By: Kenneth Apana-Korley
The first round of auditions for Hammond’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are happening on June 7th, in the drama room from 2:30-5:00. To sign up, all you need to do is to click the link to head to the Hammond High Theatre website and sign up for a 30 minute audition slot. All of the audition resources are online and memorization is NOT REQUIRED for auditions.
A lot of Hammond’s students have expressed interest in the play as well, sitting down with the Bear Press for brief interviews:
BP: What made you consider auditioning for the fall play?
John White (Class of 2020): “I remember reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream back in freshman year and it was really enjoyable.”
Carlos O’Ryan (Class of 2020): “I really enjoy theatre, and I did the play and the musical last year; so the real question is, ‘why wouldn’t I?’”
Danielle Gilbert (Class of 2021): “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my favorite and I’m very excited about it. I really wanted to push myself to do something new.”
The text is very enjoyable, and once you can get past the archaic language, you can really have fun with it.
BP: How do you feel about working with Shakespearean text?
J.W: “It feels weird. It’s not the sort of English you would expect; it’s a new experience.”
C.O: “It’s a little intimidating, but I’m willing to do it now because I’ve never done it before; I think it will be an interesting experience.”
D.G: “I think it’s going to be a bit more difficult. It’s definitely not like our current language, but I think it’s possible and I think we [Hammond Theatre] will do it very well.”
One thing that they all expressed was an uncertainty about Shakespearean language, which is completely understandable! Shakespeare isn’t always the easiest to understand, but that’s why there are resources to help with understanding Shakespearean literature. “No Fear Shakespeare” is a modern translation of Shakespeare’s writings that are side-by-side with the original text so that it’s easier for you to understand. It’s a great resource for both in school and out of school readings of Shakespeare.
The Bear Press was also able to get in touch with director and Theatre teacher, Mrs. Tobiason to get a bit of insight on why she picked the play and what she’s hoping she’ll see at auditions.
BP: Why did you decide to pick Shakespeare this year?
Mrs. Tobiason: I haven’t directed Shakespeare before and I think it is great material since the themes are universal, many students know it from studying it in 9th grade, and it’s fun!
BP: What made you pick this specific play?
Mrs. T: Midsummer has wonderful elements of magic and lots of love triangles, which are always exciting to play with. I also enjoy that we can expand the cast size to include some background roles, like additional fairies or wedding guests, in case we have enough people
auditioning to use them.
BP: What are you hoping to see at auditions?
Mrs. T: Strong choices that people follow through on, good listening and reacting, and preparation (memorization isn’t required, but I want to know that students have spent time with the text and developing their character to show that they’re committed to the process).
Auditioning can be difficult. There is so much that you consider some serious questions like: “how can I be remembered?” or “what steps do I need to take to make sure my audition goes well?” You might also consider the more minutiae of questions like, “what am I going to wear,” or “how should I do my hair?” Overall, auditioning can be a very stressful process, but if you have a few tips and tricks for auditioning, it can be useful. The Bear Press was able to get a few quotes from some graduating students who were involved in Hammond’s Theatre Department, who, along with Mrs. Tobiason, graciously provided some amazing auditioning tips.
“For me personally, I always got nervous about being in front of the auditioners, but my best tip is to remember you know them… and they’re not judging you, they’re trying to find the best fit for you.” – Isabelle Dyson (Class of 2018)
“Always walk in with a smile on your face, be polite, and show the people who are auditioning you that you really WANT to be there. They’re not going to cast you if it seems like you’re uninterested. More importantly, always be willing to cold read different roles you are asked of, even if it isn’t one of the roles you were trying for, always embrace every character and always give your 100, and if you’re versatile, don’t hide that gift just to get the lead.” – Lexi Wakefield (Class of 2018)
“1. KNOW YOUR MATERIAL
Whether it’s a song or a monologue, know it and become an expert on it.
- Over prepare!
“It’s better to have more material ready in case a director asks to see more – it allows you to show off more!
3.Try to keep your nerves in check
When I was preparing for college auditions, I also had to prepare my nerves for performing in front of people. Try to find a routine that works best for you and/or a warm up so that you can feel as relaxed as possible for your audition
- Think POSITIVE and be yourself!
You want to showcase what YOU can do. The directors don’t want you to be someone else, they want to see you and only you; so share your skills and remember, you are wonderful! You got this.
5.It’s okay to mess up
Not every audition is going to be perfect, but be proud that you took the risk.” – Ina O’Ryan (Class of 2018)
“I actually have a whole document full of audition tips that I can share with you.” – Joshua Olujide (Class of 2018)
“Know who your character is, what s/he wants, and what s/he means through the words. Look up the meaning of words you don’t know and physicalize your character as much as possible (we don’t want to see talking heads on stage). Also–if your character is speaking
in iambic pentameter, get familiar with that rhythm and use it to emphasize the important words in each line… I want to know that students have spent time with the text and developing their character to show that they’re committed to the process” – Mrs. Tobiason (Director and Theatre Teacher)
I also have some advice that helps me get through auditions that I thought would be useful to add to this list.
- Know what you’re talking about – If you don’t know what you’re saying, nobody else will. Your understanding of your piece will help the auditors in the audition setting and the audience in the performance setting to understand as well. Knowing what you’re saying is step one to doing well in an audition setting.
- Characterization is key – Being able to become your character will help you do well. Find commonalities between you and your character and use them to your advantage. Your character should be original and it should be YOU.
- Don’t start changing anything last minute – “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” You can’t just start changing your scene into something that you don’t know and you aren’t really familiar with. Trust me, it will show. The difference between a successful person and one who isn’t as successful is how much effort and energy they put in.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new – I’m not talking about changing the whole scene, but maybe you decide to cross to a different point on the stage, or maybe you layer in another given circumstance, it could work, it also could be a flop; but “you miss all the shots you don’t take.” Just try to rehearse it at least once before you perform it.
- Review before you go on stage – If you review what you’re saying, it’ll stick in your mind better. Just know what you’re saying and you’ll do well.
- Have fun – If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. You need to just relax and be yourself. As long as you’re having a good time, you’re going to do well. Let the auditors see the real you!