Alice Burdsall shares her Wizard of Oz audition experience

Alice BurdsallI remember being frustrated trying to memorise the script, much to the enjoyment of my younger brother- who corrected me on every mistake I made. I am grateful though, because now I find myself in everyday conversations unintentionally quoting Dorothy.

On the day of the audition, although I walked into a familiar room, greeted by familiar faces- but it felt so surreal. Familiar faces had become a Scarecrow or a Tinman and were rehearsing their auditions in their own unique World of Oz. Thinking I would be auditioning alone, friends told me otherwise – we would in fact be auditioning in groups of two or three.

You’d think it would be frightening to audition in front of your friends – vulnerable to judgement by others of your personal interpretation of Dorothy.  However, performing in that intimidating room, with them next to me, only encouraged me to do the best I could: knowing that they wished me only the best and would support me to do my best, as I did them.

I was over the rainbow, when I received the news that I had somehow got the part as Dorothy – but this feeling was also immediately accompanied by nerves about fulfilling expectation, when the time comes to actually perform.

The rehearsals, so far, have been like a lesson in your favourite subject at school – surrounded by people equally passionate about the lesson as you.

Wizard of Oz rehearsalsIt’s never slacking, always fresh and keeps you on your toes. It begins with a vigorous warm-up followed by a short game, before diving into the scene involving the year group you’re with at that time.

It made me beam to myself seeing children aged 6 or 7, more confident and care-free to act in front of people than I am – excited and ready but nevertheless anxious about making mistakes. Memories from when I did my first performance with the Courtyard came to mind, as I was similarly aged. I was so nervous I used to insist on wearing the same outfit each week, to be sure that what I was wearing was acceptable.

I am definitely most excited about playing Dorothy on the last night of the performance, when you know you won’t ever do it again and have nothing to lose except for the memories.