Auditioning is a dramatic experience for students


Audition Week. Two words that make actors feel anywhere from stress to excitement to dread all in the span of 30 seconds.

This may sound horrible and you may wonder why actors would put themselves through that but the truth is that all those feelings that actors feel are completely and totally worth it by the end when the cast list has come out and rehearsals start.

I know this because I experienced all those audition week feelings. Audition week was for sure very stressful for me but it was a very exciting time and is one of my favorite parts of the school year.
Audition Week at Akins High School is when whoever is interested in trying out for the big school musical prepares audition pieces to perform for the directors and at the end of the week, the cast list is posted.
This year it was the week of August 30, and it was a whirlwind of singing, dancing, and acting. The show that Akins is doing this year is Cabaret, a show about an ill-fated love story between Clifford Bradshaw, a young American author, and Sally Bowles, a beautiful English cabaret singer set in early 1930s Germany.

Junior Yahir Alpizar and senior Kelly Le were chosen to play Cliff and Sally respectively. Another major character is known as the “Emcee,” who is an omniscient narrator.

Now you may be wondering how our actors prepared for auditions?

Alpizar said he practiced his monologue “to death.”

“It was overkill how much I practiced,” he said.

Others take a different approach, including Senior Joe Villarreal, who was selected to play the Emcee.

“I’ve been practicing my song since the beginning of summer and chose my monologue the week before auditions,” he said.

Now choosing a monologue the week before can definitely feel overwhelming and like you’ll never get it memorized in time but if you blunder or mess it up the directors will just laugh it off with you and tell you to keep going. In the audition, performers sing a one-minute song and perform a one-minute monologue in front of the directors.

The next day is the dance call where you learn a dance and perform it in groups, again in front of the directors and then the most nerve-wracking, stressful day of the week when the callback list goes up. If you don’t know what a callback is it’s like a second audition so that the directors can see you perform again. Finally, after all the stress, nerves, panic, and anxiety come the most exciting, overwhelming, and worrying day, the day the cast list goes up.

Cast list day is a day where all day the actors will drop by the theater to check if the cast list has gone up and then walk away disappointed that it hasn’t. When the cast list is finally put up every actor runs to the call-board to check and see if they got the role they wanted. To see the cast list up is such a liberating feeling knowing that the stress of audition week is over and actual rehearsals will start soon.

Le, who was surprised to be cast in a leading role, said she would have been happy to not have landed a major role because she felt like it would have been outside of her comfort zone.

“When I found out I was cast as Sally Bowles, it took me a few days to process because I was not expecting it whatsoever,” Le said. “Now, I’ve learned to stop doubting myself because you never know what can happen.”

Actors aren’t the only people who have to go through audition week. The directors of the show have to also go through their own audition week. Their audition week is a little different from the actors. They watch all the actors perform all their monologues and songs, they watch the dance calls, then they have to decide who gets a callback, then finally they have to make the hardest decision, who do they want for their cast. For the most part, their choices are received pretty well and everyone’s happy.

Rehearsals for Cabaret started on Monday, September 13. Everyone was super excited for them to start and to get to know their other castmates and start learning dances and songs. Akins Journey Theater Company has always been about pushing limits and doing the things that might make you scared or uncomfortable. A show like Cabaret for sure pushes limits and might make some people uncomfortable.

Although the Broadway version of Cabaret is known for some risque dance numbers and content, Director Audrey Sansom said that the story that it tells is very present and reflects things that are going on in our society today. She said AJT can honor the intentions of the playwright without stepping over someone’s boundaries.

“Just because a show can be performed in a risque manner on Broadway does not mean that it has to be done that way at a high school,” Sansom said.

Unfortunately, things happen, and AJT was asked to change the show. Hearing the news that we couldn’t perform Cabaret anymore was heartbreaking for cast members, especially those who had been cast as leads.

But that isn’t the only kind of drama that actors go through. Rehearsals have plenty of ups and downs. Some days you just don’t want to go to rehearsal but you force yourself to and then the director makes you sing the song you hate over and over and over again. And then there are those times when it’s a dance day and the last thing you want is to move your body. On the flip side, you could be having the worst day and all you want is to get to rehearsal because you know it’ll make you feel better.

For some students, theater is the only reason that they go to school. It’s their safe space. It’s a family that they know they can always depend on to be there for them.