The choice of monologue can be crucial in landing you that great role, but many actors still make fundamental mistakes when choosing their monologues.
Always remember that auditions are your opportunity to demonstrate that you are the right actor with the right skills; generally, you only have a few minutes to prove this to an audition panel.
You need to choose your monologue carefully in order to showcase your skills and maximise your chances of landing that role.
Having sat through hundreds of hours of auditions, the most common errors made by auditionees in choosing their monologues are: 1.
Length -- Unlike other walks of life, with monologues longer isn't always better - in fact, the opposite is usually true.
It is much better to have a short and perfectly polished monologue than a longer and potentially boring piece.
You should leave your audience wanting more, not wishing there had been less.
Always stick to the length specified in the audition guidelines.
If a range is specified, aim for the shorter end of the range.
Wrong genre -- Generally speaking, if you're auditioning for a comedy, you should choose a comic monologue and a dramatic monologue if you are auditioning for a more serious piece.
But it's more subtle than just comedy/tragedy: within this division there are a whole variety of styles.
There are large differences in the acting styles required to play classical Greek comedy, Restoration comedy, Victorian drawing-room comedy, absurdist comedy and modern realist comedy.
Try to choose a monologue that is similar in style to the piece for which you are auditioning.
You might do a brilliant Oedipus, but it's unlikely to convince people that you should be cast in a Pinter play.
Inappropriate performance size for the space -- Different sizes of performance space require different types of performance.
Don't choose a monologue that is intimate and small if you are auditioning in a large theatre space.
Conversely, don't choose a piece of big public oratory if you are auditioning in a tiny theatre.
Your performance will only look right if it is tailored to the performance space.
Choosing from the audition play -- Unless you specifically asked to do so, you should never use an audition piece that comes from the play for which you are auditioning.
Pieces that aren't monologues -- Your piece should be self-contained and should be a true monologue.
Never choose something that requires another actor in the scene, and never ever ask someone from an audition panel to participate in your scene.
Also be careful about choosing pieces which require too much background information or scene setting.
Too common -- Never choose pieces that are too well known, people on the audition panel will have heard these over and over.
It is difficult to engage your audience if they are overly familiar with the material.
If you make a mistake with the words, it also makes it more likely that it will be noticed.
No shape or range -- A monologue, however short, should have a natural shape with a beginning, a middle and an end.
If possible, your chosen piece should demonstrate a range of different emotions or feelings.
A monologue that begins on one pitch and continues in that vein will soon become monotonous and boring to your audience.
This is why many speeches that are perfectly fine within the context of a play, do not necessarily make good monologues.
The more variation in range, the more it will allow you to demonstrate your abilities and the more interesting it will be to watch.
Finally, bear in mind that you are an artist and, like any other artist, you should have a portfolio to demonstrate your abilities.
Auditions often come up at very short notice and you will not always have a lengthy time to prepare a new piece.
You should always have a selection of monologues prepared to demonstrate a range of different acting styles, pieces which can be polished up and presented at short notice.