Right, this is the stuff that I have been told or have discovered myself. I am not a teacher but I do hope this helps even if it is only a couple of bullet points. Sorry for the length of this.
- Stay away from monologues in monologue books. While these may be REALLY good they will be excessively over done. If you want to use them to find new playwrights feel free but I would not recommend doing a piece from them.
- Play your age. This may sound dumb but look at yourself and think about what is the youngest or oldest you could play, the best age though is a character who is your age. I started my audition process doing a character who was about 10 years older than me which was wildly wrong.
- Foul language and really shocking themes would be a good thing to avoid. Yes they allow you to show range but think about this, you have walked into a room of three strangers and just started screaming about “FUCKING RAPE”…in the context of the play I am sure it would be a spectacularly emotional moment but avoid them in an audition situation and choose something less umm violent? If that is the right word.
- To follow on well from that last point, avoid addressing personal questions to the panel in your monologues. The panellists maybe middle aged men and do you really want to be asking them “do you remember losing your virginity?” and how do you think that will affect them. And on another side not don’t look the panel in the eye when you are performing, it will be off putting.
- Shakespeare. Look for something different and avoid doing monologues that are on the lists of other schools. If you are applying to Central for example don’t use a monologue on that list for lets say Bristol Old Vic, they will have seen it a lot already. There are loads that aren’t used as much so just change it up a bit.
- Singing is a sore point for many people I have spoken to. If you are applying for an acting course then they aren’t expecting you to be amazing they just want you to perform with gusto! They want you to tell them the story of the song just like you would a monologue so choose a song with a story. If you aren’t a good singer you could perhaps consider a lesson or two with a professional coach to help you gain confidence and pick a good song. Oh and if you aren’t a good singer don’t pick a big belty number, they don’t expect you to be good but just play to your strengths not showcase your weaknesses.
- Accents are a no go unless you are beyond amazing! I don’t mean “I can kinda do a Liverpool accent so….” nah you need to be perfect at them so that if you met someone from say Liverpool they will not know you are not from Liverpool. My personal recommendation would be to avoid accents because they are just an unnecessary challenge that will probably not get you ‘bonus points’ and will not show them you.
- Choose a moment in the play. The character could be remembering an event or a story or a moment in their past, this allows the panel to immerse themselves in this moment (and you as an actor) and it becomes a mini performance rather than an snippet from a play.
- Research the play, just know your shit. If you are asked a question about your play or monologue or playwright, know the answer. It looks so bad if you don’t. Just awful. What is worse is that most of the information can be picked up from just reading the play which is very simple.
- Devising is always fun. Devising means that you can do whatever you want, you may not even need to explain it (have an explanation ready just in case)!!!! I love devising and creating new ways to show things but it can be difficult. Keep yourself open to new ideas and show your piece to someone before you do it at the audition.
- On the thought of showing pieces to people before the audition, do that with your monologues. It is a good idea to do it to either a professional coach, drama teacher or professional in the business. The feedback you get will be so helpful and it means that if you dry first time (which I did on two monologues) you know where you need to go back over the lines.
- SMILE AND HAVE FUN!!!!!!! This is not only about picking pieces you enjoy performing but also the actual performing at the audition. You are there because you love acting yes? You enjoy it yes? Do your best to forget the nerves and just live in the moment and GO FOR IT! You paid for this experience so bloody well enjoy it.
- This is a little thing to all the ladies out there- If I was you I would avoid ‘Eight by Ella Hickson’. Every audition I have gone to there has been at least one girl doing a piece from this play, sometimes two. It may be a great play with good monologues but look for something different.
I think that is it but if there is anything else feel free to comment or contact me.