A number of producers from many companies in the Boston area attend StageSource's auditions. A few actors are contacted for roles immediately, some are considered much later down the line. Many others are cast aside. For a young actor in Boston, it's the biggest opportunity of the year to appear in a stage production. I had registered for my position in the auditions months before.
Only the night before - while taping resumes to the back of the 50 headshots I would be submitting to StageSource, and also while getting ready for the Rough Week fundraiser which would also be the next day - I decided to look up specifics on what the audition required.
They requested two contrasting pieces. I figured that much. What I didn't quite realize was that each actor only got two minutes to audition.
Two pieces in two minutes. An average of a minute per piece.
This was mind-boggling to me. It's hard enough to find two monologues that are 1) good, 2) appropriate for your type and 3) representative of your acting range in combination with other monologues, but they had to be under a minute as well? That's no time at all to get into and out of a character!
I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's certainly God damn bothersome, especially for someone like me who doesn't like to be rushed. I simply didn't have any monologues that short, and cutting my longer material was out of the question - I had already cut them all with great exactitude and taste. Starting a sentence late or ending a sentence early would disrupt the emotional rhythm.
What I finally decided to do on the train ride over was to simply remove any and all pauses or instances of hesitation and internalize every new objective as I arrived at it. Basically, I talked real fast. It was quite an exercise in itself. I had to be deft and deliberate in my delivery.
I timed myself by my watch. Each monologue (I chose Red Light Winter and Candy Factory) ran about 2 minutes at the start, but I was able to get them down to about 1 minutes and 15 seconds each at their best. I'd be sure to take advantage of whatever leeway the stage manager would give me.
Only once I sat down in the hallway outside of Boston Playwrights' Theatre listening to the other actors audition through the wall did I accept that fact: I was going to be timed out.
And I was, four sentences before the end of my Candy Factory monologue. I smiled, said Thank You and returned the chair I was sitting in to upstage right before taking my leave.
I had brought 50 headshots, and only 45 were requested. 5 more were returned to me, either by producers who already had my headshot or didn't want it.
5 headshots remain.
10 headshots in reserve.