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Theatre holds open auditions for fall plays

BY Kelsey Smith

Sept. 13, 2012

Auditions for Cleveland State University’s fall plays, Bus Stop and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, were held September 4-6. Unlike previous years, however, this year’s auditions were open to anyone, a welcome change within the theatre department.

Auditions in the theatre department are conducted in a Broadway style, which means students are required to prepare 16 bars of music and a Shakespearean monologue, as this is what those planning on having a career in theatre will experience in the “real world.”

Previously, auditions for CSU plays were only open to students enrolled in at least one credit hour at CSU. Of course there have been exceptions to this, but those were for parts that a college student could not portray, like a child. This semester, though, auditions were available to anyone in the community who was interested.

“I think it’s healthy on a lot of fronts,” Dr. Michael Mauldin, Theatre Department Chair, said. “I think that it is good to increase the competition level for our majors, because that is what they are facing when they go out into the business. I also think that it opens for awareness on the campus in general about our department,” he added.

This season, about 40 people auditioned, six of whom were not members of the theatre department. This included engineering, English, and philosophy majors, as well as individuals not affiliated with the school.

“This woman showed up [Wednesday night], who is in the community, found out about the audition, had never auditioned in her life, came in and was stunningly brilliant. Just natural,” Mauldin described. “So I think this opens up a lot of opportunities that are very positive for our department and for our university,” he explained.

So how do the students in the theatre department feel about this change? Overall, members of the department have appreciated the change in how auditions are conducted, though it is suspected that not all of the students were as welcoming of the change as others.
“My suspicion is that a few of them might have their nose out of joint over it,” Mauldin said. “But what we’re doing is to their benefit, but sometimes change is hard for some folks to get used to,” he elaborated.

Despite Dr. Mauldin’s suspicions, it seems as though most of the students in the theatre department liked opening auditions to the public. Many agreed that open auditions would help draw new faces into the department and increase their attendance.

“I like that it was an open audition,” Tim Maca, a junior Theatre Arts major, said. “It gives us a chance to reach our hands into other departments and grow within the school,” he added.

Theatre students Leah Engle and Nate Miller also approve of the open auditions, adding that it’s fun to see new faces during productions. They also credit working with older, more experienced actors with improving their own skills.

As to whether or not auditions will remain open to the public in the future, that has yet to be decided.

“I really did this just because A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a big, big show, and I especially wanted it to be a multicultural show,” Mauldin explained. “But I am certainly intrigued about the idea of continuing to have open auditions,” he added.