Combining Craft and Imagination at Audition Doctor

Combining Craft and Imagination at Audition Doctor

Help with acting by Audition DoctorIn a discussion called Is Acting Art? on the programme The Actors’ Roundtable, Christopher Waltz mentioned that while the performance that an actor gives can be called art, it’s the result that makes the art and not necessarily the process that leads to it.”

Nicholas Cage countered this idea and argued that “the happy accidents that happen between lines” that make certain performances spectacular have little to do with craft and a lot more to do with imagination.

Audition Doctor’s indispensability lies in the nurturing of the two. In the same discussion, Stanley Tucci stated: “In order for something to be art, it has to be truthful. Secondly, it has to be individually truthful and it’s that true individuality that makes art.”

Audition Doctor sessions are about creating emotionally detailed characters. The speeches that students work on are helpfully looked over by Tilly to ensure that they are suited to their individual talents.

This is especially useful for drama school applicants. Even experienced actors find it necessary to seek a second opinion. Tamsin Greig recently said: “I’m not brilliant at reading scripts. You would’ve thought I would’ve got better…so I take a lot of advice.”

In an interview with David Hare in today’s Telegraph, Gaby Wood wrote: “In plays from Plenty to Skylight to The Vertical Hour, characters’ emotions are as strong as their beliefs, and the electricity in the dialogue comes from fine tunings of disappointment or misunderstanding. Whole swathes of history can be dredged up in a single room; love can be ignited and lost within minutes.”

Students who come to Audition Doctor consistently find they become less intimidated by such scenes and that their approach becomes far more nuanced and specific.

Benicio Del Toro said: “There’s a science to acting. There are many obstacles that stop you from being good in front of that audience, as there are many obstacles that will make you freeze up in front of a camera. There is a riddle to it that is never the same, from role to role.”

Audition Doctor’s ability to remove the obstacles in an actor’s performance is one of the many reasons as to why Tilly is in high demand.

Del Toro went onto say: “It’s a difficult business, no doubt at all. People don’t realise that. The obvious advice for an actor is to work on acting and question what it is – all the time, everyday. But perhaps the best advice is to work on everything from the basis of theatre. I don’t think there’s such thing as acting for movies – there’s just acting.”  This line of thinking is why Audition Doctor’s client base includes actors who are auditioning for all mediums – not just theatre.

Fiona Shaw recounted her experience of playing Electra and said: “Electra made me realise that a play – with the right cast, in the right moment, in the right place – can be like sculpture and painting and literature all at once…People come to the theatre in the hope that it will have something to do with them – and when it touches them, it is both painful and brilliant.”

Those that attend Audition Doctor are encouraged to develop both craft and art; it is the confluence of both that engenders a truthful performance and hopefully a meaningful emotional exchange between actor and audience.

Creating Your Own Work at Audition Doctor

Creating Your Own Work at Audition Doctor

unnamedThis week, The Stage wrote about how the concerted effort drama schools have made to encourage their actors to self-produce and self-create has paid dividends. 

“Traditionally drama schools focused on developing stage skills and getting paid jobs in theatres at the end of it. And for that, the wisdom went, you needed an agent because he or she would work miracles for you in return for a 15% commission on all the work you did. Cynics have described drama school as a one-way ticket to a showcase – and all those brilliant agents hungry to snap up you and your talents.”

However, there has been a sea change with regards to the way drama schools educate their creatives. The difficult reality is that even with a final showcase at a top drama school, “common sense and arithmetic suggest that many of them will not get agents or paid jobs in companies.”

Many actors would strongly identify with Toni Collette’s recent comment: “I think acting arrests me, it keeps me awake. The way people live their lives, the whole psychological labyrinth, is what turns me on, so the job itself feeds me”. Not working and waiting for your agent (if you have one) to ring can be hugely dispiriting. This is why drama schools are pushing students to form their own theatre companies so they can make work for themselves. Mischief Theatre Company is one such company, born out of LAMDA graduates, that recently won an Olivier for The Play that Goes Wrong.

Audition Doctor is another example of being proactive and increasing your chances for professional work. Actors, whether in or out of work, have found regular sessions at Audition Doctor to be an invaluable driving force in pushing their careers in the direction they desire. The continual character exploration and textual analysis mean that whenever an audition arises, Audition Doctor students never feel they are “out of practice” and always have new approaches and ideas to experiment with.

Toni Collette said: “The great luxury of being any kind of artist is that you explore and challenge yourself. You can paint different pictures. You don’t have to draw a cloud every day.” What Audition Doctor fosters is the hunger for the new, fleshing out aspects of character that you have yet to inhabit.

The success of Audition Doctor students, however, lies in Tilly’s ability to draw out aspects of your individuality in the speech. It reflects Michael Sheen’s description of acting as “being like a sound desk, fading sliders up and down on aspects of your personality until you have someone.” The advantage of coming to Audition Doctor is the total focus on you and what you are creating. Many actors have found the one-on-one Audition Doctor sessions to be essential, as they find that they are consequently able to give more back in the collaborative work that they do with their theatre companies or in rehearsals for professional jobs.

Ultimately, those who attend Audition Doctor are there to improve their craft and to create art, which Stanley Tucci defined as “taking whatever is in front of you and making it into something else. To me that is what art is.”