1 THE CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS THEATRE CONSERVATORY AUDITION GUIDE FOR ACTING AND MUSICAL THEATRE Company, 2012
2 CHIARTS THEATREAUDITION GUIDE (Acting & Musical Theatre Programs) This guide is designed to help you prepare for the Acting and Musical Theatre program auditions and for considering ChiArts as an option for your high school. ChiArts is a wonderfully creative and educational environment, and we take our work seriously. The Theatre Conservatory consists of two majors: Acting and Musical Theatre. If you wish to be considered for both majors, you must audition for each program separately. DECIDING IF CHIARTS THEATRE IS RIGHT FOR YOU What can I expect from ChiArts Theatre? Our programs are modeled on college-level Conservatory programs and tailored for high school students. It is a rigorous training program that is taught by professionals in their fields who have high standards of excellence and a commitment to training the next generation of artists. Classroom instruction is supplemented by a variety of performance opportunities in which training is put into practice. Whether or not a student chooses to ultimately pursue a career in the arts, the curriculum will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences that can benefit them throughout their lives and in whatever field they choose to pursue. What does ChiArts Theatre expect from me? The school day at ChiArts is from 8 am to 5 pm and includes some evening rehearsals and performances. Students must have stamina and focus throughout the entire day and must be committed to both academic and arts education. Students are expected to arrive to each Conservatory class on time, fully prepared to work with all of their materials, and dedicated to their craft, ensemble and community. Students should be open to taking risks and providing a safe learning environment for others. Your attendance affects the work of your ensemble as well as yourself. So you must stay healthy, be organized and have your work completed, and bring a positive and supportive attitude to every class, every day. How do I decide what program(s) to audition for? You can audition for two ChiArts programs. Select the one(s) that you have the most passion for. Once enrolled, transferring to another program at ChiArts is difficult if not impossible. So give serious consideration which program is going to be your first and second choice. You can audition for both the Acting and Musical Theatre programs. If you do so, that would be your maximum of two programs for which you can audition.
3 Deciding If ChiArts Theatre is Right For You - Continued What is the difference between the Acting and Musical Theatre programs? See the Course Descriptions for the Acting and Musical Theatre programs at the end of this document for information on the scope and sequence of classes. Musical Theatre combines classes from the Theatre, Music and Dance Conservatories and focuses on repertoire from Musical Theatre such as Show Boat, Anything Goes, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Evita and Into the Woods, to name a few. Acting focuses on theatrical repertoire such as The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, the work of William Shakespeare, contemporary ten-minute plays and Improvisation. The Movement and Voice & Speech classes in the Acting program are not dance or music based. What is the difference between ChiArts and other high schools? By coming to ChiArts, you receive fifteen (15) hours per week of free, intensive arts training. What we do, we do well. However, we are not all things to all people. We are different from some traditional high schools in that we do not offer as wide a range of activities as others may. For instance, we do not have a football team or a cheerleading squad or a drill team. Students need to think hard about the type of high school experience that they want and if you do come to ChiArts you must readily accept that you will get a tremendous amount with regard to the arts but it means that there will not be some things that other high schools have. AUDITION REQUIREMENTS FOR CHIARTS THEATRE ACTING PROGRAM AUDITION REQUIREMENTS 1. Monologue 2. Ensemble Class (Improvisation) for Callbacks Only MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITION REQUIREMENTS 1. Monologue 2. Vocal Audition 3. Dance Class 4. Vocal Class for Callbacks Only
4 AUDITION PREPARATION As with all auditions, your primary responsibility is to be as prepared as possible. Check the audition requirements handout or on the school website for complete audition details. Start your preparation NOW. Be confident and believe in yourself! Every time that you audition, the people watching you are on your side and want you to do your best. Be passionate and unafraid to take creative risks. MONOLOGUE (Acting & Musical Theatre) A monologue is a speech spoken by one person. Sample monologues can be found on the ChiArts website under Theatre auditions. Although you may use these, we highly encourage you to find a monologue from a different play. There is a 90 second limit you must stick to this or you will be cut off. Your monologue must be memorized. The material should be age-appropriate suitable for a pre-teen through high school age character. It can be from a play, screenplay, short