In coaching an actor for an audition, I stress the importance of making memories.
Auditions are about making memories.
When the auditions are over, and the actors go home ruing or celebrating their performance, the casting directors are trying to remember what everyone brought to the party. The more good memories you made, the more your face will flash through their minds. They won’t be able to picture the cast without you, and the chances are better that you will be offered the role.
Unfortunately, how easy it is for us to become so self-focused during our audition! We stress over making sure we look right and sound right and move right. We hope that what we’re doing is at all close to what the director wants. This behavior stems from a fundamental lack of confidence, and if we’re going to be making memories that the directors are excited about, we need to address this.
Today’s article will focus on auditioning with a monologue; next time, we’ll talk in regard to cold reads.
Auditioning with a Monologue
Practice until you don’t have to remember it.
The truth is, this accounts for about 90% of your audition confidence. Demand of yourself that your monologue be performance-quality, as if it was ripped straight out of a play that people paid money to see. The purpose of a monologue audition is to show the director what you can do when you are rehearsed. So, it goes without saying: rehearse! If you have to keep thinking of your next lines, keep practicing. You can and you will be fluent!
(Note: sometimes, a director will give you direction to change how you are delivering your monologue. That’s not to say that they think your monologue would be better that way, but she is more so seeing how well you take direction!)
Practice in front of live people.
Many nerves rattle with the realization that “Oh my goodness, there are people watching me do this and waiting on every—word—that—is—coming—out—of—my—mouth!” Let’s not have the audition be the first time you experience this with your monologue. Find some supportive friends.
If possible, check out the venue beforehand.
Familiarize yourself with the space in which you will perform. Eliminate as many unknowns as possible.
Before performing, give yourself a pep talk.
Replace doubts with truths like, “I am prepared.” “I have a story to tell.” “I have something to offer.” “I have value regardless of this audition.”
When not in character, smile!
And smile in character, of course, if that’s what you need to do. Look like you enjoy being here!
Use the stage and environment.
Feel free to move around (with purpose) on stage, and use crisp, detailed pantomime to fill it with the setting in your head. The more detailed of a world you create, the more the viewers will find themselves being drawn in, and the more you can relax as you simply play.
Don’t think of it as “a monologue”.
Remember you are not this detached voice on stage delivering a speech to the multitudes. This is not so much a monologue as it is part of a dialogue. Talk to the other “person”. Look them in the eye. Engage not just your voice, but your face and body. Forget “performing” and all the pressures that accompany that. Allow yourself to relax into a conversation with a real person.
What barriers or breakthroughs have you experienced in your auditions? Have you watched another actor in an audition make a memory that still sticks with you today? Share your thoughts in the comments below!