A Closer Look At Ewing Auditions

This Saturday at noon, Dallas Comedy House will hold auditions for the latest round of Ewing teams. For those unfamiliar with the Ewing program, it offers students and performers a unique opportunity to meet new improvisers, work with a fresh coach and get a ton of stage time. These teams draw interest from all sorts of players at the theater, so I wanted to reach out to a few different people to get their perspective on the audition process, why they submitted and what those auditioning on Saturday can expect!

Heather McKinney auditioned for a Ewing team incredibly early in her DCH education process, having just begun level three. “Leading up to it, I was so nervous,” said McKinney. “But had no need to be! The audition process was easy and fun. And being on the team at the same time as learning the format was like double-dipping on training. I got to learn in class and in rehearsal.” Heather’s team, Watermelon, stuck together after their Ewing run and performs regularly at the theater.

Ewing teams are mostly made up of students, but experienced players are also welcome to audition! Jennifer Dutschmann graduated from the DCH Improv program in 2011 and has performed with many groups in the intervening years. So I wanted to know why someone as experienced as her would want to audition for one of these teams.

“Every few months I like to check in with myself on what I am doing in improv,” said Dutschmann, who can currently be seen on Ewing team Gray Wolf. “Being on a Ewing team is a unique opportunity to get dedicated practice and performance time with current students and graduates you may not know. I love the energy and fun exploring what each person brings to the group and getting to perform with them.”

Sadly though, not everyone that auditions for a Ewing team is cast. This can be due to many factors such as inexperience, fit or, as is most often the case, students simply not putting their best foot forward. But missing out on a team for one round is just one step in the journey and those that missed out are encouraged to audition again.

Jamie Zeske didn’t make it on her first or second attempt. “I never thought of myself as a competitive person, but after two Ewing auditions I was determined to try again. I went into my third audition with the goals of being as playful and supportive as possible.” I'm happy to report that Zeske nailed her third audition and was cast on the Ewing team Pumpkin Spice!

“Halfway through our first Pumpkin Spice practice I realized why I didn`t make a team before: I wasn't ready, and I was always meant to be on this team, with these hilarious weirdos, right now - THIS carefully selected perfect balance of sensibilities and strengths was what I was getting ready for. These wonderful people helped me be a stronger player and team mate. And I was competing the whole time - to be my most open, giving, listening, bravest, strangest self.”

Everyone involved in Dallas Comedy House is encouraged to audition for a Ewing team (As long as you have completed, or are enrolled in, Level 3 Improv). Whether you’re a student, experienced performer or even someone that didn’t make it before, there is something to learn from participating in this program.

For the many that are set to audition this Saturday, here are some words of advice from Amanda Austin. She’s judged more Ewing auditions than anyone and provided some terrific insight into what people can do to make a team.

“When you choose to audition for a Ewing team, show up and be the best version of yourself. The judges are trying to put together the best team of people that complement each other and being yourself is the only way that they’ll be able to see if you’d be a fit. Auditioning is just part of the process. Also, show up on time and dress for the job you want!”