story, poem or written by you. Bring three copies of the monologue to your audition for the adjudicators. PREPARATION OF MONOLOGUE Choose a piece that means something to you or that you can relate to. Select a piece that can be active, meaning your character wants something from someone. Those pieces that simply tell a story generally are not active. Read the entire play, story or poem so you know what is happening in this scene and what happened in the past leading up to this monologue. Know what you re saying and why you re saying it. Make notes in the piece about where something changes in the monologue, such as a new idea or a change in mood, and decide why this is happening. This is called a beat change. Rehearse the monologue out loud. A friend or family member can help you memorize by being on book (following along with the script while you are saying it) and helping you with trouble spots. Decide in advance who your character is, who you are speaking to in this monologue (this is called the listener ) and where you imagine him/her/they are (the environment ) when you are speaking to them. Rehearse by saying the monologue to the listener (Note: this will be an imaginary person during the actual audition). You may want to start by first using a real person to stand in for the character of the listener, and then ask that
5 Audition Preparation Continued person to step away so you can practice saying it to the imaginary listener since that person will not be in the room when you actually audition. When you perform the monologue in the audition, you should imagine that listener in a specific spot in the room and NOT direct the monologue to the adjudicators. Rehearse until you have the piece memorized completely. However, every time you perform it should be as if you are saying these words for the first time. Your monologue must be memorized. Engage your body and voice so you are expressing what you character is doing and feeling. Do NOT sit through your entire monologue. Your pace should be appropriate to the piece. Speak clearly and at a volume in which you can be heard. You will not be allowed to use costumes or real props. You may only use a chair. VOCAL AUDITION (Musical Theatre only) You will perform a solo song There is a 60 second limit you must stick to this or you will be cut off. It is preferable that songs be from a musical, a folk song, a jazz song, a gospel song or an art song. DO NOT select something from the radio, particularly if contains inappropriate language. The song must be memorized. You MUST provide accompaniment on sheet music or a CD. The CD must be instrumental accompaniment only with no vocal tracks. The sheet music must be in the correct key. Only as a last resort may you sing a cappella (with no accompaniment). ChiArts will provide a pianist to accpany for those using sheet music. PREPARATION OF VOCAL AUDITION SONG Choose a song (and style) that you enjoy, shows your vocal range and has meaning to you. It is wise not to choose something that a lot of others will choose too. Think of your song as a monologue that is set to music. Who is your character? Who are you singing to and why? Prepare just as you would for the monologue except incorporating the music. If using sheet music, mark the point where you will begin and end for the accompanist. If using CD, it should be the first track and cued up to where you will begin singing.
6 Audition Preparation Continued DANCE AUDITION (Musical Theatre only) See the audition materials for correct clothing There is nothing to prepare. You will be taught a warm-up and a dance combination as part of an audition group. Before the dance audition, change into your dance clothes and warm-up your body. THE DAY OF THE AUDITION CHECK LIST MATERIALS Monologue (Acting and Musical Theatre) 3 copies Sheet Music or Instrumental CD (Musical Theatre) Appropriate school dress NOT a costume - for the monologue (Acting and Musical Theatre) and song (Musical Theatre) audition Dance clothing for dance audition (Musical Theatre) AT THE AUDITION ARRIVAL AND PREPARATION Arrive to the audition minutes before your designated audition time so you can check in and get settled. You will be given an audition number to place on your clothing. For the Musical Theatre audition you will be told if you are going to dance first or do your monologue and song first. Acting auditions will consist of the monologue only. You should begin to prepare yourself for the audition as soon as you arrive. Be relaxed but focused. For the monologue and song, start thinking about your character, the circumstances of the piece and who what you want from the listener (your imaginary partner). Remember, we are on your side and want you to do your best! ENTERING THE ROOM When you enter the audition room, give a copy of your materials to the appropriate people. The three copies of the monologue should go to the adjudicators. The sheet music should be given to the accompanist; review the start/stop places and the tempo with the accompanist. The CD should be given to the staff member. SLATING FOR THE CAMERA The audition is videotaped so you will be asked to give your name and your assigned audition number. When you have finished slating, find the place in the room from which you want to start your monologue or song.
