Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 17.46.02In the second part of his interview with BAFTA, David Morrissey spoke of the process of preparing for a role and the diverse exigencies that different roles had on actors. He spoke of time being a crucial factor in determining how he prepared. He mentioned that if he was given the luxury of time, he’d unleash his “inner geek” and would do in-depth research.

“I have to find the idiosyncrasies as a character. Sometimes there’s physical work, sometimes there’s accent work as well. You have to do all of that before you walk onto the set or stage because you want to be forgetting about all of that when you’re doing the job itself.”

Actors and drama school applicants who come to Audition Doctor usually attend bi-weekly sessions if they have the advantage of time prior to an audition. Regular sessions allow you to incrementally and organically build authentic characters. Idiosyncrasies are not merely tacked on to seemingly seek attention from the panel, but genuine singularities of the character are unearthed that can be textually supported. This is due to the forensic research that is undertaken at Audition Doctor.

Sessions focus not only on the psychological exploration of the character but also weave historical context into your performance.

As Morrissey advised: “You have to put yourself in their head. If you go further back into Tudor times, you have [to be aware of] strange things like life expectancy have a weight on you that you have to carry. The comfort of life that we have, you have to make sure that your characters don’t have that surety. Also the expectation of life in the sense that if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person then it’s your head on the block literally. So that fear that you’re working in, you have to make sure that is inside the [process of your] decision making.”

It is this commitment to creativity and unswerving drive to drill deeper into the core of  human psyche that has made Audition Doctor indispensable to actors. It is also these particular qualities that differentiate the practitioner from the artist.

Lisa Dwan – who recently performed in Beckett’s Not, I – wrote in the Guardian about her recently departed friend and mentor, Billie Whitelaw:

“Billie lifted the lid on all of [Beckett’s] well-worn notes, especially his instruction Don’t Act: “No colour”. She was adamant not to let me emulate her performance or veer towards a surface “Beckett-style” reproduction, but wanted instead for the work to connect deep within the performer. She explained that Beckett dealt with such truths that he had no room for an actor’s craft. He did want emotion, only he wanted all of it – the real stuff, the guts – not some polished fool’s gold…She taught me that truth has a sound, a timbre.”

Audition Doctor sessions are sometimes difficult and demanding – but every single student leaves knowing that no pathway, however difficult, has been avoided in the pursuit of the truth, of which there may be many. The difference is that Tilly encourages the unusual and the ambitious – “the real stuff, the guts” – which means that even just one session at Audition Doctor usually changes not only the way you approach a character, but the way you approach the wider craft of acting itself.