Thinking on the Line at Audition Doctor

tilly-blackwood-19In an interview, Jack Lemon spoke of his experience working on Glengarry Glen Ross and working with David Mamet’s text:

“We had about two and half weeks rehearsal…if we had not had it, we would’ve all been fish that were drowning. As great a writer as Mamet is, I don’t think there’s a playwright in the world whose lines are as difficult to learn. They are unique, slightly off. The whole trick is to make them sound like normal conversation…He has another thing in common with other great writers such as Billy Wilder and Neil Simon and that’s what he doesn’t write. He never writes too many words and every single one of those “if, ah, ums” is written…When you forget one it’s like dropping a whole sentence – the whole rhythm goes. David has his own rhythm, each character has his own rhythm and each actor has to find that rhythm.”

For many of Audition Doctor’s students, sessions are focused on finding this rhythm. Similarly to Mamet, Shakespeare is a writer whose characters literally speak in a rhythm. Shakespeare is unavoidable for those who come to Audition Doctor to prepare for drama school auditions. Audition Doctor sessions take the fear out of performing Shakespeare by encouraging students to become comfortable with iambic pentameter. Eventually, the language becomes a tool in their arsenal and students find that the rhythm and syntax actually become an indispensable aid in communicating thought and emotion.

Lemon went onto say of rehearsing for Glengarry Glen Ross: “For the first couple of weeks you go absolutely bananas, not only trying to remember the lines but to make them natural so that you’re not just listening to cues or thinking of your lines but really behaving as a character truly would in life and that is as I am now. I’m not thinking of the words, I’m thinking of the thought I’m trying to get across. When you’re really in the scene, that’s what an actor does.”

Those who come to Audition Doctor regularly over a period of time usually find that finding the thought on the line becomes easier than those who leave extended gaps between lessons. Like with many other aspects of acting, routine and rigorous practice is the key to getting to the emotional and intellectual space the role requires more effectively.

Julie Walters recently described the freedom of working with Stephen Daldry: “He’d just say let’s shoot another scene here now. Let’s say they’re in this room and this happens. We’d just do it. I just love that.”

Audition Doctor’s students, whether professional actors or drama school applicants, all benefit from a similar mode of direction. The spontaneity of the sessions means that actors have the freedom to experiment without too much over-thinking. 

Benedict Cumberbatch recently spoke of what it’s like for an actor when there is the right chemistry between you and a director: “It’s a great thing to have rehearsals and to know that you’re coming at it from the same point of view. It just means you can be more free, you can play and enjoy it and I think that’s what elevates good work to great work or really daring work.”

At Audition Doctor, students will attest that Tilly undoubtedly creates this possibility.