At last, someone writing about mental preparation for performing artists!,
Book review – Donna Soto-Morettini’s great book for performers: ‘Mastering the Audition: How to Perform Under Pressure’
I used this book not to prepare for an audition, but to increase my concentration and control my thought processes when getting ready to perform my one-woman show LOVING LONDON: THE CAPITAL CABARET.
Doing a one-woman show is an incredibly nerve-wracking business – you are quite literally on your own, often not only on stage, but in the marketing and dealing with venues, PR, hiring of musicians etc. There are a thousand things to distract the artist from focusing on rehearsing and performing under pressure.
This book worked wonders for me, particularly the advice of 10 mins a day meditating, associating lines with particular focus and the removing of internal pressures.
I sometimes watch tennis matches on TV and have often been struck by how much mental preparation the top players put into their game, and how much help they are given to do this. Now, at last, here is someone writing about the same thing for performing artists!
And yes, I will put the strategies in place for auditions. You can purchase this book on Amazon.
About Fiona Jane Weston
I am Fiona-Jane Weston and as well as being a performer myself (see website), I write reviews of and features on shows, mainly on the London cabaret and theatre scene.
I have worked in theatre for many years, but decided to embark on a new direction in cabaret in 2009, when I produced 20th Century Woman: The Compact Cabaret. Not wanting to neglect my love of spoken word, particularly drama and verse, I made the conscious decision to include these elements in the programme, as well as wonderful songs, to tell the story of women's changing status and preoccupations throughout the 20th Century and up to now.
I was invited to audition for the renowned Cabaret Conference at Yale, run by the late legendary Erv Raible, and that was thrilled to be one of only 26 accepted that year, where I was taught by the masters of the genre. Amanda McBroom (composer of the Bette Middler hit "The Rose" and the poignant "Errol Flynn"), Laurel Massé, original member of Manhattan Transfer, Sally Mayes, Tony Award nominees Sharon McNight and Tovah Feldshuh, and New York cabaret veteran Julie Wilson were all on the faculty. We were also treated to the musical direction of Alex Rybeck, Hubert Tex Arnold and the now late Paul Trueblood.
With the benefit of their insightful teaching and great encouragement, I took my show to The Duplex in New York, where I was delighted with the response.
Since then, I have produced Loving London: The Capital Cabaret, using the same format of songs, poetry and drama, in various London venues, including Leicester Square Theatre and The Crazy Coqs.
2014, the centenary of World War 1, saw the launch of Wartime Women: the Khaki Cabaret to a sellout house at St. James Theatre, London, garnering great notices, including from The Times and Musical Theatre Review. I have since been touring the show to Belgium and throughout the UK.
I hope these reviews and interviews entertain and educate at the same time, and if please do leave comments in the box. It's great to engage in a conversation about the Arts.