The Passion, Perspective, and Process of Auditioning

Actors tell their view and experience of the Addams Family audition at San Marcos High


SMHS Starry Knights Drama Club

A 2010 theatrical release poster comic strip of The Addams Family created by Charles Addams

Breathe in, breathe out, and just go for it. This is what many aspiring actors at San Marcos tell themselves before an audition. The performers were overjoyed when Drama Club revealed that the spring musical would be, The Addams Family. Some San Marcos students would be performing for the first time at a new school, while seniors would be performing in their final spring show. However, it all starts with an audition. The solo singing audition comes first, followed by callbacks and the anticipated cast list. But what steps do the performers take to prepare for their auditions? Is there a distinct process for each actor?

On Nov. 1, the hallway outside the choir room was filled with nerves and excitement. 

“Very nervous [energy], lots of glances at each other… It’s very like a buzz,” Drama Club’s Vice President, senior Megan Porter said. 

Porter is a singer/actor and has performed in  San Marcos High shows before. Her first audition was for a Moonlight Youth production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, when she was eight. At her audition, there were many talented singers she would be going against. 

“I was just amazed at all these beautiful voices,” said Porter. “I remember not comparing myself to them.” 

To this day, Porter understands not to compare herself to others and is less apprehensive when meeting with the directors one-on-one.  Singing in front of the directors is the first stage of an audition,  this can be intimidating, given that they decide everyone’s roles.

“After I’ve done it so much, I get more comfortable,” Porter said. 

I shake the nerves out, make sure I’m warmed up, and I just go in believing in myself

— Kennerly

Porter is aware of the audition process, and as a senior, she has an advantage in landing a main part. With all of this in mind, Porter felt less anxious.

As soon as the program is revealed, the actors choose a song that matches their character or the “feel” of the play. Although it is not advised that you select a song from the show, it is critical that you sing a song appropriate for the part you are auditioning for.

“As soon as the show is announced, I pick my song and waste no time working on it,” Drama Club’s secretary, sophomore Mackenzie Pyatt said.

Pyatt is incredibly committed and serious about Drama programs. She chooses a song and sings it to her vocal coach for weeks before the audition. Porter follows a similar technique, first listening to the music. She then chooses a song that is similar to the musical. Following that, all of the actors continue to rehearse in the lead up to the audition.

“My process for a while has been, prepare, prepare, prepare, be over prepared. That often causes me to mess up… [I get] so prepared I overthink,” said freshmen Olive Kennerly.

Preparation is good, but thoughts of overthinking can lead to slips and mess-ups.  Actors always need to keep going no matter if there was a mess up. On the day of the solo audition, the students had a five-minute slot to sing 30 seconds of their song. Their 30 seconds in the spotlight, shows their talent in front of the directors. As intimidating as that seems, the actors have different processes for calming their nerves.

“I shake the nerves out, make sure I’m warmed up, and I just go in believing in myself,” Kennerly said. 

Just go for it, the directors are always rooting for you

— Pyatt

The easiest method to manage anxiety is to warm up, shake the nerves out, and to just go for it  , as Kennerly explained. Porter, though, sings in front of the directors in a distinctive style. She performs while she sings, taking on the role of the song’s protagonist.

“I sang ‘I Say No’ from the musical Heathers, so I am acting as if Veronica is singing, not Megan Porter,” Porter said. 

Her vocal technique demonstrated her abilities. Porter was chosen to play the mother Morticia in the Addams Family. Kennerly was selected as the Conquistador, one of the featured ancestors, and Pyatt is Wednesday, the family’s sadistic daughter. 

A drama production is more than just a performance. Amazing experiences and friends formed through the process will last for a lifetime. Every show’s course is unique, and the cast constantly supports new performers.

 “Just go for it, the directors are always rooting for you,” Pyatt said. “They don’t want you to fail and they love for new people to join.”