Chronicles of an Aspiring Theatre Major

Kasie Patlove

Another month into the college process and things have begun to get crazy! I had begun the infamous “Common App” as soon as it was released in August so I wouldn’t fall behind. Now, most “normal” applicants have the option of applying to schools Early Decision or Early Action, meaning that they will know by December most likely where they are going to college and applications are due around November 1st. The crappy thing about art schools is that THEY DON’T HAVE THAT! Just plain old regular- find-out-in April- decision. But has this given me a reason to put the apps off until a week before the January due date? Absolutely not. Like I mentioned last month, in addition to sending in the actual applications I have auditions. There are anywhere between 400 and 1500 students applying to these schools and auditions need to be scheduled ASAP. Most of the schools I’m applying to have about 6 audition dates with a limited amount of time slots each day. So basically the sooner the app arrives, the sooner auditions are scheduled. And if you’re a slacker and get apps in at the last minute, its very likely that you may be shut out from auditions. Fun right? So basically I worked my butt off for about two weeks to get all the essays and forms and recommendations into the guidance department (not an easy task) so they could be sent off to the 13 schools on my list. This all happened the first week in October, and by this point I have received confirmation from almost all of my schools that they have received my forms. I also have 11 of my 13 auditions scheduled, which will be happening from January 14- February 20.  That’s going to be a fun month for me! So what next? Sit back and wait for January 14th? No way! For me, this is the most fun part: training. During each week I meet with a private voice teacher and a private acting coach to find and work on the repertoire that I will perform at my auditions. I spend an hour with each teacher, but this also requires multiple hours of preparation at home as well. This is not an easy task, and surprisingly it takes a lot of research about composers, playwrights and musical styles. Yes, theater has homework too. Each week I need to come prepared to my lessons with notes, lyrics, and monologues from plays memorized with ideas on how to make the song or scene interesting and develop the characters that I am portraying. And yes, all this work gets shown in just under 8 minutes! All that hard work amounts to people sitting at a table staring at you for 8 minutes while you pour out everything you’ve been working on for months. Encouraging. But luckily, I was able to get a taste of the audition experience last weekend. I went to New York City for a mock audition. I was to dress and prepare music and monologues as if I was auditioning for any one of the schools to which I am applying. I got there all dressed up, music in hand ready to go and would be adjudicated by the head of a college musical theater department, a college acting teacher, a professional voice coach, a professional theater composer, the music director, and the former dean of admissions of one of the top music and theater conservatories in the nation. Needless to say, although I was not auditioning for college, I was majorly stressed out. After performing my 2 songs and 2 monologues I was given the opportunity to receive feedback from my adjudicators. I honestly thought that they would tear me apart and tell me I was untalented. But I was totally wrong. They basically said that I have a lot of talent, and it is obvious that I work very hard. But the most important think about college auditions is that they see Kasie as a person who they want to work with for 4 years, someone they can communicate and have fun with. And that made a lot of sense, they don’t want to see the hours of time I put into preparing, just a well-rounded person with the passion and ability to work hard and shine at any university program.  So basically I need to relax and stop being so uptight, and its probably going to take a lot more work than it seems. All right, so at this point my next steps are to finalize my repertoire and make all these travel arrangements!! Wish me luck. Act 1 scene 2 closes with lots more action and excitement to come!