2016 Unified General Auditions – Auditor Survey results & Monologue Stats

Every year we allow our auditors to give feedback on what they liked/disliked about the annual Unified General Auditions.  Over 50 auditors filled out the survey – this is valuable information for future UGA actors, containing information about how best to prepare for your 2017 audition.

While this survey contains a lot of great information, each specific opinion should be regarded as exactly that – one person’s opinion.  Getting positions from 50 different casting directors means the results contain many contradictions – for example, one auditor may say “never do Shakespeare at the UGA” while another may say the exact opposite!

Organizations/Individuals included in this survey:

Amey Rene Casting; Annex Theatre; Bainbridge Performing Arts; Big Fish NW; Book-It Repertory Theatre; Bridges Stage Company; Centerstage Theatre; Fantastic.Z Theatre; Foreground Background; Intiman Theatre; MAM Actors, Models, & Voiceover; Missoula Children’s Theatre; New Century Theatre Company; Parley; ReAct Theatre; RED STAGE; Seattle Immersive Theatre; Seattle Public Theater; Seattle Repertory Theatre; Seattle Unity; Showtunes Theatre; Strawberry Theatre Workshop; Taproot Theatre Company; TCM Models & Talent; Thalia’s Umbrella; Theater Schmeater; Theatre Battery; Theatre9/12; Twelfth Night Productions; Village Theatre; Viva Vocalists/Vive Theatricals; Writers and Actors Reading & Performing (WARP)

Independent Directors: David Kisan; Mark Lutwak; Eleanor Moseley; Sally Ollove; George Plank

Auditor attended this General to cast for projects occurring between: (Please check all that apply)

March – July 2016

59%

August 2016 – January 2017

73%

2017 or beyond

33%

We keep headshots/resumes on file for currently unscheduled projects.

71%

 

How many 2016 UGA actors potentially fit a future project of yours?

10 or less actors

10%

11-25 actors

38%

26-100 actors

32%

We keep all or most headshots on file

18%

What were the most surprising, enjoyable, memorable moments from actors?

  • [removed] did two excellent pieces. Lovely to watch. I was only looking for singers, so I can’t use him, but boy it was enjoyable.  
  • A few actors managed to wow me with the transformation between their contrasting pieces. Going beyond simply a contemporary and a classical piece to showcase their vocal and physical ranges and the different energies that go along with them. Going from stillness and intensity to looseness and frivolity via changes in energy makes more of an impact than whatever contrast is inherent in the chosen material.
  • Actors doing something unique, showcasing what makes themselves. (Clowning, commedia, etc.)
  • Always nice to see people choose pieces they can kill in the audition. One specific moment was the re-creation of Adele to tell a personal story.
  • Any time an actor did something out of the box creatively. I like to see more of who an actor is as an artist.
  • Excellent contrast, being on their voice, staying grounded and committed.
  • I remember one young guy who found a way to do half the monologue on his head. It was weird, but so memorable.
  • The ones who really stuck out were engaging and enthralling, and commanded the audience with their commitment.
  • It’s also lovely when some of the actors came in friendly and comfortable. We don’t like seeing that the actors think we’re scary.
  • Exciting commedia work with a chair! A monologue from the TV show New Girl, which would not have worked had the first monologue not been so strong.
  • Humor, especially when going over the time
  • I enjoyed the youth auditions on Thursday afternoon
  • I liked when actors really made their audition time their own and owned the space. I really enjoyed the You Tube video McDonald’s piece.
  • I really enjoyed [name]’s Octopus Haiku. It was a creative way to show us a little bit more without having to add another monologue (his first was strong) and risk going over time.
  • It’s always nice to see when an actor has IMPROVED over the year. This is rare.
  • It’s always terrific when an actor finds a monologue that they can make bold physical choices. Standing on their head in a chair like one actor did truly breaks up the visual monotony and makes them memorable.  But only because it fit the monologue to do so.
  • [name] doing that Adele parody. That slayed me!
  • Nuanced speech and movement. Two distinctly different pieces. Humor. Comfortable pacing.
  • Outside of the excellent actors we saw audition, I enjoyed the networking with fellow audience members. The lunch was great.
  • Really solid auditions.
  • Strong, inventive physical choices that suited the material. Moments of joy and assurance from the moment the actor walked in. Adele’s “Hello from the actors’ side” was clever and well executed. 
  • The “McSqueeze Me, Bitch?” monologue.
  • The guy who entered and stood on his head on the chair; the performance art monologue that blurred the lines between performance and audition; female singers who gave exceptional effort. Anything out of the ordinary.
  • The unique pieces like the made-up song to Adele tune
  • The woman who sang Adele but rewrote the lyrics.
  • The young man who did a headstand on the chair! People who used their bodies to tell the story, in a specific and active manor were much more interesting than the ones who just stood in the same place for both peices.
  • There were so many!
  • Actors who showed their personality and kept their senses of humor put me at ease.
  • Actors who moved passed the nerves to discover something new in the moment delighted me.
  • Actors who were obviously prepared won my respect.
  • There were some funny monologue choices this year- it’s nice to see comedy in the mix.
  • Those people who carefully selected pieces that not only contracted but were also related in some way. Really enjoy energetic, physical pieces but we are a children’s theatre after all . . .
  • TPS hospitality is superb. And that is highly important. I sensed that the actors felt entirely welcome. It’s a sweet environment, developed and protected by the TPS management and staff. TPS is precious in that way. Such kindness counts.
  • Variety, personable, no one appeared visibly anxious.
  • What is most interesting is when something unexpected happens and the actor has a genuine response, both during their pieces and during their entrance/exit and introduction. This was often more useful than watching the prepared piece itself.
  • When actors took the stage like they enjoyed their job to be there.
  • When an actor would stumble (sometimes literally) and make a joke about it. Anything that made the actor more relatable and real. A warm, personable introduction was always nice. I know it’s kind of against the rules, but I enjoyed some of the monologues that were not from published plays (those stood out to me because they were different).
  • When they did well. When something unexpected occurred and they handled it with grace.
  • When two pieces with sharp differentiation in tone were presented. When strong physicality and movement were used, especially in comedy.
  • While there weren’t a lot of stand-out moments this year, I really appreciated that for the most part actors were well-prepared, professional, well-dressed, and courteous.
  • Appreciated that there were no Juliets this year, and very few Helena/Hermias.

