In an interview for The Stage, Guildhall acting teacher Ken Rea spoke of the qualities that certain actors possessed that marked them out separately from the swathes of actors he has trained.
“They’re unafraid of danger,” he says, mentioning Antony Sher with whom he worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company before Sher was famous. “He was by far the bravest risk-taker in the rehearsal room,” recalls Rea. “It’s the freedom to be unpredictable and spontaneous within the form that marks out people like him. When I see actors I trained working, and when I visit them backstage afterwards, they often ask ‘Ken, was I dangerous?’ because it’s a key element.”
For both professional actors and drama school applicants, risk is one of the main reasons to come to Audition Doctor. The work undertaken at Audition Doctor is unfailingly original as texts are explored through the prism of your experience and your vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the speed of progression rests heavily on your openness to risk.
Particularly with Shakespeare, the likelihood that a panel has heard your speech before is high. However, the intensity of research and experimentation at Audition Doctor means that the complexity of your character’s psychological process is palpable even for the short duration of a monologue. Audition Doctor students are offered recalls because they show the potential and capability for expansive emotional and intellectual inquiry.
Rea also mentioned the necessity of enthusiasm in rehearsal: “Just as one negative nay-sayer in a rehearsal room can drag everyone down so, conversely, an energetic enthusiast can raise the level of everyone’s work.”
Audition Doctor’s popularity with actors is also down to the passion that characterises the lessons. They are never one-sided lectures but a collective rigorous exploration that ensures character decisions are never generalised and above all, yours.
Even when they’re not auditioning for specific roles, actors come to Audition Doctor to continue to test their psychological elasticity and take risks in parts that perhaps they would have less chance to be cast in.
Maxine Peake’s Hamlet is an example of this. Peake said: “I mentioned it in jest [ to director Sarah Frankcom] at first. I felt why, as a woman, can’t I do it? I had always been attracted to it because there aren’t many female warrior roles. Hamlet is fearless.”
The encouragement and safety that have come to define Audition Doctor sessions are why it has become the place where actors feel fearless and able to gamble with the text as well as their emotions.
Television and film actors increasingly come to Audition Doctor because the sessions are very much like the rehearsal process for a play.
Ruth Wilson in the Guardian: “I come from theatre and I feel like I have to go back to it every few years because it’s like nourishment for the soul. And, as an actor, it’s the place you have most control, no one cuts or edits you and you get to tell the story each night. It always boosts my confidence and my choices in the film and TV work I do after that. I tend to make bolder and more interesting choices after I’ve done theatre.”
The freedom of expression and discovery that Audition Doctor sessions instil mean that actors from all mediums have come to view it as an invaluable part of career improvement.