Auditioning for our 2017 Season
Welcome to the Bobcat Players Blog! This year, we’ll be inviting you into our world with a series of bi-monthly articles, mainly focusing on our season. As a general rule, these entries will come from our Corresponding Secretary, Casey Novak, but we’ll also feature guest writers throughout the year too! We want you to get to know us better, so if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know more about, be sure to let us know! We’re really looking forward to our adventures with you in 2017.
We begin 2017 with our auditions for the season! We encourage anyone with an interest and passion for theatre to join us this year, and we’re searching for a wide variety of actors. Auditions take place at our home in the Ed Schaughency Theater in Beaver Area High School. We ask that you memorize a one or two minute monologue from a play or literary work, and there will be cold readings from our shows. Auditions are by appointment only on January 7 from 9 AM to 4 PM, January 12 from 7 PM to 10 PM, and January 14 from 9 AM to 4 PM. You can schedule your appointment here: http://www.bobcatplayers.com/auditions---date-template
We completely understand how auditions can be intimidating, so we sought out a way to make them a bit more relaxed. For that reason, we asked the directors of 2017 to share what they’re looking for and any tips they have in general. Below, you’ll find insight from Dave Neuhart (director of The Boys Next Door), Shelly Cary (director of Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl), and Patti Ross (writer and director of A Very Oblonski Valentine). Check out their answers below:
What advice can you give actors when it comes to choosing a monologue?
Dave Neuhart: Keep it at 1-2 minutes, and show me that you cared enough to select and memorize
Patti Ross: To add to that, please know that we realize 1-2 minutes isn’t much time, but the basic impetus for the monologue is to make sure a performer can memorize. If some characterization seeps in, that is gravy! When Dave says “something appropriate,” he means it should showcase and suit you. Nobody wants to hear a sixty-five year old attempt to capture the ingénue. I also encourage people to stay in their comfort zones when choosing a monologue. If you feel you are best suited to comedy, find a humorous monologue. If you think drama is more your style, go for something serious. And relax! As I always told my students, the only person who knows what is in that script is you.
Shelly Cary: I would echo what Patti said plus: I would caution people to be selective when choosing a monologue, especially if they choose one from a movie or television show. Not all monologues lend themselves well to a stage.
How should actors dress for Bobcat Player auditions?
SC: Casual is best, but not sloppy. Wear something you would not be embarrassed for your boss to see you in—after all, you are trying to sell yourself! An additional pointer: wild costumes and props are not necessary, and can in fact be distracting. Unless your monologue makes a specific prop or costume piece necessary, save it for next Halloween!
PR: Casual works for us. You have to be able to move in what you are wearing. Nothing distracting—like gigantic clanking jewelry. But your outfit makes a statement. What do you want yours to say?
DN: Dress doesn’t matter to me.
What sets apart a good audition?
DN: Solid preparation.
PR: I think three things set apart a good audition. The first is a willingness to try anything the director throws at the performer. Want a British accent? Even if it is uncomfortable, try it. That willingness speaks volumes. And if you fail, so what? At least you were game. The second is a confidence in who you are and what you can do. Smile, project, read convincingly. Finally, try to have some prior knowledge of the scripts. Internet makes that so easy, but you would be surprised at how many people come to auditions with absolutely no idea of what these plays are about. A little research goes a long way to impress.
SC: Again, what Patti said. I would add (even though these are kind of obvious and point to acting skill,) reading with expression or with a character type in mind and the ability to take direction (if the director gives a note during a cold reading, being able to incorporate that note, etc.).
What are you looking for this year for your show?
PR: This year, my show (A Very Oblonski Valentine) presents a distinct challenge because it is an original amateur show. It's a spinoff from our Christmas show from several seasons past. I am looking primarily for people who can transform amateur dialogue into something higher. (Not an easy task!) Most of all, I am looking for uninhibited performers who can milk a laugh while also conveying some of the foibles and failings of all too human characters. My show is not a farce. It is a gentle comedy with a little bit of nostalgia or sentimentality thrown in. I am really counting on my actors to make this work. So I guess what I want most of all is an ensemble of actors who can really make our audience love them, accept them, relate to them.
SC: Specifically, four woman and one man that appear to be in the mid 40-mid 60 age range, and one woman and one man in the early-mid 20s age range. Although the young girl is a non-speaking role, it’s really important that she be able to tell her story through movement and facial expressions. Generally, my show (Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl) is light hearted and whimsical. Three of the 4 older women are "retired" mermaids—they need to be able to portray this without being campy or farcical.
DN: I need 7 men (one African-American) and 2 women. One man and one woman fill multiple, short roles. One of the men (an older man) is only on for a few pages, but they are powerful. Of the remaining actors, the woman and 4 of the men will be asked to portray characters with intellectual/emotional/psychological deficits.
Do you have an additional advice you can give?
DN: If you really want a part in a Bobcat production, let it show!
SC: Have fun!
PR: My additional advice would be to take the risk! Plunge in. Know that the cold readings may be exhausting but also essential to a good audition. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Be prepared to give up a good chunk of time that day. And enjoy—no matter how nervous you may be. We do community theater because we enjoy it. Hope you grow to enjoy it right alongside us.
We really hope these words have brought you confidence and encouragement, and we can’t wait to see what you bring to us on audition days! Stay tuned for our next entry, featuring an inside look at our 2017 season as told by Artistic Director Patti Ross.