What were the most common mistakes made by actors this year?

  • Doing monologues to the sides of the house, cutting off a lot of the auditors. I wish they would either move more or just deliver it to the center of the house.
  • Monologues that aren’t directed to a specific person. Story monologues, delivered to the whole audience.
  • .Relax. Most auditors have (more or less) dedicated their lives to the theatre and the performing arts. We’re on your side. Really! Again, relax. 2. Pause. Before you start, and at the end. 3. Show thinking. The audience wants to see the actor think. Pause, and then show thinking. It is the most engaging stuff. We ALL know “to be or not to be”– from 400 years ago. Even though it’s just some guy pausing and thinking. 4. Placement of focus, to support the monologue.  If the character hates (or loves) the mommy, put mommy somewhere specific (say, DSR). This is particularly important when an actor (in character) recalls and speaks about memories. We want to see you think and feel, very specifically.  In the audience, we yearn for focus: the actor’s focus. We’re humans, human animals. We need to know where the tiger coming from! We can’t help that. It’s instinctual. We look to your eyes We try to read your thoughts We are alert. Be focused. 5. Stage some movement.  At least move a little. Just sitting in the chair, dead center, is an uninteresting choice. It’s not a film audition. 6. Learn!  TPS is a GREAT and hospitable learning environment. Seattle is one of the finest cities on the planet. And TPS is a real jewel. LAX, SFO, NYC are sure to around for some time. So, please enjoy SEA and TPS!
  • Rushing. Doing a single piece. 2. Doing two pieces in essentially the same tone, pace, and energy. 3. Speaking in a volume suitable for their living room, but too quiet for the theatre.
  • Bringing props. This includes phones, paper, sticks, etc. If you need a prop to do the monologue, don’t do the monologue. Also, phone conversations do not make good audition pieces.
  • Story monologues. It seems like such a good idea, but a monologue that is simply the retelling of a story does nothing to tell me if you can play action. If there is a tiny story in the middle of the monologue to make a point to the person you’re ‘talking’ to, that can work.
  • It is infinitely better to have two thirty-second monologues than to go over your time.
  • Most of us in the room do not produce Shakespeare or period pieces. It is possible to find modern plays with complex text.
  • If we won’t be able to tell that you’re local from your resume and phone number, we want to know that. If your personal appearance is drastically different from normal, we want to know that (like if today you have purple hair because you’re in a show). Other than that, please do not explain. Don’t explain the context of the monologue, your personal situation, your state of health, etc.
  • Choosing material that was not appropriate for their age/type.
  • Far too many actors went over time as I’m sure was noted by all. It signifies lack of preparation and inability to follow instructions.
  • I would also like to see more personality and less forced formality when actors introduce their pieces.
  • Forgetting to enjoy being there. Forgetting to have an arc in monologues.  Playing to only one side of the room.
  • Forgetting to introduce themselves or their pieces. Volume and diction. Not under timing their selections.
  • From what I saw, going up on their lines.
  • Going over the time limit!
  • going over their time limit
  • Going over time. Leave me wanting more and seeing your best!
  • Going overtime. Rushing their transitions between monologues. Trying the same tactics over and over in their monologues. If two pieces were used, not enough contrast in physicality between the two. Taking too much time with their introductions.
  • I didn’t see any common mistakes that I couldn’t blame on nervousness by an actor – forgetting to grab music or knowing which way to exit.
  • I don’t think of them as mistakes, because they tell me what I need to know, really.
  • I felt like a lot of actors rushed through the ends of their pieces, or didn’t really have a strong ending moment for their pieces. I would encourage all actors to let us know the pieces you’re doing; a couple of actors didn’t mention them at all, and while it didn’t ruin their audition, I found myself taken out of the moment with wondering what the pieces were.
  • I would recommend introducing yourself with “Hello” and your name. No stories, no jokes, and no playwrights and titles.  Allow the entire audition to be the piece you have practiced and nothing more… Also, most actors who presented two pieces were much better in one than the other.  I suggest showing your best work only.  Directors can determine your versatility in a later audition.  What I am looking for is presence, confidence, and command.
