The day started with an introductory speech from the tutors at East15 who explained the ethos of the school, the teaching style and the reputation of the graduates in the industry for being such well rounded and versatile actors who are willing to do anything. We were then split into several different groups to perform our monologues, which were lead by the relevant specialist teaching staff depending on whether we were performing our Shakespeare or contemporary first.
My first session was the classical speeches which was lead by the vice principal of East 15 – but first we had a warm up which was ran by some of the students on the Foundation course. I was slightly discouraged when doing the warm up as it felt like the two students leading it were slightly lazy and couldn’t be bothered, but then I reminded myself that the students were probably nervous as they had only been there a term and maybe felt judged by the tutors or felt worried of showing themselves up. Nevertheless, the warm up did the job and used lots of activities that I was familiar with such as the generic walking round the room and stopping, jumping, clapping etc.
We then were called up to show our Shakespeare monologue one by one in front of the rest of the group. The staff member leading the session came across as very traditional and classical in his ways and was very brutal and blunt in his feedback and direction. Once we had shown our piece we were given redirection or simply told to redo certain lines in a different way, with different intonation and stress on particular words and addressing the text with a different intention in mind. The Director was really enthusiastic about using the language provided by Shakespeare or drive the performance, particularly using the pollosive sounds, alliterations, assonance and most important verbs in the sentences. When redirecting each of the monologues this is what he pushed for to get the energy and true meaning across. He also asked people to stand in as bodies in the scene so the actors could address their monologues at the relevant characters to help give the scene more drive and intention.
Compared to other places I had auditioned I found that the panel really put us through our paces and tested our knowledge of the plays and ability to adapt and work under pressure. For example I was asked the EXACT cue line of my Shakespeare piece which completely took me by surprise and wasn’t something I could answer as specifically as they wanted; although I was able to give the general gist of what happens before hand I wasn’t able to answer the question.
The next session was on our modern speeches and was run in the same way, with each of us performing our speech in front of each other in turn, however it was with a different tutor on the panel assessing us. After introducing my monologue the director on the panel enquired as to whether the piece was by an American playwright which made me worry a great deal as I know lots of places frown on it, however I was honest and explained how I decided to take it out of context as I didn’t think it was essential to the plot for it to be set in America! The panel requested that we didn’t address our speeches at them directly, which panicked me slightly as this is how I’d always performed it! Luckily we were allowed to one of the helpers as a body in the scene and so I requested to have someone sit opposite me in the place of the Guidance Councillor.
I took on the advice and direction I received the night before in audition technique class and took away the defence front to the character and instead I was more naive and genuine when asking for advice on being a porn star, which actually made the monologue far funnier! When redirected I was asked to perform it even more sincerely and like my charcater has no doubt whatsoever in her chosen career choice and as if she was saying she wanted to be philosopher! I found this pushed me to connect to what I was saying even more and prevented the feeling of it goimg stale. Once I had finished the monologue the tutor pointed out a bit of the speech that he didn’t think flowed properly and questioned whether it was the best cut when the monologue was put together and the speech of the guidance councillor was cut out. I don’t think this was criticism of my performance, simply an observation of the way the text was put together and advised me to look at amending it for future performances.
Following this was our lunch break, where we waited while the panel decided who they wanted to offer recalls to. The way the recalls work is that they split you into small groups depending on the which course they think you are best suited to. After about an hour and a bit we reconvened in the auditorium and the staff called out lists of names which determined the next stage of the process. One list called those who they thought might be more suitable for the Foundation course and so were recalled for that in the afternoon, the other group were recalled for the BA Acting course and the remains were sent home.
I was thrilled and extremely surprised to have been one of only 8 to be recalled for the BA Acting course!!!
In the afternoon we did a workshop