way. It’s just confusing.
    On that note – ALWAYS run your audition beforehand in front of at least a few trusted people; people who will be honest with you. Don’t make us your first audience.
  • Make sure you look like your headshot.
  • You should do it, it’s awesome!
  • Don’t talk to a chair on stage. Don’t look directly at anyone in the audience. Don’t apologize for your cold or tell us you’ve just relocated. Be pleasant, state your name and your pieces clearly and slowly and act with confidence. Do look in different directions through your time on stage, i.e., play to the sides not just straight front.

This year’s Auditor Survey responders:

5th Avenue Theatre: Maddi Chancey; Kelsey Thorgalsen

ArtsWest: Siri Nelson

Big Fish NW: Melissa Baldauf; Dawn Taylor Reinhardt

Book-It Repertory Theatre: Shawna Grajek

Bridges Stage Company: Karen Kinch

Centerstage: Timothy Duval; Trista Duval

Dacha Theatre: Mike Lion

Eastside Actors’ Lab: Tyson Kaup

Island Stage Left: Helen Machin-Smith; Daniel Mayes; Georgia Smith

Lesser-Known Players: Gary Fetterplace; Karen Hauser; Dawn Janow; Janette Oswald

Missoula Children’s Theatre: Matt Loehrke

Parley: Lenore Bensinger; Julieta Vitullo; Celeste Williams

Play Your* Part: Michael Raimondi; Scott Swiontek

Romanian Swamp Donkey LLC: L. Alan Mason

The Scratch: Andrew Garrett

Seattle Children’s Theatre: Trick Danneker

Sound Theatre Company: Jay O’Leary; Teresa Thuman

Taproot Theatre Company: Marianne Savell

Twelfth Night Productions: Rick Springer

VelMar Works: J.W. Marshall

Village Theatre: Caitlin McCown

Independent: Michael Mendiola


Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2019 Unified General Auditions!

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