  • If you show more than one monologue, use that opportunity to show contrast. Don’t show us two similar pieces.
  • If you sing, you should be able to communicate what you need to the pianist within 15 or 20 seconds.
  • If you sing, please also do at least one monologue . . . and make sure you show contrast.
  • I’m personally not impressed by gimmicky auditions. I want to get to know you, and the gimmick almost always gets in the way.
  • It doesn’t seem that most actors plan their auditions–how do they show their strengths and hide their weaknesses, what they want the auditors to know ab out them.Most, not all, seemed a little shocked to be there and so were a little apologetic in their offerings.
  • It’s hard to see an actors range if they do Shakespeare, especially for both monologues
  • Lack of contrast in monologues.
  • Leave the Shakespeare monologues at home; 98% of the theatres attending the TPS generals don’t do Shakespeare.
  • Lack of professional preparation i.e. time limit, practiced introductions. Editing climactic, well-known pieces into short sound bites.
  • Looking at the floor rather than up and out was a recurring problem. Dull, depressing and conservative material hampered many seemingly charming and skillful actors.
  • Many actors chose pieces that didn’t fit their age range or “look”.
  • Material that wasn’t engaging or appropriate. Safe and boring choices.
  • Monologues that are rants; monologues that are narrative; monologues that are joke dependent. I’m also not sure why there’s so much Shakespeare, given that a) it’s not an easy thing, b) Seattle Shakes was not in attendance, and c) they’re missing an opportunity to show an alternate side of themselves.
  • Not being grounded, empty breath, not being on their voice, not much contrast in the pieces.
  • Not looking like their headshot. Resume formatting. Underdressing for an audition. Jeans and tennis shoes are not the right attire for an audition.
  • Not playing actions or intentions; choosing “clever” stories that function more as anecdote or joke than a piece of quality, actable text; going over their time limit
  • Not projecting enough or over-projecting, lack of vocal training. Trailing off at the end of the line. Being fidgety, not specific with gestures. Not connecting to the role they were playing. Not connecting to the “person” they are speaking to. Not knowing where to place the “person”, i.e. addressing the floor.  My biggest frustration was when a musical theater actor did back-to-back songs (especially if there was very little difference between the songs. I wanted to see that they had some acting ability too. At the very least musical theater actors should do a song and a monologue to show more range.  Many actors did two monologues that were not contrasting enough. Also – several only did only one monologue.
  • Not returning props back to their spots
  • Not taking a moment between monologues to separate performances, many readings of which were too similar to distinguish.
  • Not timing their pieces correctly and being cut off, and not showing a range. (I.E. two songs, or two Shakespearean pieces)
  • Only a few failed to move. Movement makes everything more engaging.  Some of the singers chose pieces that they did not have the range for.
  • There seems to be an idea that actors MUST do two monologues. For the most part, there was one monologue that an actor truly rocked.  But then the auditors have to politely as possible sit there and wait through a monologue that the actor should not have done.  Don’t do two pieces just because.  And don’t do two pieces that are similar.  If you’re going to do it, make them truly and extremely contrasting that show that you have that kind of range as an actor.  Most times, one really strong monologue that showcases the actors true talent is all an auditor needs.  Making us sit through what feels like an acting class is terrible!  If you can’t ROCK Shakespeare, don’t do it.  And often times actors went over time which really makes them look unpolished and unpracticed leaving me, as a director, to think this actor will not do their work on their own.
  • TOO MUCH MEDIOCRE SHAKESPEARE. Unless you can do it exceptionally, outstandingly well – DON’T DO IT. 
  • Went over time
  • We’re looking at you from the moment you enter –if you beeline to the mark and “don’t see us” till then it seems odd. Hurried/apologetic/nervous introductions.  Not letting the first piece land before launching the second.  

