So You Think You Can Audition?

Staff Writer

As the school year began once again and students started to settle into the routine that will foresee them for the next nine months, University High School’s biggest and brightest prepared for the coveted, Fall Play. Coming to the Big Theater on November 15th through the 18th, the UHS Theatre department presents William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Shakespeare uses a light-hearted comedy to display a tale of love and betrayal, and as we await the excitement that is coming in November, it is interesting to gain some insight on the audition process that so many students eagerly endured.

There were about 55 students trying out for 19 speaking roles. However, there was good news to those unable to claim those desired spots, in that they had the opportunity to be a part of the ensemble group. Auditions began Tuesday, September 5th, and The Tempest director, Ranae Bettger (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), explained that from there she gradually narrowed down her options by eliminating around 10-15 students a day, and then posted a call back list for the actors she wanted to see again before parts were cast Friday, September 8th.  The first audition consisted of finding a published monologue online, and practicing that monologue until the actor/actress believed they would be prepared enough to embark on this roller coaster that we like to call fall play auditions.

According to Bettger, “Before choosing a monologue, the auditionees should ask themselves: do they like it? Is the conflict clear? How can they communicate emotion?” From there the most important keys to being successful included being well memorized, knowing the context behind what the actor/actress is saying and using big gestures.

However, Bettger ultimately proclaimed that “an actor that has the most confidence is what will make them stand out.”

While that may seem overwhelming to those cursed with stage fright, auditionee Sarika Mande (Sr.) explained that Call-Backs are different in that they consist of “cold reads that we’ve never seen before, so we just do them on the spot.”

She went further in saying that they are usually scenes from the show, simplifying the casting process to “basically narrowing it down to chemistry.”

When asked how he personally prepared for his audition, Dalton Nguyen (Sr.) humorously joked, “I cried.”

Mande expressed that she always “starts to prepare [for her auditions] really early” in order to narrow down her character into something that fits her best.

Finally, Nguyen, Mande and another auditionee, Angelina Ross (Jr.), shared their personal advice for students hoping to audition for future productions.

“Have a lot of actions and movement during the audition, and make sure you have a distinct character for each person you will interact with,” said Nguyen.

Ross and Mande both expressed the importance of confidence. Ross further elaborated, stating, “Be big and make the best choices for your character.”  

Finally, the auditionees and Bettger were in accordance when they simply stated, “Be unique.”

The final cast list was announced the day after auditions wrapped up. The main character, Prospero, will be played by Isaac Kopstein (Sr.). Other lead roles include Miranda, Prospero’s daughter, who will be played by Ellena Eshraghi (Sr.), and Caliban, Prospero’s island slave, who will be played by Dalton Nguyen (Sr.). The audition process was certainly not for the weak of heart and the students cast will now prepare to rehearse daily until opening night, November 15th.