Here are some appetizers to nibble on before digging into the meat of the sides you are working on:
* WHAT THE FUCK’S GOING ON??? What is the STORY of the scene? What is the ARC, of both the full script AND the audition sides?
* What is the style/genre,/environment, etc?
* What is EACH SCENE about in relation to, AND independent of, each other and how do they contribute to the overall story?
* Where does each scene take place in the overall story?
Once we have a firm grasp of the above, we must then figure out the answer to the following question, one most actors have probably never stopped to think about:
* WHY did CASTING pick THESE particular scenes to audition their actors with for this project???
Once we find out what the simple story is that they’re trying to tell, we know what they NEED AND WANT TO SEE IN THE ROOM. They pick the sides they pick for a reason; my guess is that it’s a taste test of their story- these moments are key bullet points of the characters and their personalities, these moments mirror the arc of the full script, this monologue shows their proficiency at spouting off facts about snorkling, etc. The sides we are given- in some way or another- are probably some sampler platter of their story’s full menu.
Allow me to take this food reference of mine and run with it: they’re hosting a dinner party and we’re the caterers. They need us to serve up what’s printed on the menu so they don’t look stupid to their snotty guests that pay their rent.