Going Beyond Your Parameters at Audition Doctor

Going Beyond Your Parameters at Audition Doctor

help with acting classesThe Stage asked Maria Friedman to give advice on auditioning: “Preparation, preparation, preparation. Bring yourself, not someone else, to every audition- you can’t hide you, so get to know yourself and what it is you have to offer; and know that is your three minutes – so don’t allow something else to dominate it, whether it’s your fear, or travel on the train – and use them. Come in and enjoy yourself and do the performing you wanted to do all your life.”

Aside from the depth of preparation that each actor achieves at Audition Doctor – something that is difficult to achieve alone – Audition Doctor’s popularity lies in the fact that work is only done on speeches that enhance your particular ingenuity, individuality and boldness. Audition Doctor sessions, particularly for drama school applicants, are as much about rehearsing monologues as figuring out the kind of actor you are, working out your strengths and weaknesses and finding it within yourself to identify with a spectrum of roles. 

Similarly to the work done Audition Doctor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman said: “The first thing I looked at was how were they similar to me and how were they different to me. I had to cover those bases…so I could create this person who was not living my life but living someone else’s life.” 

The best speeches to work on are those that provoke an expansion of empathy or understanding. 

Benedict Cumberbatch said: “As an actor you have to find a level of empathy and understanding of your character and I think to carve out anything that’s two-dimensional, whether a character is thumbs up or thumbs down, I find that limiting…I want to find out the three-dimensionality, what motivates them, what’s human about them. That’s not to soften the edges at all, that’s purely because it’s near to a human experience so that there’s some common ground for audience to understand the character’s motivation because then it isn’t something that’s ostracised from us, something that’s telling us how to feel and think. I personally get bored watching that type of work and bored doing that type of work.”

The work that actors undertake at Audition Doctor forces them to go beyond the parameters of their perceived capabilities. Imagination and craft are exercised and pushed to places which offer up a whole, truthful and bold performance.

Lisa Dwan spoke in the Guardian about her role in Beckett’s Not I : “Do you know what’s so gorgeous about this role? I’m not a woman, I’m a consciousness. It’s stretched me intellectually, emotionally. To get out of my blonde hair and body and be this thing, I can’t explain the gift.”

Roles that allow actors to experience this are few and far between, however,  taking the time to choose the speech that gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself is essential. Once chosen, Audition Doctor sessions encourages actors and drama school applicants to get out of themselves and authentically live out the role.

Your Individual Process at Audition Doctor

Your Individual Process at Audition Doctor


In his new book, Year of the Fat Knight, Anthony Sher recounts his experience playing Falstaff in the RSC’s production of Henry IV. In an extract printed in the Guardian, Sher wrote:

“To an actor, dialogue is like food. You hold it in your mouth, you taste it. If it’s good dialogue the taste will be distinctive. If it’s Shakespeare dialogue, the taste will be Michelin-starred. If you’re learning lines before rehearsals, you have to learn in neutral, in a way that won’t cut off the creative choices that will happen when the director and other actors are involved. So I’m speaking Falstaff in my own voice, I’m not attempting any characterisation.”

For both professional actors and drama school applicants, the frequency and intensity of the sessions mean that lines are generally learnt through a kind of organic osmosis. However, professional actors have found that the intense characterisation that is undertaken at Audition Doctor – work that has often landed them the job – is the characterisation that is pushed even further in the professional rehearsal room.

Perversely, the depth of research and work on a character that is explored at Audition Doctor, however, never leads students to become rigidly fixated on one interpretation. The extensive knowledge of their character means they are aware of the myriad of artistic choices that they have chosen not to take. Consequently, in an audition room, students are always flexible and open to bold experimentation.

The process by which a student reaches an understanding of a character is highly individual and Audition Doctor has no prescribed and one-size-fits-all method.

Robert Duvall’s advice to young actors was: “It all begins with listening. I talk you listen, you talk I listen and it goes from there…that’s the journey in an individual scene. Rather than going for the result, let the process take you to the result.” Similarly, the nature of the Audition Doctor process is that the result is often the unexpected. Consequently, audition panels are confronted with an original and exciting interpretation.

In a recent interview, Kevin Spacey spoke about acting as “Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes and trying to plant seeds about what a writer’s ideas are and what they’re trying to say, what they’re trying to express…The only thing that interests me is what scares me. The only thing I’m interested in is what I think I can’t do.”

Audition Doctor sessions are sought after because students invariably enter their auditions with a fearlessness, originality and humanity that marks them out.

In their auditions, the work and commitment that they’ve undertaken with Tilly echoes Maria Freedman’s comment that “The best thing about theatre is that it’s a beautiful hand-out to remind us of each other’s fallibility and frailty and humanity. It’s a ‘Hallo, you know me and I know you’ and it’s done with words…”