What were the most overused pieces, playwrights, plays, done by female actors?

  • Christopher Durang
  • Durang
  • Helena- All’s Well That Ends Well- Shakespeare.
  • I didn’t notice any gender specific mistakes… Generally, the classical monologues are useless to 90% of the auditors in the house.  They often feel like pieces that the actor mastered in a college class–in same cases, decades ago–and do not feel like they have been shaped by a director or the experience of working with an acting partner.  TPS should inform actors that Seattle’s primary Shakespeare producers are not in attendance at UGA, and they may be wasting their two minutes. 
  • I didn’t see a particular piece overused. Seeing a monologue done twice in 400 actors can hardly be called overused. If you relate well to the material, the subject matter is compelling, and you do it like only you can do it, I would beg of you not to worry about who else is doing it. The choice of material is rarely what I am examining in your audition unless it is just glaringly inappropriate.
  • I don’t feel pieces are “overused” if they are done well. I’m not here to be entertained; if the piece suits you and performed well, I don’t care if I’ve heard it 3 times already.
  • I don’t mind seeing pieces done by many…but it sure tells who is talented by how they are executed.
  • In general, “why don’t you love me” relationship monologues got tiresome.
  • Lot of Laughing Wild this year.
  • Neil LaBute, David Ives
  • Not a particular issue to me. If an auditor is uptight about seeing repeats, they need to get over that.   It’s a nice bonus to have unusual pieces, but it’s not a major concern.   Two of the people I’ve booked from this set of generals actually sang the same song.    I don’t even like the song, but they’re both good singers I can use, so it didn’t really matter.  
  • Nothing in particular stood out to me.
  • Proof!
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Rabbit Hole.
  • Rabbit Hole. Way of the World. Really any David Lindsay-Abaire. Why do so many actors want to bring up cancer and dead babies in a minute of monologue? Mainstream plays seem to offer women either “Why don’t you love me?” or “I’m experiencing grief.” Screw that. Find different sources in fringe theatre, novels, poetry, whatever. Death to the dead baby monologue!
  • Shakespeare
  • Stupid F**king Bird (don’t remember which gender or if both. just heard it too much)
  • Shakespeare

What were the most overused pieces, playwrights, plays, done by male actors?

  • Again, it doesn’t really matter to me. They’re choosing the pieces they like, and that tells me things about their experience, taste, personality, etc.   Actors can put energy into finding unusual selections, but they should probably just put energy into finding songs that fit THEM.  
  • Again, not gender specific… The choice of material reveals a lot about the performer.  If you are performing a passage from another era (and by that, include the 1980s and 1990s) that is overtly sexist, I am not eager to invite you into my collaboration.  This is a long day, and only the very first moment in a process of getting noticed by a director.  Why not be memorable with something positive and life-affirming?
  • Anything from Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild.
  • Christopher Durang
  • Christopher Durang
  • David Mamet
  • Durang
  • I didn’t see a particular piece overused. Seeing a monologue done twice in 400 actors can hardly be called overused. If you relate well to the material, the subject matter is compelling, and you do it like only you can do it, I would beg of you not to worry about who else is doing it. The choice of material is rarely what I am examining in your audition unless it is just glaringly inappropriate.
  • I don’t feel pieces are “overused” if they are done well. I’m not here to be entertained; if the piece suits you and performed well, I don’t care if I’ve heard it 3 times already.
  • It’s all a blur now…just do whatever you do well.
  • Laughing Wild- Christopher Durang. Enough with the Sam Shepard. Choosing a piece by Neil LaBute gives you negative points (which is not to say it can’t be done well).
  • Mamet (Father in a baked potato) and Shakespeare
  • Men — monologue from “Laughing Wild” about the baked potato.
  • Picasso at the Lapin Agile
  • Shakespeare
  • Please, please, no more Christopher Durang. The baked potato thing.
  • Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare (I get it, but still…), Picasso at the Lapine Agile
  • Shakespeare and the father in my baked potato dream.
  • The monologue with the baked potato.
  • the potato monologue from laughing wild by durang
  • Violent, threatening monologues with no arc.

