How To Have A Great Audition
We have provided the following resources to help make your audition the best it can be!
Audition Guidelines and Tips
Students are encouraged to use a prepared monologue. While prepared monologues are strongly preferred, you may also bring a rehearsed reading.
Find a copy of the script, read the play, and become familiar with the characters. We expect that when you attend an acting audition you will have read the play.
Make sure you understand the audition guidelines clearly. Write down details from the notice to make sure you don't forget something.
· Find material that you could be cast in today-for your gender, within your age range, your vocal range, your emotional range, and within the scope of your movement skills.
· Select monologues from plays by established playwrights.
· Read the whole play the monologue comes from-more than once-to familiarize yourself with the action, the context and the character.
· Choose material that is active, has a clear beginning and moves to a distinct ending.
THINGS TO AVOID:
· A piece from the show you are auditioning for, unless the audition notice asks you to.
· Material that you have performed in a complete production.
· Pieces that need excessive cutting or reworking to make sense.
· Material from a book of audition monologues that are not from plays.
· Self-written material.
· Material that requires a dialect. Use standard stage English.
· Overly sentimental, shocking, self-indulgent or "memory pieces."
· Chronically overdone monologues (like Sophie from The Star Spangled Girl "Mr. Cornell, I have tried to be neighborly...") Google "overdone monologues" for ideas of what not to prepare.
· Pieces with excessive strong language, profanity or content that may embarrass you or the auditors.
Analysis of Material
· It is the actor's obligation to make the words clear no matter the objective, obstacle or action. Read it. Several times. Seek to understand what the author is saying, and what the character wants.
· Look up all the words you don't understand.
· Look up words that appear to be used incorrectly; they're probably not.
· Look up words you think you know. You may find something unexpected that will add depth and nuance to your performance.
· If it's in verse, scan it for meter. Find the operative words. Identify the most important images, and decide how best to convey them (inflection, emphasis, word coloration, etc).
· Look for figurative language, repetitions, allusions, etc. Look them up if you don't understand them.
· As you read ask yourself, "Why would the character say that right now?" "How does s/he know that information?" Make specific choices about those answers.
· Time yourself. If necessary, cut the speech to fit the time requirements. (People speak straight at 120 wpm. On a big stage, and with complicated, elevated language, you will probably need to speak more slowly to be understood. Don't go over time.
Memorize the Material
· DO NOT MEMORIZE THE NIGHT BEFORE AND EXPECT TO BE GOOD.
· Memorize and rehearse your piece exactly as you intend to perform it.
· Memorize all the words correctly. Check frequently to make sure you haven't interpolated or paraphrased lines.
· Memorize objectives and movement as well.
· Memorize the monologue by saying it out loud. Don't let the audition be the first time you perform the piece out loud or in front of someone.
· While you are memorizing, also ask yourself what this character and you have in common. When did you feel the way s/he seems to be feeling? When were you in a similar circumstance where you had a similar objective? Use these memories to help you find different tactics that you, as the character, might employ to get what you want.
· Practice the monologue in different places, while engaged in different physical activities.
· Feel free to be bold in the choices you make about the character.
· Avoid using props.
· Choose to stand and to move rather than perform the piece sitting in a chair or on the floor.
· Find physical, emotional and vocal levels.
· If you do not have time to prepare the monologue completely, it's better to read it for your audition, rather than stumble through or ask to be prompted. But, if you have to read, rehearse the reading as much as possible-get your eyes off the page, and make connections with the images.
"Preparing" means to fully memorize and rehearse the piece. It takes several hours/days/weeks-excluding analysis and memorization-to prepare an exceptional monologue. Make deliberate emotional/physical choices and specific objectives. Ask yourself, "To whom is my character speaking, and what does my character want that other character to do?" If in the play the speech is to the audience, decide on a specific person or group whom you want to affect and what you want them to do.
At the Audition
You will likely be asked to sign in and to provide some information about yourself and your schedule, including conflicts with scheduled rehearsal/performance times. Know that information when you arrive, and arrive several minutes prior to your scheduled time to fill out forms, to warm up and to ask questions. Be prepared to answer questions from the director. Warm up your voice and your body. Here are a few additional tips on what to expect.
· Assess the acoustic qualities of the performance space and make choices regarding how much vocal energy you will need to be heard. The director will be listening to your vocal quality, assessing your stage presence and projection, and observing your movement.
· Command your space. You are "on" from the moment you enter the audition space. Stage managers and assistants are watching too, even in the waiting room.
· Be kind, we are all anxious.
· This is a job interview; pay attention to your personal appearance.
· Dress in clothes that allow you to move freely and are flattering to your physique, and are neat and appropriate.
· Avoid bulky, loose clothing that might interfere with your movement and mask your physicality. Avoid "costumes." Minimize jewelry.
· Wear comfortable, lightweight shoes rather than boots or athletic shoes. Avoid flip-flops or other shoes that impede your free movement or cause you to move casually.
· Style your hair so that it flatters your face, not hides it.
· Wait for the director to acknowledge you.
· Avoid excessive familiarity, even if you are life-long friends. This is professional, not personal.
· When you get up to perform, introduce yourself, the title of the play and the character, but unless asked for, do not describe the scene.
· Take time to connect to your invisible partner. Place that other character out in front of you and a little to one side. Do not set a chair down near you and talk to the chair, nor should you use the people auditioning you as the other character by speaking to them directly.
· Keep your face in view as much as possible. Avoid excessive profile or upstaging yourself. If the audition is being filmed, be careful not to step out of frame. It's appropriate to ask where the frame is or to check if you are in the light if you are unsure.
· If you need to start over: Stop. Look at the director. Ask if you can start over. Wait for acknowledgment that it is ok.
· When you finish, pause and say, "Thank you."
· Exit with confidence.