Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Short Tip - Perseverance

My Vacation blog continues….

Robin Goodrin Nordli is one of my favorite OSF’s Actresses. I saw her do Hedda Gabler the best Hedda EVER. The next night she did a smaller role in Present Laughter. She walked in – back to the audience dropped her coat revealing a plunging backline. If that wasn’t amazing enough every member of the audience could tell what her objective was. She is an amazing, nuanced actress. She has played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Rosalind in As You Like It, Oliva and Viola in 12th Night, Queen Margaret in Henry 6 part 1-3 and on and on. All of these at OSF.

There is a short article about her in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival souvenir program. She auditioned NINE times before OSF hired her. That's NINE YEARS of auditioning.

If at once you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vacation Audition?

Ok - Sometimes when you are on vacation - you could schedule an audition - or two! I call that a working vacation. You might also update your blog.....

So - I am on vacation! The next full audition post will happen on my return (Active Audition Book Part II). For now - when I have a chance I will post links and updates about theatre.
We are headed to The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We are seeing Pride & Prejudice and She Loves Me (musically directed by the Wonderful Darcy Danielson!)

Check out the link. The Festival is amazing!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Active Audition Book

Active Audition Book

Your audition book is different from your “storage book”. Your storage book is just that – a place where you store material. My monologue storage book looks like this

Front panel – Clear so I can slip in the title page and a different color binder than my Active Audition Book .

Title Page – Bradetta’s Audition Material –( Name this anything you want – except Active Audition Book).

  • 1st Tab – Comic 
    • divided classic and modern - in all 5 sections
  •  2nd Tab – Dramatic 
  • 3rd Tab – Serio-comic
  •  4th Tab – cross gender 
  • 5th Tab – for others
These may be monos I liked, grabbed, stuck in, noted the source and forget about until I am looking for something specific. I don't know exactly what I have in storage until I look through it.
I have a separate storage book for Music. I copy the entire song and note somewhere in the book the source especially if the music was hard to come by.

I do the same tabs – My title pages says Audition Songs – it’s the same color binder as the other storage – because these stay in the house I don’t panic about confusing them

My Active Audition book I don't divide these into classic/modern monologues- beacuse I know them, I'm familair with all. They are Monologues are  that: -
  • I know cold and after a focus exercise I could do right now – Performance Level
– I currently have 8 of those 

  •  I could do if I ran through it in my head a couple of times – Performance Level -
– I currently have 6 of those

  •  I have done my work, I have memorized them – I may have even done them before in an audition but I need to look it over, remind myself who the character is, maybe go over a couple lines I have forgotten- Performance level – IF I HAD TO
- I have 6 of these

  • Monologues I want to use in the future – I don’t have them memorized, I have read the play, I have started character worked – they are nowhere near performance level -
-I have 6 of those –

The tabs are thus – Performance Level – Take A Moment – Take Two Moments - Soon

This shorthand works for me - do what works for you.

That is my monologue book. We’ll talk about songs in another post. Here is also what I keep in my Active book before the tabs start- Blank sheets of Audition Reflections, This includes a Mileage Log. I also have a pocket for any parking receipts or any other expenses I might have encountered on my outing. I do this later part for tax purposes. Take a look at the Audition Reflections. After I fill them out I put these in a three ring binder named – you guessed it – Audition Reflections.

More on that in the next post!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seeing shows-finding material

(Links are included this post - click and have fun!)

Well - due to the URL confusion I have not been able to Post Building Your Book just yet. So some quick advice on finding new material other than Read Read Read - is SEE SEE SEE

This weekend I am seeing 3 of the 6 Village Original Shows. Over the past two weeks I have seen Ruined at Intiman, Man of LaMacha at Taproot, Yankee Diner at ACT and the new play WOOF! by Y York still in the workshop phase.

I have seen some great theatre over the past two weeks. Ruined has some great scenes for you KCACTF lookers - Yankee Diner has some great Men's monos - read them to make sure they are not M&Ms. I am pretty sure there are Active and M&Ms. WOOF! has a pleathera of material. In Your Eyes has wonderful material for teenagers. Some of these may be hard to get a hold of because they are so new. There are ways however...but this is a short post!Yeah that was a teaser! Have a lovely Sunday and SEE A SHOW!


Friday, August 13, 2010



In more ways than one - don't you think?

Hello - So although I feel confident in sharing audition tips with you - blogging has been - well let's call it an adventure! There was an URL problem with the orginal blog - all fixed now - please - Follow, Follow, Follow.....SING IT!

