The Importance of Stamina in the Audition Room

shutterstock_1334233274There is endless advice to be had when it comes to auditioning. How to pick the right material, how to show off your personality, how to seal the deal. But one thing I haven’t found actors talk about that much is stamina in the audition room. When it comes to long days on set, certainly, stamina is an oft-acknowledged need. But what about long before you ever hit basecamp? I was recently at a callback for a theatre production that lasted close to four hours. While this might be a rarity, it is definitely not the first time I’ve experienced a drawn out audition or callback. It’s all well and good to come in guns blazing and hit them with an incredible first impression, but what about the impression you’re leaving them with, perhaps quite some time later? Here are some starting tips to keeping that winning energy up the whole way through.

 

  1. Pack Well. At the very least, I always have a water bottle and a granola bar in my bag when heading to an audition. This is not the time to run out of steam due to lack of sustenance. Pack water, coffee or tea, and an easily consumable snack to power you through. If you’re in heels, pack a pair of flats for down time. Have a highlighter and pencil on you in case you’re asked to read new sides. If you have a long commute, maybe bring your audition clothes with you separately so they don’t get rumpled or sweaty in the car. Most importantly, for me, make sure to bring headphones so you can listen to music.
  2. Scope out the Environment. Once you’re where you need to be, signed in, stuff settled, scope out the space. If possible, find a corner or stairwell or hallway that is near enough the sign in area that you won’t miss any new information or your name being called. Use this space to isolate yourself when need be. Focus on your sides, music that keeps you in the right headspace, perhaps some light stretching to keep your body warm. Finding “your space” has saved me on many a long audition.
  3. Choose Your Level of Socializing. Remember you are here on a mission. Depending on where you are, it is very possible you will run into other actors you know. Even if you don’t, some people naturally want to socialize in the audition room. If this works for you, go for it, but make sure you don’t get distracted from the task at hand. It is perfectly acceptable to greet people and politely let them know you need to focus. I have found earbuds (even if you’re not playing any music) to be very helpful in deterring distracting conversations. You can always catch up later. It’s game time now.
  4. Keep Your Energy Manageable. This one is delicate. You want to keep your energy high in the room without burning out in the lobby. For me, keeping my state flexible helps. If I sit down for too long, my energy drops and is hard to recover quickly, but I also don’t want to burn through nervous energy pacing around. I try to stay alert and ready by alternating between staying gently active (walking around, light stretches) and sitting for brief periods of time if need be. If possible, I try to make sure I’m on my feet a bit directly before going in the room. Again, music helps. If your energy is super low, take a bit of that granola bar and jam privately to a favorite tune.
  5. Consistent Greetings. Remember each time you walk in the room is important. It’s easy to be sunny and warm the first time you walk in. But if you’re reading multiple sides with multiple people, you might have to come in a second, third, fourth or fifth time. Do what you need to do–jump up and down before walking in, pretend you’re meeting them all over again, whatever you need–but each time should be relaxed, personable, and energized. Remember, they aren’t just choosing who is right for the part. They are choosing who they want to work with as well. Each impression counts.

 

Stamina is a skill that must be practiced and cultivated. It is invaluable. People have short attention spans. They will remember the impression you leave them with. If you want to seal the deal, you’ll need to be on your audition A-game the entire time. Hydrate, focus, and carry on.

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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