7 The Day of the Audition Continued PRESENTING THE MONOLOGUE/SONG Tell the adjudicators the name of the piece you are doing. (My name is Charlie Downs and I am doing a piece from the play Our Town ). Take a short beat and then begin your monologue or song. If you stumble over a word or two, don t worry, just stay focused and keep going. If you suddenly go blank and can t remember your piece (don t worry, it has happened to all of us!), take a moment to collect your thoughts. The adjudicators will direct you on how to continue. After you finish your monologue and/or song, the adjudicators may or may not give you some notes and have you do part or all of it again. QUESTIONS FROM THE ADJUDICATORS The adjudicators may ask you some questions about why you want to attend ChiArts and your goals. DANCE AUDITION (MUSICAL THEATRE ONLY) You should stretch and warm-up your body before the dance audition. This portion of the audition will be conducted like a dance class and will include a warm-up, moving across the floor, and a short dance combination. AFTER YOUR AUDITION You have done your job! Now reward yourself! Again, your primary responsibility is to be prepared and to enjoy yourself. We want you to do your very best and are rooting for each and every one of you! Celebrate! CALLBACKS Some students may be asked back for a second audition, known as a callback. This will be scheduled at a later date after your first audition. ACTING PROGRAM CALLBACK 1. Monologue 2. Ensemble Class (Improvisation) You will be asked to do your monologue again and to participate in an Ensemble Class that focuses on Improvisation. There is nothing to prepare for the Ensemble Class. This will be a series of theatre games and exercises. They are fun and you may have already played some of them. There is no preparation necessary. Simply listen to the instructions, stay focused and use your imagination, voice and body. Be supportive of your fellow ensemble members and be willing to take any directions that the instructor offers you. Dress so you can move freely. The adjudicators may give you some notes for your monologue and ask you to incorporate them.
8 Callbacks Continued MUSICAL THEATRE PROGRAM CALLBACK 1. Monologue 2. Vocal Audition 3. Dance Class The format will be similar to the first audition and you should bring the same materials. The adjudicators may ask you to incorporate some notes or direction in your monologue and/or song. ChiArts Improv Team, 2013
9 MONOLOGUE EXAMPLE This is one example. Please choose your own monologue. Play: Our Town by Thornton Wilder Character: George Emily, I m glad you spoke to me about that that fault in my character. What you said was right; but there was one thing wrong with it. That s where you said I wasn t noticing people and you, for instance why, you say you were watchin me when I did everything Why, I was doing the same about you all the time. Why, sure I always thought of you as one of the chief people I thought about. I always made sure where you were sitting on the bleachers, and who you were talking with, and for three days now I ve tried to walk home with you; but something always got in the way. Yesterday, I was standing over by the wall waiting for you, and you walked home with Miss Corcoran. Listen, Emily, I m going to tell you why I m not going to Agricultural School. I think once you ve found a person you re very fond of I mean a person who s fond of you, too, and who likes you well enough to be interested in your character Well, I think that s just as important as college is, and even more so. That s what I think: (His head down. Squirming.) Emily, if I do improve, and make a big change, - would you be I mean, could you be?
10 ACTING MAJOR COURSE DESCRIPTIONS The Theatre Acting Program is designed to train actors in a wide range of skills, techniques and experiences that provide a broad overview of theatrical performance, practice, history and literature. The overall arc of the program is to begin by establishing a foundation in the first year, moving into progressively more challenging work in years two and three, and finally exploring each student s unique artistic voice in the final year. As this is a new program, it is understood that this arc and the specific courses listed below may change as the school, the program and the students develop. However, the end goal remains to provide a high level of instruction and experiences that prepare students for further study at the college level or entrance into the profession. 1 st Year - Foundations Acting I (2 semesters) Using improvisation as a basis for the fall semester, students will explore a connection to the self and their ensemble. They will begin with exercises and techniques developed by Viola Spolin to explore and heighten their connection to sensory life, environment and relationship in order to develop their creativity, imagination and understanding of human behavior. They also will develop skills related to scenic objectives, listening, impulse, problem solving, physical and verbal communication and given circumstances. Building on the work of the fall, students will begin to work with text using Story Theatre and Documentary Theatre works in the spring semester. They will be expected to take all the skills they have developed in the first half of the year and to apply them to the text. Movement IA and IB (2 semesters) Movement in year one will focus on the fundamentals of body awareness and control, sense, and awareness through movement. The fall semester uses yoga as a means to discover body mechanics, physical alignment, connection to breath, and self-awareness. The spring semester will explore full body awareness, connection to imagination and impulse, and greater physical control through yoga and other techniques with an emphasis on the ability to sense and establishing awareness and focus through movement. Theatre History and Literature I (2 semesters)* This class is a survey of Western theatrical history, drama and practices from Classical Athens through the Restoration. Students will study the social, political, cultural and historical influences of each period to understand the context in which theatre was created. Likewise, they will explore the means by which theatre was produced and practiced including theatre companies, acting styles, design and architecture. They also will study the dramatic literature of each period including a critical analysis of each text.
