Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conservatory Training Professional Actor

Before they knew what was about to hit 'em:
the First Years of 2010-11
At Portland Actors Conservatory, we don't require an audition for acceptance. However, we DO require an audition for the Second Year of our Two Year program, and some students do not make the cut, as we cap the Second Year class at 12. It's can be a nerve wracking process, just like the life of a professional actor. :) But this year's auditions were by all accounts an amazing day for all involved at the Conservatory - teachers, students, and guests were all blown away by the talent on display.

With auditions a few weeks behind them, I polled some of ur First Year Conservatory students - soon to be Second Years - about how they felt upon completion of of the First Year and their auditions. Below are some responses:
Lissie Huff, right, improv-ing away
with Steve Vanderzee
Lissie Huff:

"After the audition I took a week off, slept the first four days. Now it's back to work: in a play (directed by one of our dear teachers, Michael Mendelson, and starring another, Cristi Miles), running drills to keep the skills learned sharp, developing new skills. It's a never-ending process of performance and craft. I love it.

The second year audition is like a master's class in character switching. In the course of only a few hours I portrayed a valium addict, a saucy french maid, a melancholy prince, and a sensualist housewife. Going offstage as the valium addict I literally was close to a nervous breakdown. Five to ten deep breaths later I'm changing my hair, makeup and costume ready to portray a red-headed saucy french maid. So it went the entire day: subsuming myself in the world of the character and then coming back to the world of the actor.

The whole day is an experience like no other. It's an audition, a showcase, a performance, a competition. We're all acutely aware that this day will decide if we continue on to next year. I imagine it's like being at the Olympic trials. No matter how well - or poorly - things have gone in rehearsal or class it's this moment that most matters. Though I wanted to perform well enough to go to the second year, my actual aim that day was to perform to the best of my ability. I wanted to walk off that stage and look myself in the eye without regrets. I did."

Kate Brauneis-Krull :

Kate Brauneis-Krull, left, with Jessica Moran.
Um, is it the 'I Love Lucy' episode at the candy
 "When I began the first year of the Conservatory program, the prospect of auditions was somewhat daunting but I believed that if I really gave it my all, I would have a spot in the second year class. What I didn't anticipate was how incredibly close we would all become as a class, and how much everyone would astound me with their growth and their hearts. The stakes were higher than I had imagined because it wasn't just about 'getting into the second year' as an abstract concept, but about being able to continue working with my ensemble and teachers who I had grown to love and appreciate so much more than I had ever imagined. I am so happy to be continuing this journey with all of them!"

If you're thinking of applying to Portland Actors Conservatory for acceptance in Fall 2011, the application deadline is June 15, 2011. Get application info here.