April 16

Dear Mother: The Perfect Audition Piece

What do you look for in an audition monologue?

Thomas writing to his mother in UniformDo you look for a piece that will engage the director or adjudicators?

Something that will give you the chance to really show off your acting range?

Do you want to be unique with a piece they have probably not seen before?

Or do you want something that is in the current mindset?

The award winning Great War play, Dear Mother can offer all of these points and more!

As it is written in letter format and each scene is performed by a single actor each time, with no other interactions, it allows that actor to reach out and talk to the audience directly, really drawing them into their dialogue.

Dear Mother is  recently published play (March 2014) so the chances of having the same audition piece as someone else is very small. It allows you to portray the part without prejudice of another actor who has played the role in film or on stage. You really can make the role your own. As it is new, you have more chance of being able to engage those that you are playing for, as they are unlikely to know the story. It can be very easy to turn off when you have heard the same piece time and time again, but listening to something new might give you an edge with an increased chance of them wanting to hear the story.

Scenes 2 and 3 of Dear Mother allow the actor a choice of different emotions and techniques to explore.

In Scene 2 Thomas is a adolescent that is still very innocent to the real world and his youth shines through as he explains to his mother the reasons for joining up, the time in training for war, experiences on the journey to foreign lands and his misguided trust in his superiors.

There was no one checking my birth certificate details to make sure, so that was it, I was signed up. I was taken into a room with about fifteen other men where we were all told to stand straight and raise our right hand. We then recited something about God and the King. After that I was told I was now in the Army. I was promised a shilling for joining, however the Recruiting Officer said that they would have to forward this to me. Come to think about it, I still haven’t received it to date.

I was expecting to be taken away, there and then, to the front line. That was when I started to panic about the fact that I had done this without consulting you or Father first, and thought that you would only find out in a letter sent from France some months later. But to my surprise I was told to go home and return for training.

When I got home I know you were upset, but I hope you can see now that this really is my duty and that I am proud to be wearing the uniform and I’ll do my part to save the country. I’d always told you that I wanted to be in the Army, ever since the holidays at Uncle Bernard’s so it can’t have been that much of a surprise when I finally joined.

Extract from Dear Mother: Scene 2 At the Docks

In scene 3 the actor has to immerse themselves into the role completely to portray Thomas. They have to be able to feel his pain, see the things he has and understand the way his life has been torn apart. Any innocence left over from the first scene, has been destroyed. He has witnessed unspeakable sights and done things he would never have dreamed of being able to do. He lives in a place he considers a living hell with the constant threat of injury, disease or death and playing on his mind most of all is the sight of a childhood friend paying the ultimate price.

At that moment, all the big guns stopped and after the noise of the past few days the silence was both eerie and deafening at the same time. Not a man spoke, either through fear or determination and we just waited to receive the next order.

I clutched my rifle close to my chest and said a prayer for safety. The pounding of the guns had now been replaced with the pounding of my heart and in that second, I am ashamed to say that I thought about leaving my post and trying to hide. But before I got the chance to think any more about it, the loud shrieks started to echo down the miles of muddy corridors as the officer’s whistles rang out!

With that, the order was given and before I knew it, I’d climbed the ladder and was standing facing the Hun’s lines. Arthur was the next one up the ladder and together we started to make our way forwards.

Cover of Dear Mother by Mark James Extract from Dear Mother: Scene 3 In the Trenches

You can get more of a feel for Dear Mother and listen to extracts from the original actors by watching the Dear Mother Trailer.

Dear Mother is Published by Magic Oxygen Publishing and can be purchased from their online shop as well as other online retailers such as Amazon and Waterstones. It can also be found at local bookshops too.

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Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved.

Posted April 16, 2014 by Mark James in category Uncategorized

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