by Robert Aramayo, 2nd-year actor
Auditioning for Juilliard was, as many others say, nothing but a dream for the biggest part of my life, and being from the north of England with such problems as visas and financial aid, I didn’t ever really believe it was possible. I didn’t believe this even when I came for my first audition at the school, but I knew I had to give it a go. I went to the audition in New York with my mother and neither of us really knew what we were doing, where we were going, and what was going to happen. One thing that we did know was to make sure that there was another reason for coming to New York other than auditioning for Juilliard because, as you can imagine, all that money on a plane ticket for one day is very frightening. In the morning my mum got breakfast and waited downstairs for me. Little did we both know that she would wait there until 10pm!!
After the process of getting checked in, feeling completely isolated and scared being the only English person, we were escorted into a room where Richard Feldman led a talk. This talk gave me tremendous ease and made me feel ready for the day to come. He told us, “Today you get to share your work, how exciting is that!” I now looked at this process very differently. I left that room not only filled with confidence, but with a support from everyone around me, and that feeling has never left me to this day.
I felt very intimidated, not only by these people who had very different backgrounds to myself, but also this idea of “getting ready” – warming up rituals, dances, stretches. I saw it all, and if I had allowed it to, it could have made me feel very unprepared. But I didn’t allow this to affect me and I did what I needed for my audition. When it came to the time of auditioning, I walked in to see Moni Yakim seated in front of me. I did my pieces and we worked for a little bit. When it came to giving me changes and alterations for my monologues, I felt as if there was no space in the room for nerves or fear of the direction Moni was giving me. Obviously, when I walked out of the room I had the initial response that it was all over. I might as well have gone home there and then because if he changed my monologues that meant he didn’t like them, and if he didn’t like them then that must mean he didn’t like me. A thought I am sure went through a lot of heads that day, and in every audition.
I was astounded then to learn that I had been called back!!!! I was so happy I didn’t know what to do with myself, but also, Kathy Hood made it quite clear that there was a long day ahead. This was certainly true. We went through many different activities with many of the teachers, and in the end we finished with an interview with Jim and Kathy. The interview was very fun and lighthearted, and I was so relieved to leave the building, collect my mum, and go for a drink!