I'm not an acting teacher, I haven't studied acting. My resume lists Lee Strasburg and George Loris as acting studio credits, but I'll confess to taking those terms as a means of studying acting culture (I thought there could be pertinent information within that once gleaned could help me land acting jobs - I was right) and not so much to study what acting is all about.
I don't think anyone can teach what acting is all about because I don't think anyone knows. I do think, knowing what acting is all about isn't important to getting parts. What follows are a few things I'd suggest you think about when going for a part, via an audition.
Try not to act when you read at an audition. Try to simply read the lines. It's natural to think that simply reading the lines won't be enough, but in most cases it should be. Read the lines simply and clearly, and with enough volume to be heard by those who're choosing who'll play the roles.
Trust is important. Trust yourself, the playwright, and the director.
Trust yourself to realize you're as capable as the next person to play the role, and understand if you're not cast, it's not because you suck at acting, it's because of lots of other things that are out of your control (too short, too good looking, not good looking enough, wrong color hair, the list is endless), so don't ever fret.
One of the main reasons you might not be cast in the role is, in community theatre, or in any other acting/performance related world come to think of it, the person who gets the role has had a prior relationship with the production. It can be a bummer to lose a role because of so-called theatre politics, but of course, theatre politics can also be why you get a role. Eh?
The playwright spent thousands of hours working to apply the perfect words, rhythm, and punctuation to his or her piece, therefore if you trust the playwright and simply read the words, you'll find a healthy chunk of your job as the actor has already been taken care of by the playwright.
Trust the director because you have no choice. He or she might not know what they're doing, but they usually have final say on who gets the role, so you must set your mind to not worrying what the director might be wanting to see from your audition. If an actor who auditioned before you tells tall tales of what the director told him to do in his audition, don't listen. The director might not have liked that person and could have been telling him a tall tale of his own. The more you think, the more complicated auditioning will become. Bottom line on auditioning as it relates to the director is, you can only control what you bring to the reading, so bring it, and trust the director likes what you bring.
Bring yourself, period. If you read this column on a regular basis you know it's part three of a multi-part love story about a little actress named, Veronica. When Veronica tried out for the role of Curley's Wife in, "Of Mice and Men" she brought herself, period. I don't mean she arrived alone, I mean she played herself in the reading, and she won the role. That's all anyone can do. That's all the big stars do.
Think about Russell Crow. I like watching him, and I'll say, in each role be plays, he always Russell Crow. In "A Beautiful Mind," he played an economics genius who suffers from schizophrenia, and in that part he was, Russell Crow. In "The Gladiator," he won an Oscar for his role, a role very different from his Beautiful Mind role, but yet, as the Gladiator, Russell Crow was, Russell Crow. I just saw his latest movie, "State of Play," in which he plays a journalist. I would have known him anywhere in that role, because he was, Russell Crow. In, "3:10 to Yuma," he played a worn cowboy bandit, as Russell Crow. He's up next in "Robin Hood." Do you wonder if he's going to actually be Robin Hood, or will he still be Russell Crow, playing Robin Hood?
If Russell Crow can only ever be Russell Crow, well by god, you and I shouldn't think we could go into an audition and be Tinker Bell. So if you try-out for Tinker Bell, read the lines as you, and if you're right for the role in the directors eyes, well, the wand and wings will do the rest.
Go get em. (I'd say, Break a Leg, but that's a ridiculous thing to say)
Now back to the Veronica love story.
To be continued.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com