THE EXCELLENT AUDITION GUIDE: Andy Johnson
Nick Hern Books
ISBN 978 1 84842 297 1
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 09 09 13
This EXCELLENT AUDITION GUIDE is excellent
The time is here again when thousands of young people will begin the process of auditioning for drama schools. It’s a hard and expensive business; drama schools charge for auditions and competition is tough. One of the early points Johnson makes in his book is that it’s harder to get into drama school than Oxford or Cambridge – a sobering thought. A young person aspiring to go to drama school, then, can do with all the help they can get.
Johnson’s book sets out to give them that help. It’s a bold move to call the book THE EXCELLENT AUDITION GUIDE, but it is an excellent book. It’s detailed and written in a direct and no-messing way that will communicate easily with its audience. Occasionally it tries a little too hard to do this, but that’s a tiny flaw.
Organised in major sections describing how the system works, how to prepare, and how to do the audition and any recalls, the reader is also aided by regular meaningful headings. This breaks the text down into digestible chunks – the audition system is daunting enough without your ‘guide’ adding to the stress.
The book is crammed full of good advice – much of which may be new to potential auditionees. This incorporates, for instance, start working on your audition pieces now, have a portfolio of about eight pieces you can call on. Students auditioning will inevitably ask: Which drama schools is best? Johnson, wisely, counters this with: It’s not about the best, it’s about the best for you. He advocates a number of ways of researching schools to which students are considering applying.
By far the most extensive section deals with the preparation of the audition pieces themselves. Johnson’s instructions are clear, focused and useful. They range from how to make the language work to how to handle the punctuation. He describes the audition piece as a two-minute play; in other words, the performer must use the piece (or pieces) to demonstrate their range – this is all important. Extremely useful, too, is the advice (with diagrams) on how to effectively use the audition space.
As I said earlier, auditioning is an expensive business; buying just this one book will give the preparing auditionee all the information they need – emphasising the amount of hard graft they’ll need to put in, too.