The audition process for theater can be a scary thing, especially when you're going solo, performing a monologue for the directors. However, with the right amount of preparation and correct balance between character development, discovery, imagination, and performance tactics it can become a much less stressful predicament. For me though, it doesn't get easier, it just becomes more familiar.
Choosing the perfect fit
Choosing a monologue can make or break your audition. It's very important you pick the right one for you. A monologue that shows what you can do, that's less than two minutes (1-2 min to be exact), is a good example of a great fit. One suggestion would be choosing a monologue where the character you portray is within 2-3 years of your actual age, if not the same age as you. It's difficult to show casting directors, judges, etc. an amount of who YOU are, if you're doing a monologue where the character is experiencing things you've never experienced, orr saying things you'd never say. In other words, pick a character you somewhat relate to.
There are many techniques you can use while preparing your monologue for auditions. Some may do research on the play, movie, novel, etc. that the monologue is from. Others might go to the extent of reading the book watching the movie, or play, etc. If you are doing a monologue from a novel that is also a movie or play, I feel as though it's better to read the novel first before watching the movie or play, if you have that option. With such a short time of you being this character, keep in mind this is not the character you'll be studying for a whole semester, reading the book is a great way to get to know the character you'll portray. It is great for character development because it leaves it up to your imagination. Some prefer not to watch videos of others doing the same monologue because it can create a fixed picture in the person's head of what they should do/say rather than said person giving their own unique take on the monologue. In my case, if I am researching monologues to perform and I find one that I connect with but, I've never heard of the play and have no idea what it's about, I'll sometimes watch the monologue to get the context, along with doing some research.
Oh, the grueling callbacks portion of the process! Callbacks are hard to really be prepared for. You can say what character you'd like to be in the play(s) and you can do all in your ability to perform as best as you can but, the rest is up to the directors to place you where they feel your are best. I believe being flexible is important in preparing for callbacks. Keep yourself open-minded because you don't know what to expect. Be open to anything and everything and challenge yourself with new possibilities. You'd be surprised the joy you'll get through trying new things and reading for a character you are not necessarily wanting to be at first glance.
Happy with your role
If there's one thing I've learned throughout my 6 years in theatre, it's that being disappointed or sad about the role you get is a waste of time. You will not always get the role you desire and you can be okay with that. It's all a learning experience. I've gotten roles that were not my preference and those roles turned out to be the best play experiences I've had. It's all about what you make of it. If you choose to be sad about the role in which you have been cast, there's no fun in that. However, if you do get that one role you wanted, then great job! Be open-minded, happy, and just have fun! In the end that's what matters.
My name is Alex. I have been performing with Drama People for the past four years. I have played many roles both lead and supporting. I have had so many amazing experiences being up on the stage. However, last semester I had the privilege to work backstage. It was something I will never forget! Drama People finds pride in the fact of our performances are student run. Although it was stressful to think that if I forgot to move a log two inches to the right during a scene change the main actor might trip and fall on his face during a dramatic monologue, I still loved being backstage! I enjoyed the process of putting a show together and thinking on the spot to work out the many kinks you might run into.
(Did I mention this was student run.) Drama peoples has helped me to understand the importance and magnificent ability to take an audience into a whole other world and make them feel something they didn't before they walk into the theater. Along with with learning how to lead backstage and work with my fellow peers to generate a well-done show.
What is it? Who are they? What are they? So, what is Drama People? Well you could think of it this way... Imagine a bunch of people from completely different walks of life coming together, teaming up, putting their differences aside, encouraging one another, and working hard to make a performance. Some might chuckle and say, “Does such a thing truly exist?” Yes. Yes, it does. Drama People is simply people coming together to worship God with their gift of acting, tech, and leadership. Over my two years of being with Drama People and seeing it and the people around me grow, I am always reminded of one thing- how talented God has made us. I know that may sound very mushy and “inspirational,” but it is true!
