Audition Scenario

Audition Scenario  (downloadable pdf) by Ashley Hanson & Pogi Sumangil. A sample experience of auditioning meant to inspire conversation. An actor auditions for two separate theatres and has two different experiences. Notice what actions each organization could take to create a more positive audition experience for the acting community.


Jamie is a performer who recently moved to Minnesota. Jamie begins looking for auditions on the local online callboards, and sees the following ads:

Alpha Theater is casting for an upcoming production of The Pillowman.
Katurian – 20s, Caucasian, a writer, THIS ROLE HAS ALREADY BEEN CAST
Michal – 20s-30s, Caucasian, Katurian’s brother, slow to understand things, infantile
Topolski – 30s-40s, Caucasian, 30s-40s, a detective, intelligent, clever. The “good cop”
Ariel – 30s-40s, Caucasian, Topolski’s partner, a bulldog.
Mother –Caucasian, Blonde, non-speaking
Father –Caucasian, Stern, authoritative, non-speaking
Girl – 8-12 years old, Caucasian, non-speaking
Boy – 8-12 years old, Caucasian, non-speakingPlease prepare a contemporary dramatic monologue.Please email a headshot and resume to for an audition time.Actors of all ethnicities are encouraged to audition.
Bravo Theatre is holding general auditions for its upcoming season.
Auditions are by appointment only. Please submit a headshot & resume to Please prepare two contrasting monologues.
Bravo Theatre is committed to diversity and encourages actors of all ethnicities and abilities to audition.

Jamie emails both companies and is given an audition time on Saturday for Alpha Theater, and Sunday for Bravo Theatre.

Jamie arrives at the address in the email from Alpha Theater, but it appears to be in a converted warehouse building filled with artist studios. There’s no signage for Alpha Theater, nor are there any signs directing people toward where the audition will be held. Another actor on their way to the audition offers to show Jamie where the Alpha Theater space is.

When Jamie gets into the waiting room there are several actors there who seem to be dressed in costume. The other actor explains that this particular theater is known for showing preference for actors who show up “dressed for the part.” As their conversation continues, Jamie mentions the audition on the next day. The other actor responds by saying, “I’ve auditioned for them a bunch of times, but they pretty much just cast the same people in every production. I can basically cast their whole season in my head before they even have auditions. But you’re new to town… if you can get in good with them, that’d be worth it, but I don’t waste my time anymore.”

At a lull in their conversation, Jamie says, “I don’t wanna be rude, but my monologue is pretty intense, so I should probably get myself in the right mindset.” The other actor obliges, and Jamie steps into a hallway.

Jamie’s name is called, and upon entering the audition room, Jamie receives a warm welcome from the director & stage manager. They ask about Jamie’s background and what drew Jamie to Minnesota, how Jamie likes living here so far, and the typical warnings about the impending winter.

“Are you familiar with The Pillowman?” the director asks.

“Yeah, I read it a few years ago.” Jamie replies.

“It’s pretty dark,” the director says with a laugh.

“Yeah,” Jamie agrees, laughing along.

“OK, well what do you have prepared?”

“I have a monologue from Crave by Sarah Kane.”

Jamie takes a deep breath, and begins the monologue. A few words into Jamie’s monologue, the director begins reading Jamie’s resume, whispering things to the Stage Manager, and referring back to Jamie’s resume.

When Jamie finishes the monologue, the director says, “Wow. I’m really glad you moved here. That was really great. Really. You are gonna work a lot here.”

The next day, Jamie arrives to the Bravo Theatre audition 20 minutes early, in case there is any difficulty finding the audition space. Jamie finds the space easily enough, but there happens to be hallway full of actors waiting to audition. After asking around and talking to a few other actors who are waiting, Jamie learns that they are about 2 hours behind schedule. The hallway has a handful of folding chairs, but the majority of the other actors waiting are sitting on the floor. An audition monitor is coming in and out of the audition space, calling names for who is next, on deck, and in the hole, before disappearing back into the audition room. Occasionally, the monitor comes out of the audition room, announces the next lineup, sees someone they know, and gives them a big hug, chats with them for a bit, and says, “we’ll fit you in.” Jamie overhears the audition monitor mention that they are auditioning, too, at the end of the day. Jamie also watches as, on two separate occasions, the monitor’s friends are invited into the room to audition before others who have been waiting longer.

Jamie finally is called into the room, but upon entering the two people behind the table barely look up from their stack of resumes. One person says, “Whenever you’re ready.”

Jamie introduces and performs the first monologue, hoping the two will eventually look up. They don’t. Jamie begins to introduce the second monologue, when the other person at the table looks up.

“We’re just seeing one monologue,” she says.

“Oh, the ad said prepare 2 contrasting monologues,” says Jamie.

“Nope, just one,” She replies.

“Thank you.” The other person says.

After several weeks, Jamie is surprised to receive an email from Bravo Theatre, with an invitation to callbacks for a new play, Threat Level Midnight. The email states that there is no need to prepare anything, the callback will be cold readings from the script. When Jamie arrives at the callback, the sides provided by the monitor are a poorly photocopied, single spaced scene. Jamie tries to make do, even though it’s clear that several other actors at the callback are very familiar with the text.

Jamie never hears back from Alpha Theater.

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