Curtain call
Nervousness not part of the performance for supporting cast

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jan 13/99) - The term "audition" normally provokes images of neophyte actors nervously biting their nails, awaiting their turn in the spotlight as an impatient director sits in the centre of the seventh row, fully prepared to break their hearts.

But in Yellowknife theatre, or at least for the supporting cast of Fiddler on the Roof, that's as far from the truth as we are from a sunburn.

"Once you're used to it, it's pretty easy," said 14-year-old Rosalind Munroe, who, on Saturday, was at NAAC trying out for a secondary character or a role in the chorus. "It gets less nerve-wracking the more you do it."

This is the third play Munroe has auditioned for. She performed in two other Christopher Foreman shows - A Christmas Adventure and Guys and Dolls.

Auditions for people trying for a role in the chorus means getting up on stage alone and singing O Canada or God Save the Queen or whatever song they prefer. The main thing is to prove you can carry a tune.

"You can't look at it as stressful," said Talina Boon, 14, who has three plays under her belt. "You have to look at it as you're here to have fun."

"It's just basically hanging around with your friends and having a good time," advised 15-year-old Andrea Franz.

"I find that three seconds before I go on stage, it's not nervousness it's excitement, about getting to be somebody you're not, somebody you could never be in real life."

Munroe's mother has also had a role in the chorus of the two plays in which her daughter has performed.

"It helps getting through the long dark winter," said Glennis Munroe, who was also trying for a part in the chorus.

Though he's been involved in theatre since he was a child, director Chris Foreman said he's fully aware of the difficulty auditions pose, particularly for those who have never been on the stage before.

"I remember what that was like," said Foreman, who played his first lead role at the age of 12. "Your knees are knocking together and you're able to sing exquisitely in the bathroom at home and suddenly you're out there and nothing will come out but a squeak."

More than 60 people showed up at NAAC Saturday and Sunday to audition for Fiddler on the Roof. By the time it was over, Foreman's patriotism and love of the monarchy was stretched to the limit.

As exhaustive as the audition process is, Foreman said, there's no way around it, particularly this year when so many newcomers came out. Auditions for the chorus and secondary characters offer Foreman a look at the stars of future productions.

"You don't know what to expect. It's a pure delight when someone steps up to the plate and whacks one out of the ball park, in terms of singing or acting ability."