Oberlin Blogs

An Avalanche of Auspicious Auditions

February 17, 2024

Kate Magnacca ’26

The first week or two back on campus is always… a lot, if you’re involved in performing arts. Auditions for pretty much every possible opportunity the semester has to offer are all crammed into one week, not to mention their respective callbacks. This week, I auditioned for VIBE tap and jazz, Company, All In Your Mind (AIYM), and The Lightning Thief. Company callbacks were yesterday, Lightning Thief dance callbacks are tonight, AIYM callbacks are tomorrow, Lightning Thief singing/acting callbacks are Thursday, and Pitch Please auditions are this weekend. Keep in mind, this is on top of add/drop, when everyone is busy trying to sort out their class schedules, work schedules, and catch up with the friends they’ve been away from. I, for one, am trying to set two work schedules, keep up with my intern and volunteer jobs, run a club, and join the pottery co-op right now. It’s a bit of a formula for chaos, but on the bright side, it only lasts a couple of weeks--still, how do you survive those?

Step one: prioritize!

Last year, I went pretty hard for auditions--I spent hours locked away in a practice room learning music, and that was my main focus. This semester, I had to figure out classes first and foremost. Once I got my schedule set (I ended up switching one of my classes out), it removed a huge amount of uncertainty from my schedule.

You can admit you’re a theater kid…it’s okay.

If you’re also working on campus, my next bit of advice is for you: be totally transparent with your boss. In my experience, most people have a vague understanding of the audition process, and are willing to be flexible until you find out about casting. It usually means you get less hours for a couple of weeks, because it’s hard to commit to anything with callbacks up in the air, but that’s better than committing too early and ending up triple-booked.

Spread the love.

Keep up with other creative outlets. It’ll take some pressure off of getting into shows if performance isn’t your only art form. For me, this looks like staying involved with dance, fiber-arts, making jewelry, and learning pottery from YouTube. Another reason this helps is through exposure to different communities--again, if all your eggs are in the theater basket, that’s a lot riding on something out of your control.


Can it be stressful and hard doing so many auditions? Yes! Honestly, I’ve overslept for class twice this week. But can it also be sort of fun? If you want it to be. Unfortunately the trick is to loosen your grip a little. After so many years and so many rejections, you sort of have to learn to just vibe. Theater is hard, and Oberlin theater is crazy competitive. Literally all you can do is your personal best, and that’s it. There’s just nothing you can do to change the rest. It’s so far out of your control. Which doesn’t always feel great, but accepting that aspect of it can be freeing. When you start to remove yourself and depersonalize the results, you can start having fun. Enjoy joking around with your fellow actors at callbacks. Be part of lessening someone else's stress. Make new theater friends regardless of the outcome. Try to think of auditions not as auditions, but as chances to perform in a new setting. Think of it like a game. Just find a way to frame it that’s not about being perfect and that doesn’t hinge your entire self-worth on the outcome (easier said than done, I know).

Close the book.

When I agonize in anticipation of that fateful email, my friend always tells me to “close the book.” The audition’s over, your part is done for now, and thinking about it won’t help you. Shift your focus to the next audition (which, for me, starts in ten minutes). Once all the auditions are over, do something else, anything else. Take a long walk. Take a knitting lesson. Go see if Professor Darling’s therapy dog is in Severance. You’re gonna be fine.

If you’ve got an audition coming up, break a leg! I’ll leave you with a Mabel picture for luck. 

My cat Mabel, sleeping.

P.S.- an update from future Kate: Remember when I said everything would be okay? It is! I am so excited to be working on my second Oberlin-original show this semester, All In Your Mind. I am also a new member of Pitch Please! Stay tuned- I can't wait to blog more about it. 

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