Students take stage for fall production auditions

Students quietly read over the “Six Characters in Search of an Author” script in the hallway of Gordon Wilson Hall before auditioning in front of a panel on Monday, Aug. 25. Students who are chosen for the roles will have less than four weeks to rehearse and memorize their parts before the debut on Sept. 25. Alyssa Pointer/HERALD

Mackenzie Mathews

For most students, the first week of classes will be the easiest this semester.

However, for theatre majors like Lexington senior Susan Creech, it defines everything.

To add to the stress, this is the first year the theatre department will hold auditions for all fall productions throughout the first week of school.

“For the department to function well, it’s better, but a little more stressful on us,” Creech said. “We are preparing songs and monologues and reading multiple, different scripts.”

Fall semester auditions began yesterday with “Harper and the Magical Book,” “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” 

Creech will be trying her hand at directing later this semester, so her audition for “Six Characters” holds her final chance to perform before graduation. The pressure to perform at her best will arise upon entering the audition room, then the nerves will set in, she said.

“There’s the unknown – you’re just waiting for answers, for someone to tell you what your semester is going to look like,” she said.

Theatre is a major built on participation, so there is the added concern to get involved in shows in order to contribute to the department. Productions also help create bonds between students and professors.

The timing was not the only change to hit the auditions. Two new professors entered the scene to shake up some dynamics. Bradley Vieth and Julie Barber saw students perform for the first time Monday night during musical auditions, creating a completely equal playing field.

Mayfield senior Julia Badger finds the audition process helpful before stepping outside college.

“They’re nerve-wracking to me, but I feel like they’re very fair here,” she said. “In the real world, you could get (type) casted and kicked out immediately, but here it’s about developing your talent.”

The preparation needed for auditions largely depends on the show, but most theatre majors are accustomed to keeping a monologue or song prepared. 

Playwright Anna Lee McFadden, a Nashville senior, planned fun auditions for the children’s show, “Harper and the Magical Book.” 

“It will consist of improvisation and cold readings to see actors’ energy compared to the show’s,” she said.

Energy will be necessary for a show about a magical book that enlivens its characters when read aloud.

“It’s really about supporting children’s literacy, but also finding yourself in difficult situations,” McFadden said.

The main stage shows: “Six Characters” and “Spelling Bee” required more work.

The former revolves around a fictional cast trying to prepare a show, when they are interrupted by six characters from an unfinished play. The latter focuses on an adolescent spelling bee and the hilarity it provokes.

Each production put on by the department offers opportunities for the multitude of theatre students, but they all have to start with auditions.

“There’s so many people and so little parts in just one play, so having a straight play, a musical and the children shows really help,” Badger said. “It’s great because if I don’t make it in these shows, there will be others.”