Ramayana Audition Hints

Overall Approach to Auditions
  • Get to the HURRAY! Find ways to look forward to perform. Commitment, dedication and spark comes easier when we embrace opportunity-
  • Don’t go for getting the role; go for inhabiting character. For 90 seconds, live their life, think their thoughts, and move in their body. That’s exciting!
  • Think relativity – put audition in perspective – Outside room, life and death struggles abound – this audition is not life threatening, though it seems that way
  • Face the Fears: What is the fear and how likely is it to happen, and if it does, so what? For many, it’s forgetting lines, moving right when everyone else moves left or your voice cracking on high notes while singing. Trust the room to handle it
  • Take control of what you can (the doing); let go of what you can’t (casting).
  • Be kind to yourself and others within this process- empathy is humanity.
  • Play character, not results. NOT I will make them cry, laugh, or cast me
  • Be the Tree! Believe in character fully-Know difference between playing at character and playing from it. Broad, bold characterizations need truthful connection. From movement, speech or song, find core emotional issue beyond story line that you know – such as a painful separation or loss, a conquest or joy!
  • Perform in front of others, others for you- allow for community, support!
Preparation, outside of Auditions
For Dance:
  • Once presented, learn choreography outside class, get it fully into your body, ask questions, seek friends, practice until it becomes second nature, pay attention to technique, alignment, posture.
  • Allow character or qualities to emerge from movement- tune into feelings. Discovers transitions of feeling. Get out of your head! Practice with head up!
For Songs, Monologues/Scenes:
  • Scene/Monologue Selection: Find piece with strong character range (progression or change of feelings) or clearly communicates conflict. 
  • Song Selection– a little trickier-Select the song that pulls you AND that you can sing comfortably. Check with Brian if range is an issue. While inhabiting character rules the day, tonality and pitch are important, particularly if seeking lead roles
  • Research material; build character from situation. Familiarity with the RAMAYANA is both blessing and curse. If brand new, seek information from directors. If a veteran, careful of complacency or sense ‘you know it all’ already.
  • Read, Read, Read- monologue/scene, lyrics repeatedly. Understand context- what is happening and to whom. If names mentioned, research/create identities and relationships. If monologue/song, whom are you addressing? Are relationships clear? What just happened prior? What do the lines inform you of?
  • Word Wisdom -Find power, image, particularly nouns. Helps in line learning.
  • Understand beats – how character starts, transforms, shifts, intensifies 
  • Get To the Problem- find conflict issue- what do you (character) want? What’s at stake? Make it desperate and immediate. Characters live life intensely,
  • Make it Hard to Get What You Want-Find internal shades, secrets, turmoil that colors outward quest and battle. The struggle is the interest.
  • Experiment outwardly to fortify inwardly- try on character body, age, social status IF that fosters immersion. Downplay accents.
  • Plan action, not feelings. Action comes from Character, not clever plan or manipulation- I’ll fall on my knees here and all will cry’. If staging song/scene-monologue, and for dance, face forward not sideways! In scenes, figure out how to share both with partner and audience
  • Once research complete, learn the lines/lyrics.
The Audition Arrives
  • Warm up prior, voice and body, keep loose; keep breathing. Savor the energy of the moment- keep focused and don’t get sucked into distraction.
  • Limit mental gymnastics, desperately reviewing lines, lyrics, choreography, worrying about results. You’ve done the prep; now let it all go.
  • Get to the present moment-keep breathing 
  • Directors want you to do well. Take care of audience, not them of you.
  • Nerves are part of it. Don’t judge them. Put nervousness into character
  • Trust in your preparation- feel your feet on the ground
  • Confidence is not arrogance– It is doing with full commitment. You are the expert, the collaborator that brings life to choreography, words spoken or sung. 
