Cold readings are a staple for auditioning in the theater but the skills they teach go far beyond the stage.
Jane Purse-Wiedenhoft, UW-Oshkosh Theatre Department Chair and Director, recently presented a workshop for Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program students to learn about the art of cold reading, or performing a piece upon first sight or with little previous review. During the workshop, she walked students through finding confidence in making decisions about a piece that is virtually unseen and using context clues from the story to create multifaceted characters that could provide an edge during an audition.
“I found my monologue last minute which I think was a good thing in the idea that it was supposed to be a cold reading. I was very unprepared but it was nice to have somebody right away give feedback even though I hadn’t really judged myself on it yet,” said New London Senior Alaena Wolf. “I learned how to really understand the meaning and know what to emphasize. Not only listening to my feedback but everyone else’s.”
Senior Nolan Anderson from Brillon watched others perform monologues and said that he learned a lot about finding confidence. “If you can skim through it and just go for it, I think that’s an important skill especially when you are just given a piece and you don’t know how to interpret it. Just going for it as you see fit and getting out of your comfort zone.”
The Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program continues to offer workshops to students virtually and in person. You can learn more about the workshops at https://www.wearegreenbay.com/highschooltheater/