Now, as I am trying to find songs to sing and monologues to perform for my re-audition in February, I’m discovering what the hardest part of all this looking and searching really is… realizing your “type”. When picking out music the first time around, I had the right idea of picking two contrasting pieces, ballad and up-tempo. Well… I didn’t give quite that much thought that the songs I was singing should be songs of characters that I could actually play in a show. Same goes for monologues.
I’ll admit, I didn’t know how to pick out audition material. Part of me still doesn’t. I thought of songs as something I knew I could sing and that were comfortable in my range. I didn’t think of the whole character part of selecting material. For me, I feel that finding the right material is a little trickier because just by my size alone, I am already put into a type, that don’t have that many obvious roles. Searching and searching for music that could work is probably by far the hardest part of this career path. I want to believe I can pick up a song and automatically feel like I can play that character. I’m sure everyone feels that way- all you want to do is pick up a piece of music and be able to sing just like you would in a show. Unfortunately, that is not the case and will never be the case.
I’m trying not to limit myself with material I could perform but in another sense I have to. Songs that I think I could sing as a specific character in a show might not come across the same way to directors. For example, one of my dream roles is Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie; a role I truly think I could play but casting me in that role with my lack of dance training and lack of proper appearance, that role isn’t realistic right now. Millie as a character emotionally and vocally without the dance and the appearance, I feel I could nail that role spot on. Tracy in Hairspray is a role that was created for my type. A pleasantly plump girl with a dream she wants to come true- I don’t think that role would necessarily be acting if I ever got the chance to play Tracy. As I’m going through songs, characters and musicals, I’m learning that maybe those are the roles that seem right for me: funny, ambitious, hopelessly romantic, determined and someone who knows what they want and they go after it. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you other roles from musicals I know I could play. I truly don’t. It seems like roles that I think I can play or want to play are always, “Yes! But…”. There will always be something that gets in the way of playing a role or song I think I could sing.
Everyone in the department, even some freshman, seem like they know what their type is. As usual, I feel like I’m the last one to know about everything. But that’s the whole part of learning and growing as an actor. For once in my life, I’m actually glad I feel like the last one to figure out type as strange as it might sound. I never knew anything about type or what you need to know when picking out audition materials before I came here. Now I have a sense of direction. I guess college is doing it’s works for me after all!(: After getting the ground layer of this thing called “type”, I finally picked out my up-tempo song for auditions which I am extremely content with and I feel like it will really be a WOW performance! Now finding a ballad that shows off that upper register will be a new challenge in of itself as well as monologues I need to get going on searching for. I have the start of what will be a long journey of finding my type but theatre is a never ending learning process, even with the stars; they have those roles they want to create but they just aren’t born to play them.
I have roles I want to fulfill, dreams I want to come true and a type I was born in to. I want nothing more than to be something successful in theatre and darn-it, I plan on making it happen. When I fully discover my type, whatever that may be, I’ll accept and run with it. Theatre is all about staying true to yourself and being something you know you can be, not something someone wants you to be.
“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” -Ben Stein