Besides your drive and personality, monologue selection is one of the most important aspects of your college audition package. The right material could put you head and shoulders above everyone else in the expansive pool of applicants. Along with presenting yourself in the best light, the monologues you pick will tell the auditioners a lot about you. You could show them that you know what you’re doing and that you are a smart actor if you pick your pieces tactfully. They will be impressed if you make a conscious decision to pick material that not only highlights your best qualities but meets all the technical aspects of a good monologue as well. Below you will find a comprehensive checklist of everything you will need in a successful monologue.
The Actor Loves Performing It
You’re going to be stuck with these pieces for a while so it is super important that you really like them. Don’t pick a piece just because someone else thinks it would be great for you. Certainly listen to those you trust, but you need to make the final call yourself. I know it sounds cliche but you really need to listen to your heart on this one. Loving and having faith in your chosen monologues is an important aspect to your success. If you have any doubts about your choices, it may be a good idea to keep looking.
Action is Actively Happening
Don’t fall into this common monologue pitfall. Many monologues available today feature a character rehashing a story in a passive manner. While these can seem like viable pieces, it is important to steer clear if at all possible. These pieces often fall flat and don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Instead look for a monologue where the character is actually having a conversation or interacting with another person. It will give the auditioner a chance to visualize you as a “real” actor, not just another amateur and set you apart from the rest of the crowd in the best way possible.
You Could Actually Play the Character You Are Portraying
Throughout High School it’s likely that you have played a wide variety of characters in many different types and age ranges. Because of this, sometimes young performers can fall into the trap of thinking that their type is a 55 year old villain. It may be true that you can play a killer villain, and that is great thing for your future, but try to think more in terms of what you could actually play TODAY. Maybe instead of portraying a villain you could find a piece where you play an age appropriate bully. Do you get what I’m saying? If you play out of your type and age range it will really take the auditioneers out of your scene and they will instead be focused on why an eighteen year old is playing a character meant for someone thirty five.
The Piece Showcases You
While it can be tempting to pick the monologue with the biggest melodramatic moments, it is often wise to think twice before doing so. The auditioners are typically seeing audition after audition of people fake crying and screaming at the top of. their lungs. It can often be a breath of fresh air if you go in and do what feels natural to you. If you do decided to pick a piece with crying or screaming because that is what showcases you in the best light, I advise you to find ways of building up to it rather than staying one note the entire performance.
The Monologue Has a Clear Beginning, Middle, and End
When looking for future audition pieces, this is one of the most important aspects to pay attention to. With only a few minutes to show the auditioners everything you’ve got, make sure to pick pieces that tell a story. The monologue needs a concise and clear beginning, middle, and end in order to show your range. This will allow your character to leave the piece different than they started which will give you more opportunities for variation and depth; two very important aspects of a successful audition. Picking a piece that tells a clear story will also signal to the auditioner that you are a smart actor making conscious decisions, something they look for in applicants.
There is No Offensive Language or Content
Not every auditioner will have an issue with offensive content in an audition piece but it is always wise to err on the side of caution. Some people severely frown on a high schoolers performing things that they deem inappropriate so there is no point in risking it. If you happen to find a piece you love that has explicit language, try to edit out the bad words before scrapping it for good. This approach doesn’t always work but it certainly couldn’t hurt to try.
The Piece is Well Written
A well written monologue can be the final key to unlocking success in your audition process. Keep in mind however that this is the toughest aspect to nail. The line is very thin when it comes to well written vs overdone material so make sure to do your research. Don’t rely on the most popular plays and screenplays to find your pieces but instead spend a good amount of time searching for material that is unique but still high quality. This will catapult you from a good applicant into an applicant impossible to say no to.
To wrap it all up, a good college audition monologue must:
- Be something you love to perform
- Have action happening actively
- Portray a character you could actually play
- Highlight your best qualities
- Include a clear beginning, middle, and end
- Steer clear of any offensive content
- Showcase great writing and content
If you can find material that meets all of the above requirements plus the specific guidelines for each school, you are well on your way to a successful audition process. Please note that this is not a one size fits all formula and there are always exceptions if you find a piece that doesn’t fit the guidelines perfectly.
Quick P.S.A. – I would be happy to look over your potential pieces free of charge and let you know what I think. Just shoot me an email through the Contact page on the website.