Auditions: "May the Odds Ever Be In Your Favor"

Jennifer Butler

  • Massachusetts Columnist

The saying “May the odds be ever in your favor” from the movie The Hunger Games applies like no other to the theater audition process. And unlike other auditions that I have gone to in the past, this time I took that quote a little more seriously and put all the tools I have to good use, in hopes that all the preparation would increase my odds and I would finally have my turn on stage.

The role of Edith in “Blithe Spirit” was not a role that I thought I really wanted until I started my preparation. I just wanted an opportunity to be on stage and thought this might be my chance. So with the encouragement of the director, I decided that I would put forth my best effort and give it my all. When I read the description of the character and realized that it was an exact description of me in real life, I realized that I am right for this part and I really want it. However, knowing that you're right for the part doesn't make it a guarantee that the part is yours. It just doesn't make it so. You have to prove that you're the best and with that comes the proper preparation for the show.  In my case I did things such as getting a copy of the script and became familiar with it. Knowing the role that you are auditioning for, and as in my current case, learning a British accent, puts the odds more in my favor.  

Audition preparation never really occurred to me until the actual role of Edith came across my desk. The important role of Edith was never one of those dream roles or shows that I even knew about until I was encouraged to come audition. But once I realized that I wanted it, I had to work on something that I had never done before. It wasn't the acting or inflection but the accent that I was most concerned about. As silly as it sounds, I feel like the role of Edith is the British version of my real self and in order to get cast I needed that to come across at the time of the audition. 

So besides doing the obvious of reading the script and working on the lines, I watched YouTube videos and found the show on CD to listen to in the car. And, as suggested by the director, I also started watching Downton Abbey. After just a few days I was really enjoying the research that I was doing for the role. I was enjoying it so much that I said to someone, “If I had to watch Downton Abbey for research in college, I may have done better.” That’s what fun about theater is; doing this kind of research to better learn about a show and a character, so the more you can learn, the better you can get the story across. 

I realized about a week into preparation that I wanted this role badly and that it was more than just wanting to be onstage again. I took what I was learning at home and started to apply it elsewhere. I took lines from the script, learned them in the accent and started doing a British phrase of the day to be able to rehearse the lines and the accent all the time.  

Over time, what I have come to realize from my past experiences of not being cast is that when you want something and you want it bad enough, no amount of preparation is too small.  That is the point that I am trying to make here. When you work hard and you can prepare and get cast. I know that nothing is handed to me no matter how much I know how right I am for the part and I don’t ever expect it to be. If you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes to get the role. 

Well, whatever I am doing seems to be working, as I received a callback to go again in a couple of days. But just because I received a callback doesn’t mean that I will stop preparing. I will read the script again, rehearse the accent whenever I can and of course continue to watch “Downton Abbey”.  And although final casting won’t be announced until after callbacks, I am okay with whatever happens.  I am pleased with my initial audition and if I don’t end up getting cast, I have learned a lot for the next time. However, I have never felt as good about an audition as I do about this one, so hopefully the casting committee liked what they saw and that “the odds are ever in my favor.” 

Photo: Hard Road Theatre