The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

As promised

Thoughts on Monologues in an Audition

When coming into an audition, particularly the ones upcoming for Shakespeare's Much Ado, about the only thing that the actor has control over is his monologue. Since he doesn't know who he will be reading scenes with, or what scenes, or what parts in which scenes - since, in fact, everything else is a variable, he tends to pin all his hopes upon his monologue, to the point that he tends to get unduly anxious over the monologue.

But what does the director look for in a good monologue? That would first depend on why the director elected to have a monologue section of an audition. For me, the following are reasons why I have a monologue component:

  • It serves as a warm-up for the actors. Frequently, actors come into an audition, whether their first or their fiftieth, so very nervous that they need something they know to calm them down enough to proceed with the rest of the audition.

  • It allows the director to see how serious, studious and self-motivating the actors is. If an actor comes in with the monologue fully memorized, having tackled some of the directing and character choices, the monologue is considered a success. Even if the actor's reading of the character is different from what the director has in mind, it shows the director that the actor is serious about tackling the bard.

  • It can indicate what character (or types of characters) the actor would do well with. For example: let's say an actress enters and reads Leonata's soliloquy - but delivers it in a humorous way that works for the actress, if not for the actual character. While the actress may not land Leonata, by showing off her comic chops, the director will know to audition her for the various other comic roles.

  • Very, very, very (can we stress how very) rarely does the monologue serve as one of the major deciding factors in casting a part. Because no actor acts alone, the monologue can only do so much. It's very rare that the monologue will so blow the director away that there is no more competition for a given part. (However, it does sometimes if you're an actor, go for it!)

  • But what if an actor really really wants a given part, and puts his soul into his monologue and his every opportunity to play the part in scenes and still doesn't get the part?

    Well, to be heartless, thems the breaks. However, to be a bit more explanatory, sometimes an actor may do a really good job in a given part - but he may not see that he's doing a better job in another role. Or sometimes, his idea of the character while intriguing, simply doesn't fit into the overarching themes of the show. Or sometimes, his chemistry with another actor is so great, that the show will benefit more from pairing him in a different role with that other actor.

    Bottom line: Don't freak if you don't get the role you want. You really have been cast in a role that is great for you!

  • More thoughts coming later! Good luck to everyone memorizing! Have fun and try out your monologue against someone else - show it off to family and to friends before coming in to the show! God bless, Miss Snyder

    Mood: Dance-y
    Music: "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne
    Thought: Don't laugh! I'm trying to get together the CD for Much Ado.


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