The Stage asked Maria Friedman to give advice on auditioning: “Preparation, preparation, preparation. Bring yourself, not someone else, to every audition- you can’t hide you, so get to know yourself and what it is you have to offer; and know that is your three minutes – so don’t allow something else to dominate it, whether it’s your fear, or travel on the train – and use them. Come in and enjoy yourself and do the performing you wanted to do all your life.”
Aside from the depth of preparation that each actor achieves at Audition Doctor – something that is difficult to achieve alone – Audition Doctor’s popularity lies in the fact that work is only done on speeches that enhance your particular ingenuity, individuality and boldness. Audition Doctor sessions, particularly for drama school applicants, are as much about rehearsing monologues as figuring out the kind of actor you are, working out your strengths and weaknesses and finding it within yourself to identify with a spectrum of roles.
Similarly to the work done Audition Doctor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman said: “The first thing I looked at was how were they similar to me and how were they different to me. I had to cover those bases…so I could create this person who was not living my life but living someone else’s life.”
The best speeches to work on are those that provoke an expansion of empathy or understanding.
Benedict Cumberbatch said: “As an actor you have to find a level of empathy and understanding of your character and I think to carve out anything that’s two-dimensional, whether a character is thumbs up or thumbs down, I find that limiting…I want to find out the three-dimensionality, what motivates them, what’s human about them. That’s not to soften the edges at all, that’s purely because it’s near to a human experience so that there’s some common ground for audience to understand the character’s motivation because then it isn’t something that’s ostracised from us, something that’s telling us how to feel and think. I personally get bored watching that type of work and bored doing that type of work.”
The work that actors undertake at Audition Doctor forces them to go beyond the parameters of their perceived capabilities. Imagination and craft are exercised and pushed to places which offer up a whole, truthful and bold performance.
Lisa Dwan spoke in the Guardian about her role in Beckett’s Not I : “Do you know what’s so gorgeous about this role? I’m not a woman, I’m a consciousness. It’s stretched me intellectually, emotionally. To get out of my blonde hair and body and be this thing, I can’t explain the gift.”
Roles that allow actors to experience this are few and far between, however, taking the time to choose the speech that gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself is essential. Once chosen, Audition Doctor sessions encourages actors and drama school applicants to get out of themselves and authentically live out the role.