Written by Sean Pratt
Here are some secrets that will help keep your next theatre audition from becoming an actor’s nightmare!
When it comes time to stage the monologue or scene you’ll be performing for an audition there are several things to keep in mind. Your professor probable didn’t teach you these things in drama school but they can have a huge impact on your performance. Keep these three things in mind while you’re working out your stage business and rehearsing the whole audition.
When you walk onto the stage or enter the room to do your monologue/scene, remember this – you are walking onto the “Set” of the previous actor’s “Play”, meaning the monologue and/or scene they just performed. Now that actor may have been great or they may have been lousy…you have no way of knowing this.
This is why it’s so critical for you to “Take Stage”. You must grab the focus of the auditors with your confident walk as you head for center stage, say your name, give your monologue information and start your audition piece with energy and focus. By the way, if you didn’t know this already, your audition begins the moment you hit the stage or enter the room and doesn’t finish until you leave – your monologue/scene is only one part of the audition.
From the Broom Closet to the Opera House
You should also keep in mind the size of the rehearsal space you are practicing in and the performance space you will be auditioning in, because the two may be very different. If you’ve practiced your audition in your little apartment but will be performing on the main stage of the theatre, you may be overwhelmed by the difference in size and come off as being too small to “fill the theatre.” Be sure to practice your material in a place of approximately the same size.
To Sit or Not to Sit
At many auditions, the theatre will provide you with a chair for the performance of your monologue/scene and here is where the high jinx can start. If, when you walk on stage, you see that a chair is there, remember it was part of the other actors’ “Set” and you need to establish your “Set.” If you hadn’t planned on using the chair anyway, get it out of there!
Now, here’s a problem that you may run into. You’ve been practicing your monologue using a chair that is placed say, center-stage left, and when you enter you see that the last actor, remember… the lousy one, also used a chair center-stage left. You’ve only rehearsed the blocking one way and are now faced with the dilemma of either performing on the lousy actor’s “Set” or being thrown by moving the chair and re-blocking your scene on the fly. What to do?!
The way to get around this problem, and be prepared for this possibility, is to rehearse your monologue’s/scene’s blocking as a mirror image. Do it several times with the chair, and the characters you may be speaking to, from center-stage left, and then do it from center-stage right. Get it? It’s a great acting exercise that will keep you on your toes and help prevent a potential train wreck.
Sean Pratt, (AEA / SAG / AFTRA), has been a working actor for over 20 years. Sean was a member of the resident acting company at The Pearl Theatre, an Off-Broadway classical repertory theatre and has also performed at numerous regional theatres around the country. Major films include – Gods and Generals, Tuck Everlasting and Iron Jawed Angels. Television work includes – The host of HGTV’s, Old Homes Restored, and supporting roles on Homicide, The District and America’s Most Wanted. Audiobooks – He’s narrated for 15 years and has recorded nearly 550 books in just about every genre. He also teaches classes on and writes articles about the business of the Biz.