PERFORMING ARTS

Breaking It Down: Audition Techniques for Actors of the Global Majority

Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2021. 144p. ISBN 9781538137079. $30. THEATER
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Persley and Ndounou—accomplished educators, performers, and directors who cofounded CreateEnsemble, a social media platform for artists of color—have written an acting guide specifically for people of the “global majority” (the more than 80 percent of the world’s population that is nonwhite). Focusing on stage audition skills that can easily be applied to screen acting, the authors encourage actors of the global majority (AGM) to treat auditions like job interviews. They provide practical guidance on establishing boundaries, developing a mission statement, increasing emotional vocabulary, creating self-taped auditions, vetting agents and managers, creating résumés, and developing a social media presence. Persley and Ndounou discuss how to handle situations where AGM are asked to read for dehumanizing roles that rely on racial or gender stereotypes; they also make the case that Stanislavski-based techniques, which push performers to disconnect from their emotions and gender and racial identity, can be harmful and limiting for AGM.
VERDICT Everyone involved in the performing arts, from professors to casting directors to actors to students, especially those just starting out, should read this eye-opening work.
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