Theatre department hosting auditions for 2 plays

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

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Eastern students, faculty, staff, community members and guest artists can audition for “The Mountaintop” and “The Secret Garden” in the Globe Theatre of the Doudna Fine Arts Center Tuesday night with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Larry Cox Jr., director for “The Secret Garden,” said guest artists are theatre professionals who are invited by the chair of the theatre department to audition for Doudna’s productions.

Andrea Pope, the music director, said those who plan to audition will perform a monologue as well as a musical performance accompanied by a provided pianist.

Monologues are to be prepared by the performers, according to the Department of Theatre Arts’ website, but if no monologue is prepared, actors can read from a provided script.

Cox said he is looking for people who have the ability to take on a different character.

“These literary characters have been written with specific qualities and elements,” Cox said. “We try to pair the specific of the character with someone who can fill those shoes pretty well.”

After the initial auditions, Pope, who has been through two previous years of open auditions at Eastern, said she and Cox will discuss which performers they want for the callbacks on Wednesday.

“At the callbacks, we’ll be asking for more specific things,” Pope said, “so probably a scene from the musical and a specific song for specific characters.”

Because of the certain characteristics the directors look for in each character, Pope said callbacks usually take longer than the open auditions.

“We are going to give specific direction to the actors up on stage and see how well they can take that direction,” she said. “(We will) see what they can bring when we are asking them to do something different.”

Another thing the directors are looking for is chemistry among the actors, so they might have actors read with several other actors to see how well the performers interact with each other, Pope said.

While the chemistry between actors plays an important part in deciding who gets each role, Cox said there are other factors that add to the ultimate decisions.

“It’s hard sometimes because you may have two people who really could fit the role and only one gets it,” he said.

Sometimes the decisions come easily, Cox added.

“Sometimes it’s your gut,” he said. “It’s like, ‘I don’t know why I like this person, but I really like this person and I really want them (for the part).’”

Pope said her least favorite part about auditions is the possibility of disappointing people.

“It is a pressure situation, so people come in and they are nervous, and I don’t want to make them feel worse,” she said. “But at the same time, it is what it is; it’s a performance situation.”

Pope said her biggest advice to those planning to audition is to sing, practice monologues and practice walking on and off stage in front of friends.

“Put yourself in that situation in front of people so that you can feel very comfortable when you’re under that pressure and nervous,” she said.

Cox said his biggest advice is to prepare plenty of time before the actual audition.

“The more work you do in your audition preparation, the better the pay off,” he said. “Really take on the character that you are performing and make some choices that character would make.”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].