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The student news publication of Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas

Prospective Online

The student news publication of Bryant High School in Bryant, Arkansas

Prospective Online

Senior Burnout
May 15, 2024
Photo Illustration
The Next Step
May 15, 2024
Illustration of Bob Marley.
One Love
April 17, 2024
Senior Burnout
May 15, 2024
Photo Illustration
The Next Step
May 15, 2024
Illustration of Bob Marley.
One Love
April 17, 2024
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Meet Katie. Katie is a sophomore this year, however, she isn't new to Journalism. This will be her 4th year in Journalism and 3rd in newspaper. She has won some awards including national ones. Outside...

A Guide to the Matilda Auditions

upcoming auditions for school musical attract attention across district
Unofficial+%E2%80%9CMatilda+the+Musical%E2%80%9D+poster+illustrated+by+Roe.
Roe
Unofficial “Matilda the Musical” poster illustrated by Roe.

Over 100 students from the middle, junior high and high school recently signed up to audition for the musical Matilda on the 27th and 28th. For many, this is a first step into the theater world. 

 While the school acts as the overall producer for the show, providing funds and a stage, Mr. Clay serves as the artistic director for the show. 

“[As artistic director]I pick the shows that we’re going to do with input from my fellow directors. A lot of the things that will be done for [the cast] will be handled by our music director and our choreographer,” Clay said. “Mr. O, Tanner Oglesby, is going to be our music director this year, and he also is going to work with some orchestra players.” 

Due to the large number of people auditioning, the try-outs will be split into two parts: A singing tryout with Clay and Oglesby, and a dancing tryout with the Choreographer, Annslee Clay.

“When you have that many [auditioners], and you only have two nights of auditions, finding enough time for them to do all their auditioning is difficult,” Clay said. “So I have split the auditions into a music call and a dance call. They will come in and sing a song for us, and I may have them read a bit from a monologue or something  like that for a certain character, then they will go to the stage and learn the choreography for the dance call.”

This also means each student will have a limited time for their audition.

“They get five minutes to do that, that’s all their window is with me and our music director,” Clay said.  “Then they go to the stage… if they’ve already got [the choreography] memorized then they will find a group of  two or three other actors that are also doing the dance call and they will video that.”

Not every student is expected to be perfect in all three of singing, acting and dancing when auditioning.

“In the business, you always are hoping for a triple threat; someone who can sing, dance and act, but those are few and far between,” Clay said. “Occasionally I’ll get people that are both really good at singing and dancing, maybe struggling with the acting. I can teach that. Maybe they’re really good at the acting part of things and maybe not great signings, but we can teach them how to carry a pitch.”

For the singing segment Clay stated that one should bring in a song similar to the music of Matilda.

“A great way to think about it is if you wanted to play Matilda in the show, then you might look for a song that has some mischievousness in it because she sings a song called Naughty that has some mischievousness in it.” Clay said.

Matilda’s cast is largely portraying young kids, so the auditions have been expanded down to the middle school. 

“I have always opened it up to all of the schools, and I have in the past had people from the middle school and junior high contact me wanting to audition and I always say yes,” Clay said. “I have had students as young as sixth grade be on our stage here at the high school. It just takes people that are dedicated and want to be in it.” 

 Some roles require certain looks like hair or makeup to be altered, but Mr. Clay makes a clear emphasis on respecting the comfort levels of actors.

“We are really trying to be respectful of the boundaries of the actors,” Clay said. “There’s certain things that I have done on stage that made me uncomfortable, and I do not want any of my actors to feel that way. I hope my actors will feel comfortable enough to talk to me about anything that seems a little bit outside of their realm of comfort.” 

In the audition forms, students had been asked to mark which roles they would feel comfortable playing.

 “I want them to feel like a part of our family because that’s what we are.” Clay said “I also don’t tell them what they are going to play in the show, but I will let them decide. In this year’s audition form, I said if there’s a part that they are not willing to play they needed to check it [off].” 

While many are looking to become actors in the play, there are some who want to join the crew.. 

“Most of the time, I just say send me an email,” Clay said. “Then, when we make the Google Classroom for the show, I make sure that they’re also in that.” 

Senior Laiken Clarke, one of two presidents of the Thespian Troupe, plans on auditioning.

“I’m hoping to get Ms. Wormwood, which is Matilda’s mom,” Clarke said. “She has a big dance number and we have the same dance style and fashion style in common.” 

Clarke has performed in 15 productions with Andrea’s School of Dance as well as starred in a short film. 

“Some preparations I’m making include teaching auditionees the dance call at my dance studio,” Clarke said. “And [I’ve been] practicing a good accent for the character I want since she is British” 

Even with her experience, Clarke has some anxieties about the upcoming audition.

“Each auditionee normally has one or two things they feel very confident about, and another one or two that they feel not-so-confident with,” Clarke said. “I have dance experience of over 15 years and acting experience of seven, but have only been singing for three.”

As a senior, Clarke is excited to do her final shows.

“Theater has always inspired me to do my best and it has really helped me and others come out of our shell,” Clarke said. “I would love to do one last show with my family of fellow Bryant theater students before I graduate.” 

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