What? Read the what?
“I don’t have time to read a play.”
“I usually just get to know it through rehearsals.”
“I don’t like to know too much about the story before rehearsals. It stifles me.”
These are just a few of the things I have heard regarding reading the play and I just want to say…
You are wrong. All of you are wrong. There is absolutely no excuse for not reading the play. Nothing of value to the production can be done before everyone has read it – and usually more than once. There can be no discussion. There can be no choices. There can’t be anything, nada, zilch, cero,
Without knowing the story, the desires of characters, the circumstances of the play, and about, oh, a BILLION other things, you are just guessing.
If I gave you a box containing the most complicated piece of Ikea furniture to assemble (and let’s face it, they are all complicated), but i didn’t provide the directions, you might get a few pieces correctly assembled, but I would bet your birch colored håssendørf won’t be doing much in the way of helping you sleep at night. It’s the same with a script.
You might be able to make a few correct guesses, but guessing rarely lands you the part.
As a young actor, I was at an audition in Chicago. I had prepared my monologue over a period of weeks and maybe over a few months. I was solid. I made choices. I had master gestures, by goodness, I had a vocal variety. When I was finished, I said “Thank you” as if I was ready to receive my Tony. As I started to gather my things, the director looked at me and said, “That was very good, but that is not who that character is.” He said nothing else and I, of course, never heard from him again.
I hadn’t read the play. It was something completely in my control and I flaked on it. As good as my audition was, I basically told him that I was lazy. You will be up against hundreds, if not thousands, of actors who will be more talented, better looking, better singers, and related to the casting director. Do the things you have control over. Why would you put yourself at a disadvantage before you even slate for your monologue? If you’re an actor who doesn’t read plays, much less the one for which you are auditioning, I’m going to guess you won’t be an actor for long.
Sheesh, I shouldn’t even have to write on this topic, but history has proven otherwise.