If you’re auditioning for Shakespeare for the first time, you might be nervous, but so is just about everybody else. The important part is to be prepared, do your best, and enjoy the experience.
Several suggestions for Shakespeare monologues are online here at Shakespeare’s Monologues. (Simply and appropriately titled, we think.)
Remember that actors of any experience level are welcome and encouraged to audition! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already played Lear or Lady Macbeth, or if this would be your first audition. There are roles for everyone. We do think that it’s important to understand your monologue though. To find Shakespeare’s monologues in modern English (for comparison and understanding only), we recommend No Fear Shakespeare. Although we prefer everyone to memorize their monologue (it only has to be 30-60 seconds), it will be okay to hold onto it.
At auditions, the directors will also ask actors to read from the script with somebody else who is auditioning. The directors might also give you some suggestions for different ways to try saying the lines. If you have trouble reading a word or line, don’t be afraid to ask one of the directors about it. Make character choices of your own, but also listen to the directors’ suggestions. The directors want to know if you can take some direction and make some interesting choices. Remember that you’re performing, not just reading!
Overall, the most important thing to know for an audition are these:
• be prepared
• look and sound confident and enthusiastic
• be entertaining
• be loud
• be polite
• do your best
• HAVE FUN!