Theatre Auditions




How To Audition
My Audition Goal
Kinds of Theatre Auditions
Theatre Audition Questions
Dressing for Theatre Auditions
Selecting Audition Monologues
Rehearsing the Audition
Performing the Audition
Singing Auditions
Sample Monologues
Site Design - Little
More Questions? Just

Audition Rehearsal

An audition is a job interview. 

You are the salesperson.  The product you sell is yourself.  If they "BUY" you, then you represent them.  If you were to pick someone to represent the best of you to the rest of the world... what kind of person would you pick?  Become that kind of person at the audition

Demonstrate your professionalism. Demonstrate that you are a serious artist.   If you don’t take your own work seriously, how can your perspective employer believe that you would be serious and professional about their work?  Once they hire you, you ARE their work.  You ARE their art.  Their work can only be as good as the quality that you bring to it.

Never lie on your resume.  The theatre world is surprisingly small.  Your indiscretion will eventually be discovered.

I was conducting auditions at a small summer stock theatre years ago in rural Michigan.  The company had hired a very talented choreographer from one of the popular regional theme parks.  One young man stepped forward to audition; just as he was about start his song, the choreographer stopped him and said, “Oh, I see on your resume here that you did The Boyfriend at such and such theatre.  Did you enjoy the production?”  Without hesitation, the young actor answered, “Oh yes, great production, wonderful people, super choreography!”  And the young actor again stepped forward to begin his song.  Again the choreographer interrupted him, “That’s funny, I choreographed that show and I don’t remember that you were in it.”  Needless to say, the young man was not selected.  

But can you at least exaggerate on your resume?  A high senior had just completed an average audition for me and I studied his resume, looking for a reason to award him the theatre performance scholarship.  The resume listed the role of Romeo.  “Impressive!”  I thought.  I love the show and enjoy hearing about the uniqueness of each production.  “So,” I said eagerly, “did you do the traditional two story set?”  “Not really,” he said.  My excitement about the production blinded me to his evasiveness.  “Oh,” I continued, “you mean you did in a small black box space with no set.”  “Well,” he stammered, “not really.”  Now I’m alert and sensing a lie.  I chose the direct approach.  “Tell me about your production,”  I said and watched his eyes.  He wasn’t sweating but he was visibly apologetic.  “Well,” he explained, “we took turns reading the play out loud in my freshman English class, and one of the days I read Romeo’s lines for a little while.” 

He did not get the scholarship. 

Is exaggerating on your resume permissible?  You are what you are and it is what it is.  My resume isn’t stretched to make people believe I’m someone or something that I am not.  For better or worse, my resume reflects who are am and what I have done. When I read your resume, I need to know that what I see is what I get.  Be proud of who you are and what you have really done. 

In the audition situation, you are not there to demonstrate your great range of physical, emotional, and vocal abilities. 

You are there to demonstrate that you can walk without falling, speak to be heard and understood, and that you can COMMUNICATE TRUTHFULLY.

Again, select material that reflects the warmth of your personality, your enthusiastic and energetic stage presence, your love for your art.  Demonstrates that you do not have any performance hang-ups or problems; that you are fun to be with, creative, and enjoy working with people. 

All movement must be extremely well planned and motivated and practiced to look extremely spontaneous. 

 Improvised blocking in an audition dooms the presentation.  Directors can sense when the blocking has not been carefully planned.  The presentation has a certain hysterical feeling to it; the individual movements are out of focus and out of proportion. 

When an actor improvises blocking, the sum of the movements do not add up to a unified paced physical picture of the monologues’ dramatic action.  Audiences (and directors) always believe what they see more than what they hear.  Knowing how effectively your blocking communicates the monologue, plan and rehearse your blocking extremely carefully. 

You are your own director.  Work to please yourself.  Don't comprise your standards; don't make impossible standards.

No one at the audition is going to greet you when you come offstage and tell you how wonderful you were.  No one is going to call you and tell you that, even though you didn't book the job, your audition was stellar.  Getting no feed back, either positive or constructive, can be disheartening.  Work to be an honest and supportive critic of yourself.

Actor homework, either for a play or an audition needs to be written down.

You mean I have to write down all my character bio stuff, my thought score, my spontaneous thoughts that describe my personal insight and understanding of the character's actions? 

