For theater students, first week of classes signifies audition whirlwind

Though classes have barely, for theater students, much of the fall semester has already been decided. Beginning the second day of classes, the USC School of Theater commenced its week-long audition process, a period characterized by butterflies and broken hearts, tears shed and dreams come true for many of those auditioning. And in the last few days, nearly all of the shows have been cast.

Each semester, the theater school hosts a wide variety of shows, ranging from vaudeville to contemporary dramatic to slapstick and beyond. After receiving “The Great Audition Memo” in the summer informing them of the selection of plays and the audition pieces required, the theater students are let loose to audition for as many or as few as they like, usually with a monologue of their choice.

Though exciting, this process is hectic, nerve-wracking and, in many cases, ultimately ends in disappointment. Despite the wide spectrum of plays, there are too few roles to accommodate the massive crowd of exceptionally talented. audition-minded theater students.

The auditions all take place within one week, which results in a whirlwind of anticipation for students. At any given audition, which typically take place from 6 p.m. to as late as midnight, you can find handfuls of young actors gathered in the hall, headshot in hand, eagerly awaiting their brief and fleeting moment to show their talent and hope for the best. But for even the most seasoned audition veterans with years of experience under their belts, there are no guarantees.

Though not getting cast might initially result in heartbreak, there is always a silver lining. Theater students love what they do, and even if an audition does not ultimately lead to being cast in a show, it provides a hands-on learning experience and a snapshot into the competitive industry in the real world.

This positive attitude and love of the craft is what brings students back, semester after semester, to audition for each new crop of plays. Hoping for the best but braced for the worst, the students approach each audition with confidence, knowing that even if they don’t get the part, there is always another one right around the corner. Check the USC School of Theater website in the coming weeks for the full season of plays for the fall 2011 semester.