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Another Audition Monologue, part the first

Your Humble Blogger will be auditioning for yet another Shakespeare play, this time The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice. I enjoyed writing about the Audition Monologue process a couple of years ago, so I thought I would write about this one, too. It’s different this time: instead of the actors choosing monologues (which I believe is still the standard), they are having us prepare sides of our own characters’ lines. I am reading for Brabantio, so they sent me a sheet with sides, and said We also ask that you prepare the side to the best of your ability. So that’s my job, now.

Brabantio, by the way, is Desdemona’s father. It’s a nice, small, juicy role with a few big scenes in the first act, and then a couple of hours in the green room with earbuds and a crossword puzzle. I may be too young for it—if they have a very young Desdemona (which is how it is written, after all) then having a Brabantio who is in the prime of life (stop snickering) will emphasize her youth. If they have an actress for Desdemona who is not so youthful as all that, they will want a greybeard for Brabantio and I am out of luck. Ah, well. Almost all the other characters are in their twenties or early thirties, though. Unless, you know, they aren’t. Depends on how it’s cast, innit?

Anyway, the two sides they gave me are lovely: the first is from right after we meet Desdemona. I have accused Othello in front of the Duke of using witchcraft or drugs to seduce Desdemona, and when she is brought in (all unbeknownst like) she calls Othello her husband and shows affection for him. I say:

God be wi’ you! I have done. Please it your grace, on to the state-affairs: I had rather to adopt a child than get it. Come hither, Moor: I here give thee with all my heart that which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee. For your sake, jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child: for thy escape would teach me tyranny, to hang clogs on them. I have done, my lord.

The one labeled #2 is actually from earlier in the play: Brabantio has discovered that his daughter is missing, is told that she is sleeping with Othello, and braves the soldier in his home:

O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow’d my daughter? Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enchanted her; For I’ll refer me to all things of sense, if she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair and happy, so opposite to marriage that she shunned the wealthy curled darlings of our nation, would ever have to incur a general mock, run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou, to fear not to delight. Judge me the world, if ’tis not gross in sense that thou hast practiced on her with foul charms, abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weaken motion: I’ll have’t disputed on; ’tis probable and palpable to thinking. I therefore apprehend and do attach thee for an abuser of the world, a practiser of arts inhibited and out of warrant. Lay hold upon him: if he do resist, subdue him at his peril.

I am using the punctuation they gave me, but have (as is my wont) laid it out as if it were prose, rather than verse. There is an issue there (for my memorization) with the short line in the middle of the first one, but I think the chop of Come hither Moor is obvious enough without the line break.

Anyway—are they not great? That first bit has half-a-dozen different changes in it, pace and goal and audience and emotion. I’m really looking forward to it. The second is just a lovely rant—an excellent challenge for speaking vehemently and clearly, at speed but communicating the sense. I am hoping to write about them in detail over the next week as I am prepping them for the audition.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


> If they have an actress for Desdemona who is not so youthful as all that, they will want a greybeard for Brabantio and I am out of luck.

But is your beard not grey, good thespian? For mine is surely graced by silver threads, while your years number somewhat more than mine.

The hair is salt-and-pepper, but the beard, such as it is, comes in dark. But the point, really, is that I think I play my age or, perhaps, even younger; they don't want anyone thinking that Desdemona's father is younger than she is.


Yeah, no, sure. I mostly was just inspired to reply to your post about Shakespeare, in iambic pentameter.

Ah, yes. Well done. Not at all sensitive about my distinguishment here.


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