Beyond ‘overused’, what types of monologues/songs worked better or worse in this format?

  • Anything the actor connects to and enjoys performing (truly making their slot a performance) always work best.
  • better is having something dynamic wherein you can go through the journey of the piece quickly with much commitment
  • Cursing profusely is no longer regarded as ‘edgy’ (was it at some point?) and it seems rarely to convey anything necessary for the piece and usually feels rather gratuitous. The same with the heightened emotional state that often manifests in yelling and screaming at one’s scene partner. Without the appropriate build-up this rarely pays off in an audition format and usually leaves me feeling whiplashed.
  • I also noted that the huge majority of spoken pieces were about breakups, relationship strife, etc. and it seems to me there are many more important struggles to explore in modern theater.
  • if you do Shakespeare, you must know that it is your strongest piece and you must do MUCH more than recite the poetry.
  • I don’t personally like the excruciatingly emotional pieces that amount to the actor screaming at the auditors. We use to call those “Screaming Mommy” monologues.   Of course, my view would be entirely different if I were hiring for a Screaming Mommy play, right? 
  • I liked seeing more aspects of an actor. I would even encourage folks to do some kind of dancing if they have the ability and want to show that.  I like seeing multifaceted actors who demonstrate that during the audition.
  • I think it’s better to use an actual monologue rather than a scene that has been turned into a monologue by taking away the other speaker…if that makes any sense.
  • I want to see characters in active pursuit of objective, shifting through a range of tactics, in a monologue. Monologues that simply tell a story about something that happened, while often funny, are much less helpful in showing an actor’s skill.
  • I wish there was a way that two actors could pool their time and do a scene together. I have never auditioned actors speaking in monologues in my life.  Most of what I want to see in an audition is eye-contact, listening, and response.  There are great partner scenes that are under four minutes that would reveal something about both characters.  It would be great to include this as an option, and sprinkle them in during the course of the UGA.
  • If actors do two monologues, try to make them different to show range
  • It’s actor-dependent.
  • Monologues that engage another character work best. Those that are essentially stories or narration of an event don’t tell the auditors as much about your ability to handle emotional changes.
  • Monologues where the character was actively pursuing something worked much more successfully for me than “story” monologues; these tended to be very reflective and passive which are not interesting dynamics to show in an audition. I rather enjoyed pieces where the actors could use the “room” as their scene partner as opposed to just picking a spot on a wall to talk to. I would also encourage actors to look for pieces that were written after the early 1990’s….there were a lot of monologue book standards being performed. I would encourage actors to look at more recent text.
  • Not introspective comedy – please try to create a character other than your cheeky self.
  • Pieces that had a beginning a middle and an end, and especially a point (objective) worked best.
  • Really appreciate action-driven monologues that aren’t based on telling a story.
  • Screeching is not belting.
  • Short monologues are MUCH better. Auditors only need 30-45 seconds to tell if an actor is going to work for what they want, and they get impatient if they’re forced to sit for too long after that. Songs that allow for a display of acting ability as well as range are helpful. Please do not do two songs – then no one knows if you can act or not.
  • With an arc.
  • Surprisingly, sometimes material from TV shows or movies, or unexpected places were worth the risk!
  • The “angry” monologues were perhaps most dramatic, but they were not the most engaging.
  • The best was always two different pieces that showed full range from comedy to dramatic.
  • There are very few companies who do classical work who attend TPS generals, so I think the audition time is better used showcasing more contemporary/less heightened text.
  • worse: Monologues that are rants; monologues that are narrative; monologues that are joke dependent. better: active monologues where the actor knows a) who s/he is b) who s/he is talking to and c) why s/he is to talking to that person. i.e., acting

You saw a lot of headshots and resumes.  What were common mistakes actors might want to avoid in their headshots and resumes?

