Judging Criteria – Acting Audition – Some Helpful Hints

The following are definitions and examples of what directors will be looking for in an audition.  You will have an opportunity to study the characters prior to the audition.  They don’t expect perfection but they do want to see what you are willing to offer.

1. Voice: Capturing the traits the character exhibits through actions and dialogue. Do you understand what motivates the character? Are you able to demonstrate what a character is thinking and feeling through your actions and dialogue?

Example: Johnny has just walked home from school in the rain. His friends have already left without him, abandoned, alone, wet and cold. Johnny says “Wait up guys. Wait for me!” (How will Johnny think, feel and act right now?)

2. Projection: The ability to be understood and be heard clearly on stage. As you speak does your voice carry to the back of the auditorium? Do you speak clearly and enunciate your words with distinction without exaggerating?  (We don’t mike the stage – YOU must be heard!)

Example: Johnny sees a large, heavily muscled, no-necked, 8 foot tall troll walking toward him. He says to himself, “This could be trouble. I’d better watch what I say.   Excuse me. Have you seen any large ugly monsters where you came from?”  (How will you project this?)

3. Movement: The awareness of body movement working naturally with the dialogue and the motivations of the characters. Do your movements make sense with the dialogue and abilities of the character?  Where do you place yourself based on the other characters onstage? Does your placement in relation to the audience make sense with the dialogue and abilities of the character? 

Example: Stage left, a sad and lonely little girl sits quietly crying next to a tree. Stage right Johnny enters and sees the girl and stops. He wonders what to do. Hesitatingly, he moves closer to her. She doesn’t notice. He moves closer, still no response. Finally he decides to wave but instead he trips, tries to catch himself by pin wheeling his arms in a flourish of movement. She looks, screams, and runs away crying all the harder.  (Picture this in your mind as a little movie.  Can you reproduce this?)

4. Interaction: The awareness and response to other actors and objects (props) on stage. How do you work with other actors or props on stage? Do you combine appropriate movement and voice in response to your surroundings?

Example: Johnny is trying to impress a girl during PE class. He has been racing with the other boys in class and has won every race. He knows she has been watching. Puffing hard out of breath, he bends and rests his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath. She walks up behind him and says, “Hello, you are a very fast runner.”  Startled, he spins around.  Breathlessly he responds to her,  “Thanks …..it’s ….because… (GASP!)… I’ve… had…. a…lot… of… practice…(Wheeze, cough).

5. Poise: The way in which you present yourself on stage by demonstrating confidence, composure and dignity. Can you present confidence to others even when you are scared to death?  Do you let things bother you outwardly?  (We know auditions are scary and we try to make you feel comfortable!)

Example: Johnny is on stage with another actor acting out a scene about the Three Little Pigs. The conversation has been running smoothly until the other actor suddenly forgets two important lines in the dialogue and he freezes. Johnny realizes this and responds,  “I’m sorry,  I didn’t hear you. What did you say the wolf said before he blew down the house?”  The other actor picks up the prompt and continues the dialogue where he left off.  (This is how one actor helps another who has ‘blanked’ on stage.)