Get Ready To Audition: How to Prepare For a Play by Jenna Rentzel

“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” or so said William Shakespeare.

Performing in a live show is thrilling! Finally we get to return to a world of imagination and play pretend like when we were little. Only now, instead of being teased for it, we are applauded!

Most middle and high schools have thriving Drama Clubs, often performing one or two shows a year. When thinking about auditioning for a show, they are a logical first step. However, many amateur theaters are often in need of younger cast members and can be a great outlet for your creative energy. Once you’ve found a play to audition for you will need to do a little preparation for it.

Learn as much as you can about the show and the potential roles you are auditioning for. A quick search of the play’s title will bring you the company that produces the script. There you will find detailed information about each character, giving you a sense of who you might want to audition for. Don’t feel you need to pick a character that is similar to you, this is acting! Go for it. Youtube also has many plays online. Check out the variety of ways other people brought the character to life, then prepare to give your version a twist. Do you want to play the character sillier? Angrier? Flamboyant or serious? Try it out as many ways as you can think of to find a character you will have fun playing.

Most shows require you to memorize a monologue. Sometimes the director will give out audition pieces before hand, while other times you may need to choose one for yourself. There are plenty of books chock full of juicy monologues but you can get some great ones for free at the following sites.

http://www.freedrama.net

http://www.monologuearchive.com/children.html

Try to pick one that is close in personality to the part you would like to play.

Now it’s time to trot out that old saying your teacher keeps harping on about, Practice Makes Perfect. Treat your audition as if it was a real performance for a packed theater and practice your monologue as many times as you can. Say it out loud in front of the bathroom mirror and try out different voices and expressions. Bug your Mom as she’s cleaning and follow her around reciting your lines. Call Grandma and Grandpa and practice it on the phone! Perform it for as many people as you can until you feel so comfortable saying it you could perform in front of a room full of strangers. Cause that is exactly what you are going to have to do!

Don’t be surprised when butterflies show up on the day of the audition to torment you. Everyone gets nervous even the pros. Just take a few deep breaths before starting and let all your hard work shine through. No matter what part you get, the one you were dying for or not, keep auditioning. The theater is a place where everyone is accepted and celebrated for who they are, and who they pretend to be!            

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Jenna Rentzel is a theater nerd who regularly puts her acting skills to work in her third grade classroom. When not acting silly with her students or her own children she writes middle grade novels.

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