The Orion

Theater students offer advice on preparing for auditions

Emma Wood-Wright

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When senior theater arts major David Kahn hears the word “audition,” two emotions plague his body: nervousness and excitement.

“Even after doing it for years, it’s still nerve-wracking,” Kahn said.

As the theater department holds auditions for this semester’s two productions, “Spamalot” and “Creation Stories”, students must prepare to deliver a memorable performance under three minutes.

“It does come down to preparation,” Kahn said.

So how can students be the prepared for such a high-pressure situation? With a lot of hard work and dedication.

Kahn said he was thinking of this audition since the end of last semester and there’s certainly a lot to think about.

Actors strive to find material that reflects their full range of acting in a limited amount of time. A typical Chico State audition consists of a song and a monologue.

Some students choose to perform two monologues, but those hoping to be cast in the musical are required to sing. Regardless, the two elements should contrast one another.

Lacey Henderson, a graduate student with a degree in musical theater, said to choose a song that shows your best range in 16 bars paired with a contrasting monologue.

Libby Quibell, a freshman musical theater major, paired a “nasty-evil” song from Mary Poppins with a more lighthearted monologue for her audition.

“You don’t want to audition for one role,” Kahn said. “Make a well-rounded audition.”

Kahn advised against choosing something from the show one is auditioning for, but rather something that’s similar to the style or time period.

Also, try to stay away from overdone material and pieces currently on Broadway.

“You’ll stand out if you sing something different,” Kahn said.

Choosing what to perform can be tedious.

Kahn begins this process by selecting five monologues that fit the audition. After narrowing it down to two, he cold reads in front of his friends and with their feedback, he decides which monologue he will prepare.

Once the material is chosen, it’s showtime. Kill your audition with these steps inspired by Kahn, Quibell and Henderson’s tips:

1. Study the punctuation. Know when a thought ends by marking the full stops.
2. Highlight operative words and recognize which words to emphasize. Is there any rhyming? Any sense imagery?
3. Memorize. Kahn begins this process by rewriting the piece several times.
4. Verbalize. Rehearse until you could recite it in your sleep.
5. Quibell said if you’re going to sing, don’t drink dairy as it can clog the vocal chords, and one should stick to water for at least a week. Henderson would drink throat coat tea before an audition.
6. Wear bright colors or anything that will make you stand out.
7. Lastly, don’t make eye contact with the panel of judges. Kahn suggests singing to the eye-line and look over the shoulders of the judges.

Emma Wood-Wright can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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Theater students offer advice on preparing for auditions