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  • Writer's pictureTracy Jordan

That moment before your first word...

Here's a great article for young performers on how to prepare their character and material for auditioning courtesy of the New Mexico High School Musical Theatre Awards, The Enchantment Awards...

3/19/2020 Working on a monologue or a solo song? Add this to your consideration as you prepare it. Where was your character just before he started speaking or singing? What has she told us she wants? With his very first words, what is he trying to achieve? What does he want in the very next minute? Who is she speaking to in this song or monologue? It could be herself, if it’s like “In My Own Little Corner” in Cinderella. Know that. You need to know your character’s “moment before” as you prepare your monologue or work out your solo, especially if you’re doing it for an audition and not as part of a full production. The directors and college admissions committee members will all know where your character was before you utter his or her first words. Be sure you know, too, emotionally as well as intellectually. The brightness of the words “Morning glow, morning glow/Starts to glimmer when you know” take on a new dimension when you know that Pippin sings “Morning Glow” just after killing his father. What ripples through him as he sings about a metaphorical brand new day starting with him as king? Elphaba’s world has just been turned upside down when she starts singing “Did that just really happen” in “The Wizard and I” in Wicked. All of a sudden what’s made her different all her life is not a curse but a blessing. Let your Elphaba explore all the emotions that are driving her as she starts that song. While this helps for auditions, it also helps in performances. The first time we see your character, he or she has a moment before. That character wasn’t just born as the lights came up. Carry that moment before into your very first actions and words. Then, every time your character has been out of the story and re-enters it, you have to know what she’s bringing with her into that scene. What has he been doing — and feeling — just before coming back through the door or flying through the window? Your songs, your monologues, your acting as a whole will be richer when you let the moment before drive your emotional explorations for those beginning words.

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