Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Central School of Speech and Drama
Last, but not least - the news from my CSSD audition.
At Central their process is to audition over 100 applicants per day. When I arrived there at 9am I was given some forms to fill out and ushered into a big theatre where all of the other applicants were, chatting and filling out their forms.
After 10 minutes we were shepherded into a room on the other side of the school where we were given a speech and divided into 10 or so groups, each group having its own leader, a current student in the second year of the acting course at the school. Then we were given a warm up, a few voice and body exercises.
The morning was to comprise of the following: each one of the divided groups would have 3 one hours sessions:
A tour around the school with our student leader.
An hour workshop- movement based - led and assessed by two teachers.
An hour 'audition' in which each member of the group would give their speeches.
The tour was straightforward - just a good walk around and a chat - to pass the time really.
The movement workshop was interesting. I felt prepared for it as it was along the lines of the movement classes that I take on a weekly basis. The teacher put some music on and asked us to flow with it, letting go of our minds and giving ourselves to impulse. Then he asked us to embody fire. Then as the physical realisation of fire to deliver some of our speeches - one at a time.
The other members of my group were mostly 17 and somewhat inexperienced. Central is a school that you can apply to through UCAS, so I think a lot of kids applying just do it for kicks. Each person had a go and gave it some, but I was surprised at how the panel gave them a hard time- giving them advise on how their movement and flow was falling short to see if they could pick up the slack. Not for the faint hearted.
Then the 10 or so of us (5 boys, 5 girls) were led into another room, two staff on the panel who we each showed our speeches to. It was interesting to watch the other speeches and then share my own with the whole room. They were very strict on the modern time limit and cut off the majority of people's speeches.
Then that was it for the morning session, or 'Round 1' as you could perhaps call it. We were sent away for lunch - returning in half an hour to be dismissed or asked to stay for the afternoon. We all sat there as they read out the names of the chosen- the people that they wanted to see more of, to stay for the afternoon, 'Round 2'. I anxiously waited and hoped to be mentioned...and I was. The room gracefully cleared out and left about 20 of us.
At Central they have 3 'Strands'- three separate drama courses. They audition for all of them at the same time. The strands are: Musical Theatre, Acting for Stage and Screen, Collaborative/Devised Theatre.They explained to me that they wanted to audition me for both of these two strands- not Musical Theatre thankfully! I was the only person to be auditioned for both strands (the only boy in fact for the Devised Theatre strand!)
We went up for this strand first, me and four girls. We were given an hour long - very unusual audition, with a strong emphasis on creating abstract, physical drama. There were two members of staff on the audition panel and three second year students sitting in. The first thing that we were asked to do was to realise the 'unscrunching of a plastic bag' which was demonstrated twice. As a group we were asked to physically dramatise the cooking of a recipe. Then alone we were each asked to devise a short piece based on being a victim of some bad event. Then they worked on our speech asking to take on board some abstract piece of direction. I had to do my Hamlet speech as if vine was growing up my body. Gave it a go!
We were informed that a letter would be in the post within the next few weeks as to whether we were to be asked back for a third round recall.
Then I was escorted to the panel for the other acting strand. It was two members of staff and two students this time. This audition was solely focused on working with my two prepared classical speeches. (At Central you must learn speeches from their list- a bit of a bummer because the other schools don't want to see these speeches so you have to learn two others!)
They were very challenging with their notes, repeatedly stopping me and layering direction into my imagination, 'loading me up'. then they got the students up to do my speeches to, to find new angles and trigger some spontaneity. I think we were working for about 40 minutes. They asked me to go outside whilst they conferred. I went out with one student and left three in there. I popped back in and they said thanks very much - letter in the post.
Next up: Guildhall Friday 8th January