11 Acting Major Course Descriptions Continued Voice and Speech IA (1 semester) The focus of the Voice and Speech I class is to create a greater awareness of and connection to the actor s natural voice. Further, it is to free that natural voice toward greater psychological and physical connections and improved self-awareness, imagination, expressiveness and embodiment. Students will focus on breath and vocal production, opening the physical channels of communication, exploring physical alignment, and releasing tension to begin to build vocal strength and connect the voice to creative impulses. The first year also will introduce basic diction. Theatrical Stagecraft (1 semester) Theatrical Stagecraft will provide students with an overview of the theatrical production process with an emphasis on exploring the various components and responsibilities associated with production, theatrical organizations and the fundamental skills required for serving on a stage crew (sets, lights, costumes, sound, props and make-up). 2 nd Year - Realism Acting II (2 semesters) Scene study and acting techniques with an emphasis on 19 th and 20 th century realism in the fall semester and short plays in the spring semester. This course will include elements of dramatic text analysis to aid the student actor in creating rich and detailed characters, relationships and theatrical environments. Theatre History and Literature II (2 semesters)* A continuation of the first year s study with an emphasis on 19 th, 20 th and contemporary Europe and the United States. Movement IIA and IIB (2 semesters) An exploration of movement through space and in groups. Specific courses include Viewpoints technique in the fall semester and Contact Improvisation in the spring semester. Voice and Speech IB (1 semester) A continuation of the work begun in the freshman semester. Theatrical Design (1 semester) A continuation of the work begun in Theatrical Stagecraft, the emphasis of this course is on the various design elements of production (scenery, costumes, lighting, sound and props) and the process of creating a design based on a theatrical text.
12 3 rd Year - Periods and Styles Acting Major Course Descriptions Continued Acting III (2 semesters) Scene study of various theatrical periods with an emphasis on texts with heightened language and physicality including the works of William Shakespeare and Moliere. Voice and Speech II (2 semesters) The focus is on refining the actor s use of their voice through deepening their experience of resonance along with clarifying vowel and consonant articulation. Basic elements of speech will be explored to help the actor bring vocal clarity, energy and point of view to any text. Professional Development (2 semesters)* Preparation for college auditions and/or entrance into the profession including an overview of the business of acting and audition preparation. Stage Combat (1 semester) One semester focusing on basic weaponry combat and the integration into scene work. Physical Comedy (1 semester) One semester of movement focusing on commedia dell arte or other technique and style. 4 th Year - Artistic Voice and Further Exploration Acting IV (2 semesters)* Scene study work of 20 th and 21 st century works with an emphasis on works by classic American playwrights, such as Miller and Albee, and those who experiment with theatrical forms, such as Ionesco, Beckett and Rivera. Senior Project (2 semesters) The creation and presentation of two senior showcases. In the Fall, students will present an Audition Showcase featuring monologues to be used for college and professional auditions. Following that, students and instructor will devise an original one-act play as a final ensemble project to be presented in the Spring. Advanced Production (2 semesters) The application of stagecraft and design techniques to the Senior Project and other productions.
13 Acting Major Course Descriptions Continued Directing (1 semester) An introduction to the work of the director with an emphasis on text analysis and working with actors on scene study. On-Camera Techniques (1 semester) An introduction to the skills and techniques needed to act for the camera as well as an overview of the audition process for film and video. * - Credit bearing course required for graduation Students must achieve at least a D in every Conservatory course every semester or they are in jeopardy of repeating the ENTIRE YEAR S Conservatory sequence in the following year. This may result in a student not graduating on time. Eyes Closed, 2012
14 MUSICAL THEATRE MAJOR COURSE DESCRIPTIONS The Musical Theatre Program is designed to train actors in a wide range of skills, techniques and experiences that provide a broad overview of theatrical performance, practice, history and literature. The overall arc of the program is to begin by establishing a foundation in the first year, moving into progressively more challenging work in years two and three, and finally exploring each student s unique artistic voice in the final year. As this is a new program, it is understood that this arc and the specific courses listed below may change as the school, the program and the students develop. However, the end goal remains to provide a high level of instruction and experiences that prepare students for further study at the college level or entrance into the profession. 1 st Year - Foundations Acting I (2 semesters) Using improvisation as a basis for the fall semester, students will explore a connection to the self and their ensemble. They will begin with exercises and techniques developed by Viola Spolin to explore and heighten their connection to sensory life, environment and relationship in order to develop their creativity, imagination and understanding of human behavior. They also will develop skills related to scenic objectives, listening, impulse, problem solving, physical and verbal communication and given circumstances. Building on the work of the fall, students will begin to work with text (existing and self-generated) such as monologues and Story Theatre in the spring semester. They will be expected to take all the skills they have developed in the first half of the year and to apply them to the text. Dance I (2 semesters) An introduction to dance technique as it applies to Musical Theatre performance with a focus on proper body alignment, placement and conditioning, Musical Theatre dance vocabulary, and moving as part of an ensemble. Vocal Technique & Repertoire I (2 semesters) In this progression of courses, students will lay a lifetime foundation of healthy vocal habits. The class will cover exercises that develop posture, breath management, production of sound in the three vocal registers (head, passagio, and chest), diction, and musical expression. Students will also study vocal literature to actively apply these concepts.
