Connect with Your Audition Scene Partner with This Technique

If you’re the confident type, you may find auditions as the best moment to showcase your skill, but there will be times when you’ll be unexpectedly paired off with a complete stranger in the audition room. How do you match the vibe of someone you just met?

tips for connecting with scene partner
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The most common mistake newbie actors make is focusing too much on their own lines without listening and reacting to their scene partner’s or reader’s lines. Inexperienced or poorly trained actors stare blankly at fellow performers while waiting patiently for their turn. Now that you’re reading this, start avoiding this amateurish mistake. If the other character’s lines told you that your best friend  just died, you’re not supposed to just wait blankly for your scene partner’s long lines to end just for you to react in shock as you deliver your lines during your turn. 

Learn how to connect effectively with your scene partner during auditions with this acting technique.

Connecting with Your Scene Partner During Auditions

Trained actors are aware of the many acting techniques that are taught in acting schools. The best acting technique to learn when learning to connect with your scene partner is the Meisner technique.

Prior to his death in 1997, Sanford Meisner was a famous acting coach throughout his sixty-year career. He was the man behind the Meisner technique, one of the most famous acting techniques used by successful Hollywood actors. Formulated by Meisner after studying under Konstantin Stanislavski, the father of modern acting, the Meisner technique asks the actor to focus on nothing but the other actor(s) in the scene with them. The idea is that the resulting intensity of the performance makes the scene feel more authentic and powerful. 

Here’s the Meisner technique made easy for you.

Acting is reacting to your scene partner.

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Again, don’t focus too much on your own lines without listening and reacting to your scene partner’s lines. Remember, acting is reacting. Listening and reacting are just as important in acting as delivering lines. Once another character from the scene says a line, you should be interested in the other actors’ response. If the other character’s lines told you that your best friend died, you’re not supposed to just wait blankly for your scene partner’s long lines to end just for you to react in shock. The other characters are there because the lines in the scene are a conversation and interaction among characters. Listen and react to your co-actors’ gestures and words until they give you the cue for your next line. Do not go back to the script until you have reacted to your co-actor.

Listen actively.

Listening is one of the primary tools used by actors following the Meisner technique to respond to impulses and have real conversations rather than responding to cues and simply reading lines. By reacting with instinct, even if spontaneous at times, the person is being truthful to the character and the audience. From this principle, Meisner’s exercises are rooted in repetition so that the words are deemed insignificant compared to the underlying emotion being expressed.

Act before you think.

Meisner’s main principle is that you should act before you think as your instincts are more honest than your thoughts. Thinking here is almost discouraged. The technique focuses on external rather than internal stimuli. Sandford Meisner noted that his approach to training is based on bringing the actor back to his emotional impulses and to acting that is firmly rooted in the instinctive. It is based on the fact that all good acting comes from the heart and that there’s no mentality to it. Meisner taught his students to live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.

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Conclusion

It’s rare that you get much time to work with a scene partner before an audition. But if you do, you may want to say hi and find something in common to break the ice. If you’re introvert-ish, finding these pleasantries unnecessary is understandable. The most important thing you can do with the little time you’re given is run through lines. Through this, you also get to uncover more subtext behind the lines together to improve your interpretation and performance. Try it sitting and standing. 

More often than not, the short preparation time you shared won’t really ensure that your partner will perform as you both rehearsed, so immediately turn to the Meisner technique to gracefully save the scene.

Good luck!

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