Audition preparation

Many things in life make me nervous.  Performing.  Meeting new people.  Seeing crocodiles (or alligators) on the television.  Looking at my bank balance.  Watching someone I know perform.  But auditions are one of the worst things for nerves.  I know that the audition panel are not really evil monsters, that they want you to do the best you can do, and that any decision they make is unlikely to be personal.  But even so…they’re a terrifying experience.  The weeks leading up to them are rather scary as well.

This coming Sunday, I have an audition for Kiss Me, Kate.  Amateur, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less scary.  After much soul-searching, I decided to audition for two roles within the show – Bill Calhoun and Second Man.  Second Man is actually the best role, one of the two gangsters who are the root cause of much comedy and who get to sing ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ at the eleventh hour.  The gangsters are often played by people older than my oh-so-youthful 27-year-old self, but the director is willing to consider anyone from their twenties upwards for Second Man, who is the subordinate (and marginally more stupid) one.  Bill Calhoun is a long shot, the juvenile male who plays Lucentio in the musical version of The Taming of the Shrew which forms a large part of the plot.  He’s a dancer, which is the main problem.  I can sing his songs and I can possibly be charming enough to play him if I try, but the dancing is the real worry.  Still, I can dance ‘in my fashion’, so I’ll just give it all I’ve got at the audition and see what happens. 

I’m not really sure which of these roles I’d like more.  Bill would be more challenging, forcing me to stretch my dancing ability (even if they tone down the amount of dancing) as well as play a very different character than my usual type, more confident and closer to the romantic lead type of figure.  Second Man, however, is arguably the better role, giving plenty of laughs and taking the best number in the show.  That would, however, also be casting against type, as ‘menacing’ is not normally one of the words people would associate with me, either on or off stage.  And of course there are the smaller roles that will be cast from those auditioning for the larger parts.  Gremio and Hortensio exist to sing and dance.  Paul sings and dances ‘Too Darn Hot’ (another great song).  And various others provide people for the main characters to talk to, and keep the action flowing.  Kiss Me, Kate is such a wonderful show that I’ll be happy in any role, or in the back row of the chorus.  Wonderful songs and a funny script, which is always a good combination.

The auditions mean that I have had to learn two passages of dialogue and four songs (although two of those are ‘just in case’ ones).  The reasons for this are varied and complicated, but are mostly concerned with the small number of young men in the group.  But it’s a lot to remember, and hard to practice all of it, including two different accents, without getting things confused.  It’s entirely possible that I prepare too much, but I don’t want to be looking at scripts or scores, so that I can concentrate on showing the panel what I can do with each of the characters.  I shouldn’t be so nervous – after all, does it really matter? – but the auditions are looming very ominously on the horizon.  It’ll be a great relief when they’re over, but then you get the horrors of waiting to hear the results…

  1. Good luck, David. Sock it to ’em. I bet you’ll be great.

  2. We have all been there but each time is never any easier. You seem to have done the important thing and that is preparation. Good luck for whichever part you are successful with. See, I am confident you will get one of the parts you want. Developing a new skill in dancing would then open up lots of other parts in future productions!

  3. You certainly deserve to get the part you want, so I hope it goes really well on Sunday.

  4. Man, I can relate to the audition thing. Auditions were the single most horrible thing about being a musician. The deblilitating fear that some performers suffer can take a perfectly prepared piece and turn it into a trembling shambles. This was my experience. All juried exams were just like auditions.

    Sounds like you don’t really suffer from that sort of performance anxiety. Hope not. Wish you well on Sunday, and hope you get the part you want. Which part is that? Have you decided yet? Sounded to me like you weren’t completely committed to either one.

  5. I have now decided which part I want more, but I honestly would be happy with any of them, or any other. I really, really, really would relish the chance to play my chosen part, though.

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