During the build-up to drama school auditions, my focus was solely on the text (As You Like It); sessions concentrated understandably on my individual performance and personal interpretation of Rosalind.
Having watched Helen Mirren play the part in the BBC 1978 version, it was initially hard to shake her impeccable performance from memory and I found it impossible to see the character as anything other than what she had portrayed. My initial Audition Doctor sessions were filled with embarrassingly pale imitations of one the country’s most respected Oscar-winning actresses. It was frustrating as I could envision the drama school audition panel wearily putting their pens down and wishing fervently to forcibly remove me from the building and the profession.
This is when Tilly’s advice became crucial as she reminded me why I had chosen the speech in the first place. We went back to the text and not only analysed the minutiae of the play but also plotted the psychological journey of Rosalind. The resultant Rosalind was not worthy of being televised by the BBC but thankfully it was my Rosalind and not a plagiarised version of Dame Helen’s.
It’s easy when applying to drama schools to only focus on the audition and forget about the workshop. While Tilly’s acting coaching inculcates you with an element of self-assurance, it is unnerving having to work with other drama school applicants during the group sessions. You’re aware that you’re all competitively vying for the same places whilst simultaneously sharing a feeling of camaraderie due to working together in the workshop and being in the same boat during the rigorous process of drama school auditions.
From the energising pre-audition pep talk to the buoying texts of encouragement, Audition Doctor proved to be a godsend during auditions. Wobbly moments and feelings of intimidation swiftly vanish when a text from Tilly pops up with the simple rallying cry: “COME ON!”