The Actors Centre

Preparing for a role with no time to spare

15 February 2017

From THE SORROWS OF SATAN creative team

Auditions are sometimes last minute, particularly if you’re not a Hollywood star. You’ll often be sent a script less than twenty-four hours before walking into the room. Despite the short notice, I find that affording yourself the most possible preparation can make all the difference. Not only is it essential to read the full script in order to inform your interpretation of the character, but it can impress those auditioning you to go the extra mile in such a short space of time. This can be as simple as choosing an outfit for the day that appropriately alludes to your character (though best to avoid full Elizabethan dress just because it’s a production at The Globe). For musical theatre it’s also important to bring a relevant song to the style. This may sound obvious, but I’ve heard of people bringing Jason Robert Brown songs to a Cole Porter musical audition.

Let’s say you were as well prepared as possible and the audition went very well – you pulled your socks up and knocked theirs off. Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee you the role. You might not look or sound quite right; though if you’ve been invited to audition you’d hope this wouldn’t be too frequent a problem (unless your headshot and CV are over-flattering to the point of downright deceptive…). There remains the problem that someone else might be a bigger name, cheaper, or, if we’re brutally honest with ourselves, just better than you. Of course they might be sleeping with the casting director, but we won’t go into that now.

Moving swiftly on, let’s say for the purposes of this blog that you got the role. A further challenge to productions where the auditions are later than desired, is found during the rehearsal process. This is because your initial interpretation of the role was made so quickly it may differ enormously from what you and the director, or even the writers if you are working with new material, develop during the rehearsal process. In my experience, I’ve found the best way to battle this challenge is to read the full script over and over again – not just your lines – so that you wholly comprehend your character and the contexts to which your character is reacting. The old maxim that ‘the best acting, is reacting’ is accurate, but it only holds true when you understand the actions that cue your responses. Perhaps years from now the maxim will be ‘pretty terrible acting is reacting if they don’t understand what they are reacting to’. Though I agree it’s not quite as catchy.

Reading back through, it seems my advice for preparing for a role simply boils down to prepare as much as possible or your hopes of landing the role will go out the window (that was a poor joke in reference to THE SORROWS OF SATAN, but you’ll have to come and watch to get it).


Fisher Taylor-Gaunt Productions and THE SORROWS OF SATAN Creative Team

You can now buy £14 preview tickets for THE SORROWS OF SATAN which has opened this week in the Tristan Bates Theatre – be quick to book! Click here for more information