Chronicles of an Aspiring Theatre Major: February

Kasie Patlove

A lot has been going on this past month. I have successfully finished 5 of my 13 auditions. It has been quite a ride, having to leave for an audition a day early with an hours’ notice to catch a flight, taking a road trip with my dad across two different states, and trekking through mountains of snow.  Although every audition is a bit different, I’ll give a basic low-down on how they work.  My day normally starts around 7 am. I get up, have a small breakfast (normally some fruit or cereal), and get dressed and ready to go. This includes packing up a bag with everything I need for the day and checking it about a million times, as I’m compulsive and don’t want to forget anything! In my bag is a binder with all my music, 3 different types of dance shoes, several bottles of water, a headshot, and a resume. Then it’s off to the school. Around 9 am is check in- getting the information for the day and confirming your audition time. Then, my mom and I wait in a holding room with everyone else who is auditioning that day. Sometimes I see people I know.  It’s a small world! Often they have students at the school or faculty members give a presentation about the school and what the theater department has to offer. I find it most helpful to talk to the current students about where they came from in high school and how they feel like the program has changed them. After about 20 minutes, they bring all of the audition candidates to the dance call. There are normally between 25 and 40 kids there, so it gets pretty crowded. In the dance call, they usually start off with a ballet combination that lasts about 45 seconds. The teacher will slowly teach it step by step to the group as a whole. Then, all the kids get broken up in groups of four to be judged on their technique and how well they’ve learned the dance. At least I don’t have to do it by myself! After that, they do the same process with a quick paced, Broadway style jazz combination that can last from 1-2 minutes. None of the dances at any of the schools have been super hard, but sometimes it’s funny to watch the people that have no experience. After that, I usually have about a half hour to change into what I am wearing for the rest of the audition: a nice dress with tights and heels. Then comes the worst part.  Waiting. As if the anticipation of waiting to go in there and be judged on every single thing you do wasn’t enough, you have to deal with annoying girls who try and be your “friend”.  They ask you questions like “What schools are YOU applying to?” or “have you done any professional shows?” My best advice is not talking to them.  It’s not worth psyching yourself out. Soon enough it is time for me to go in. I go in, introduce myself to the adjudicators (anywhere from 1-3 people) and go over to the pianist. I show him/her where I wanted to start my songs and how fast they should go. It’s a little nerve-racking, as the pianist is human too and mistakes happen. Then, I get up there and “do my thing”. I perform my 2 songs in succession. At one school, they asked me to sing a 3rd song, and some schools asked me to sing a song again. One school even had me sing scales to see my vocal range and had me sight-read (ack!). Then, almost immediately I leave and go into another room where I present my 2 monologues. The same type of thing happened in this stage. I was asked to perform pieces again and make adjustments. This is basically the adjudicators’ way of seeing if you can follow directions easily and are willing to take risks. It can be kind of scary, but it’s easiest if you’re not self-conscious about what you’re doing. Then, often the adjudicator will have you sit down at the table with them and have a short interview. They’ve asked me about why I want to go to the school, where I see myself in 10 years, what types of theater I’m involved with at home, as well as some of my other interests. As all this is happening, I see a re-occurring theme: anything can happen. After that, I thank the adjudicators for seeing me, and I leave. It’s really funny how all the months and time of preparation I’ve put into preparing for these auditions all comes down to about 45 minutes of showing what I can do.  It’s a bit ridiculous. As I write this month’s article, I am on the train back to New York, where I have 6 auditions over the next 4 days. Yes, I said 6. I can’t believe this is all happening; hopefully I’ll make it out alive! Okay, I’m being dramatic, but hey, I’m a theater kid! Act 2 will start off with the biggest opening number you’ve ever seen!