In her Q&A for the Guardian this week, Kathleen Turner cited Romancing the Stone as her favourite film because “I really like how Joan Wilder changes. Change is what attracts me to a character.”
At drama school auditions, candidates are often questioned on their character’s “emotional arc”. ie. The inner journey or change that the character experiences throughout the speech. The panel aren’t just looking for a change within the speech itself, but also the ability to experiment with a variety of emotional journeys. Versatility and being open to changing the interpretation you entered the audition room with is, in some ways, more important than the performance itself. It demonstrates the knowledge that the text is a catalyst for diverse portrayals and infinite possibilities.
Theatre, with what Kathleen Turner deems its “all consuming eight shows a week” and likens to “being an Olymplic athlete in training”, is where actors can truly explore their range. The live nature of theatre means that no two shows can be exactly the same and why many actors realise they can only be true craftsmen if they are able to act on stage.
Richard Armitage, in this week’s Telegraph spoke of his return to the stage in The Crucible after 13 years of concentrating on film and television as significant: “It’s interesting coming back now and getting into a rehearsal room and going: ‘This is why I did it. I’d forgotten.’ I’m having a really amazing epiphany doing this, and I think I’ll be a different actor when I come out of it.”
This is why drama school panels and Audition Doctor consistently urge candidates to go and see as much theatre as possible. Not only do you often see actors going beyond what you previously thought possible, but you also have to understand what it is that excites you as a member of the audience.
Kathleen Turner claimed: “I definitely go to the theatre more than film, because as much as I enjoy some films, there’s nothing like the participation that you feel sitting in an audience at a live performance. It’s absolutely magic. You sit closer to a complete stranger than you would in your own homeland; if the play is compelling as the actors good, you start to breathe together. You hold your breath together. You laugh together. You can come become something greater than just yourself.”
Audition Doctor sessions are about creating an arresting yet truthful character that makes the audition panel sit up and notice that you are capable of change, and that you are able to honestly be something other than yourself.