THE SEVEN LEVELS OF AUDITION HELL
Level Four: Forgetting Something?
The symptoms are all there as you stand in front of the “hiring line” – sweaty palms, trickle of sweat on your forehead, complete and utter memory loss over what it is you are there to do. Questions whisk through your consciousness: Where am I? What production I am trying out for? Am I an actor who moves well or a singer who dances?
Quickly coming to your senses, you start your song or monologue. Three lines in, you forget everything as your mind goes blanker than an unwritten check. Or you vamp for a few bars, or make up some dialogue, but nothing is helping. Do you stop and ask if you can start over again? Or do you just plug through, hoping the judgmental but supportive panel will admire your gusto and pick you above everyone else who remembered all their lines?
If you just miss a word or a beat, keep going, it’s no big deal and possibly not even noticeable. If you are completely thrown off, stop and regroup. One thing is for sure, it almost never hurts to ask about beginning again. At least it shows that you know that they know that you know you were going off track and had the wherewithal to stop and regroup.
If you blank out completely, admit it! If you need to stop, STOP! If you need to refer to your sides, refer to your sides. Apologize and start again. If we say, ‘thank you, no need to,’ they probably weren’t interested in the first place.
One other note: If you do have sides, always hold them in one hand even if you’ve memorized them. The script will always be there if you need to refer to it, and it also tends to make the casting staff less worried about you forgetting your lines and frees them up to focus on your performance.
In our next Career Cues, we’ll explore Level Five of Audition Hell … Shake, Rattle, & Roll. I’m Dan Woren of the Actors Reporter … Break a leg!