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Day 7 - Audition Day!

Posted Date: 06 December 2011 at 11:36:50AM

I arrive at the Actors Centre and take note that most of us are wearing black. Just an observation, but it is almost comforting, the uniformity, as though we are united. We are, in a sense, because we're all here doing the same things, facing our fears, stretching ourselves, stepping out of comfort zones and taking risks.


I bump into a friend from a previous NIDA course and the camaraderie is welcome in this sea of serious faces and butterfly tummies.


I have always loved this building, a beautiful old converted church with polished floors and high ceilings. A truly unique and lovely performance space. I take note of the jug of water and cups set up against one wall. How thoughtful. Studio One, where we are invited to warm up, is smallish when holding so many nervous actors, so I head out to the courtyard. It's a humid day and the hair is already sticking to the back of my neck. The open air is welcome.


I try to warm up without eyeing the other actors. I want to respect them as I like to be respected, but sometimes the curiosity gets the better of me. Should I be doing what she's doing? No one else is doing spine rolls, am I wrong? Oh, it's ridiculous, this self consciousness. How can a spine roll be wrong? Who cares what anyone else is doing? This is what works for me and isn't this why I'm here? To learn these things?


I try to relax my brain, my body, my throat, breathe and enjoy this moment, this experience. It works, I feel relaxed and poised for whatever may be.


Eventually we are called into Studio Two and I am surprised that there is funky, jazzy house music playing. We are each greeted by Founding Director, Dean Carey, and seated facing each other. Carey begins by speaking about what the audition will entail and what we can expect. He explains that what they are looking for is simply what we have brought. His speech is warm, positive, at times funny, inspiring and empowering. The mystery is gone and we have been enlightened. It seems fitting that we're in a church.


Then we are encouraged to meet each other. The music starts and we mingle about the room introducing ourselves and dispelling nervous energy. We complete a simple, fun, energising warm up and focus exercise with Carey as our guide, then split into two groups and it's time to perform our pieces. I'm last so I wait patiently as the others go through their performances and receive applause at the end of each, a refreshing change. The philosophy being that an audition is still a performance and deserves to be commended with a clap. Love it.


Just before my turn the butterflies start, the heart gets racing, my hands shake, breathing gets shorter, I try to inhale deeply and use the nervous energy to fuel my performance. I have the option to use a warm body so I take it, delivering my monologue to one of the second year students who are here for this exact reason. I get through my piece with focus, not forgetting a line and it feels good, almost as good as when I did it at home. I am mildly pleased with the outcome.


We head out for a ten minute break and I chat to Morgan, one of the second year students, about the course, what she likes about it, what she did before she enrolled (she was a nurse!). It's nice to get an insider's perspective.


Soon we are called into Studio One for our second round. This time I'm up first and this throws me slightly. I forget to choose a focal point and feel a bit scattered looking over the tutor's heads. I get through it, but don't feel as confident as I did about my first piece and the doubt begins to set in. It doesn't help that everyone else seems to have lifted their game second time round and I am impressed with more than one of my fellow actor's performances.


Then it is over, as if in the blink of an eye, he said it would be like that. We tumble out into the courtyard and wait to be called in for the wrap up. Everyone seems more relaxed now, chatting and laughing. Soon we are ushered back into Studio Two and invited to sit in the theatre seats with the tutors and second year students facing us from the performance space. Carey speaks to us again about the day and how he was impressed by the overall lack of self consciousness. Each of the tutors and students say what they enjoyed about our group.


We are told that if we are required for a call back we should expect a phone call by five o'clock.


The music starts again and a few people mill about chatting with the tutors and students. Carey waits by the door and has a little chat with each of us as we leave.


I exit feeling exhilarated. This has been one of the best auditioning experiences I have ever had and there is no question that I have chosen the right school. After today I wouldn't want to attend anywhere else. Unfortunately it means the wait until five o'clock is going to be excruciating.


To pass the time I call my Mum and tell her to meet me at the pub for a drink to celebrate my risk-taking today. Even if I don't get a call back I'm still proud of myself for the work I've done and for showing up.






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