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An Audition Monologue, part the first

Your Humble Blogger will be auditioning again, in a few days. I’ve had quite a nice time off, but I’ve started feeling that desire again, wanting to wear other people’s clothes and speak other people’s words.

This audition is for a group that I have auditioned for three times, already, without being cast. I don’t really expect to be cast in this one, either, but it’s worth a shot— a theater within walking distance of the house is kind of a Golden Ticket, and I’m willing to keep buying a lot of chocolate bars on the miniscule chance of payoff. Plus, if there’s no ticket, there’s still chocolate, and I’m afraid I do enjoy auditioning, particularly when I don’t feel pressure because I don’t expect to be cast.

The interesting thing for this one is that I am required to prepare a monologue. I don’t have one in my pocket anymore. Back when I thought I wanted to be a professional actor, to attempt to earn a living at it, I had my tight two minutes, classical and modern, and I have to admit they didn’t get me any parts, so I don’t entirely regret having lost them in the dim recesses of my memory. This time they want a Shakespeare serious two minutes, and I will have to memorize it by next week.

Now, working at a library as I do, I went to a reference book. I could have waded through my Riverside (actually my Best Reader’s Riverside), but that would have been silly: the lists of suggested audition monologues are pretty darned comprehensive, and much much lighter than the Riverside. Throwing my back out now would put me out of the show for sure. So. Shakespeare audition monologue, male, middle-aged (there are three available parts, one thirty-ish man and two fifty-ish, so go where the numbers are) (plus, while I insist I can still play thirty-ish, that has not been confirmed by independent sources for a while) (where was I? Oh, right, male and middle-aged) and not too overused. I am not going to give them the Prayer of Claudius; I’m not going to give them Now is the Winter; I’m not going to give them the World as a Stage; I’m not going to give them Iago’s Villainy. No, my slot is not the end of the audition day but it isn’t at the beginning, and I don’t want to be the third person giving them those lines. And I’m not going to try to give them Titus’ Recipe, either, although it is not among the Most Overdone Monologues.

I have settled on Coriolanus, having been expelled from Rome, showing up at the house of his defeated enemy and volunteering to lead their armies against his old city, purely out of spite. It’s a nice monologue, which I haven’t seen before—I’ve never seen the play produced, and I’ve only skimmed the text of it— and if it does happen to be new to the casting people, it’s rather amazingly straightforward. The speaker not only introduces himself by name, he states his current situation, his motivations, his goals. Within the context of the play, of course, these aren’t necessarily reliable, but for an audition monologue, it’s nice to be able to say: this is who I am, this is why I am here, this is what I want you to do. Clarity.

I’m planning to write about the piece over the next few days, as I work on it. I don’t know if it will help me get the part, but I’m hoping it’ll be interesting. So. Next time, the text and my initial thoughts.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,