Oh the moment when you open the folder for the audition and there are multiple sides and songs to learn! Your heart races, your mind starts to swell and hurt, your voice gets tired just by looking at all the words and notes on the pages…
I may not hold the answers, but I do have my own little way of taming the beast that is multiple sides –
I ease up on myself.
I can only do what I can do. These sides are sent to you, therefore the people who want to see you want you to learn it. BUT – you can only do what you can do! At the end of the day they want us to be as good as we want ourselves to be. So I try to ease up on myself.
I read all of it and listen to all of it (if there is a recording) as many times as I can to get a feel for the piece and then I just start working in order.
It doesn’t always happen, but I do find that if I have, say, four sides – they are going to have me do them in order. Unless there is a huge age jump or emotional switch in a later side, in which case if they may only end up wanting a few – they are going to jump from the first one to one of these. And that is where the re-reading of them at the start helps me. It is a bit easier to look at them and try to figure out which ones, in my limited time, I am going to give more attention to.
It isn’t a memorization contest.
It is so that the team can see you give a range of things to them. As hard as it is to learn so much material, this is my opportunity to work on my craft in the moment. The difference is that there is a job opportunity at the end of this particular lesson. I try to bring the joy in the learning to help with the amount of time and energy I have to give.
And then I remember – I can only do what I can do. And that is enough.
Now, go get that job!!
Heidi Kettenring is the recipient of 6 Joseph Jefferson nominations, Sarah Siddons’ Chicago Leading Lady Award, an After Dark Award, the Richard M. Kneeland Award and a graduate of Northwestern University. She is a proud member of AEA and the wife of actor David Girolmo.