As you read the sides for your audition you will notice that the stage directions may indicate that your character has a prop of some kind. It could be a telephone, a pen, a clipboard, a cigarette, a watch, a water bottle, a purse and the list goes on. I am often asked how to handle these props while auditioning. You don’t have to use props at all, however it may make sense to do so or add another layer to your audition. I say, use a prop if it’s natural to do so and it doesn’t get in the way. For example, as I demonstrated in the video I used my sides to indicate that I was reading a magazine in a waiting room. Now if I had tried to use an actual magazine and had the script, it would have been cumbersome and distracting. I have seen actors use an actual magazine with their sides tucked in between the pages. That could also work. And if you had your scene completely memorized, you could actually flip through the pages while speaking your lines and have a very real moment in the scene. We do that all the time don’t we? While we’re on the subject, I would just like to say that I don’t necessarily think that you must have your lines memorized for an audition. Yes, you should be extremely familiar with the dialogue and just have the script in hand in case you go up on a line. You want to be able to glance down at the page and keep going. Forgetting a line can completely throw you off and often it’s not easy to recover. If you only get one chance at the audition most likely that would be the one awkward moment both you and the people you audition for will remember.
I suggest you work with props as you rehearse the scene so that it will be smooth and natural in the audition room. You don’t want to be upstaged by a clipboard.
sides – the individual pages for a particular character to work on for an audition; also referred to as the script although not in its entirety.
stage directions - an instruction in the text of a script, describing the movement, position, or tone of an actor
go up – forgetting a line of dialogue