  • a hazy filtered headshot; hats
  • Actors should list their talent. More and more film people come to auditions each year. Talent agents get yoset when ither agents approach their talent.
  • Actually did not look at ANY of them until a week after the auditions. They were fine for my purposes.
  • Again, not mistakes – just useful information. I only looked at the resumes AFTER I had identified singers of interest.    I identified 16 singers from the auditions, read those resumes only, did a little net research on the people, and narrowed it to 8.   7 of the 8 said yes.   The other hasn’t answered. 
  • The resume info is fine, but the net research piece is important to me, because people’s random candid YouTube vids and Facebook presence says tons about their fit for the gig. If I can’t find anything on them, I’ll pass on them.
  • Black and white photos.
  • DO NOT LIST FILM EXTRA WORK ON YOUR RESUME.
  • Look like your headshot. Hair changes, I get it. But if you’re 10 years older then your headshot or 30lbs heavier, it is time to get a new one.
  • Don’t list every play you’ve ever done.
  • Please list both where you did it & who directed it.
  • Don’t lie on your resume:
    • Fringe theatre is not “regional theatre.”
    • Readings should be listed under “Readings/Workshops.”
    • Listing rentals in theaters like ACT should not be listed as ACT Productions.
    • List the theater that each production was with!
  • Formatting resumes sloppily was a problem. Make sure if your hair is blonde in your photo that your hair is blond when you chow up (unless of course you let us know that your hair color is for a show you are currently in).  Don’t list every single performance you’ve ever been in; choose your resume high lights if it is extensive.
  • Getting the theatre company names they worked for correct. Using headshots that still resemble the actor is always good.
  • headshots that are so close that is it literally just the face- not great.
  • I prefer most recent work on top.
  • I recommend four columns for each resume credit: Play, Role, Producing Organization, Director. I also prefer portrait, not landscape-oriented headshots.
  • I also recommend having a professional headshot photographer take your headshot. Great recommendations are available on the Seattle Theatre Artists Facebook group.
  • I think it is always better to use a professional picture. And always list directors you work with on your resumes, as auditors like to see if you have worked with people they know.
  • I would ask actors to always have personal contact information on their resumes. Agent contact information is great for film/TV work, but if I’m interested in reaching you for a theatre project, I’d rather talk to you directly. Also, please make sure your headshot is somewhat recent; there were a number of actors whose headshots looked to be more than a few years old, and the actors really didn’t look like their picture anymore.
  • Ideally, for me, the photos should look like the person, today. But that can be expensive. And a headshot for film/tv is different than for the stage.
  • I’d prefer a recent snapshot, I guess, I will remember the actor, based on the audition.
  • If a actors has representation-please have it on their resume!!
  • If you wouldn’t be comfortable using your head shot as your main form of identification, then you should probably get a new head shot. Many head shots seemed out of date.  I think I would rather see a less-than-professional head shot that was more accurate than a super-professional head shot which is inaccurate.
  • it is nice when the resume has agent on it. Some didn’t, even if they were represented
  • It should look like the person we see before us.
  • Filling it up with the names of classes they took. The name of the school is sufficient, but if you must, then list your teachers.
  • Listing roles & plays but not the name of the theatre.
  • Abbreviations for schools or theatres no one has ever heard of.
  • Make sure you know the difference between a producer and a venue. If you worked a rental event at ACT, it should not appear on your resume as an ACT production.  This kine of mistake either looks like you are padding your credits by dropping the name of a LORT company *that has never hired you), or just as bad, it appears that you don’t have enough interest in your own industry to know the difference.
  • Make them current (especially older actors. Like me.  🙂
  • Don’t use a phone photo
  • Making sure the headshot looks like them and is up to date is really important. Headshots that aren’t accurate or are out of date is an extremely common mistake.
  • Most were ok–a couple of phone pictures but at least they weren’t selfies.
  • No valid/accurate contact info – put as much as possible on there please… We can’t hire you if it’s a hassle to reach you… (Kudos to TPS for online info.)
  • Please check resumes for misspellings, typos, and bad grammar…
  • not looking at the camera.
  • Not putting their agency representation on their resumes
  • Out-of-date photos that no longer look like who you present.
  • This was the area in which I saw the fewest mistakes. Most headshot photographers know what they are doing since the competition is so high. Spend the money for pro headshots! A shadowy selfie with your point-and-shoot immediately turns me off.
  • I had a headshot photographer tell me once that half my face should be in shadow. No no no! Your face should be free of shadows and your hair should be out of your face. Also, PLEASE look like yourself in your picture – if you don’t usually wear make-up, you shouldn’t paint an inch thick in your headshots! And conversely, please try to look like your headshot when you come to audition.  If you have had a significant change of appearance, you need new headshots!
  • Unique formatting that was too busy looking. Not listing the name of the company. Using film formatting for theatre (i.e. “Lead” vs the name of the character). It’s also beneficial to put names of local directors or teachers on your resume–that helps us identify who you’ve worked with, so we can check references with those we know.
  • Would like to see dates on their credits.

