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  • Mark Westbrook

Help Choosing Your Contemporary Monologue For Your Acting College Audition

Picking a contemporary monologue for your acting college audition can be a confusing business, not least because there is just so much to choose from! It can be a bit daunting to know what to pick, so here is a little bit of a guide to set you on the right path.

Contemporary means contemporary. You have to select something that is pertinent in this day and age, so pick something from no earlier than the last 20 years. If you can find something from the last 10, so much the better.

Choose contrast. Your classical piece, which will most likely be Shakespeare, should be a different dramatic action. Don’t pick something for your contemporary monologue that is too similar to the classical.

Cast yourself. Look for a role that you can actually imagine yourself acting in. If you can’t think of any, then have a good hard delve into yourself, and work out what role you would cast yourself in if you were directing you.

Pick something you like. There needs to be something in you that resonates with something in your chosen piece. This way you will act from the heart, and your passion will shine through your monologue.

Don’t use dialogue. The structure of monologues and dialogue are completely different, and you’re looking for the dramatic structure of a monologue, not conversation.

Sell yourself. Not in the dodgy way; you won’t get parts like that these days. But you have to appreciate that this audition is to sell yourself to a panel. Make them want to buy into you and your talents by showing them a taste of your real abilities.

Keep it short. Between a minute and a half and two minutes is best; any longer and you may find your audience zoning out, or worse, looking at their watches and dreaming about what they’re having for dinner.

Make it yours. I’m not talking about going off the beaten track and changing the monologue by personalising it with your own words - I mean really own it. Don’t give people the chance to switch off after the first five seconds; really get into that part and make it your own.

…But don’t act too much. The classical piece is for performing, and getting dramatic. The contemporary piece is to show that you can also do natural, intimate acting, so don’t get overly showy with this one.

Never write your own. It’s never a good idea to think you can design AND act your own contemporary monologue. Leave the writing to the writers, and they will leave the acting to you.

As you can see, there are a good few things to think about when choosing your monologue for your acting school audition. Don’t panic about it, but have a good think about it before you pick one. Oh, and don’t ask someone else to pick for you so you can use this as an excuse if you don’t get in - that’s a great way to ruin a friendship.

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