I have always loved auditioning and the audition process...
In auditions I felt authentic even before I knew what authenticity entailed. The live performance space, (whether it was an interview, a presentation, an audition and eventually a performance), allowed me to make and feel human connections that were unlike anything I normally experienced. It was never about pretending-to-be-someone-else. Instead it felt like being more of myself, authentically. This for me was deep Peace.
This Peace translated into Creativity and Space (I realise now); perhaps because ‘real life’, felt cramped and confusing. Real life felt Bruising, Loud and was Unspeakable too. Often the rules in real life seemed illogical, and there was little in the way of grand ENTRANCES. In so-called real life, I rarely felt illuminated, rather I squinted in the dark at shadows that looked like skeletons; and dreaded twilight states that lingered too long for my comfort. As for scripts, (other people's life scripts), they were at best incomprehensible. Choices seemed lacking, back stories went unexplored and Hurt would not be done at intermission. Real Life had no intermission, I learnt.
Comparatively then, an audition was a Zen-ful space; an invitation to be.
Perhaps it was also something about the ritual process. Performance is highly ritualised. Every live performance arena I attended had similar rituals. In every country, city, school, indoor or outdoor venue that offered itself up to performance. I found ritual and in ritual there was Peace. Peter Brook, states it perfectly in the opening lines of The Empty Space: "I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged." Poetic. Profound. Simple. A powerfully collaborative aspect of performance distilled into a simple equation:
"looker" (camera) + "looked at". (actor) = performance
I say to actors in my on-camera workshops, "
you will allow the look I will look at you, as will the camera. If you offer me your tricks and your 'acKting', I will look away". The actor who resists this look (often unconsciously), is only a tad more ridiculous then the DP who chooses to point her camera
from the actor on-set.
However it might appear, the casting director is NOT the audition! I like to think the Actor is, but in truth it's probably a co-creative endeavour. In live auditions, the casting director yearns to look, the actor desires to be looked at. The casting director holds the space for the actor to audition; the actor then allows more of himself to unfold moment by moment. Auditions are spaces in which Truths unfold, artfully, if we will allow them.
When I audition I seek to ground myself in my own ritual process until I disappear into stillness and breath. Thus integrated, I become dynamic and fully present; ready to energise the moment with Creativity and flow.
(Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen in Trevor Nunn's stunning production of Macbeth, 1979; the production that changed my life forever!)