• July 16th, 2020

Industry Loop: Auditions in Nam

Auditions in Namibia are a nightmare! Auditions in this country are physically tiring, mentally exhausting and psychologically tormenting. Any sort of audition process (especially acting auditions) in the land of the brave will cut you down to size real quick! Whether I believe in auditions or not is a subject matter for another day. What I do want to do, though, is challenge the process of administering an audition in Namibia. 

One needs to understand that performing fictional roles in plays, films or television is not a saunter on the beach. It is physically, mentally and psychologically tiring. That’s why actors get paid big witbooi’s around the world (seemingly not in Namibia). 

So, to expect an actor to memorise a whole page to a script five minutes before auditioning is just barbaric. I have seen professional actors (and amateur actors) crumble at the mercy of directors or a panel in auditions, simply because you are expected to bring a character to life with roughly 5 to 10 minutes of preparation. It is torture! 

The window period is usually 5 to 10 minutes because demo scripts are normally handed to the next three to five people next in line, waiting to audition. The rest sit there, nervous AF, holding their breath with anxiety – banging down their sanity! Actors would sometimes sit (or stand) in these Mandingo queues for anything from an hour to close to three hours. 

Imagine standing in a queue for three hours and getting five to ten minutes to memorise lines and somehow magically still be expected to put your best foot forward when you eventually get an audience with the director or the panel thereof. How do we want to get the best out of our actors when we inflict such slave-like practices? I’m sure every director in this country has a story to tell of some brilliant actor who succumbed to pressure in an audition process. 

When you eventually do get a call back (with no guarantee of having secured the role), you are forced to go up against another actor vying for the same role – right in front of each other. How this would work is you (or your rival to the role) will get a chance to bring the character to life while your rival who is also vying for the same role painfully sits and waits for their chance to put forward their claim while watching you – it is an unhealthy situation, really. Pitting actors against each other in such a brutal manner in this tiny space when in fact we need each other. Namibia needs its actors to shine. Namibian needs its actors now more than ever to hit African and international scenes. 

How do we produce world-class actors when all the process in Namibia is killing the living Denzel Washington, Lupita Nyong’o and Benu Mabhena in them? Change the process, please, I beg of you. My suggestion would be to get actors to register a day before, send them the demo script once they register, give actors a chance to rehearse the lines, and you will witness greatness! Allow actors to put their best foot forward. 
Change the process! Namibia needs it now more than ever!

Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”!
NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email naobebsekind@gmail.com
@naobebsekind (twitter)

Staff Reporter
2020-02-07 09:38:35 | 5 months ago

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