Don’t you love it when your agent calls to say you’ve got an audition tomorrow! And they want you to bring a monologue. Excited about the audition you also start to panic about which monologue you should perform!
And sometimes your choice will dictate what you wear. Perhaps it would be best to learn a completely new monologue since the ones you already know seem so stale, lame or inappropriate. We’ve all been there!
According to Lana Veenker, a casting director at Cast Iron Studios, there are ways to minimize the stress and increase your chances for success.
I agree with her about keeping it short! No more than a minute is more than enough time to determine your skill level and get a good idea of your type. You can also choose two short contrasting pieces to demonstrate your range if you are confident you are that versatile.
And she urges us not to go with the trendiest and coolest material. Overdone monologues are so tedious to casting agents and directors. I urge my students to go with something age appropriate and maybe
look at material that hasn’t been done in a long time. My personal preference when looking at new talent is choosing something humorous and fairly light. Veenker states that an afternoon of sad or angry
auditions usually drains her energy. I agree. You want to leave the casting team feeling uplifted when they think of you, not an angst driven neurotic.
A lot of actors forget that the scene they are doing should be about solving the problem, not just playing it. Actors love to give intense emotional performances but forget to pursue their objectives. Self pity and anger is not effective. Watching characters pursue a goal is exciting and active no matter if they win or lose.
Don’t forget to choose a point of focus. Veenker states what I always caution my students about during a monologue. Find a spot and place your gaze there as home base. Your imaginary scene partner
is there on the back wall or at eye level slightly to your right or left. Don’t stare as if in a trance but don’t let your eyes wander all over the place. The biggest no no is focusing on the casting director, forcing them to be in the scene. This makes for a very uncomfortable situation for both you and the production team. One of the biggest things she recommends is to be yourself when slating. Be warm, friendly and self assured. Do not be a robot who has no personality!
Finally, remember that 80% of your job as a performer is auditioning. This is a performance! So enjoy doing what you do and break a leg!