This is the correct blog! By Monday - it will look like the old one - but you have to re-follow. Please, please do so!

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Choosing a Monologue Part 4: The Right Fit - a long one folks!

So now you know what to look for in a monologue. It should be:
  • An active monologue
  • Have a clear objective

  • Have the opportunity for different tactics so you can pursue you objective (and show off your versatility in a short performance!)
The above is just the tip of the iceberg. We'll talk more about Working the Monologue a little later. Right now – you have a piece and you are searching for more. It meets the above requirements. Let's add some more to that above bullet point list.

 What are you auditioning for? A General (Like Theatre Puget Sound General Auditions), a theatre season, a specific show, or a college? 
For all of these auditions – Do your research! Know what you are auditioning for. This helps you choose your monologue – or two. If you are singing it helps you choose your song.

 The General Audition – Multiple theatres.
These are my favorite. You get to pick a monologue or two that show you off. This/these should be a monologue(s) that play to your strengths. Are you funny? Find a great comic piece. Do you excel at Shakespeare – great! Quirky, lovable, dramatic, vulnerable? Great! Find a piece that serves this purpose. The world is your oyster!
The Season Audition
Let's say a local musical theatre company is holding their season auditions. Their season is Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls, and The Sound of Music. Choose something by one of the writers from these shows if possible BUT – not from one of these shows. Do not walk in with A Jason Robert Brown song. I might also suggest a comic piece. You could do drama – but David Mamet or dropping the F bomb throughout the monologue (um yes Mamet and F bomb do go together –quite often) is probably not a good choice to audition for this particular season. If you can't find something from another show by the playwright, lyricist or composer try to find something similar to the shows you are auditioning for. Do your research! KNOW the material you are auditioning for.

 With the season audition you may become a little more specific in your selection. The Non-Musical Theatre Company A has announced their season. 
Eleemosynary by Lee Blessing, Doubt by John Patrick Shanley, Trust by Stephen Dietz and Spike Heels by Theresa Rebeck - Some of my favorite playwrights and favorite plays – I am so lucky! J

There are many character clumps I could make but I'll focus on the young women for this post. Don't worry above 30 year old gals and all guys – I'll get to you eventually.

 Eleemosynary has a teenage girl – smart, quirky, different; Doubt a young 20 something nun, Trust a 20 year old hip, sexy funny gal, and Spike Heels a 20 something girl with very little education – but street smart. These are all different young women that if you fall into the age category you may be called back. So how do you choose a piece?
Research – read the plays. Identify the character type in which you are normally cast.

  • Pick a monologue from another play that has a similar character

  • Hopefully the character has similar objectives, vulnerabilities or other character traits.

  • If  you get to do two monologues - pick two very different pieces that show your range – if you have that range! If not – stick to what shows you off the best.

  • If you don't have the range to play all these women then get some more training so you can increase your range – but I digress….
A Specific Show

When I am auditioning for a particular role I do the same thing I listed in the research section under Season Audition above. I pick a monologue or a song that is similar to the role I think I may be cast in. This can be tricky. Theatre is subjective. You have no idea how a director sees a certain character. But you can make an educated guess. That is about all you can do. So make a choice, make it big and go for it. See if the director has written anything or done an interview that may give you clues to what she/ he is thinking about this particular show. Don't trust gossip.

 Personal example: 
I was 23 and way too young for any of the roles I thought I might be considered for "Type" wise in Falsettos by William Finn at The Group Theatre. At that time I didn't feel I had the vocal range to play the character that I was probably old enough for. Still…I wanted to audition. I was in love with the show. In my dream world I wanted to play Doctor Charlotte. I picked a monologue from another show. The character was a lesbian, more on the butch side. That is how I saw Doc Charlotte. I picked a song that felt like Trina who is a housewife that has lost her husband – to another man. She also discovers new love during the course of the play. I picked a section of the song Life Story from Closer Than Ever. The character in this song has also lost her husband but to another, younger, woman. She has also discovered new love – a lot. So I did the song – with two small twists. There was a lyric that referred to a young male lovers and one that referred to being 49. Now – I did and always have looked older than my age- but I was 23! Not 30 something and now where near 49. So I was breaking the age range rule – but new I felt older than my actual age. I changed the lyric to reflect young female lovers, even though it was a Trina feeling song regarding circumstance and objective. I changed 49 to 39. I was told by the director that I could not have chosen better pieces. In his words "they were perfect".  In my mind I was way too young to play Dr. Charlotte or Trina– but he called me back. He cast me as the understudy for Doctor Charlotte – I went on – it was an amazing experience.

