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The Craft

Quit With the Presentation and Just Act

Quit With the Presentation and Just Act
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I’ve sat in on some big-stakes theater auditions lately, and there’s one thing I have to say: Stop the presentation!

Most of you are approaching the work with a seriousness that speaks well of your commitment but muddles any chance of seeing you act. Your rehearsed, formal introduction is reading almost inhuman, the transition from your first to second piece is so “clever” I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins, and your acting? Well, with all that presenting going on it’s the one thing that didn’t make it out onstage. 

Who are you talking to? What do you want? What are you going to do to get it? Yes, yes, I see your nifty choices and your fancy display of emotional states, but I’m not seeing a whole lot of moment-to-moment, honest acting happening. The audition setting has knocked the craft right out of you, leaving only the thinnest coating of gloss, the hard-candy shell.

You can do more. Your instincts and talent are bubbling right below the surface. There’s an artist in there, trying to get out. Stop hiding behind fear and preparation. Quit with the presentation, and act.

Jackie Apodaca is an associate professor and the head of performance at Southern Oregon University.

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