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The "Perfect" Audition

The beginning of the Southeastern Theatre Conference inspires Nicole Pietrangelo to offer advice on improving your audition package.

As long as you put your vibrant personality on display and just do what you do best, the audition is bound to be a success.
(courtesy of Microsoft Office Images)
This month marks the beginning of SETC (Southeastern Theatre Conference) professional screening auditions. Being from Georgia and going to school in Alabama, I know that SETC is the most popular theater conference for students in the south. Since the conference encompasses 10 states, they hold screening auditions to determine which students will advance to the professional auditions at the actual SETC conference in the spring. That being said, it is important to nail these auditions - and all others for that matter!

In my scene study class, my professor outlined the basic steps for the "perfect" audition. I know this topic is one of discretion, but hopefully you will be able to incorporate at least one of these steps into your audition package.

Preload Entrance & Eye Contact- Basically, put some energy into your entrance and make eye contact with the adjudicators. This will help ease your nerves while showcasing your winning personality to the audition panel before you even begin. Make them want to watch you!

Plant Feet & Smile- Know where you are headed and walk purposefully toward that spot. (Make sure you are able to walk confidently in the shoes you decide to wear!) When you arrive, plant your feet. Then, smile and begin your slate.

Transition- After your slate, you need to make a transition into your audition piece. Pull your eyes off center and angle your body, so the audition panel can clearly see the shift. They will appreciate this transition...Believe me.

Pause &"Thank You"- After you completely NAIL your piece, don't be fooled, the audition is not over. Just as your initial transition is so important, so is the final transition. You must pause between the end of your piece and your final slate. Relief that the performance aspect of the audition is over causes many to forget this step. Well, the audition isn't over until you walk off the stage, so don't forget the final transition before thanking the audition panel.

Pivot & Exit- When leaving, lead with the foot closest to the exit. This will help you avoid awkwardly crossing one leg over the other and blocking you off from the audition panel. Let them see you for as long as possible to give them a lasting impression. And it won't hurt to smile!

I know this seems simple and possibly even monotonous. However, these steps are unbelievably important and truly can make or break an audition. That being said, recovery is a huge part of auditioning as well. Auditions are never perfect because, well, people make mistakes, whether it be forgetting the words, experiencing a voice crack, or tripping in the middle of a dramatic monologue. And while you think these mistakes are the end of the world, most of the time the audition panel doesn't even blink an eye. Sometimes they do, but what they really care about is how you recover.

At the SETC auditions this weekend, one of the last auditionees was in the midst of his song. He had a great voice and I could tell the song was building. Then, he started gearing up to jump onto a chair, hoping to finish his song with a bang. Well, he definitely got a bang, but not in the way he was hoping. He completely missed the chair, flew through the air, and face-planted onto the floor. There was a collective gasp in the room, all of us thinking he was hurt. But we were very wrong. He didn't even skip a beat and continued singing like nothing ever happened. Everyone was in shock, seeing him absolutely nail his audition despite the awful circumstances.

This poor guy taught me a very valuable lesson. An audition doesn't have to be the textbook definition of "perfect" for it to be great. In fact, sometimes the imperfection is what makes it great. As long as you put your vibrant personality on display and just do what you do best, the audition is bound to be a success.