Drama People has taught me to understand that the people around me are so talented and blessed by God. It still amazes me how the individuals that make Drama People can be so talented and still view each other equal and remain humble. As if humility isn’t good enough, did I mention teamwork? Let me put it this way. If Drama People didn’t have good teamwork, nothing would ever get done. Teamwork is so essential in anything you do in life. And Drama People is the embodiment of teamwork.
Every play we do, there must be props, stage management, costumes, lights, sound cues, line memorization, and characterization. All for one play. How would Drama People get such tasks done if they didn’t have teamwork? Every play the individuals that make Drama People come together and put their differences aside to obtain one goal- to worship God with their talent.
Drama People has played an important role in my life personally. Learning how to be talented and knowing your skill but not letting it boost your arrogance of your own capability as well as not letting your talent make you categorize people by what they are bad at and what you are good at is what Drama people has also taught me. Teamwork isn’t only just coming together and taking an idea and accomplishing it. It's remembering that everyone has an opinion, and that everyone’s opinion, no matter how odd, should be heard and given equal attention. This can be challenging when you believe you have a perfect idea that fits the solution or solves the need. But how teamwork truly works in Drama People is everyone giving an opinion and all of them coming together to make a fitting resolution. In summary Drama People has played a necessary role for me teaching me the importance of working hard at something and how to worship God with our talents. And all of this is possible by the people that make Drama People what it truly is.
Our school's Shakespeare competition winner had the privilege to compete in the regional competition, sponsored by the English Speaking Union and held at Belmont University in Nashville. The competition was held in a small theater space with seats on three sides and the judges sat among to audience. The audience was filled with family members, teachers, and fellow students who came to support their winner. Although we are small school we had, by far, the most student support. There was a wide variety of Shakespeare pieces presented ranging from comedy to tragedy and a wide variety of talent that presented them. After the competition we celebrated by going out to eat and socialize at a restaurant of our contestants’ choice.
In preparation for our Shakespeare monologues, we each decide on a piece that we feel will showcase our strengths as actors. As time progresses we continue to memorize, polish, and take constructive tips on how to improve in order to portray our piece smoothly and confidently. While performing a monologue in front of others can be nerve racking for most, it is very enjoyable for the audience to see and experience a moment in the life of a character. Every high school student is required to participate in our school’s Shakespeare competition. This year we were fortunate to have three judges from the Nashville Shakespeare Festival come down to judge and evaluate our actors. They gave valuable feedback to all of our actors and chose our winner.
On February 2 and 3 we put on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a whimsical Shakespeare play about love, magic, and fairies. Accomplishing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” wasn’t as easy as it seems, though. Everyone in the cast rehearsed together and practiced their lines every week. They all worked very hard to fulfill their goals and to make this show a success. They helped each other out with lines and questions they had as well as supporting everyone and offering words of encouragement to their fellow cast members.
The actors did work hard, but it wasn’t just them. The crew also worked as hard behind the scenes to make sure the shows went smoothly. Our stage manager did a lot of hard work as well. She and the other crew members did a great job at the tasks they were assigned to. Everyone also worked together to paint and set up the props. The trees took hours to build and everyone’s efforts to make them look as good as they could did not go unnoticed. Everyone tried as hard as they could and because of that, our production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” turned out amazingly.
Planning and executing “Oh Holy Knight” was a difficult task, but it was a fun and rewarding one as well. “Oh Holy Knight” was a task not only students worked on, but adults as well. Without everyone working together we never would have been able to pull off “Oh Holy Knight,” a humorous and heart-warming short Christmas play, as there were a lot of things we needed in order for the audience to become fully immersed and invested in this world we were partaking in and bringing to life. From the tables and chairs to the masks and the costumes, props were provided and handled nicely by everyone responsible for setting them up and making sure they were in the right places at the right times. We rehearsed tirelessly and helped each other out when we needed it.
