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An Indian Playing an Irish Person?

Venkatesh Potula shares tips on how to prepare for an audition, and his own experience working an accent. logo

I just recently auditioned for the play The Ginger Man, written by J. P Donleavy. When I was notified of the audition I had no idea what it was about, so I decided to do some research about the play:

1. The Ginger Man was originally a novel and the author decided to adapt it into a stage play.

2. It was banned from the Republic of Ireland and the USA for obscenity.

3. Johnny Depp almost played the lead character, but the film lost momentum due to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Feeling somewhat prepared, I went into the audition at 11pm. It was the only time available for me as I just finished acting in a production of The Country Wife. Naturally, I was exhausted from doing the production, but I decided to audition anyway.

At the audition, the stage manager gave me a form to fill out. The form required the usual information - name, contact info, year at university, etc. - however, in bold, was one question: "What accents can you perform?" I wrote down that I could perform an Indian, African American, and, just for fun, an Irish accent. I figured that because it's an Irish play, I should note that I can attempt to do an Irish accent.

After performing my monologue, the director asked me to repeat the monologue in an Irish accent. Lo and Behold! Of course, I attempted it. To my surprise, the director complemented me on my accent as I left the audition.

TIP: Doing research on the play or film you audition for will always help you. You never know what questions/direction the judge panel will ask you and how knowing the play or film will aid your answer.

The next day, the callbacks were posted, but my name was missing. Rather, I noticed that most of the people called back were 5'10" - 6'3" Caucasian males. Obviously, I do not fit that physical description. I guess I don't have the "luck of the Irish."

As performers, we cannot even fathom the plethora of factors that are taken into account when being cast. However, the one thing we can be sure of is how well we did for ourselves.

So in the end, the Indian did not end up playing the Irish guy, but I learned that trying new things and doing your research never hurts.


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