A culminating project of the first semester of the Stage/Tech elective, the Mock Audition monologue helps Middle School thespians prepare for the second semester’s production of a one-act play.
The Middle School Stage/Tech course is a yearlong elective designed to give students a wide range of skills and experiences with all aspects of work in the theater. The course is cotaught by Fine Arts faculty Jason Sharp and Abbey Maxwell, who trade off teaching students about technical theater and performance, respectively. Students in the course spend the first semester learning and practicing skills and building their knowledge base about how theatrical works are created. Students explore movement, vocal expression and projection, accents, text analysis and interpretation, use of power tools, roles within a theatrical production team and many other aspects of the theater.
“The Mock Audition is the culminating project for the first semester,” Maxwell explained. “The project draws upon several of the National Core Arts Standards, including Creating, Performing and Responding to artistic works. It helps us segue into the second semester, in which the class produces a one-act play.”
Charlotte Stringer ’26
Comedic monologue from “Puzzle Pieces,” a play by Krista Boehnert that explores teen issues
When choosing material for an audition, the first thing I always do is make sure it’s about a character I can connect with. Because I take drama for fun, I also like the piece I choose to reflect that. I chose this particular character because she shows a range of emotions, which as an actor is tricky to perform but more rewarding and fun once you’ve nailed it. However, choosing this type of piece makes the prep for the audition much more difficult. I spent a lot of time practicing with friends and having them critique me. Each time I re-rehearsed it, I tried it a little differently to explore my character. Small tweaks like taking a dramatic pause between words or changing where my sightline was really made this monologue come together. Even with all that prep, I still was a little nervous. However, once I got on stage I felt very confident. All that rehearsing paid off. I'm so excited to share my hard work with the Ravenscroft community. I hope you enjoy it.
Sheila Awasthi ’26
Dramatic monologue from “Look Me in the Eye,” a one-act play by Lindsay Price in which teenagers learn about the dark side of a utopian vision
While I enjoy performing a monologue, I also love the process of preparing for the performance. In class, we spent a day answering the Hagen Questions, which are a set of questions to help us develop our character. These questions ask about general ideas such as the character’s conflicts and how the character solves them. After answering these questions, I was able to define my character. I practiced my monologue in class and during the evenings after school. The constant practicing allowed me to discover the little details and points that I wasn’t seeing earlier. As a result, I decided to change the setting of my scene and who my character was addressing to increase the stakes. I find that it is really important to make the riskier choice when answering questions about the character because I get to play with a lot more creative options. Overall, I had a lot of fun working through the process of creating my character and practicing my monologue.
Middle School Stage/Tech students from the 2020-21 school year perform for Lower School students in the Morton Courtyard.
Bringing Theater Into the Classroom
As students in Stage/Tech prepare for their monologues, they’re guided in developing their characters by Uta Hagen’s Nine Questions and a Thespian Rubric developed by the Educational Theatre Association. They also give and receive feedback using tools such as this Peer Critique Form.
As Maxwell explained, “The overall goals of the course are to prepare students for the Upper School theater experience, to build their performance and technical skills, to encourage them to reflect on the impact of artistic work, and to bolster in them a love and respect for the arts.”