What is the right monologue for you? Kids and teens are often faced with this question.
Whether you are auditioning for a school or community play, a job, an agent or manager or even
a Performing Arts College your choice of monologue will have a lot to do with how successful
you will be.
Not too long ago, my son was auditioning for several Performing Arts Colleges and although he
had participated in many theater productions as a kid, now that he was a teenager, we were advised
to have him work with a monologue coach. After calling several theater professionals, whose opinion
I trusted, I came up with the name of a person that seemed to fit our needs. I proceeded
to call him, to check his availability, and to conduct a phone interview. The phone call went well and, consequently, we set up the initial meeting. What follows is the process that they went through in order to determine the perfect monologue for my teenage son.
- Before the first meeting the monologue coach asked me to describe my son's physical characteristics, training, and what roles (if any) he had played over the years.
- The coach chose six monologues he thought might be suitable and brought them to the first coaching session. He then presented them to my son. They read through each monologue and talked about what was the most comfortable (in terms of delivery) and appropriate for the piece.
- My son came away from the first session with four monologues to consider. His coach asked him to obtain a copy of the entire play from which each monologue was taken, and to read through each one in its entirety.
- During the next coaching session, my son worked on all four pieces. He and the coach then decided to eliminate one more of the monologues, as it did not suit my son well and he, in fact, did not have any interest in performing it.
- Having selected three suitable pieces, that both the coach and my son felt were believable pieces for a young "all American boy next door" type to perform, they worked on these pieces for the next four weeks. There was one lesson per week. My son also rehearsed at home in front of the mirror in between lessons.
- This young actor became very comfortable with the monologues and confident in his delivery. He subsequently auditioned for six theater schools and was admitted to all of them.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to employ a monologue coach, however, anyone can employ the same process as outlined above. The most important thing that we learned from the experience is that the monologue you choose must be suitable to you. This means that a person of your "type" must be believable when you speak and act the words of the character you've chosen to portray. For example, an "all American" type is not always going to be believable playing the role of an "introverted geek", and vice versa. The world takes all kinds and so does the theater. Be honest with yourself. There are suitable roles for everyone. This is why it is so very important to read the entire play from which your monologue is taken. You need to know the character's frame of reference (where he or she is coming from) and where he fits in terms of the plot, and other characters in the play. Besides, especially at college auditions, you may be asked about the plot of the play from which your monologue is taken. Remember, when you audition, the casting director or professor doesn't usually know you personally. You must convince them that you have the ability to play whatever character you've chosen. Choose your monologue carefully, rehearse often and make them believe! You should do well on your auditions.