Yes.  Write it all down.  As you write, additional ideas will naturally follow.  Writing it down allows you to review it and build on it.  Writing it down helps you form connections between your ideas.  Written analysis takes on a life of its own, supporting and honing your ideas and choices.  "But," you say, "sometimes what I'm thinking I can't even put into words."  If you can't put it in words, you probably can't put it into actions.  If you have trouble describing it, you will have even more trouble "doing" it.

Don't be lazy.  Quit making excuses. Write it down.

Acting is about the spoken word.  Read something out loud for at least thirty minutes a day. 

I am always dumbfounded when I ask my theatre students to read a portion of a textbook or handout aloud in class.  Their mouths stumble over the consonant combinations; they mispronounce even simple words;  they read one word at a time instead of capturing and reading the entire sentence. 

Read the paper in the morning out loud.  Read the billboards aloud as you drive.  Any plays you read for class or enjoyment, always read them out loud.  Learn to enjoy reading aloud.  Must be hold over from elementary school.  No one wanted to be called on to have to read aloud.  In the theatre, your job is to be "called on."

Learn to love to read aloud.

Practice talking with the radio commercials or with the television programs.

The people doing the commercials or the people doing the parts on the series television shows are the winners.  They are the ones who auditioned and won the jobs.  Talk with them as you watch or listen; say their lines aloud with them.  Obviously, your words will be slightly behind their lines as you repeat what they say.  Very quickly you will learn to listen and imitate at the same time.

Feel how they play with the words; where they take pauses; what they do fast or slow.  Often they have great vocal technique; they do it so well that you don't even notice it... until you do it with them.  Reading with them reveals "what is possible."  Maybe you never realized that "it would okay" to try to read it like that.

Does copying them/imitating them rob you of your creativity?  No.  How can you know what to do until you see someone do it?

When I fish, I see who is catching the fish; how they hold their pole; what bait they use; what lure ect.  I could care less about "being an original creative fisherman."  I just want to catch the fish.  In reality, even if you tried to be a carbon copy of the television or radio performers, you couldn't.  You don't have their memories, experiences, or body.  Learn by imitating; then make it your own.

The more you memorize; the more you can memorize.

Memorizing is a skill that increases with practice.  It takes me longer to memorize the first scene of a play than it does the entire rest of the play.  Memorizing quickly is an essential skill for the performer.  No acting starts until the words are cold in the actor's head.  You can't do two things effectively at one time; you can't "remember" your lines and execute action at the same time; even worse, you can't be two people simultaneously.  

The actor "recalls" the lines; the character executes the action.

Practice memorizing; but not necessarily prose or poetry.  Memorize dramatic literature.  Memorizing from plays forces you to memorize actions; not just words and images.  The memorization process in your brain is different when you memorize actions.... and that's the one that you want to practice. 

So what should you memorize?  Classical monologues are great, but not just Shakespeare.  Go for the Greeks; try Moliere... try dramatic material where the style of the language seems to mask the actions.  As you memorize, your brain will learn to reduce these beautiful rich words into playable actions.

Some monologues have a phrase of singing embedded; an effective way of demonstrating that you can sing without doing a whole song.

Read the Song monologue. The two lines of embedded singing “tease” the directors; grab their attention; make them want to hear more singing; make them listen and wait to hear more singing.  Embedded singing also injects interesting vocal variety into the monologue and demonstrates  great vocal range and audacity. 

If you don’t know what your character is doing, then what is the reason that you are here?

The successful monologue requires that the actor answer several essential questions:  Who is your character talking to?  Why them?  Why are you telling them this?  What do you expect them to do after hearing you?  Why is it absolutely crucial/urgent for your character to speak these words and execute these movements NOW?  Sound familiar?  Just like in a play!  Many monologues are “stand alone” monologues; they are not from plays.  The actor still needs to answer all essential character questions to find the pattern of dramatic action that reveals the character.  

Find your weaknesses and practice to improve them; don’t continue to only practice your strengths or what you enjoy. 

Perhaps the worst audition sin is to be uncommitted.

Remember that we watch how you listen to other auditions and to us.  Learn to listen generously.

Avoid gestures that buckle your shoulders.  These gestures introduce tension.

When in doubt in a cold reading, remember to at least show the mad/sad/glad trilogy.