Deciding whether or not you will do a Shakespeare in your college audition is important, and takes careful consideration.
Lots of schools ask for classical pieces. AND there are LOTS of wonderful classical pieces that are not Shakespeare.
But don’t NOT choose Shakespeare because you are afraid of it.
And don’t CHOOSE to DO it because you did a Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school and you rocked Oberon.
Working with Shakespeare takes time, attention, and- more often than not- some really good coaching. Working with Marlowe or Kidd requires the same.
Some coaches think Moliere is “easier.” The verse is less complex, and so in some cases, it can be.
But schools are quick to notice that someone is skating by on an easier Moliere, which can cause them to think that you are not great at acting verse. Plus, the rhyme pattern in Moliere is actually much more difficult to bring to life. Finding a way out of a Moliere translations’s sing song rhyme pattern takes skill and technique, as does making the translation’s somewhat clunky language come to life.
The truth is– that sometimes showing them that you can DO a Shakespeare or Marlowe CAN be important.
But you have to do it WELL.
And you have to do it right.
It is important to work on Shakespeare the way a pro would- from the inside out.
Using the tools that the verse provides can make Shakespeare fun—and much easier!
But make sure to use a coach who knows how to use these tools from the HEART, not the head.
And here’s a hint—
If your are thinking about the MUSIC of the verse, or thinking at all about how it SOUNDS, you are on the wrong track!
In fact, ANYTIME you are thinking about how a monologue should sound, you are in deep trouble.
So how DO you approach your verse monologue?
You don’t want to take an English class approach– all analysis and pre-decided emotion, but you don’t want to treat it the same way you would a contemporary monologue either.
In my experience, success in performing Shakespeare depends a lot upon who your coach is.
If you have a coach who assigns you monologues…
(or “helps” you find them without your input, and I do NOT recommend this)
…and if your coach gives you a Moliere, or some other verse-light classical piece, it may very well be that he or she is not comfortable with Shakespeare.
If this happens, do NOT talk your coach into a Shakespeare monologue.
Going it alone is usually not a wise move, and your coach has signaled that, for whatever reason, he or she is not the one to help you with Shakespeare.
EITHER stick with the Moliere or Restoration or Greek piece…
…and make sure that your coach is asking you to be meticulous in your moments….
Or find a different classical monologue coach!
I love helping students fall in love with Shakespeare.
If it’s done right, it is thrilling, and really fun. It takes tools, and a knowledge of the process of crafting a complex verse monologue. But just about anyone can do it, and the results are almost always electrifying.