the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Introductions in Auditions, Theater edition!

Today's post is prompted by the time I spent over the weekend as a volunteer at the Theatre Bay Area General auditions - volunteering at the Generals is a highly recommended super educational experience for actors at any stage in their career.

Introductions for a theater general audition should include: your name, both first and last, and an introduction of the pieces you'll be doing.

If you're walking in past the auditors and get to greet them on your way in, then you won't need to say your name again from the stage.  But, if you're walking in from the wings, and the auditors are out in the house, your intro should include your name, so the auditors can make sure they're studying the correct headshot/resume during your audition.

To introduce monologues, use a personalized combination of these three elements - the character's name, the title of the play, and the play's author, which would go 'I'm presenting Libby from Craig Lucas's Blue Window; or 'This piece is Libby from Blue Window by Craig Lucas'  If the play is from the generally established 'canon' you don't need to mention the author, just title and role.  Something like 'I'll be doing Juliet from Romeo and Juliet' or 'My first piece is Juliet from Romeo and Juliet' 

Find the best version of your own language that gives the title/author/character name clearly and concisely.  It seems like personalized, active, present tense goes better than distanced, passive, future tense language.  So I'm doing/presenting/sharing character from play by author rather than This piece that I am going to be acting in is a monologue for the character Karen from the play Children's Hour. The author of Children's Hour is Lillian Hellman.

For songs (which I don't usually do), the normal intro seems to be the title of the song followed by the title of the musical.  Know your composer and lyricist, and know the character name, so you can share if asked.

It's great for the actor to know more about the play or musical, especially if it's not very well known.  Translator/adaptor's name for older pieces or foreign pieces, production history of a newer piece, a nutshell summary of the plot, circumstances of the scene that your monologue is from - all of these things can be springboards into further conversation if the auditor wants to know more about the piece, after you've finished your audition.  None of them need to be in your introduction though.

Above all, the intro is where you can be professional and personable, efficient and connected, and let the auditors know that you understand their time is valuable while at the same time displaying the essence of you.

Rehearse intros and figure out what works best for you.

For camera and voiceover, this is a different ballgame, and I'll cover it later this week!

And, I'm leading a seminar on Saturday Feb 11 from 1pm to 2:45pm on 'Navigating Your Career as a Bay Area Actor' $25 for TBA members/$40 for non-members.  Sign up by calling Theatre Bay Area at 415.430.1140 x10 or email Space is limited!

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