Because many of us will be auditioning for Drama School this year, two former students from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Joshua Miles and Rona Morrison came in to give us a mock audition. Each student from year 2 drama and musical theatre would have a fifteen minute slot where the aim would be to perform at least two of our monologues (1 Shakespeare and 1 Contemporary).
The audition process that was taken by Josh and Rona was the same that we would go through at Guildhall’s audition. This started with some ice breaker games, at the beginning of the day at the actual audition, these games will be done so that everyone gets to know each other and can feel comfortable around others. We started by getting in a circle and one person threw a ball to someone across the circle and shouted their name, they would then do the same but to another person and it would continue until everyone had caught the ball. We would have to remember the order of this and do it again in the exact order, this would see who was concentrating enough to remember and not get thrown off.
The next exercise also took part in a circle, one would have to walk across the circle with large movements and creating a noise to another person who would copy it, then create their own and repeat the process to someone else. This made everyone do this to the best of their ability because I learned that you are always being auditioned, even during warm ups, they want to see who has more motivation, determination and energy. This continued with the next game, one person was completing an action in the circle (such as brushing their teeth), one other would have to step into the circle and ask what they were doing, the person already there would then say that they were doing something different to allow the next person to copy. For example, if someone asked what the person in the circle was doing, although they were brushing their teeth, they would say they were driving a car, walk out and the person who asked what they were doing would have to start acting that they were driving a car. This warm up required quick reaction and acceptation, they would have a second to think about what they would do and complete it without rejecting it.
Finally, five people got up at the same time and would have to become a band of a genre that everyone chose. When I got up, we had to become a death metal band, I decided to play the drums with others playing guitar or singing. During this exercise, I learned that its one thing deciding what you are going to do, but it is pointless if you don’t connect or be in rhythm with everyone else, because in that short time, you are a band and can’t just do five separate sounds, they must flow, so communication, listening and teamwork is key.
My audition slot was at 1:30 and lasted 15 minutes, when I entered, I gave my audition portfolio and performed one contemporary and one Shakespeare: Alex from As We Forgive Those by Andrew Smith and Lady Anne from Richard III. I performed Alex first where I portray her getting worked up and desperate to get her sister to understand her side of the story. However, the feedback I got was to play her calm, this worked and felt much better as I was able to make the monologue more about her sister than Alex. This would also mean I won’t tense up my face because after I performed it, I tensed it too much and caused it to ache afterwards. One other piece of feedback was to sit down while doing it because I moved my left arm a lot when I stand up and do a monologue, something I didn’t realise until it was mentioned. After doing the monologue sat down and to Rona, I was really able to focus on her and not myself, which is what the monologue required.
I then performed my Lady Anne monologue and the first problem that arose was my pronunciation of the last couple of lines “As thou dost swallow up this good King’s blood which his hell-govern’d arm hath butchered”. I have not had this problem brought up before so it really made me slow down at the end and think about what I was saying. I was then told to repeat the monologue to Josh but without any actions, previously, I would turn out and show Henry VI’s corpse to the men around her, but I was instructed to speak just to Josh. The main issue I had doing this was in the actual audition, it would mean I just stand in the middle of the stage and perform the monologue out, not giving any indication of the world I have previously created.
After performing this monologue, I was asked to perform it again but as a children’s entertainer. I stopped for a second before starting and although I was slightly thrown off at first, I tried to not show that to them. I thought about previous voice lessons with Lynn and how to change your voice when performing to children so varied the pitch and remained clear. I also changed my physicality from rigid to moving around, getting closer to Josh and Rona and inviting them in. I really enjoyed playing Lady Anne in this way as it was completely different to her actual character in this scene. The reason I was asked to do that though was to show the layers of the piece and a monologue as serious as that needs to have those different layers.
The question that I was asked for both monologues was if I had read the play, which I had, I was then able to talk about my character’s situations and the play. The importance of reading the plays was highlighted at the end of the day because you can not properly prepare or get into your character if you don’t know their story.
Josh then sent feedback to us on a sheet individually and highlighted the high amount of preparation I had put in as well as my commitment and enthusiasm. This brought me a lot of confidence because I had put a lot into the pieces and can now continue to work and adapt them.
The other main thing I learned was that when a panel asks which monologue you prefer, tell them, don’t let them decide as they want you to have an opinion on your choices. Other feedback I received was to work and fight harder than everyone else, focus where you are performing, if someone else is in the scene, picture them and practice with someone, this can improve the focus. Never be afraid to ask questions and get over any embarrassments, this was show your enthusiasm and you will then be able to fully take the opportunity because if not, the travel and audition fee would have been wasted.
Overall, although I was nervous at the beginning of the day, I really enjoyed the audition and because I felt comfortable, was able to not hold back. This was a great insight to what an audition will actually be like.