The above quote is from the Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition handbook. The Irene Ryan is an acting competition for college students offering two scholarships of $3500 each at the National American College Theater Festival each year in Washington, D.C., in addition to other awards. (You can find more information on the Irene Ryan Competition at the festival's website, www.kcactf3.org/ryan.htm).
In the meantime, I want to "unpack" the above quote about the Irene Ryans a little bit to get you started on understanding what it means to really prepare yourself to have an outstanding Irene Ryan audition:
- First and foremost, know your type. As an Irene Ryan acting coach, it's my job to help you select material that is within your age range, your vocal range (especially if you're going to be singing), your emotional range, and within the scope of your movement skills. The Irene Ryan competition is about showing clear command of interesting and appropriate material, not reaching for something you can't quite grasp or that isn't really right for you in terms of your type.
- You also want to choose audition materials for the Irene Ryan that have a clear beginning and that move toward a conclusion. Part of the Irene Ryan preparation process if to make sure you, along with the help of your Irene Ryan acting coach (me :) ) have chosen a monologue that makes sense as a self-contained piece. That said, you still may be able to connect separate lines of dialogue taken from a conversation between your character and others as long as it's edited or staged in a way that it's unnecessary to know what the other characters have said.
- You want the kind of Irene Ryan help that increases your ability to make varied, specific, and bold acting choices. Another way to put it? Your acting coach should be capable of guiding you to use different tactics in pursuit of the overall task or objective of your character. A good Irene Ryan acting coach will help you avoid the traps of generalizing, emoting, or playing a single character "quality" throughout the piece.
In future blog posts from me, be sure to watch for more details on preparing an outstanding Irene Ryan audition. Please let me know your thoughts about what I've said here concerning how to successfully prepare for the Irene Ryan Acting Competition.