General comments you wish to make to actors who may want to do the general auditions in the future.

  • Embrace the opportunity to perform! You do this because you love to act.  The auditors are rooting for you, and there is real warmth for every actor walking in.  Time your pieces with enough breathing room.
  • Do at least two pieces and make sure they are different in tone and energy. 2. If possible, run through your pieces in a space larger than your living room. This will help you bring a stronger voice to the audition. 3. Focus on what your character wants in the moment, each moment of the monologue. It’s much more important to have that than it is to intellectualize the beginning, middle and end. It’s what you do before the end that matters.
  • Be prepared, practice in front of friends, family, and anyone who will give you the time… not only to get feedback, but to get yourself used to giving your monologue smoothly and with the least amount of nerves possible. And enjoy yourself.  The auditors want you to succeed. They really want you to be the actor they have been looking for.
  • Choose selections that really show your range and versatility. If you don’t have range – do a longer piece well.  Remember to time your auditions – its annoying and uncomfortable when someone needs to be shut off.  That should never happen – time it.  Remember YOU may think you don’t have enough time to showcase your talents, but the auditors sometimes need only a few seconds.  Dress professionally but not in a manner that distracts from what you are doing.  
  • Come in with a smile, and YOUR personality. You’re entire time in the room is your audition, not just what you perform. Show us something that brings you JOY! Breathe.
  • Enjoy yourself as much as possible. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.  Mistakes are opportunities for glorious saves.  Be present and engaged and you will have an engaging audition.
  • Enjoy!
  • Find pieces with roles that you think you could play now – think about age range, your look and your personal acting range.
  • GO FOR IT! Break a leg!  And please thank everybody at TPS. They are the best!
  • Go with the flow
  • have fun and live in the world in the piece! The people who look terrified are not memorable, and the people who are comfortable in their body give us a better idea of who you are make our lives easier.
  • Have fun! We want you to be great so know that we’re on your side. Take your time and own the room.
  • I know if I’m going to pay attention to you in the first 15 seconds of your monologue. You have two minutes of time but you do not need to fill it.
  • Audition attire is at a minimum business casual. It is what you would wear on a job interview. Be comfortable & confident in what you’re wearing, yes, please! But you would not wear jeans & tennis shoes to a job interview & UGA is an interview with a lot of potential employers.
  • If you are appearing for the first time, realize you might be engraving your place in my brain. We pigeon-hole people into skill-level categories, and it takes a MASSIVE change for us to move your pigeon-hole, once we think we know it.   If you want to make a shift in how you’re getting cast, take the time and get a pro to help you really make that shift.   Don’t go out auditioning again until you’re truly the new thing you want to be.
  • Keep your pieces short! If you don’t have the auditors within 30 seconds, you’ll lose them completely. Make your physicality strong. And practice repeatedly to make sure you’re within time. Going overtime gives the impression that you’re not professional, whether or not that’s true.
  • Know that the auditors really want you to do well and want to be actively engaged with what you are presenting. It is tiring to sit there for so many hours and see so many actors, so if were not completely riveted we may appear bored. It’s not personal. Find a way to get our attention. Surprise, and delight us.
  • Make bigger choices. Showcase your artistic passion, your quirks. If you have the skill to go from crying and despair over your cancer/dead baby/childhood trauma, Ok, go for it. Otherwise, ditch the downer and have fun. Contrast is wonderful to see. Whether you can show contrast in two short different pieces or a single piece with some layers doesn’t matter, but if you have range, show it.
  • Remember that shouting is not acting.
  • Saw a lot of people doing one monologue this year. As long as it shows a range, I thought that actually worked rather well!
  • Please don’t take up too much time introducing yourself by telling us a funny story. We just want to see your work.
  • Show us your personality in your introduction, then show us something unique, special or different from you in your presentation.
  • Stand in the harshest overhead light possible and have someone (whose critical eye you trust) tell you the unvarnished truth about how you really look in whatever you are thinking about wearing to your audition. Many/most of the flimsy fabrics used by women’s clothing manufacturers today are extremely unflattering, not to mention way too revealing, under stage lights. Assume this is true for at least 95% of the stuff hanging in your closet. As much as possible, choose neutral clothing that draws the viewer’s eye to your FACE and ONLY your face. Get thee to the gym/class each and every day, no excuses. Focus on body toning, posture and losing excess pounds. If you want to be a formidable actor, you need to be in true fighting shape. Don’t worry, you are allowed to let yourself go when you are 93 (but not a moment before). Next, get yourself to a qualified vocal coach who can teach you how to correctly modulate your speaking voice and expand your vocal range. Women: Mary Jane (strap) shoes are not your friend.
  • Take the damn stage as if it belongs to you–it does for 2 minutes, so own it.
  • Take your time, don’t rush through your scenes. I know many of you only have 2 minutes, but make them count: Quality trumps Quantity.
  • Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent. We appreciate you.
  • These two minutes are a one-person show. It’s your stage – take it!  And enjoy performing – don’t apologize for being there with your body language or facial expressions.  It’s your job.
  • Those of us that are established recognize you from year to year. We hope for improvement and variety in your presentation.  Too often, especially Equity actors, we see the same (or similar) pieces because few actors nurture their talent through classes or workshops to challenge them.  Stagnating dilettantes are not artistic professionals.  Please spare us the 3 minutes if you are one of those who dabble in acting in your free time hoping to get in a show to do the same thing you always do.  If you’ve grown and have something fresh or new to show us, by all means, bring it on.  Otherwise, call yourself a hobbyist.
  • We are so glad that you come out every year, and I know you never know how you did in the audition, but those who are prepared and professional year after year DO make an impression and rise to the top of the list.
  • Whether doing one piece or two, only choose material solidly in your wheelhouse. It’s not worth showing two pieces for range if you don’t feel equally strong in both parts of your range. I’d rather see one piece that’s honest and reflective of who you are and what you do best than one strong piece and one half solid piece.
  • Time yourself!
  • Work with someone prior to auditioning: an acting coach or a director. It was clear that there were some people who would have been much more successful had they had outside eyes on their piece to guide them.
  • Your audition slot is not an appropriate time to advertise your current project – that is a bit tacky. However, please put it on your resume! We are interested, but we don’t want to hear about each and every person’s current show in their introduction.
  • Please TAKE RISKS. Please choose material that speaks to you, that makes you feel completely authentic when speaking the words. Don’t be afraid of gender-swapping, don’t be afraid of choosing a monologue that isn’t “”right for you””. What I care about it is how you connect to what you are saying.
  • If a performer auditions, it seems as though they should want to work. Of course it’s their prerogative to decline opportunities, but in the past there seems to be a higher than normal ratio of flakiness… Actors: if you are in it for the long run, act like it. If not, that’s okay, but don’t waste my time! Everyone has a busy schedule – if you can’t make an audition at least text/email that you won’t be there. If you don’t, of course you won’t get the job. Maybe you don’t give a damn. Then don’t audition. Allow someone else who wants to act to take your spot. (Fortunately almost all of the actors are professional and courteous – if you are one of them, please disregard!)

