"The Audition"

A One-Act Play by Don Zolidis

Auditioning for the school play. Hill Street Studios

It’s time for the spring musical and students have turned out in droves to audition. The Audition, a one-act play by Don Zolidis, spotlights a few of these students’ stories and intersperses them with comic vignettes featuring terrible audition practices and typical high school actors.

Elizabeth is auditioning because her mother is making her. Soliel, whose childhood has been troubled, found a new accepting home on the stage.

Carrie already has enormous acting talent, but lacks support from home. She must decide between taking the lead role she is offered or obeying her mother and getting a part time job at the grocery store to help contribute to the family income.

Throughout the production, the audience is treated to overbearing parents, a frazzled stage manager and director, students who won’t project, students who won’t stop dancing, egos, awkward love scenes, and unexpected friendships.

The Audition is a short play that will work well for a high school production or in a workshop/camp setting. There are many roles, mostly female; directors can expand the cast as needed. The set is a bare stage; lighting needs and sound cues are minimal. The entire focus of this one-act play is on the actors and their character development, offering student actors opportunities to explore creating a character, making big choices, and committing to moments.

Setting: The stage in a high school auditorium

Time: The present

Cast size: This play has 13 speaking roles and an optional (non-singing) chorus. Production notes also specify that roles may be doubled or lines divided among the chorus as needed.

Male Characters: 4

Female Characters: 9

Characters that may be played by either males or females: 7.

The production notes explicitly state that “The roles of Stage Manager and Mr. Torrence may be cast as female and the roles of Gina, Yuma, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s Mother, and Carrie’s Mother may be cast as male.”

Roles

Mr. Torrence is the much put-upon director of the show. This is his first year directing the musical and he is overwhelmed by the amount of energy, both good and bad, he finds in the student actors auditioning for him.

Stage Manager is, as named, the stage manager for the show. This is also his first year and he is nervous. The actors intrigue and frustrate him and often he gets caught up in their energy and antics.

Carrie is genuinely talented and, rightly, wins the lead. She is upset that her mother never comes to her performances and feels unsupported and resentful. After confronting her mother with her feelings, she is ordered to quit the play and get a job.

Soliel has had a difficult time in life. Her parents died young and she has never had money to dress or style herself to fit in. Every ounce of her seems to scream, “I’m different!” She has recently come to accept herself and enjoy her individuality and yet she says, “If someone asked me tomorrow if I would trade it all to be average…you know what I’d say?

In a heartbeat.”

Elizabeth is on track to go to a top tier college. It is not the track she would choose. She’d rather be at home doing nothing. Her mother is on a mission to fill her college resume with as many impressive activities as possible and this month it is the high school musical.

Alison has won every lead role in every school play since kindergarten. Her audition is only a list of the title roles she’s played; she feels she ought to get the lead on principle. It is a huge shock to her system when she isn’t even called back.

Sarah has one goal - play a love scene with Tommy.

Tommy is the unwitting object of Sarah’s attention. He wants to be in a show, but not necessarily as the love interest.

Yuma lives to dance! She dances every dance with enormous energy and thinks that everyone should dance everywhere and all the time!

Gina has worked very hard to be able to cry on cue. After all, that’s an actor’s biggest challenge, right? Mostly she cries because puppies are sellouts for the commercial industry.

Elizabeth’s Mother is driven to get her daughter into a prestigious school. Every waking moment of every scrap of Elizabeth’s free time must be directed toward that one goal. She doesn’t hear her daughter’s protests because she is older and knows better.

Alison’s Father takes his daughter’s failed audition as a personal affront. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t sing, do a monologue, or produce any true audition material. She’s upset and so he’s ready to fight to get her what she wants.

Carrie’s Mother is hard at work to provide even the minimal basic necessities for her daughter. She provides food, clothes, and a home for Carrie and beyond that, any extra time is spent in sheer exhaustion. She does not see supporting her daughter as attending her plays. She sees support as keeping her child fed and alive.

Content Issues: One comedic “love” scene

The Audition is licensed through Playscripts, Inc. The play is also included in the book Random Acts of Comedy: 15 Hit One Act Plays for Student Actors.