I have a confession to make. As someone who enjoys theatre, has written plays and musicals, and has written review after theatre review, I have never actually auditioned. Today, however, I had my first audition.
Recently, the college I attend posted that the students taking Directing II are holding auditions for ten-minute plays, to be performed on site. I recently performed in an outside event (which I will very belatedly post about shortly)…
The only piece I had memorized was one of my own pieces, a monologe from a scene where I played the character, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” The namesake comes from a telelvision trope.
Thankfully, my actor boyfriend and a few other friends were able to explain the basics of auditioning.
Pre-audition) You pick a monologue, and pick out clothing. It is important to dress nicely (think business causal) but not so nicely that it restricts any movements you might make. It also shouldn’t cause a wardrobe malfunction or be so distracting that your audience can’t pay attention. Jewelry and makeup should be minimal, and people should avoid wearing “costumes.”
1) The Slate
This part is the “Hello, my name is Young Playwright, and I will be performing ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ from my own work, Broken Eggs.” It’s important to smile, breath, and mentally prepare for the actual monologue.
2) The Monologue
This piece had to be about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes – it could be shorter, but no longer. It is important to breathe – you’d hate to be caught mid-line with a big yawn coming out of your mouth. Also, try to avoid any nervous movement or fidgeting – shifting your weight from side-to-side, rocking on your heels, or playing with your clothing, etc.
If you really screw up, take a big breath, and ask if you can start over. If you skip a line or something small happens – something the audience can’t tell is a mistake – try to power through it!
Don’t make direct eye contact, try to find a focal point to stare at, near or above the audience. This will help you from getting too distracted, and also makes you seem like you’re actually performing – you wouldn’t really look at each audience member in [most] performances!
3) The Wrap-Up
The monologue ends. You bow your head, or say, “Thank you.” I said, “Thank you,” and left – though sometimes people wait a moment to see if they need to answer any questions.
Before actually going to audition, I’d done this monologue – and the whole scene, as part of “Performing VDAY,” which I’ll blog about tomorrow. Then, this morning, my boyfriend and I took turns auditioning in front of each other, and the positive feedbabck helped me relax.
I went in after my boyfriend and a lot of my friends did. I took a deep breath – I always shake before I audition, or perform, and my body was jiggling, but I didn’t let that show. I did the slate, and, after a breath, went into my performance. Initially, I looked closer to the audience, and then found a focal point, or area, to which I directed the rest of my monologue.
My monologue is short, barely a minute, but I went through it – thankfully, I didn’t skip a line – and walked out before my knees buckled. Once out of the audition room, I had to sit down. I was shivering and my heart was pounding in my chest, and I slipped out of my kitten heels before I fell over. I put on my slip-on shoes, and relaxed.
I may have made a few nervous movements, though they didn’t totally clash with my monologue, but while I was making them I simply noticed, stopped, and continued, without missing a beat. The important thing was that I tried not to get so self-conscious that I left the moment of my monologue.
Overall, I’m not sure if I’ll have landed a part in the upcoming plays, but I’m glad I know what it’s like to perform in an audition, and, seeing the amount of people that didn’t show up, I’m glad I went through with it – regardless of outcome.