15 Musical Theatre Major Course Descriptions Continued Music Theory Fundamentals (2 semesters)* This course is for students with no previous experience in reading and writing music. It will introduce students to treble and bass clefs, rhythmic notation, simple meters, intervals, the construction of major and minor scales, key signatures, and triads. Aural recognition of these musical elements also will be a significant component of this course. Junior Choir (2 semesters) This performing ensemble is for Vocal and Musical Theatre majors. The group will explore choral literature from all periods and styles. Rehearsals will actively reinforce the concepts of good breathing, vocal tone production and diction, as taught in the Vocal Techniques curriculum. It is anticipated that Chorale will give a minimum of three performances at ChiArts each year and also participate in external competitions and festivals as appropriate. 2 nd Year Musical Theatre pre-1970s Acting II (2 semesters) An exploration of musical theatre scene study with a focus on material up to the 1960s. The goal is to integrate with work from the Vocal Techniques and Dance classes to include scenes, songs and dance from these musicals. Dance II (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year s study with an emphasis on increasing technical skills in jazz and ballet dance, and the application of these techniques to choreographed dance works from Musical Theatre repertoire up to the 1960s. Vocal Technique & Repertoire II (2 semesters) A continuation of the first year s study with the addition of repertoire from the Musical Theatre repertoire up to the 1960s. Scene Study I (2 semesters) An acting class that focuses on non-musical theatre repertoire for monologues and scenes, including analysis, objectives, tactics, given circumstances, and sense memory. Musical Theatre History & Literature (2 semesters)* This class is a survey of Western musical theatrical history, drama and practices from late 19 th century through modern day. Students will study the social, political, cultural and historical influences of each period to understand the context in which theatre was created. Likewise, they will explore the means by which theatre was produced and practiced including theatre companies, acting styles, design and architecture. They also will study the musical theatre literature of each period including a critical analysis of each text.
16 Musical Theatre Major Course Descriptions Continued 3 rd Year Contemporary Musical Theatre Acting III (2 semesters) An exploration of musical theatre scene study post-1960s. The goal is to integrate with work from the Vocal Techniques and Dance classes to include scenes, songs and dance from these musicals. Dance III (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year s study with an emphasis on greater technical skills in jazz, ballet and modern dance, and the application of these techniques on choreographed dance works from post-1960s Musical Theatre repertoire. Vocal Technique and Repertoire III (2 semesters) Further exploration of vocal music techniques including repertoire from the Musical Theatre repertoire post-1960s. Theatrical Stagecraft (1 semester) Theatrical Stagecraft will provide students with an overview of the theatrical production process with an emphasis on exploring the various components and responsibilities associated with production, theatrical organizations and the fundamental skills required for serving on a stage crew (sets, lights, costumes, sound, props and make-up). Theatrical Design (1 semester) A continuation of the work begun in Theatrical Stagecraft, the emphasis of this course is on the various design elements of production (scenery, costumes, lighting, sound and props) and the process of creating a design based on a theatrical text. Professional Development (2 semesters)* Preparation for college auditions and/or entrance into the profession including an overview of the business of musical theatre performance and audition preparation. 4 th Year - Artistic Voice and Further Exploration Senior Project (2 semesters) The creation and presentation of two senior showcases. In the Fall, students will present an Audition Showcase featuring monologues and songs to be used for college and professional auditions. Following that, students and instructor will devise an original one-act musical as a final ensemble project to be presented in the Spring.
17 Musical Theatre Major Course Descriptions Continued Dance IV (2 semesters) A continuation of the previous year s study with an integration of techniques from tap, world dance, and hip hop dance. Vocal Technique and Repertoire IV (2 semesters) Further exploration of vocal music techniques including repertoire from contemporary popular music. Keyboard Skills (2 semesters)* Students will develop strength and agility of all fingers and independent coordination of the two hands. Reinforcing the material taught in Music Theory Fundamentals, the class will incorporate tonic-dominant chords and major scales. The skill of note reading will also be emphasized. By the end of this class, students will be able to play simple right hand melodies accompanied by block chord or arpeggiated harmony in the left hand. * - Credit bearing course required for graduation Students must achieve at least a D in every Conservatory course every semester or they are in jeopardy of repeating the ENTIRE YEAR S Conservatory sequence in the following year. This may result in a student not graduating on time. The Drowsy Chaperone, 2013
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