On Wednesday I found myself in a two hour audition for the REP Foundry Actors Group, this is a professional training programme for actors based in the West Midlands. This opportunity sounded too good to be true - Weekly training sessions, a showcase to be held in both Birmingham and London. Oh and it’s free. So of course there would have been plenty of applicants. Honestly I didn’t think anything I would hear anything back from my application.
I was invited to the audition and I was immediately nervous as soon as I received the email which stated ‘You do not need to prepare anything’.
The typical acting audition usually consists of a performing one or two short monologues, if you perform two monologues they should contrast. These monologues can be performed in front of just the directors or in front of everyone else who is auditioning. So when someone says you don’t need to prepare that means one thing only. Improvising. Improvising is not my forte.
The first hour focused on awareness and breath. Generally speaking spatial awareness is the recognition of the distance between objects. More specifically, though, the term refers to a person’s ability to judge where they are in relation to the objects around them, but it is awareness of the other actors which I find the most important, when you’re improvising a scene with someone you’re not thinking about what is going to happen next but sensing it.
We then moved onto breath, leading to movement. When you control the breath as an actor, you control everything. You control your vocal technique, your body, and your nerves. You’re in control - period. It seems like a simple thing to do - breathe - but it goes further than just the inhale and the exhale. To all of the people reading this that don’t know a lot about acting this probably sounds like a load of twaddle but these two things are fundamental for actors.
The second hour focused on improvising. Here is where my panic struck in.
I lack a certain creativity when it comes to improvising and have a fear of… judgement maybe? Making a fool of myself? To be honest I’m not even sure but I had to keep my nerves at bay. I just kept in mind everything that we had done earlier on, we had done those exercises for a reason, now it was time to put them to use. During the improvisational exercises we were given different scenarios, the scenarios were based on bumping into someone you hadn’t seen in a long time, this ranged from an old friend, an ex and then it was where we bumped into these people, on the street, in a church etc. Whilst these scenarios were playing out other people were introduced into scene to add a new dimension to it.
Regardless of whether I get a call back or not I’m happy with how the audition went and with the work I created. I didn’t feel pressured and nothing felt forced, everything felt quiet natural and I found that the majority of the time, less was more. Well there’s nothing more I can do. Now comes the waiting ….