Thursday, January 8, 2009

Magis Auditions: Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Magis place an emphasis on training?
Our company started from a desire to continue the kind of training we received in our advanced studies in theatre and from a desire to place this work in dialogue with other forms of training. What has evolved for us is a year -round plan that has three modes of training: fundamental skills, exploration of new work, and readiness for performance. We have found that these three components challenge us to stay fresh in our technique, provide a means to prepare others to become Magis trainers, and put us in contact with innovative approaches that deepens the integration of each actor’s personal craft.

What should I wear to training?

Comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and rigorously. Some of our training requires gym shoes.

What do you mean by heightened language?
Any text that is bigger than our every day speech. Classical texts, poetic texts, some absurdist texts or non-linear texts… any of these show us that you can embody language that is just a little bit above and beyond our everyday way of speaking. We want to see you engage the imagination, and yet at the same time present the text fully and truthfully.

I don’t have a Shakespeare piece, should I memorize a new piece for the audition?
We would rather see you show something that you are already comfortable with. If you have different monologues that you regularly show, pick the one that you think makes the greatest demands in engaging your imagination and showing your range.

How is Magis training different than other forms of training?
Magis takes a holistic/ integrated approach to training. While some techniques focus on aspects of performance in isolation from each other, Magis training has developed a single vocabulary that unites seemingly opposed theatrical techniques. By using the same vocabulary for our work with voice, body and imagination, it provides ready channels to unite different approaches, some of which were previously thought of as inconsistent. Check the training page on our website to read about how our training has grown and how we have presented our training at national and international conferences and for theatre professionals and educators.

Is Magis a Union Company?
Currently all the actors of the Magis Theatre Company are members of Actors’ Equity. We operate closely with the union and have produced shows under Showcase, Mini, and LOA contracts.

Does Magis operate year round?
Yes. While we do only one production per year, and our typical run is 3 weeks, the company trains every week together. This is one of the goals of our company and we make a commitment to providing training through out the year. We take a 6 week hiatus in the summer. Our school outreach program operates for six months of the year as well.

Does Magis pay its actors?
Yes, we strive to pay our actors. This takes the form of a stipend for their work in our yearly production, but also part of the way we pay our actors is providing training free of charge. You can consider our training like a yearly membership to a gym or a studio. While other companies charge for workshops and training, we offer this freely to members of our company. We also regularly invite special guest instructors to lead workshops for our actors. All this is part of the way we give back to our actors who make a commitment to the company. Magis Company members who are administrators as well do not receive salaries for administrative roles in the company.

If I am selected for the company will I have to pay for workshops or training?
No. These are offered free of charge to members of our company.

If I am selected for the company, when can I expect to start performing?
We ask that members show proficiency in technique before taking part in a performance. Because we have only one production per year, typically actors are cast in the production after completing between 6-12 months of training with the company.

I am interested in teaching , can I be a part of the Magis Theatre school outreach program?
We welcome Magis actors to work with the students at the school where our company is in residence.
We provide materials and mentoring for Magis actors who are interested in teaching.

What kind of commitment am I expected to make to the company?
We expect our actors to be at training each week. We understand that there are exceptional circumstances that sometimes prevent full attendance, but we expect that when ever possible, the company training time be respected.
We also expect that our actors will bring themselves to our work by maintaining our work environment, sharing in what ever capacity is possible to facilitate training, and participating in projects that we provide for the school which hosts us. Each year we hold two workshop days for our students and we expect all company members to be in attendance to work with the students at these two workshops
Because we are a self-producing organization, company members all help out in realizing our productions.

If I am cast in a show outside the company will that affect my status as a company member in Magis?

Our actors are all working actors. When working outside Magis, we ask that people make it to training when they are not called for rehearsals of other shows, and if there is flexibility in those rehearsals, that a commitment to being at Magis training on Sundays is maintained whenever possible.

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