According to a former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, actors must endure the “fire of sorrow” when auditioning for roles and improvise in the process.
Adrian Noble, whose cast includes Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi, said that “every actor in the world” has their own “horror stories”.
“These usually include a lack of respect, a waste of time, humiliation and indecency,” he said. “Directors are rude, look at their iPhones during auditions, run late and don’t apologize, they talk to their casting directors as if the actor wasn’t present…
His critiques appear in an upcoming book directing Shakespeare in which he advises directors, even on the most basic of politics, which is often absent from auditions.
“Thank them for coming. Try to provide immediate, clear, positive feedback on what they’ve done. Study their CV before this They come in and do not read while performing,” he said. “Water is available and there are throwaway cups… Provide them with an opportunity to try again if they want and you have the time. You can get an idea of how they take the direction.”
He suggests asking the actors about the play and making it clear to them or their representative what the director is looking for.
He added: “It needs to be clarified to the actor” before this What is the audition expected? You’ll definitely want to know more about the actor, so take the time to chat.
“It’s up to you before or after the audition. Some actors like to come in, do their job and then talk; they can keep their attention that way. Some prefer an ‘ice-breaking’ chat at first. We do.”
Noble led the RSC between 1991 and 2003. His appearances included King Lear and Robert Stephens as Lear. He drew on those experiences in writing his book, How to Direct Shakespeare, which will be published on 8 September by the Bloomsbury imprint Arden Shakespeare.
He recommends what to do if actors are interrupted or stuck: “Ask the actors to run around the room two or three times as quickly (and safely) as possible. Then run into space and immediately Play the scene, forgetting about blocking and verse and concept… Ask the actors to play the scene as clearly and seriously as possible, using the structure of the original but talking in vague or slang language. This will show how well they understand the shape of the scene.”
John Barkley, an assistant general secretary of the Actors Union, Equity, said Noble was raising a serious issue because actors are often “humiliated” at auditions – forcing them to wait for hours to not hear from producers again. goes. Or the casting director later.
Equity is particularly annoyed that actors are increasingly being pressured to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before auditioning, meaning they don’t even know what type of character they’ll be cast for. That being considered, leave out anything about the production. Actors need time to prepare for special roles.
The union believes that such NDAs are “unfair and excessive” and violate UK law, but Barkley stated that “desperate artists will sign anything”, adding: “The ‘uncomfortability’ around auditions ‘ That’s the whole level of it.”