  • Breath and Opening Beat: If asked, state name, title of piece, then BREATHE. Take opening beat. Whether with group, partner or alone, get centered, find vulnerability, openness, and stillness. If a monologue/song, put imagined person you know in real life a little off center eye level- someone who loves you unconditionally or ignites you. If a scene, connect with partner silently. Don’t speak until you MUST. Avoid any action that takes you away from character focus. Sometimes, checking with friends in audience distracts rather than fortifies. Make it ABOUT CHARACTER.
  • Focus shifts to discovering and receiving. Don’t play end before you begin. Allow for spontaneous reaction.
  • Let It Unfold – Trust, receive, and respond! Indicating happens when we think, move, or gesture as an actor and not as the character. Live each moment as the character, searching for best words to use to describe feelings, issues, or world.  
  • Trust yourself, partner, and safety of the room-fully immerse. Forget the audience. Think, feel and live life of the character.
  • To Have or Have Not the Script/Lyrics- In general, best to have piece memorized and trust your preparation. If you bring the script, hold below eye level. Don’t try to hide in pocket or put on ground. Head into paper diminishes overall effect.
  • End strong– don’t run away, throw it away, apologize in body, mind, spirit.
  • Celebrate the doing. Honest positive acknowledgement of the experience for yourself and others is healthy and warranted. You just did something creative, risky and expansive. Be gentle with yourself. ‘If only I had’ is a dark tunnel without much air. Focus on the positive and move on’
During the Process 
  • We are all responsible for one another in terms of creating safety and promoting risk taking. Keep positive, believe in your efforts and enjoy the efforts of others. 
  • If asked to read a role, no matter what it is, do it fully. We are usually experimenting with range. A bad attitude in reading something else may cost you the role you covet.
  • Do not publicly declare roles as inadequate or beneath you– it limits options, spreads negativity-makes others feel bad if they are cast in those roles or if you are, it puts you in a box to remain negative in order to save face. Declarations may prevent you from landing coveted role. We want people in leading roles who are positive and open minded
  • Casting is the Directors’ problem- Strong desires for a particular role are normal. The reality is that casting is out of your hands. We put you where play most needs you. Trust the directors, trust the process, trust in your ability to handle disappointment and move forward positively.
Casting and the Aftermath
  • Casting is a challenging process for all involved-You want to be happy; directors want you to be happy, but the odds are you will not land in the coveted role. That’s usual for any auditions anywhere. Further, odds are you will end up playing a part you’ve done before. That’s unique to our play and not always an easy hurdle to jump.
  • Feeing good about your part is desirable- While how we share our victory needs some awareness, those disappointed must tone down sensitivities to others being happy. They have the right to celebrate. Be happy for them rather than hating them.
  • Concrete methods for dealing with personal disappointment– Exercise, entertainment, even a good cry. Disappointment is like a wave that passes through us and will not last forever-we have choices whether to fuel the fire or let it burn out. Perspective really helps. Remind yourself of community and purpose, think about those who have successfully done the role you are now in. Seek positive audience, not those who support negativity. Remind yourself of your strength, uniqueness, that life goes on and you are okay.
  • How to handle someone else’s disappointment or negativity– While tempting, don’t try to fix it; be present, acknowledge difficulty, reaffirm their worth and talents. Sense the invitation- what does your friend need now? Combat the urge to jump on the negative bandwagon, fuel conspiracy, or ill will towards others. It won’t help your friend since the casting won’t change, and will have a bad effect on the process, fellow actors and your own involvement
  • Whatever parts you play present potentialities for growth and for your talents to be displayed- By fully investing, we gain experience and positively contribute. The more willingness and enjoyment we have in the process of discovery, the more we will get receive from the endeavor.
  • Ramayana is about Community and Tradition– This experience is not just about which roles you receive; for 30 years, tens of thousands of students have participated, multiples of that number have seen the play. Ramayana is fun, unique and fully inclusive of our entire school of over 200, which will play in a professional exciting theatre to sold out houses totaling over the four days to upwards of 2000 people. Remember how the end of the journey feels, how cohesive, exhilarating, and meaningful. While the Part is important, team is more. Enjoy this unique experience.