Taking direction can be very difficult if you don’t respect the director. And if they are a new, young, or someone you haven’t worked with, it can be difficult to give respect to someone who might not deserve it.
You know what’s even tougher? Trust.
First, remember this: When a director casts you, they trust that you will be the best one for the role, that you will give everything you’ve got, and that you’ll be on time, ready to take direction for the vision of the piece.
Since he is giving you the benefit of the doubt, can’t you do the same? Start by just giving into his hands. See where he takes you. Give him the chance by listening to what he has to say and take his direction, even if it is against your instinct or better judgment. This of course doesn’t mean to listen to someone of it is unreasonable (grossly health threatening or unethical).
So, if you can’t deal with going out in a limb to listen to and trust a director, then don’t audition. With that said, here are the rules to taking direction, and as submissive as they seem, they will keep you in “theater good graces” and in most cases, looking good on stage:
– when given a note, say thank you, ok, or yes
– never give excuses
– actors aren’t supposed to have ideas unless asked for them
– never give direction to ANYONE
– be early
– be prepared
– be ready to play and do anything
– know your lines
– understand your character
– only ask questions when it’s appropriate
– tell your problems to the stage manager
– say something when you are injured or contagious.
– dress appropriately
– never put your director in a situation of scrutiny or awkwardness.
– do your best to support his vision
– make him proud of you by doing your job and taking his notes gladly.