The beginning of the new school year also begins the time when high school seniors start to think about their BFA auditions. In addition to deciding which schools to audition for, there are plenty of other key decisions to make before walking into the audition room.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be writing a series of columns aimed at providing resources and advice for aspiring BFA candidates.
While I wouldn't want anyone to take what I say as Gospel, please do consider it as it's coming from someone who's been in that room, on the other side of the table. While managing OnStage Blog is a full-time job, my other one is in college recruitment. Over the past decade I've worked for two incredible performing arts colleges and spent my time in audition rooms looking for the best BFA students in the world. While my advice might not apply to every college educator, it's certainly based on what I've seen and heard over the past years.
So I hope it helps, if nothing other than providing some more advice and information to help gain an advantage in the audition process.
"Keeping Your Monologues Clean"
Last year, I attended an audition session in Dallas, TX. A young man got up and performed his monologues. I don't remember much from the performance other than the fact that it felt like every other word in it was "f*#k". It was a bit jarring to watch Not because of any type of depth of character this young man was achieving but the language in the text.
Another time I remember sitting in an audition and a young woman came in and performed an overly sexual monologue. It got so bad that when she was done, we asked her to perform something else.
While I understand that students want to pick material that will challenge them or make them memorable during the review process, I would suggest that they not forget that they are teenagers. Educators and recruiters are certainly looking to see your versatility, but that doesn't mean your audition material needs to contain a ton of expletives or sexual imagery. Performing such material does nothing for you in the eyes of the recruiter. You may want to show them that you can perform mature roles or handle difficult situations, but there are thousands of monologues out there that can do the same thing that don't contain overly sexual language.
I'm a big proponent that nothing should distract me during your audition. When it comes to clothing, technical glitches or line flubs, nothing should take my attention away from your performance. The same goes for the material you choose. And if the language in that material is way too mature for a 17-year-old to be saying, it can tank your entire audition.
So if you think your best path is to shock your way into these BFA programs, think again. We want to see your versatility and potential, without hearing how many f-bombs and sexual references you can make in a minute.