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Well then, where the heck are we?

June 1, 2013

It’s necessary – in order to have a real experience – to have a real location in which the experience may take place. A part of us will always be at odds with ourselves in the casting room – wherever it is – as long as we have the wrong idea about where we are.

We have established, I believe, that while we are  present in a leased or rented real estate location where the casting associate or executive works, takes phone calls, often eats lunch, sometimes sleeps – we are definitively not in their home. Unlike if we actually were in their home, we gain very little, if any, knowledge of them from being in this location. Thus they are not vulnerable to exposure, and thus do not act as hosts in any meaningful way. This is not to imply that most people don’t give a generous “hello” when you arrive ( though certainly some do not). But it ain’t where they live, so they don’t act like it is. Why should they? Therefore they do not act the role of “host” because they instinctively sense that they are, in fact, not a host – per se or otherwise.

No, in truth, it is you, the actor, who is ‘exposed’ in the casting situation. It is you whose whole being is evaluated, whose talent is measured, whose physical, vocal, emotional and psychological profile is compiled – and it is you whose artistic and commercial value is estimated and considered. 

Now we know why we so often feel ‘misaligned’ in the audition situation. For since it is we who are vulnerable and exposed – on practically every level – it is as though we were in our own home. In our own home – but not allowed to play the role of the host. Actors who truly are at home in every casting office have over time come to know this very thing – though not consciously. They have come to know it subconsciously, to their credit and benefit!

We have come to think – but never feel – that it is normal to play the guest in our own home – and in this case “our own home”  is the space in which we work.

Look at it this way. Neither you nor the casting associate lives in that office. That office, in truth, is nobody’s home. It may be considered someone’s “territory” – but it is not a place where the resident is exposed in any meaningful way. Nor is it often that they are tempted to behave in a way that fulfills that experience. On the same token, it is surely not the actor’s place to play the guest, for as we have established, you are certainly not a guest. I mean, seriously, are you offered a glass of water, or to use the restroom? Are you shown around the place, offered the comfy chair? 

It all feels out of whack, because in a very real sense – no, truly in the realist of senses – it is you who are the host to the “you” that is at once and throughout exposed. This vexing, nagging imbalance that is ever present – even when you are well-prepared for the audition  (nay, especially when you are well prepared)  comes as a result of you playing the role of guest, when you should in fact be doing the opposite – for it is you who are in the actual, metaphysical role of host. N’est ce pas?

Now obviously, I am not talking about actually coming into the casting office and saying “Can I get you a glass of water, would you like to use the little girl’s room? Did you have any trouble finding a parking spot?” But I am saying that you should be practicing this as your trans-positional ethic from the moment you arrive at the casting location, and even before – because, in the truest sense, this is the correct version of the experience as it has been mapped out by all the parties involved.

Think of your present auditioning location, from now on – as a space – rather than as a location. In this space you will be exposed like a host in his or her own living room. Therefore,  you must be in balance with this experience by acting as the host – within this space. 

You will be amazed at the transformation that will take place. You will find yourself struck with a new spontaneous you – now that you are where you are, instead of where you are not. You’ll laugh at what is funny, forgive what is not. You’ll be a new person – and a new actor – because, as host, you get to act like the host in your own vulnerability space, not as the guest. That’s the reward that comes with being a host – you get to do the duties of the host. How unfair we have been to ourselves for so long – being the host but playing the role of the guest!

Sounds crazy? Try it out for yourself. You’ll suddenly feel like you are really “here”.




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