2016 Monologues

TPS Volunteers collected data on monologues performed during the UGA.  Some actors could not be heard or understood so this is not a complete list.

Playwright #
Other 188
William Shakespeare 72
Sam Shepard 7
Theresa Rebeck 7
Christopher Durang 6
David Lindsay-Abaire 6
George Bernard Shaw 6
Neil Simon 6
Richard Greenberg 6
Sarah Ruhl 6
Tenness Williams 6
John Patrick Shanley 5
Lee Blessing 5
Oscar Wilde 5
Aaron Posner 4
Anton Chekhov 4
David Ives 4
David Mamet 4
Neil LaBute 4
Thornton Wilder 4
Tony Kushner 4
Wade Bradford 4
Alan Ball 3
David Hare 3
Eric Bogosian 3
Lanford Wilson 3
Maggie Lee 3
Maria Irene Flores 3
Rajiv Joseph 3
Sophocles 3
Terrence McNally 3
Adam Bock 2
Annie Baker 2
Arthur Miller 2
David Auburn 2
Donald Margulies 2
Douglas Carter Beane 2
Euripides 2
George Axelrod 2
Jane Martin 2
Joanna Murray-Smith 2
John Guare 2
Jon Robin Baitz 2
Jose Rivera 2
Kelleen Conway Blanchard 2
Lauren Gunderson 2
Marsha Norman 2
Martin McDonagh 2
Matt Olson 2
Melissa James Gibson 2
Mike Bartlett 2
Nick Payne 2
Peter Shaffer 2
Stephen Adly Guirgis 2
Steve Martin 2
Steven Dietz 2
Tim Clue & Spike Manton 2
Tom Stoppard 2
Walter Wykes 2
William Mastrosimone 2
Yasmina Reza 2

 

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