All freelancers speak of the importance of self-discipline – reserves of which have to be plentiful particularly during periods of unemployment. For actors, the continual need to exercise technical, creative and literal muscles requires an inordinate amount of practice and commitment. Professional and aspiring actors have found that Audition Doctor has been the place to practice either between or during jobs.
With practice inevitably comes failure. Helena Bonham Carter spoke of this recently when she said: “Allow yourself to make mistakes. You can be bad, you can act badly, it’s not going to kill anyone…I spent so much time thinking “I was crap in that” and I just made myself worse.” Audition Doctor sessions are in demand because actors have found that lessons are a practical way of avoiding useless negative thought and to simply become better through practice.
James McAvoy spoke in the Telegraph: “People seem to find the rehearsal room liberating, with the freedom to fail, I say… “Whereas I’m like no! I failed!” Many actors between jobs and those applying to drama school don’t have the luxury of experiencing the either liberating or restricting nature of the rehearsal room. Audition Doctor, however, does offer this. The freedom to be bad, fail and consequently progress is something that Tilly encourages.
Although Bonham Carter speaks of how it’s okay to act badly, obviously most actors can’t afford to experiment and fail on the job. Furthermore, her assertion that she learnt “just by doing it” is easier said than done. This is why Audition Doctor has become the space where actors can really be daring and innovative in the way they approach their work. It’s where they can be free to experiment and road-test decisions before an audition.
Ethan Hawke recently said that to be an actor “You need concentration, imagination and relaxation. I know it’s sounds corny but it’s what Stanislavsky said. I read it when I was 16 years old and I still think of it everyday.” Audition Doctor fosters all three requirements; the unpressurised yet focused environment that define the sessions mean that actors always find that they are pushed to the limits of their creativity. Audition Doctor sessions, like rehearsals, are sometimes difficult.
However, both Jamie Lloyd and James McAvoy “embrace this discomfort. “I hope that theatre is more than just coming along for a jolly nice night, something you do just before you go and have dinner,” says Lloyd. “I’ve been thinking about this quote from Nureyev, that expresses what I’ve been trying to articulate for the last five or six years,” says McAvoy. “It’s that people don’t come to see us dance, they come to see our fear. And they don’t come to see us act, they don’t come to even see the story, they come to see something dangerous.”
While Audition Doctor is a safe space, the work that comes out of the sessions is often challenging. However, it is this dangerous element that makes Audition Doctor students stand out and consequently land the role.