Arts and Entertainment

Behind the curtains at South Stage auditions

By Leigh Alon
Published: March 2009

A rowdy cluster of kids gathers around the callboard, completely blocking hallway traffic. This can only mean one thing: it’s time for auditions at Newton South. This is an extremely trying time period for many Newton South students for whom theater is a real passion.
Auditions for the spring plays, which include the student directing festival, Macbeth, and Stopkiss, were held on February 23 and 24.

“Theater is probably my main hobby, one of the most important things to me, and something I want to pursue as a career someday, sophomore Harry Neff said. With only a few opportunities to participate in South Stage every year, it is easy to see why such dedicated actors would feel overwhelmed about the audition process.

One important component of the auditions is the development and memorization of a monologue. Sophomore Jaclyn Horowitz regretted finding her Shakespeare monologue only three days in advance and wished she “had started developing the character¦earlier so it would have been a smoother audition. Her non-Shakespearian monologue, however, was both comedic and well prepared with her acting coach.

Neff chose his monologue carefully so that it would “fit [his] tendencies and strengths as an actor. More importantly, he wanted it to “resemble the character [he] wanted to play in the show he was auditioning for. Freshman Lauren Ashbrook was a bit unsure about how to select a monologue, but found that she liked one that “expresses as many emotions as possible, even if they are totally bizarre.

Though most actors agreed that the theater department provided more than enough time to prepare a good monologue, some felt they could have used their time more wisely.
Nerves, of course, affected the actors as well. “The most nerve-wracking part is waiting for your name to be called. Watching the other people auditioning with you and knowing that you are up against them for a limited number of roles is very nerve-wracking for me, Horowitz said.
After the callbacks, Neff began overanalyzing the decisions his directors made. “I didn’t know whether a director not wanting to see more of me reading for a certain part meant ‘Ëœnext, please’ or ‘Ëœoh, you’re definitely in and I just have to see if anyone else is as good as you,’ he said.Coming out of an audition left many students with mixed emotions about their performances. Seeing herself more as a singer, sophomore Michele Goldstein felt mediocre about her performance. Horowitz was disappointed because she had to improvise some of the lines of her Shakespearian monologue “which is much harder than it seems. Freshman Daniel Bender-Stern told himself he “did horribly, just as a kind of way to try to improve for the next one.

Despite all the preparation and effort, actors do not always get their desired roles. “There’s no way to sugar coat it, Neff said. “Nothing comforts the feeling but time. Ashbrook likes to expect nothing and then, if she’s lucky, have a wonderful new show in her life.

Though Horowitz thinks that occupying herself with a new hobby is good consolation, she realizes how difficult it is to deal with. “You have to give it a good cry and recognize that you didn’t get in, but it doesn’t mean you are bad. It just means that there wasn’t a part right for you, she said.

After overcoming these obstacles, all three agree that auditions are extremely rewarding. “I feel like it is a great way to learn about acting. You get such a short time to present yourself and what you have to offer to an audience that it forces you to make bold choices and develop a well thought out character, Horowitz said.

Bender-Stern has friends that auditioned just for the experience of actually auditioning, and he believes that auditioning is definitely helpful in starting out in theater at South.

Neff benefits from the constructive feedback after each audition. “That’s probably the best part of South Stage, he said. “Staff are willing to work with you on monologues and give you advice. There is really a universal hope for students’ success. Of course, getting cast, on the other hand, is an excellent feeling too.

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