Updated: Jul 23, 2019
This is HUGELY IMPORTANT! Specific advice for when colleges ask you to make adjustments to your monologues in the audition.
There’s no way to know what adjustments, if any, they’re going to give you in the initial audition.
One thing‘s for sure. In the call back, you will be getting adjustments on your pieces from the schools.
When you do, there’s only 2 things you need to do 1) Listen. 2) Do the adjustment full out.
Really listen when they give you an adjustment. If you’ve worked on monologues and scenes in the past and made a lot of adjustments, that’s a big help.
If you’ve worked with plenty of coaches and directors and improved your acting, you’re at an advantage.
It’s just like working with a good coach.
A school may give you an adjustment like “Do it again, but this time, imagine you’re on a bus and speaking across the aisle, so that others are able to hear you.” Or anything.
If you can do that truthfully, then you’re responding to your imagination and you will feel how the adjustment informs the piece. That’s taking the adjustment like a pro.
Do it full out.
In a college audition, there’s never going to be a reason for you to resist or question an adjustment. If you do, you’re out!
Your willingness to commit fully to the adjustment means you internally say “YUP” to whatever they’re asking you to do and not throwing up any walls or making it something else.
Imagine if they gave you an adjustment and you were like, “Wait, I don’t think that makes sense for the character.”
Or “I’m a little nervous to do that.”
Or “Ok I like that, but what if I also added this!?”
That is an actor who is not ready to play!
That’s actor who is in their own way.
Again, these are college auditions. It’s a safe space, and they’re not going to do anything in the audition that doesn’t make you better as an artist.
They WILL ask you to do something different - potentially VERY different.
Your job is play along fully and throw your full imagination and creative energy into it.
The best practice is to get coaching on your monologues. Taking notes and making adjustments in a coaching session is exactly what’s happening here, so the more used to that you are the better.
You’ll feel right at home.
In my Juilliard call back...
they gave me an adjustment on my contemporary monologue.
They said, “Do it again, but this time, imagine you’re at your father’s grave and your best friend (who I was talking to in the piece) is actually standing behind you.”
I listened. And when they said, “Go ahead.” I looked down and imagine a gravestone with my father’s name on it, which compelled me to kneel next to it. I felt the soft dirt floor and felt the presence of my best friend standing behind me and went into the monologue.
The new things I saw and felt informed the monologue and deepened my experience.
That’s how you improve your work as an actor and they want to see that you can work like that.
Another thing I was asked to do in a call back was comb my hair with an imaginary apple at a train station. Odd? Totally! But was I willing? Without a doubt! I combed my hair with that apple and felt like a lunatic in his routine. It was fun!
Your willingness to roll with this type of stuff completely and fully and be sensitive to your imagination is what the audition is about.
Listen and play full out.