After a few rounds of freeze tag, head of acting, Jonathon Hendry, told us that was to expect from the monologues part of the audition. The process was going to be as in a workshop, so the panel might stop us at any given moment during the performance to work with us. Brilliant, bring it on, let me show you what I can do!
Being stopped during a performance is by no means bad thing. Most of the time you'll be stopped because the panel have already seen something that they want to work with and that can just as likely be a good thing. You've shown them something, now they want more and they are going to help you get there. Because they want you to succeed, they want you to be great! The whole performance process was thus very generous in spirit and at least for me thoroughly enjoyable.
As mention several times before on this blog we were asked to prepare one modern and one classic piece no longer than two minutes long. I might have been a little superstitious or something the like but I didn't want to talk about my choices until after the first audition. - Notice I say 'first audition'. I still want that recall workshop!
Anyway, my choices were the following;
The modern monologue: Rose, The Woolgatherer by William Mastrosimone
Rose is obsessed with her own demise and is waiting for her true love which at the same time she doesn't believe will ever come. She tells a story about her friend/alter ego Brenda. Brenda fell in love with a one night stand and when he wouldn't open his door to her the next day because he was with another girl, Brenda almost died after spending the night lying in the snow and ended up in hospital for two months. Rose says that 'When you love somebody... even when they cheat you make a fool of yourself even if you have to sit in the snow and die.' According to Rose that's true love. This one sounds a bit dramatic but is actually strangely funny. At times it has the pace and quality of a seven year old girl excitedly telling her parents that that happened, and then that happened, and then THAT happened!
The classic monologue: Ophelia, Ophelia thinks harder by Jean Betts and William Shakespear
Yup, that's right. This is the play that inspired the title of this very blog. Jean Betts did some amazing play pillaging and rewrote Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view, dealing with issues such as womanhood, the virginity cult, and misogyny. All the great lines of Shakespeare's Hamlet go to Ophelia. It's bloody brilliant! So, Ophelia, torn between being expected to become a woman, a wife, a lover, a mother, at the same time being expected to stay pure, a virgin, the perfect woman, wonders whether she can escape this ridicule, whether there is life before death and whether she shouldn't just end her life now. To be or not to be... I don't think I need to say more about THE
I started with Rose. My first instinct was to get the classic out of the way and end with something funny. But here's the thing, and thank you Barbara for pointing this out, everyone starts with their serious piece if they even have a more comedic one. Because everyone wants to be 'a serious' actor. It is soooo boring and if you'd look at 200+ auditionees wouldn't that just do your head in? So, I started with the serio-comedic Rose and hallelujah for that because I was the only one bar one other in my group of ten. Rose went well. I didn't see the panel's reactions to her because I used my fellow auditionees as my audience but I think they liked her and we went straight onto Ophelia.
I might have shot myself in the foot next though but I shall tell you about this in The audition - Part 3.