The Times this week featured an article centred around the current crop of British male acting talent and the evolving face of theatre. Tim Piggot-Smith spoke of how “British theatre has been forced to become leaner, less complacent. “There’s not as much theatre around now which means there’s much more competition for less and less work.” This competition, in turn, raises everybody’s game. The result? A virtuous cycle of effort and ability.”
Mark Strong commented on the difficult nature of vying for the same roles as your peers: “It’s a complicated dynamic, a really odd balance because you form these very, very tight relationships with people. They’re your pals, but then you’re also competing with them for work. There are a lot of us chasing a few jobs.”
The rise of professional actors coming to Audition Doctor is evidence of actors being aware of the need to continuously push through their own creative barriers in order to be real contenders in auditions. Actors who come to Audition Doctor are conscious of the value of relentless practice.
As Helen McCrory said: “I’m aware that I have been very lucky but I have also grafted hard. Acting isn’t something that’s just in you. As with anything in life, you have to learn it, and work at it, and improve yourself all the time.”
James McAvoy also voiced the importance of actors being vulnerable enough to stretch themselves to emotional brinks – something that Audition Doctor students are pushed to do.
“The source of theatre is human sacrifice. The first time we killed someone in front of a crowd to make the gods like us better, that’s where we got our theatre. And I think there’s still an element of that, when it’s frightening and electric, and you’re watching actors who are giving themselves in such a committed way that they are almost sweating blood. And that’s what I always try to do. I’d rather people went out twice a year to see a really good, dangerous piece of theatre in which they were genuinely concerned for the actor on stage, rather than just going to see loads of dead-easy bourgeois f***ing pieces of s***, the dead-easy stuff that gets put on just to sell out quickly.”
Consequently, the speeches that students choose to work on are important. Speeches that give students a chance to commit and sweat blood are the monologues that Audition Doctor urges students to pick. The reason for the success of Audition Doctor’s students is the emotional depths that they plumb. These come as a result of rigorous analysis of both character and play.
Viggo Mortensen recently spoke in the Guardian of his legendary commitment to research when it came to approaching roles: “I just think that the more realistic and specific you are with the details, the more universal the story becomes.”
Audition Doctor students succeed in landing jobs because they give something more in auditions. As a spectator you end up not merely watching a performance but getting the sense of being actively involved in the story.