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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Swigart

Random Thoughts on Monologues

Select the "right" monologue. It should show you off in the best ways possible.

Find material that suits you, i.e. who you are as a person, especially in age range.

HOW? Select from plays you have been in or seen or read, or choose from the wide variety of monologue collections available at most large bookstores. It is best if the monologue is from a play, not written specifically as a part of a collection.

Choose a real monologue, not a scene, taking short monologue sequences that could be combined by eliminating the non-essential dialogue. Edit the piece for clarity, maintaining the who's, what's, and past history.

The opening line should grab the interest of the listener, so don't start with negative energy, don't be vague -- GET THEIR ATTENTION!

No "inner-directed" monologues; use "outer-directed.

If you have two, use one of each.

Never exceed two minutes -- the director usually knows within 20 seconds.

Consider your audience. Err on the conservative side if you are unsure of auditioner. You don't want to risk offending someone.

Avoid excessive physicality. Auditioner should not be distracted from listening.

Seek a character with an active objective. Only use a story if it reveals character, since simple retellings tend to be too inactive.

Seek a character with positive intentions -- despair, loss, sadness are OK as long as the character isn't whining or incessantly complaining. Remember - you are a real person in a real scene.

Don't deal with plot complications. Go for big themes.

Implement humor. Find humor even in a sad situation. Humor sells more tickets, however, try to gear your monologue toward the show you're auditioning for.

Make choices in your interpretation that are consistent with the play AND realistic for your ability.

Don't use TV shows or paragraphs from books.

Arrive early, warm up (physically and vocally), and RELAX!

Time yourself regularly in rehearsal.

Leave your belongings in the hall since your entrance BEGINS your audition.

Prepare for your entrance. Know the proper audition procedure. Get into the audition room ahead of time so you know what the facility is.

STAGE the monologue -- use intelligent blocking.

Be positive, pleasant, upbeat. After all, you're helping the director! YOU have something to offer THEM!

NO gimmicky entrances!

Keep a good distance from the auditioners because:

1. It may be uncomfortable for him/her.

2. They can't see all you do.

3. They're NOT in the scene, so don't use them as props.

Separate your audition into "scenes":

Scene One - your entrance

Scene Two - your preparation

Scene Three - your introduction

Scene Four - your monologue

Scene Five - your thank you

Scene Six - your exit

Avoid monologues that are a recap -- use a discovery or an accomplishment based piece.

Here's a thought -- For your first piece, USE your nervousness. Pick a piece where the character feels similarly. Then pick a second piece that really showcases what you can do with mood and energy changes.

Never turn more than 45 degrees so that the auditioners can always see your face and hear your voice clearly.

Combine stand up pieces with sit down pieces or even on the floor pieces for variety.

DON'T play to a chair! Create an illusion of another person on stage, but don't use an object to represent that person.

Create the environment. Don't indicate the conditions (like chattering teeth for cold), instead incorporate them.

Don't worry about lack of response from the auditioners. It's probably intentional.

Don't sabotage yourself by reacting to/verbalizing about mistakes. And, for heavens sake, DON'T APOLOGIZE!!!

If you lose a line, start over! Don't ask permission, just do it...take control of the situation.

Make a strong, swift, confident exit.

Prepare yourself by asking:

Who am I talking to?

What do I want?

What am I responding to? What is my cue? (hear it in your head, then start your speech by responding to that.

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