by Chris Petersen
Auditions are a terrible process that provoke stress in those auditioning, thereby ensuring that they will not perform at their best at an art form that is buffeted by the whims of chance more than any other. The mathematics of auditions are not in any individual’s favor. Many more people do not get the part than do. But they also provide a fantastic way to see how an improviser performs in an incredibly awkward and unnatural environment. My, doesn’t that sound like an excellent learning opportunity?
The very wise Marc Evan Jackson (here with the equally wise Paul F. Tompkins) has some very interesting things to say about the audition process. Here he’s referring to auditions for scripted parts, but it’s true of any audition. Specifically to about 5:30, but the whole interview is worth listening to:
It’s that quote at the end of this clip that provides a very good reframing of how to think about auditions:
“I’m going to make a memorable day of this for them and for me, and I’m probably not going to get this role, but two years from now when they go ‘Who was that guy who was totally wrong - and a little weird - for that one thing that might be perfect for this next thing?’”
Auditions are a showcase: a moment of stage time in a controlled environment. They are not final exams, nor dissertation defenses, nor your last hope for making a career in comedy or show business. Enjoy the opportunity and the process.