Getting the Conversation Started: Ava on General Auditions

We’re getting quite excited for We Players annual general auditions, coming up this Saturday and Sunday night!

John Hadden, my close collaborator and co-director for 2014 projects, is flying in from the east coast today. We have over 50 new actors planning to attend the upcoming sessions. And thanks to the wonderful folks at the Circus Center of San Francisco, we have a spacious, high-ceilinged room to stretch out and play in. All the ingredients are ripe.

We Players’ auditions take place as an immersive 3 hour workshop. The actor/ director relationship is fundamentally a collaboration. So it seems to me that the best way to begin this conversation is through working together. Really working. It’s hard to learn all that much about an actor through their presentation of a 2 minute monologue. Perhaps how well they audition. But I don’t learn much about the more important stuff…how they work, how they play with others. Are they generous with their fellow performers? Do they breathe? Do they make eye contact? Or do they speak to the wall beyond my head? Do they take risks? What are their impulses like? Are they showing me their stuff, or able to release into the reality of the moment?

And the actors should have a chance to sense the vibe of the company, of working with me. Is it a fit? It’s a conversation between us, it's not one-sided work. Or at least, that’s a primary goal of a healthy actor/ director relationship, I think. So committing to even just a few hours together allows us the opportunity to learn something about each other’s work and process. We get warmed up, we begin a conversation. Where will it take us? And if it really works, then everyone leaves feeling lit up, activated, and like their time has been well spent – they’ve made a discovery of some kind, large or small. Perhaps they forgot they were even at an ‘audition’, and are stimulated by the good work of playing.

We’ll see… Off we go!