Compiled by Former Camp Director and Professional Actor Valerie Weak
Does the audition really have to be two minutes?
No. Two minutes is the longest an audition should be. Around one minute is fine, but aim to use at least 30 seconds. Any shorter and we won’t get to know you well enough. The audition must be done in English.
Where do I find monologues for kids?
A monologue is traditionally defined as a section of a play where one character speaks without interruption for longer than is usual. When you start looking, monologues are everywhere.
- Begin by looking through favorite fiction and nonfiction that is written in the first person, or has dialogue. Sometimes one or two paragraphs of a favorite novel will fit our requirements.
- If the camper wants to present something funny, look at the work of comedy writers who specialize in family-friendly material.
- Letters are also easy to adapt to a monologue. If you can find books of collected letters from historical figures, this can work well.
- There are also collections of monologues from plays published in anthology form. Take a look at your local library, and make sure you’re looking at collections where the characters are age-appropriate. Titles will usually include this information.
- It is also perfectly fine to present material that the camper has performed previously, maybe from a school play or a class.
Can I sing a song?
We strongly prefer to see spoken pieces. The shows we present at drama camp rarely include singing, and when they do, we’ll ask campers to demonstrate that skill after their original audition.
Can I read from a piece of paper?
One of the things we’re watching for at auditions is ability to memorize material. Students should not bring their script onstage, but it is helpful to bring it to camp for a final review.
Can I tell a familiar story such as the 3 little pigs?
Our preferred audition pieces are published, memorized material. If you’ve been unable to find something, and want to use this strategy, create a ‘script’ and memorize it.
Can I memorize and perform a poem?
Yes! Yes! Yes! We love watching campers perform poems. A few good sources include: Shel Silverstein, Edgar Allan Poe, and Lewis Carroll. Also check local libraries for children’s poetry anthologies. Be aware that some of these choices are very popular — we’ve seen a lot of versions of ‘Sick’ by Shel Silverstein, as well as a few others.
Here are a few tips to consider when preparing your audition.
- Start memorizing AT LEAST one week in advance. If you’re prepared, it’ll be easier to relax and enjoy performing the audition.
- Choose a piece that would get a G or PG rating if it was a movie. Avoid material that would be inappropriate in a school or classroom situation.
- Practice speaking the words loudly and clearly. We really want to be able to hear you AND to understand what you’re saying.
- Make a really clear decision about who you’re talking to. It will affect how you deliver your piece. We talk to friends differently than we talk to our parents and teachers, and that’s different than the way we talk to our baby brother. If you’re not sure, try it out with different choices until you figure out which one you like best.
- Practice the beginning and the ending, too. How will you walk onto the stage, and how will you walk away? Make sure that you don’t rush to start talking until you’ve gotten settled, and that you don’t start leaving before you’re done.
- Plan and practice introducing the piece. An introduction should be in the following format. My name is … and I’ll be doing (name of piece) by (author). You don’t need to explain the story if you’re taking a short selection from something longer.
- Work to SHOW instead of TELL. If your piece takes place at the North Pole, how can you show us that you’re there? Work to show us your location, the time, your feelings, the person you’re talking to, and anything else that’s important to your piece. Your tools for this are your facial expressions, your gestures and movements, and the expression in your voice.
- When you’re ready, have someone watch you practice your piece, and tell you if you’re doing any distracting movement, such as shifting from foot to foot or swinging your arms. If you are doing any movements like these, it will be easier to change if you think positively (I’m going to make the following gestures during my piece) than if you think negatively (I’m NOT going to swing my arms).
- Pick a focus (place or places to look) while talking. Don’t plan to look at real people in the audience. The best focus is somewhere above the heads of the back row of the audience. This makes it easier for us to see your face.
- If you have hair that is long enough to fall in your face, and tends to do so, please have it pulled back during your audition. We want to see what you look like.
- Have fun and enjoy your audition time. Our audition process BEGINS with your prepared audition piece. There are many factors that go into our casting process, and the initial prepared audition is only one of those factors. We will continue the audition process over the first few days of camp, so if your piece doesn’t go how you wanted it to, know that you’ll definitely get a second chance, and probably even a third or a fourth!