a theatrically popular reality

Auditioning, for me, at times is not the most joyous of experiences.

When you’re hot, it’s amazing the sense of achievement getting calls backs and reading parts makes you feel alive and appreciates. When you not … for the non-thespians out there in the blogosphere just imagine your most embarrassing moment in life, coupled with your underpants hanging around you ankles, and people in lab coats with smirks and grimaces on their faces. And you continue to sing and dance and act desperate for their approval despite all of this. Yeah, as I have blogged about before it can get a little humiliating at times when it goes off the rails. There is now the most humiliating experience for professional actors in Britain, where auditions for West End shows are now broadcast as part of the reality television monster. For what is in essence a job application, is now fodder for zeitgeist.

Not only do you experience the joy, the rapture, the devastation and the humiliation in front of an auditioning panel, but this is shared in front of millions of television audience viewers sitting down to their evening meal. And if that’s not enough, this circus is then replayed in the plethora of trashy tabloid magazines that seem to wallpaper the shelves of supermarkets and off-licences.

I realise that this is a great way to cross promote your show – in fact, it’s the only raisons d’être. Once upon a time in a land far far away to secure an audience base Andrew Lloyd Webber used to write a hit song for his musicals, e.g. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita or Memory from Cats. Now however, he’s hitting the reality television cash cow to try and secure an audience.

A new Dorothy for Webber’s latest production of The Wizard Of Oz has been found in Danielle Hope. She will now carry the financial hopes and dreams of the shows success, just as Lee Mead (Any Dream Will Do) and Jodie Prenger (I’d Do Anything) before her. Part of me loves the idea that the general public gets to see the audition process at work with real professionals.

I was an avid fan of So You Think You Can Dance Australia, as professional dancers took to the audition process and stage. Finally people got to see a calibre of professional talent not seen in similar productions like Australian Idol or X Factor.

But part of me absolutely abhors the fact that one bad audition can be broadcast as a laughing stock. One off day or moment leaves most professionals analysing and coping with rejections. I know it’s the risk you take in audition for roles.

Just give me the privacy of screwing up in front of an audition panel rather than screwing up in front of a panel of general public watching me over their microwave meals.


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