A Look Into the Auditions for GDS’ Performing Arts Groups

A page from the script of this year’s fall play. Photo by Shaila Joshi.

Over the past month, students have had the opportunity to audition for six different GDS performance groups: three a cappella groups, the fall play, the Theater Lab and Fata Morgana.

Auditions for the performance groups took place over the course of September and lasted between one and two days. Each group has a different audition format that lets students showcase their talent.

According to performing arts teacher Laura Rosberg, who coordinates the fall play’s auditions, the play holds auditions that change depending on the year’s show. This year, interested students specified in a form their prior experience and preferences for which parts they wanted. The play’s auditions began with theater games that tested how quickly the students learn, their focus and concentration and whether they can keep a rhythm.

Sophomore Charlotte Green said that she loved the theater games because they were fun and allowed participants to get to know each other. “I felt connected to the people while we were auditioning,” she said.

Auditionees then participated in improvisation specific to the show. In auditions for this year’s play, The Odyssey, actors worked together to play the roles of sheep and sailors rounding up the sheep. Rosberg said that she looked for imagination, creativity and leadership.

“It’s all very energizing,” senior Jacob Getlan said. “And I think it gets auditioners more comfortable before they actually have to read lines.”

Rosberg said that she tries to keep the two-hour auditions as engaging as possible. Auditions “shouldn’t be somber things,” Rosberg said, adding that older students cheer on the younger students as they read to lighten the mood.

However, unlike Fata Morgana, not everyone auditioning for the fall play got a role. Rosberg said she understands that people are nervous about getting cast. “It’s sad that it’s so incredibly competitive,” she said.

The Theater Lab, which was created this year by dance and acting teacher Maria Watson, will put on two plays annually in the dance studio, with a smaller cast than the fall play. The performances, which include between two and eight people, will feature playwrights and characters from historically marginalized groups.

Watson, who directs the Theater Lab, began auditions this year by sending an email to find those interested in auditioning. In auditions, students selected and acted out scenes from the play Speech and Debate and read the part of one or more characters that they were trying out for.

Fata Morgana, GDS’ student-led dance troupe, puts on two shows throughout the year. People who audition are guaranteed to be in at least one dance number per show, and the auditions, choreography and rehearsals are all coordinated by students.

“It’s a great way, especially if you’re new to the school, to get to know people here,” Watson said. She described the environment as fun and relaxed. She said all of the members are supportive, especially of the new dancers.

During the auditions, the club heads demonstrated two short dance routines, and everyone then performed them in groups. Juniors Zoe Ferguson and Avery Brown, both Fata Morgana heads, agreed that the auditions were low-stress and a good way to meet people who are also interested in dance. The auditions are “super high energy and really fun,” Ferguson said.

GDS’ a cappella groups, Eat at Joe’s, Notified and 5 O’Clock Shadow, held auditions together. Students who tried out were asked to prepare a verse and chorus from any pop song to sing in front of at least one head from every group. After auditions, the group heads met to discuss the kinds of vocals they need as well as their preferences among the people trying out. After the audition process, the heads placed applicants in one of the singing groups.

Green, who auditioned for a capella, said that since the groups are student-led, she was surrounded by people her age during the audition, which made the process feel very supportive.