We worked hard not only at the play, but on serving and seating guests at the Madrigal Dinner as well, which was also part of the night of festivities and also included us doing some acting. We had to stay in character the entire time we were serving which made the whole thing seem like a tiny extension of the play. Almost like a peek further into the characters of “Oh Holy Knight”.
All in all, I’d say “Oh Holy Knight” went off without a hitch! Everyone performed so well and worked hard together to get everything that needed to be done finished. The night was fun for everyone. Thank you to everyone who helped “Oh Holy Knight!"
On December 8th, 2017 we hosted a Madrigal Dinner. A Madrigal Dinner is a feast set in the Middle Ages with singing, dancing, and acting. Usually, Madrigal Dinners are put on by churches or schools. Or, in our case, a co-op. We had four crews— event, publicity, tech, and costume. These crews worked very hard to make the Madrigal Dinner a success. We also had a great deal of parents who helped out. Without them, the Madrigal Dinner would have never happened. Our event crew planned the decorations and casted our “12 Days of Christmas” song for our dinner finale. Our publicity crew helped us get the word out about our event. Our tech crew put together a wonderful playlist for a medieval mood. Finally, our costume crew put together beautiful ensembles for our “Oh Holy Knight” actors to wear.
The night was filled with family, fun, and a delicious menu. On the morning of the day, we met at our host church to set up for this event. Tables and chairs filled the room along with a large stage. For dinner, salad, ham, chicken, and veggies, along with pound cake for dessert, were served. Later that evening, we had a traditional non-alcoholic wassail. Our “Oh Holy Knight” actors made excellent waiters and waitresses!
Many classes in Shanan partook in the Madrigal dinner. The Junior Worship class did an outstanding performance; the sewing class made adorable table decorations. The drawing class also made delightful table decorations for all to see. The poetry class recited beautiful pieces of poetry. The middle school literature class also recited a few lovely monologues. The worship team performed a magnificent song called “Masters in The Hall”. We, the drama class, put on a very humorous play called “Oh Holy Knight”. A large number of Shanan students acted out a popular Christmas carol the conclude the night- “The 12 Medieval Days of Christmas”. The song was altered to be medieval to accentuate the theme of the night. Overall, we had an extremely successful night. Thank you all who supported us and made the Madrigal Dinner a success.
We, Drama People, take our audition process very serious. This year is the Shakespeare year. We were required to memorize a monologue from an English Speaking Union packet and perform it in front of our teachers in groups. After that, we were called back to read for certain roles in which our teachers thought we would do well. We were selected for our roles depending on how much we commit and how well we portray the character as well as certain factors, like our availability and even physical characteristics. Although this process seems stressful, it’s a lot of fun. The most exciting part is when we get our cast list. This year we put on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream andThe Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.
Some of the drama students have shared their perspectives on this long and exciting process.
“It’s hard but a mountain of fun!” says Drama People actor, Ernie.
Ashton stated, “The audition process can be at first intimidating for two reasons. First, you must decide on your own monologue and memorize it (There are rules and boundaries in choosing). And second, there are more than likely many students competing for the same role as you. The process of auditioning isn’t hard, if you put the time into finding and memorizing your monologue, and get over yourself and be confident and articulate, then the stage is set (pun intended).”
One of the best things to remember when auditioning for Drama People is that there is no such thing as a small role! Every character has purpose ‘cause if they didn’t, why would the play writer bother putting them in there?”
“I love the audition process!” says a freshman with Drama People. “It is a lot of fun and the suspense of waiting for the cast list has me on the edge of my seat! I love working with my friends and being in drama!”
Hannah stated, “Well, I mean it was tough memorizing the Shakespeare monologue. It was definitely a step out of my comfort zone, but I liked it. I picked my monologue and held nothing back. I’m proud of what I put before the judges.”
The audition process takes a long time but is worth it in the end! Thanks to our students, hard-working teachers, and our loving God, our casting for our shows has been a success!