It’s often a scramble, isn’t it? What determines whether certain monologues are going to be good for college auditions?
My sincere hope is that you stumble upon this post with plenty of time to prepare for college auditions. But I know that quite often, this isn’t the case. Whether you’re in a pinch or you’ve got some time for slow and careful curation of pieces, this post should help. I go into great depth about choosing material in my online course The College Audition Program, but this will certainly get you started.
- How many monologues do you need to prepare?
There’s a lot of great material out there. For starters, you’ll want to look carefully at each individual school’s requirements to make sure you cover your bases. If you don’t have a target list of schools yet, I recommend looking at the requirements on the sites of a few schools you’ve heard of that you may end up auditioning for to get a sense of what they are asking for. Then aim for 5 monologues to begin, which in most cases will ensure you’re pretty well covered. Go for 2 contrasting contemporary, 2 classical (one Shakespeare and one other classical writer) and one additional contemporary you love.
- Look for characters you could actually play.
No Lady M. No Tevye. (To be fair, I’ve never had a student try to do Tevye, it just made me laugh.) Could you conceivably be cast in this role right now or in the next couple years? And beyond age, can you master this material? Some writers are probably too difficult to try to tackle before you have some serious training under your belt. Like Tennessee Williams. Wait to work on Streetcar in school. Trust me on this one.
- Look for monologues that are ACTIVE. This is super important.
What do I mean by this? There are a ton of pieces out there where the character’s particular need is either nonexistent or unclear. And the truth is, those monologues aren’t very interesting or compelling to watch. Nobody really cares. The monologues sort of ponder or tell a story without a clear purpose or goal. Find monologues where the character is really trying to accomplish something, like: To change someone’s mind, to get something off their chest, to find love, to befriend someone, etc etc…
- Remember that your material selection says something about you.
When you do a monologue for college auditions, you are communicating something about yourself to the adjudication panel. You communicate taste. You communicate the kind of characters and writers you are drawn to. They may even ask you how you found this particular piece. Will you say something like “I discovered this monologue because I realized I love (writer x) after seeing one of her plays in my home town and subsequently reading 10 more of her plays and discovering this one”? Or will you respond with, “I googled monologues for teen girl”? Or “my acting coach picked it for me”.?
- So where should you look for material?
The best way to find material is by reading and seeing a lot of plays. If you have time, start there. Go to the library. Use Google to discover plays with themes/stories that sound interesting and then read them. I have a big, wonderful list of play-finding resources inside The College Audition Program, but one of my favorite resources on that list is the Samuel French website which now has an advanced search feature where you can get super specific. I love searching plays that were produced Off-Broadway or were Tony Award winning. You can get age specific as well. If you’re scrambling a bit, that site may help. And of course, you can always ask your coaches and drama teachers for suggestions, but there’s nothing better than discovering material on your own. Really being the artist and seeking out pieces that highlight your unique talents and tell stories you are interested in telling, will not only captivate your audience, but they may even change the world a little. Isn’t that kind of the whole point?
For in-depth college audition prep and a virtual hand holding through all things college audition related, you’ll definitely want to dive into The College Audition Program with me. Don’t not get into your dream school because of a few simple things you could have prepared for.
Hit me up if you have any questions 😉 Happy monologuing, guys!