I figured, talking about Harold Auditions and advice, we might as well talk to Nate Dern himself. I did a quick interview with him for UCB Difference… ENJOY!
This is your first Harold Audition as the Artistic Director of UCB Theatre NY. Obviously, you’ve been on the other side of things. Tell us about your approach.
We did an invite audition in October, but you are correct that it is my first time running an open audition. And actually I haven’t been on the other side of things - I was out of town for the first audition I was eligible for, and then I was one of those schmugadoos who was placed on a team between auditions when someone stepped down from a team. I also submitted to be an actor on a Maude Team but wasn’t invited to have an audition, but then was placed on a team when someone stepped down. So I never auditioned for either but was on both. What a jerk!
This blog is mostly supporting the diversity initiative at the UCB. Is there any particular advice you would like to give individuals in this community?
Advice: try to relax, have fun, make your scene partner look good. Make choices that you think are fun, don’t try to do what you imagine the people in the room think the “correct” move is. Anyone reading this has heard this before, and it sounds cliche, but of course there is no secret advice I can give that you haven’t heard before. I could write even less and say this: do your best, that is all you can do. Be realistic - there are hundreds of people auditioning and only a handful will get on. Statistically speaking, the odds are you won’t get on.
Is there anything else you would want to add? Any general advice to improvisers / comedians out there?
I think that for Harold Auditions, as well as anything that you want but for which there is a limited number of slots, you should have the mentality that you are so good that of course it will be given to you, while simultaneously practicing a Buddhist-type detachment that you don’t need this thing for your self worth or happiness in a sort of Orwellian doublethink. We have reached a point as a community that there are more qualified people than we have slots for. Like the space program with astronauts. Them is the breaks. It is both good and bad. I think Harold Night is a great thing, obviously, but I also don’t want to overstate its importance. The UCB4 didn’t wait around to be put on a Chicago theatre’s house team - they formed their own comedy team and worked hard and got a sketch show on TV. Follow their example. Do the work/comedy/art that you want to do with the people you want to do it with. Right now. Don’t wait. Life is short and time goes very fast, especially your mid to late twenties I am finding.