So you’ve been asked to audition for a project and there is no way you can prepare in time. You want the role, but your panicking because you can’t give the audition your usual time and energy. Well here are some thoughts on how to prepare for an audition at short notice.
1. Be Honest about your goals
Can you learn the lines? This is the first question to ask yourself, as it will affect how you approach your audition preparation. If it’s not realistic to get off book, then don’t waste time learning frantically and do your acting work instead. If you think it’s possible and will give you an edge, then get cramming. Here’s some thoughts on if you choose the cramming path: learning lines quickly.
2. Read the play or script
I want to be honest. I am writing this article because I had 2 days to prep for a theatre audition and I was incredibly busy and didn’t have time to prepare. I skipped this step (well I read half the play). In the audition it let me down. The writer and director were there and I felt I didn’t have the knowledge to discuss ideas because I was unprepared. An early audition is often more an exchange of ideas. Seeing how you work together. Though it can take up precious preparation time, reading the play or whatever audition information they give you (TV Episode, character bios) is vital. Be informed and then you can have opinions.
3. Make some decisions
Yes, you’re short for time, but it’s still an audition. Even if you haven’t been able to prepare as normal, make some strong decisions about the character. You can always discuss these and adapt them during an audition, but directors like to see choices.
4. Relationship with characters
Decide on your relationship to other characters in all audition scenes. This usually takes time and rehearsal, which you don’t have, so make some bold decisions early. Knowing your relationship to other characters will help fill out the world of the scene. Do you hate that person? Do you secretly love that other person?
Think about your character’s intentions and use your normal acting techniques on the script. It might be rushed, but having some specific choices will help. It could be an idea to choose one technique, for example actioning. What is the intention or action on this line? Go through your script and make some quick decisions.
6. Be familiar
If you can’t learn the lines, or it’s a read through, then make sure you’re familiar with the lines. You can refer to the page, but you don’t want to stumble. I recommend learning at least some of the lines, the first few lines of each scene and then some other significant moments in the scene.