That Is The Question - Vol 1

Chris Peterson

"That Is The Question" is a weekly Q&A where members of the OnStage Community can seek advice or answers from others on everything related to theatre. 

Given the size and scope of our audience, there are thousands upon thousands of combined years of experience that fellow readers can learn from.

Here are this week's questions from our readers:

1. I have two children who have been doing theater since they were 4 and 7. They have worked steadily locally but are ready to move to the next level and many times we have been asked by casting directors, etc. for a reel. We have good footage of stage stuff. But not much if any TV/movie footage. So what should a theater person's reel consist of?

2. What makes a good head-shot? When do I need new ones?

3. I heard one should never sing a song from the show at an audition; is this true?

4. Should I even bother auditioning for a show if I have a conflict during rehearsal? How much is too much?

5. I heard that I should consider what I wear for an audition. What should I - or shouldn't I - wear?

6. How do you deal with racial disadvantages? I'm Asian so there are not as many
opportunities on stage as Caucasian actors.

7. I'm a rising sophomore at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, and am proud to be avidly involved with the theatre and dance department at my school. Next year, our senior class is taking on the daunting task of 13 directing theses. I've already started working on a thesis production of Patrick Barlow's stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The 39 Steps," for which I will be designing sound.

Previously, I operated sound for the staff crew on campus, and for the Spring Faculty production, the latter of which was an intensely demanding production, in terms of tech. Working under a similarly experienced sound designer, the two of us worked for hours
learning Cue Lab and perfecting our cues together. Our school is equipped with a state-of-the-art design lab, with access to all contemporary design software. Really, I have the world at my fingertips. Hence the problem!

I've come upon a very daunting task. Of course, I was hunting for the challenge when I signed
up, and I relish it, but I would like to hear from some professionals. My director and I have agreed that we want to recreate the experience of going to a 1935 movie palace with our production. With that comes the need of extensive orchestration. When approaching orchestral sound design, how do you suggest I begin to research period pieces? Should I find lesser-known pieces of music and use those, or should I pursue original orchestration? Finally, for music, do you prefer live and practical, or digital audio? I'm up for any challenge! - Jean-Louis Mesic

To answer these questions, simply put the number of the question ahead of your answer. You can post your answers both here on the blog and also on our Facebook page, however if you would like to remain anonymous, it is best to post on the blog. Thank you everyone! 

As always you can send your questions to