Welcome back to our forth blog instalment. For those that have missed the other weeks please click here and let us say...welcome! Audition speeches have always been at the forefront of an actor’s mind. And looking at the large collection of books and web pages out there its clearly an ever growing and non definitive puzzle of words.
Do you pick Shakespeare? Or maybe some classical literature such as Arthur Miller? Perhaps it’s that more modern monologue that will help you get the role? Or even something as obscure as Sarah Kane to make you stand out? We cast through casting call pro and Starnow. Even on casting call pros forum you can see the ambiguity of an actor’s understanding of a pantomime audition speech. At Panto in a Day we understand this dilemma and have always advised actors that a monologue will be there ready and waiting for their interpretations to prevail. We simply take an excerpt from the pantomime they could potentially be performing and in accordance to the character they applied for.
Here is an example of an audition speech we used for last years Jack and the Beanstalk; To understand the history of the Dame, click here
Dame: Jack?! Oh, boys and girls. Well, you must excuse me, I have just woken up, but I think you’ll agree I am still looking rather dashing. Did I hear someone say beautiful? I think it was that boy there, well I totally agree my love. Although, my breath does smell a bit. I’ll tell you what, will you guys tell me if it does? I’ll breathe on the front row. (SHE DOES SO). Well is it that bad? It is? Not to worry I’ve got some of that Katie Price perfume I’ll give my tongue a good spray later. Have you met my son Jack? You have? Well he’s a hard working boy but he needs to work a little harder. Rather than running around like a lunatic. But on to more important issues, I am sure you’ve noticed I’ve been on a diet to keep my figure slim but I didn’t expect to be this skinny! I suppose Jack told you all about me? He didn’t? Well my name is Dame Mercedes kailey Martha Jessy Po Trott. But you can call me Dame. Now after three I want to all to shout out your names. 1...2...3...oh brilliant, now I know who you are, although I didn’t get everyone’s. (POINTING TO AUDIENCE MEMBERS). What’s your name? Ohhh a very strong name! And you dear what’s your name? Oh a lovely name. I better go and see where my boy is. So I’ll see you later my lovely’s! Ta rar.
To keep it fair we have also added a link to a speech from Dick Whittington, that isn't our work. But back to our Dame speech, it's a fun piece that opens the pantomime. At all our auditions we watch the actors interpretation. Sometimes they're great, and sometimes not always up to scratch. But either way its a huge learning curve for us too. We can learn alot from getting a script on its feet and sometimes the actor comes up with an idea we haven't considered. We can only advise that 'you go for it'. And yes, this is a generic line that you've probably heard before but it's your personality that's important here. Every emotion and decision you've made is the correct one in your mind and that's very important to see. Sometimes over looked by some directors or those in charge of the audition process. But it's the second reading that is the most important for everyone. Here is where we add our interpretation. We'll ask you to emphasise the strong points and take out the weak ones. Whilst installing some of our own directions. Why? Quite simply to see if you can take direction. This factor is obviously a large part of the decision process for us.
Listen to the hints- Improvising. Before any read through we state the importance of 'carrying on'. There is nothing worse than an actor loosing their line and following up with the highly cringe one word 'sorry'. And if you haven't fallen out of your seat yet, sometimes that's then followed up with 'where was I'. Is that line in the script?! No I didn't think so! Don't get us wrong though, nerves are a natural and humbling attribute that make us human. But the art of blagging (as the average Jo would call it) is key here. Within the acting world 'blagging' is also known as improvising. So to reiterate, we really emphasise that if you get lost, make it up and talk your way through it. There is nothing more admirable than an actor who forgets their lines and yet stays within the moment and knows their character so well they can continue on saying almost anything convincingly. Pantomime is far more lackadaisical than any other play out there which is why throughout rehearsals the best material is that that's improvised. Still, back to the audition process. So regardless of an actor’s presence and ability, saying 'sorry' at a moment of memory loss throughout a speech knocks them back a peg or two. But being average and having the confidence to sit in front of a director and make up elements that aren't the written word gains alot of respect points.
Ultimately, and we can't recommend this for all auditions; but just have fun! You're auditioning for a pantomime, its whole ethos is fun and enjoyment. There's a great article we have found that offers some valuable tips.... We find the more the actors immerse and loose themselves in it the more successful the applicant. Auditioning is one of the most fun elements to our job and we enjoy seeing each and every one of you.