Teen Acting Auditions - Should You Try To Play Older Or Younger Than You Really Are

Teen Acting Auditions - Should You Try to Play Older Or Younger Than You Really Are?Credit: Free Stock Photos


The Challenge

In any audition, the challenge is to show the directors or casting directors in a minute or two what you can really do. It doesn't leave a lot of time to go over board. One the of the biggest mistakes I see young people make is they try to do too much.

I have seen people change during their two-minute audition, leave and come back, hum, dance, sing, do cartwheels, take off their clothes, and any other thing you can think of.

The auditions were for a play, not the circus.

Teens understand that it is a challenge but go about it in the wrong way. They are so outrageous, so over the top, that someone will notice them.

When This Happens

Most of the time, teens try to do these things at larger auditions. Auditions like regional and national forums.

It is important to stand out, but not at the cost of making yourself look foolish.

Should A Teen Play An Older Character For An Audition?

I have always had my reservations about a teen auditioning as an older person. The reason being the age gap.

It is really difficult to know what expressions and feelings an older person has when you have not been through it.

There are a lot of roles that older people play where they have not been through it such as Sci Fi, end of the world type stuff. But the emotions remain the same.

All that changes is the venue in which it is perceived. For a teen, this is impossible because they do not have experience. Love, hate, parenthood, death, lust, sex, are all things that are not typically experienced by a teen.

The Exception

There is always the exception to the rule. You will find teens that have gone through some of these things, but the cognitive development is simply not the same as an adult.

I saw Steel Magnolias once performed by high school students. They all tried real hard, but how could any of them really understand wanted to have a baby and sacrificing their own life because of a horrible disease?

They can't possibly understand.

But, you will find teens with the ability to really copy emotions well. You can disguise this for a while, but it is really difficult.

Playing A Younger Character

I like this better for teens because they have experience being younger. In fact, it is so fresh in their minds that it makes them the ideal candidates to play such a role.

But, I have found that teens often take their younger characters to far. When this happens, it becomes so unbelievable that the character loses respect from the audience.

Or, the character becomes one big joke. If the play calls for that, than great. But most of the time it does not.

Should A Teen Audition As An Older Character Or Younger Character

A teen should stay away from auditioning as an older character at all costs. The only time you should audition that way is if the audition calls for it. There is no reason to put yourself in a place that makes you look fake and an amateur.

A teen auditioning as a younger character is not as bad. I would try to stay away from that as well unless you have a coach or you really know what you are doing.

You run the risk of looking like one big joke.

What Is The Answer?

Play a character your own age. You have the most experience at being yourself. Yes, there will be situations from your audition piece, but being able to pull from your own experiences is very powerful.

When in doubt, always be yourself, even in an audition.