The Audition | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Audition 

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The Audition, North Lakeside Players, at the North Lakeside Cultural Center. Frank Farrell's high-concept show begins with an "audition" at an unnamed theater attended by its "board of advisers"--us. A blase director and his eager-beaver assistant scrutinize four actors who recite monologues, then further demonstrate their range by adapting their speeches to audience suggestions, collected earlier. At the close of the first half, we vote on which two actors will perform the (actual) Joyce Carol Oates one-act that follows the intermission.

It's certainly a novel idea to combine the competition of TV game shows, improv, and drama verite. But despite the North Lakeside Players' faux ingenuous satire of contemporary showbiz practices, The Audition aims for more than simple mockery. By the end of the evening we come to a poignant awareness of the sacrifices artists make. Indeed, the tension between imitating life and living it is the very theme of this play, which we help create.

Any opening-night ungainliness, especially when it comes to collecting suggestions, is certain to resolve itself as the performers adjust to their environment and the audience dynamic. In any case The Audition provides a rare opportunity for theater consumers to have some say in the final product.

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