Now – I could have talked myself out of auditioning. I could have stopped myself from choosing pieces with any sort of direction or specificity in mind. If I had – the seed would not have been planted in his head that I could play older. Or maybe he decided Doc Charlotte didn't need to be much older than I felt. Who knows?  Also – he was casting other shows in the area that year. This gave him an opportunity to see me audition. I was also planting ME as a seed in his head!

 Help your auditor. Help them see what you THINK they may be looking for. You might be wrong-  but – If you have picked strong pieces that you do well – that is ok. In the end auditors are looking for actors who know how to act, great to work with and take direction well. The first audition should show them that you are a Great Actor!
Alright- I recommend you try to find pieces in your age range or type range….obviously I broke that "Guideline" More on that later! Onto the end of this blog post!
College Auditions

 I teach at the college level. I have coached High School and Transfer students for over 10 years when they are preparing for their college auditions. There is so much information for this section that there are blogs and websites dedicated to only this. I teach a workshops, I coach privately – contact me if you are interested. Although I will post more info on this subject, for now and to keep it short I will say:

  1.  Look at the requirements the school publishes

  2. Follow the requirements the school publishes
This is the most important thing you can do. It kills me how many people fudge or want to fudge the requirements the school requests. Just Say NO! If they want a song written after 1960 do not do one written in 1959. Just don't do it! You get the idea.

Tomorrow: Building Your Book

Monday, August 9, 2010

Choosing a Monologue Part 3: What's The Quick and Easy Way To Find A Monolouge?

What is the quick and easy way to find a great Monologue?

There isn’t one. Ok – there might be one –if happen to know an amazing playwright, who writes plays that happen to have amazing monologues in them. As much as I’d like to claim Dennis Schebetta as my private playwright….sigh…I have to share him with all of you.

The best way to find great monologues is to READ PLAYS. Skim them if you have to. Look for chunks of text – paragraphs to start. They are out there. Keep reading (plays...and this post!)

Sometimes you can “Piece” a monologue together. This can be tricky.*note below.

The following is an example of piecing:

Original Text:

Queen Christina

(lots more text before )….. I am allowed to bring forth in unimaginable pain, a vegetable a dwarf, a monster or if I’m supremely fortunate – another creature such as myself.


Ordinary women do this daily.


I am not ordinary! If there is one thing you have taught me since the moment I could hear it is the specialness of me! (lots more texts after this)

The Piecing

Queen Christina

(lots more text before )….. I am allowed to bring forth in unimaginable pain, a vegetable a dwarf, a monster or if I’m supremely fortunate – another creature such as myself. Now, ordinary women do this daily. But I am not ordinary! If there is one thing you have taught me since the moment I could hear it is the specialness of me! (lots more texts after this)

I added two words to make the transition. Sometimes you can cut a line. Example – there may be one or two words from another character like “What?” but the monologue makes since if the character you are looking at just keeps going.

On the permanent pages you will find a list of playwrights. I love the work of these playwrights’s. These plays are a good place to start. I don’t guarantee you will find a great monologue – but it’s a good bet that some of you will find one you are drawn to and that works for you.Not to mention - it's time well spent. Did I mention they have written plays I LOVE! I am sure there are wonderful playwrights I have left out – please feel free to comment and add your own to this list!

*Disclaimer – when you piece a monologue you may be changing the playwright’s words. If you do this try not to change the playwright’s intent. Some playwright’s would be totally fine with this for auditions – some not so much. Most – not in the room. I say this with great respect knowing and loving many playwrights.

Choosing a Monolgue Part 2. Why an Active Monologue?

Why an Active Monologue?

Simply put and active monologue has an active objective. You -the character -want something right now. This means that -right now- you are pursuing an objective, varying your tactics and hopefully your stakes are high. That is what you want to show an auditor. You know how to make e a choice, you know how to go after it. Hopefully you know more than one way to pursue what you want. If it’s a good monologue it may have more than one objective and it DEFINILTY has more than one tactic.

I only recommend using a memory monologue when you are auditioning for a play that uses memory storytelling as the main modality. i.e. The Exonerated, Juvie, Runawys, A Chorus Line, The Weir, Still Life etc. The objectives in story monologues are not always clear, they are more about telling a story and sometimes you reveal your main intent at the end of the monologue. Memory monologues can also become self-indulgent – but let’s save that for another post!

