Chronicles of an Aspiring Theater Major

Kasie Patlove

Here we are. T minus 6 weeks until my first audition! Time is flying by so quickly; hopefully I’ll be ready to go by January 8th! But, I have some awesome news. About 3 weeks ago I got an email during ram from a school I am applying to with the subject line displaying “Your Acc…”. Of course I freaked out and opened it to find that I was accepted academically to the school with 1/3 tuition merit scholarship. Pretty awesome, right? Needless to say, my dad hugged me for about four minutes straight. I still have to audition there in February, but its honestly the best feeling in the world knowing that I am going to college, and I’m sure all the seniors that have been accepted can agree with me on this. I also learned that this school does not accept many students that will later go through the audition process, normally around 50 (15 of which will be accepted for the musical theater class). A 30% chance isn’t so bad. But crunching numbers isn’t going to get me ready for these auditions! Well, let’s talk about what is going to get me ready: picking the pieces that I’m going to perform at the audition. This summer when I was at Carnegie Mellon, we literally spent an entire day talking about how to pick the right songs and monologues for auditions. I did my research and looked at the requirements for each school and from that compiled a master list of the types of material I would need. In terms of monologues I would need one classic, meaning Shakespeare or Greek, one contemporary piece (written after 1900) that is comedic, and one contemporary piece that is dramatic. There’s also a bunch of other guidelines that I need to follow. The monologues must be somewhat age appropriate, which in my case would mean anywhere from 15 to about 25 years old. It must also be something realistic and relatable, meaning, don’t do a piece where you are screaming your head off or that you’re the princess of England.  You’ve never experienced things like that, and they are impossible to replicate onstage. Instead, I have found it best to pick pieces that show bits of my personality, while I may not have experienced the exact situations and emotions that the character is going through. My three pieces are as follows. The first is from a little known Shakespearean play called Troilus and Cressida. Basically the girl is trying to get guy, but girl is part of royal family and isn’t technically allowed to tell guy how she feels.  The girl tries to be discrete but loses it because he’s really hot. The second is from a play called Patient A. It is based on the true story of Kim Bergalis, the first heterosexual women diagnosed with AIDS. Again, I have never experienced this awful disease, but the emotions she conveys as she is trying to be strong mirrors many emotions we all experience as we challenge difficulties daily. The last one is from a play called Quiet Torrential Sound in which a young woman named Monica takes out her frustrations with men on the waiter in a café, who has accidentally brought her caffeinated coffee instead of decaf. So clearly all three of these women are vastly different from myself, but not so distant that I can’t relate to them. In terms of songs, I need to have a mix of classic (1900-1960) and contemporary (1960-now except for things that are currently running on Broadway). Age range and appropriateness also come into play, as well as vocal range. I have a pretty wide range, so it is important to show that I am able to sing both low and high, fast and slow songs. The more versatile a singer is, the more likely he or she will be accepted. I’ve picked some songs from pretty obscure shows (to make sure not many other people will sing them) such as Tales from the Bad Years, Starting Here Starting Now, Good News, Baby, and South Pacific (okay not so obscure). If you’re a theater fan, look up these shows; there’s always some great music out there that no one knows about! That’s about all for now. Goals for next month include getting myself prepared physically and mentally.  Acting is a lot harder than it seems!! Act 1 Scene 3, and the tension keeps rising!