I was at an audition the other day where I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea Brooks, course leader of the MA Acting at East 15 drama school. The key piece of advice she gave us during the audition, especially when directing our pieces, was: ‘human is enough’.
When preparing audition speeches we so often tend to focus too much on how to stage the speech. We worry that by the fifth line we haven’t moved, so we put some movement in. The movement isn’t motivated by anything in particular other than the fear of remaining too static. This of course leads to meaningless movement and a performance based on artificial staging decisions rather than truth.
What Andrea is saying makes perfect sense. Strip back all the extra stuff – the artificial gestures, the unmotivated movement, the ‘my character is feeling angry so I should clench my fists and frown to show this’ – and just let the basic human truth of the situation speak for itself. I have adopted this phrase as a sort of acting mantra, and hopefully it will help me produce more organic and truthful performances from now on.