Photo by Debra Lopez
Grad School Audition Tips
1. If you only have two monologues that you've been working for months or done in the past for grad school auditions, then you are not ready for grad school auditions. Monologues go stale after two auditions, especially if it's material that you coached and rehearsed a lot in the past. You should have an arsenal of at least 8-12 monologues in your back pocket as well as a few songs. This is in part because the monologue (in the absence of a play) is an artificial construct in which you must create the reality of really talking to a person and getting something from them. So instead of learning monologues, you should be learning how to audition monologues.
2. The weeks prior to auditioning, you should be in classes or in a show so that the body is getting a acting workout 5-7 times per week preceded by an intense 90 min warm-up. That translates into more confident, performance ready monologues during the very stressful grad school and callback auditions which usually means an 8 hour day of auditioning.
3. Figure out what skill you can really master in the 3-6 months prior to auditioning. Is it listening and responding? Is it a fully realized monologue that feels like you've done the entire play? Do you have previous voice & speech training? If so, can you tighten that up? Grad schools are looking for folks that can be molded, re-shaped, but who have a basic grasp of living truthfully in the imaginary world. What elements of this can you master in the months leading up to the auditions?
4. How many schools have you applied to? The process of auditioning is one you have to master, so the more auditions you have under these stressful circumstances, the better your work will be.
5. Do you have a strategy for dealing with nervousness? Dropping the breath and diaphragmatic breathing are essential. Without breath, there is no emotional experience, nothing to feed the artists instrument as well as the heart. Breath is the key. What can you do to master this the months, weeks leading up to the audition? A singing class, a yoga class, a coach who focuses that in your work? Whichever you choose, it must be a class or set of skills that you've never done. You're teaching the body a new way of being, so old habits have to be unlearned and removed from the body's muscle memory.
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April Yvette Thompson