This doesn’t mean M&Ms don’t elicit emotions. They are often entertaining and moving. Paul’s monologue in A Chorus Line is one of the most powerful moments of theatre I’ve experienced. Ruined has several memory storytelling moments that brought me to tears. In my opinion they are better suited for performance, not for auditioning.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Choosing a Monologue Part 1 -Active vs. Memory

Choosing a Monologue Part 1

If you don’t have one already now is the time to get a three ring binder. Start Building Your Audition Book.

The audition determines the type of monologue and the length. Read the requirements and follow them! If it says prepare a 2 minute monologue don’t walk in with a 2 minute and 15 second monologue. If they ask for comic piece don’t walk in with a dramatic one. If they ask for a Modern piece don’t bring in Shakespeare. But...."Let's start at the very beginning..."

I give examples of published work below. I have not included the entire text but I have provided enough information for you to find the text if you so desire.

Find an Active Monologue – this means a monologue that happens in the now not a Memory Monologue. A Memory Monologue (or M&M) is when you are telling a story, something that happened in the past.


An M&M might start something like this:

When I was a little girl I went into the abandoned coal mine. At first everything was fine but then I went deeper and there was a big bang. Everything came tumbling down…

Below is a couple of lines from The play “Lardo Weeping” by Terry Galloway

Dinah has a monologue that begins:

“There was only one time in my life…. –and ends- …..just not quite ruthless.

This is an M&M

An Active Monologue (AM) might start something like this:

I don’t understand you. I give and I give but you know what, I’m through giving. Get out. Right now! Go into the bedroom, pack your bags and get out! No – don’t talk. You know why? Because I’m through listening!

Below is a couple of lines from The play “Four Corners” by Wendkos and Bond

The character Jimmy has a monologue that begins:

Look, you know how dogs begin to look like their owners….. -and ends - ….couldn’t I turn into her?

This is an AM.

Before you Auditon

Before You Audition

If you are an adult reading this blog and you have never done a show or taken a class –

Get Thee To a Class. I’m not saying you have to have a four year degree before you audition, but take a class and acclimate yourself to the world of theatre.

Learn the basic vocabulary. Get some experience under your belt, find your sea legs – insert metaphor here – but get some experience. You are entering a competitive field. Raw talent is great and if you have it – Yay! Talent will only get you so far. Hard work, determination, being prepared, being easy to work with and knowing your business is what gets you the job after the first job. The story’s of being discovered walking your dog (David Boreanez from Buffy, Angel and Bones) are FEW and FAR between.

There are techniques, skills, basic vocabulary, knowledge and plain old stamina – way more than this blog post has room for – that will help you in your pursuit of becoming an Actor. Take a class and then audition for one of the many amazing smaller or community theatres we have in Seattle (or your local theatre!). I have posted links to some local places to take class and Theatre Puget Sound that posts classes, auditions etc.

Be smart when signing up for a class. Is it a studio that’s been around a while, a new group with some hot new teachers? Just ask around and make sure some people know who they are. Even better, find someone who has had experience with them. Check out their website or blog.

If you live in a small community and you are just out to have some fun – audition. See what happens. Some people – David Mamet among them – believe you should only do shows. He feels this is how you learn the craft of theatre. I do not believe that is the best way and definitley NOT the ONLY way. Will it help? Yes. Will you get better every show you do? Yes. But class affords you time to personally examine habits, chose when and when not to use them, explore techniques and grow into a more versitale actor. But if you’re just out to have fun – go for it! Ok – enough about that!

For my students and others who have a bit of theatrical experience head to Choosing a Monologue!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Professional, College Auditions, Educational settings

As you begin your audition journey you will notice different requirements for different auditions. This is why you create an *Audition Book with options.

Being prepared is your strongest asset in every setting.

As I post Tips I will differentiate between settings when necessary. Feel free to ask questions about your specific situation.

*Denotes coming or published post

Introduction - How to use this blog

When I tell people I’m an actress and that I teach theatre a burning question inevitably finds a place in our conversation: How does one audition?

This blog shares my personal knowledge and experience with the audition process in the Seattle area. Please read my short philosophy before you dive in and start to comment.

Check the Archives. The titles will guide you.

Theatre is subjective. Therefore, everything I say is right- and wrong - for someone.

However, I have had a lot of experiences with a lot of directors, producers, actors and musicians. Although I will never (never say never) say there is an "industry standard" (see my post on that!) I would say there are some practices and guidlines that 95% of the theatre community follow. I will share these practices within each section from Choosing a Monologue to Walking into the Audition Room.

Enjoy and may you find success. When you do – I am more than happy to accept my 10%! J Serioulsy, I would love to hear how you are doing and what helps the most! Please post.

Happy Auditioning!