There is a lot to know about auditioning for a theatrical production. It can be scary and intimidating! We strongly suggest that you consider taking our “How To Audition” workshop, but we have provided here the answer to the most commonly asked questions about auditioning for a show.
What is a monologue?
Monologue derives from the Greek word monologos which means ‘to speak alone’. A monologue is a speech or address given by a single character in a play, book, movie or poem. This does not mean that other characters cannot be present in a scene for a speech to be considered a monologue, simply that one character speaks without interruption for a significant length of time. An excellent example of this occurs in the Pixar Film Ratattouille, when the Food Critic gives the following monologue:
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.
Last night, I experienced something new, an extra-ordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: ‘Anyone can cook.’ But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.”
A soliloquy is also a monologue- soliloquy simply means that the character is speaking only to themselves or to the audience.
What monologues are appropriate for a theatre audition?
Any monologue that you can find in a published work of theatre. This means long plays, short plays, and books of monologues published as a professional collection. It is not acceptable to audition for a theatrical production with a monologue from a movie, television show or by a comedian. There are a lot of reasons for this, and if you would like to learn more please feel free to contact us about taking our How To Audition workshop!
How do I choose a monologue for an audition?
There are two basic criteria for choosing a monologue, summed up in the following questions you may ask as you read monologues looking for one that works for you.
1) Is this character someone I can play?
This means are they your age? Do you understand their situation? Do you have some basic similarities to the character that will help you believably portray them? A major mistake most actors make at auditions is to perform monologues of characters that they really like, but aren’t able to portray themselves.
2) Is this monologue emotionally engaging?
We (the casting directors) want to see what you (the actor) can do! We want to see how realistically you portray your character, whether you can draw us in to the character’s emotions and make us care for him/her. So it’s important to choose a monologue that tells a story or describes a situation that is important to the character, and make it important to yourself as the actor and us as the audience.
What does it mean when an audition notice asks for contrasting monologues?
This means that the casting directors would like to see two monologues that are in some way very different from each other. This can mean that the monologues portray different emotions, or are from different time periods, or are from two sides of the same problem. This can be a lot of fun for you while you try to find monologues that compliment each other but are contrasting as well!
How do I choose a song for an audition?
Generally speaking, it is customary to choose 16 bars (roughly 15-25 seconds) from a song from a Broadway show. The same questions for monologues apply to songs, with the added question of “can I sing this song comfortably as it is written?”
However, if it is your first time singing at a Noisy Mime audition, we will gladly accept any song that you feel comfortable singing.