Normally, an audition or interview of any kind commands an aura of paranoia, self-doubt and stomach-wrenching nervousness. People vying for the same position glare at their competition with anxious eyes, wondering just what they can do to get a leg up on them. They probe them for weaknesses while pondering their own shortcomings.
Fortunately for the members of All College Theatre (ACT), the word “normal” rarely applies to anything they do.
A light-hearted atmosphere hung over Forcina Hall as ACT conducted the auditions for their fall production, “Tartuffe,” a five-act comedy originally written by the famed French dramatist Moli?re.
Friends helped calm and reassure each other as actors and actresses moved in and out of the auditorium, taking their respective chances to earn a spot on the playbill.
Maria Montroni, sophomore communication studies major, stopped to speak her mind about the positive attitudes of both she and her fellow players.
“That’s the great thing about ACT. Since there’s no theater major, there’s no requirement to be in a show,” she said. “People come here because they want to be here. There’s no fear, no worries . everyone sincerely cares about how everyone else performs.”
While most of the members of ACT were calm and composed as they prepared to take the stage, some still expressed the traditional jitters that accompany any performance.
“I get nervous before and during most auditions,” Michael Krahel, a sophomore English major who tried out for the role of Damus, said. “Most of us will tell ourselves that if we do our best everything will be all right, but the nervousness is evenly divided. Some of us are, some of us aren’t.”
Raymond Fallon, a freshman mathematics major who is new to ACT this year, fell into the latter category.
“I don’t really get nervous,” Fallon said, as he relaxed and reviewed his lines.
Nerves aside, there are still a few regular pitfalls and behaviors that the actors and actresses of ACT have to avoid if they want to succeed.
“You don’t want to look at the script too much,” Alyssa Phillips, junior secondary education/history major and publicist for ACT, said. “If you balance looking down and up wrong you will create an unnatural pause. In ‘Tartuffe,’ the rhyming couplets make this especially hard because the dialogue causes you to use irregular speech.”
With so much stress on the players during an audition, it’s easy to forget that the director has an equally heavy burden when choosing a cast. The director chosen for “Tartuffe,” Janet Quarterone, has had a staggering amount of experience both on stage as an actress and behind the scenes as a director, so she can relate to both sides of the coin.
“It’s a very hard choice to make, but at the same time, it’s a good dilemma,” Quarterone, who also directed “The Sisters Rosensweig” for ACT in Spring 2004, said. “ACT is an established group, so my choice depends more on the direction I want to take the play rather than their ability.”
“Everyone has to make sense in relation to one another. It’s never a question of ‘Who is better?'” Quarterone said. “‘How do you shape a cast around one another?’ That’s the real choice.”
Auditions can be scary episodes where friends become enemies while competing for success.
For the folks down at ACT, however, it’s merely a time to come together and enjoy what they truly are: family.