In an interview about stage actors, Nicholas Hytner talked of the specific demands that theatre required of its practitioners: “Everyone thinks they know what actors do, they try truthfully to be other people or maybe they reveal parts of themselves through the act of pretending to be other people. But stage actors have particular demands made on them. They have to truthfully to include maybe a thousand people into a conversation and very often they have to make inevitable, natural and truthful texts of great complexity and beauty that are maybe five hundred years old. That requires vocal skills, physical skills but also mental and emotional skills.”
The advent of September means applications to drama school will soon be open. Although it may seem early to begin picking and rehearsing speeches, the oft-repeated advice that professional actors give to those starting out is to prepare.
Most students who come to Audition Doctor to prepare for auditions begin early on in the process. Sometimes applicants have a misplaced belief that leaving practicing their audition monologues till much later means their performance at the audition will be fresh and original.
Roger Allam countered this belief in an interview for the National Theatre: “I think repetition is one of the most important things about acting. I haven’t got much time for people who say “Oh it’s so boring doing these runs of plays” because in a sense, that’s what acting is. The French word for rehearsal is “répétition”. You have to repeat it to learn it and to learn how to do it.”
Hytner went onto say: “To make it feel as if these are the only things that can be said, thought or felt in the situation that has been portrayed on the stage and to make that felt over a span of two or three hours is actually a very very different job from simply, as it were, transmitting a realistic copy of human behaviour to a camera that may only be two or three feet away from you, making very few physical demands of you.”
A drama school audition is effectively a theatre performance. The reason why so many students come to Audition Doctor is that they know that they only have about 3 minutes to convey that they not only have the ability to truthfully embody the life and experience of another person, but also sustain it for the length of a play.
Aside from focusing on the emotional side of the character, Audition Doctor also ensures that students rid themselves of any physical awkwardness. Initially, students often don’t know where or how to stand, what to do with their hands and this can negatively affect the way a speech is performed.
Audition Doctor makes sure that you enter the audition room confident and ready. Hannah Miller, Casting Director at the RSC, said in an Ideastap interview: “You’re not gatecrashing an audition – you’ve been invited and have every right to be there, But it’s also up to you to do yourself justice. Do everything in your power to make sure you have no regrets at the end of that meeting.” Coming to Audition Doctor does precisely that.