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Tag: monologues

How Can Young Actors Find Appropriate Monologues?

How Can Young Actors Find Appropriate Monologues?

by Rita Litton

“As an acting teacher and coach, I often field requests from young actors seeking a good monologue, something distinct, comedic, one-to-two minutes… Can I help?

I usually suggest a private session. I bring in folders with hundreds of age-appropriate monologues and I promise that the student will leave with at least two contrasting pieces they  love, and that suit them. Finding a good monologue is not simply a matter of knowing which new play has a catchy or memorable monologue, selecting the longest paragraph of text in a play, or jumping on the first monologue your drama teacher hands you. Finding the right monologue is a bit like Prince Charming peddling his glass slipper; you want a great fit.

I begin a search session with the student reading several monologues out loud. Actors have a hard time knowing their “type.” I focus on your vocal quality, inflections, and timing (which is key for comedy). Are you at ease or uncomfortable with the material? How smart (street or book) are you? Do you understand complex language? Can you easily identify with the life story/background of the character or are major substitutions going to be necessary? How comfortable are you with your body and how do you use it? Is there anything in your physicality that suggests this is material you can relate to, whether or not you have had these personal experiences? When a piece clicks with an actor, their reaction/response will often make the monologue come alive!

Keep the choice of material within your age range.  When looking for  ‘good contrasting monologues ‘ chose characters that have different rhythms, backgrounds, points of view, attitudes, or conflicts —not ages. Most schools would also prefer to see one comedic and one dramatic selection.

Most students have not seen or read that many plays—the required choice material for most colleges. It’s important to understand the background and exposition of your monologue when the stakes or the subtext may not be obvious in the text. While students know they should read the play, many either don’t take the time to do so, or don’t read it before choosing their selections. Working with a coach with extensive theater experience is invaluable in choosing appropriate material.

Choose monologues that speak to you, that allow you to bring your intelligence, imagination, life experience, empathy, unique type and personality to your performance. Seek opinions from those you trust and allow time to find something wonderful! You’ll also have a more satisfying audition experience performing something you love!”—Rita Litton

(Excerpted from my Backstage Expert article, 2016, by Rita Litton.)

For more information or to make an appointment please contact me

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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Mari Lyn Henry (Mari Lyn Henry is a career coach, teacher, and former director of casting for ABC-TV.)

““I have known Rita Litton for many years. She is a pioneer in the area of helping young people get the best kind of acting training to prepare them for a career in film, TV and theatre. I have featured Rita in a chapter in the book I co-authored “How to Be a Working Actor.” If anyone knows how to give young people an overview of what it takes to audition and be prepared for the world of show business, Rita does. Her alums are featured in series, films, and of course on stage.”

ON CAMERA FILM ACTING  

This is a film acting course for students who wish to be stretched and challenged via audition and scene work. In this film acting class emphasis is placed on creating characters common or unique to television and film. Students are encouraged to go beyond their immediate experiences to find the character conceived by the writer. Students are directed to take risks and make unique or difficult choices. Through various exercises, research, observations and rehearsals, students differentiate aspects of character, status, appearance, background, speech, life experiences, and more. Students portray several contrasting roles from our extensive film/TV library.  Class discussion defines particular themes and audition problems inherent in a variety of on-camera material — feature films, indie films, episodic Television series, situation comedy, TV pilots, etc.

*** This course is offered frequently and may be continued as a work out ‘actor’s gym’ for maximum growth.


FOUNDATIONS OF ACTING

An acting course designed to provide students with the building blocks, or “foundation” necessary for truthful, creative, and spontaneous, ‘moment to moment’ acting. Designed for the beginning or intermediate level actor looking to improve skills and find an organic way to work. Through a series of exercises deeply rooted in the teachings of Sanford Meisner, cold readings, and scene work, the instructor will teach actors how to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”


MONOLOGUES

If you need a monologue for an industry audition, or for entrance to various performing arts conservatories and universities, this course is for you! From selection of appropriate material to fleshing out the roles, finding their contrasting dynamics and making them uniquely yours, the instructor uses her vast library and extensive experience to guide you to success.
(Private monologue coaching also available)


COMMERCIAL AUDITION TECHNIQUE

Commercial bookings give you tremendous exposure, income and valuable experience. Yet many actors underestimate the commercial audition, failing to rise to the challenge of coming up with vital, original and personality-enhanced choices for a 30-second scenario. Rita Litton is an industry pioneer in smart, effective commercial training and a Backstage Reader’s Choice Award Winner: “Best Commercial Class.”  If you have started to audition this is where your skills are first tested– on the spot in an agent or manager’s office. How you deliver a short commercial script often determines whether you are going to be sent out on auditions, and perhaps also given an introduction to their theatrical or film and television division! Learn the skills to relax, improvise, take direction, focus quickly and bring your best self to the audition! (Private commercial coaching is also available.)


PRIVATE ACTING COACHING

Actors at every level benefit from exercises tailored to their specific needs and goals. More…


VOICE OVER ACTING

Learn the exciting and lucrative art of voice overs–acting with your voice. Agents and casting directors are always looking for artists young or old, who can read well and deliver professional voice over work. In this course you’ll learn how to break down, understand and master radio and television commercial copy, as well as animation scripts. In addition, you’ll learn proper audition etiquette and how to record from the comfort and safety of your own home. Yes! Voice overs are one of the few actor income sources surviving our new ‘stay safe’ environment.  Rita Litton and her staff have launched the careers of hundreds of talented and highly successful voice over artists! Taught by a top New York voice over actor, over Zoom. An industry voice over guest (agent or casting directors scouting for talent) will visit the last class. 


Please see Upcoming for times of classes, fees, location and how to Register.

For regular updates please follow me at @ritalittonacting on Instagram
or like and join ‘RitaLittonActing’ fan page on Facebook.

I am available for private coaching in New York, or currently remotely on Zoom or Skype. Please contact me to make an appointment.

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Acting Classes

Acting Classes

Rita Litton (from the book “Acting for Young Actors” by Mary Lou Belli and Dinah Linney)

“I believe that acting is action oriented, and emotions are the result of intentions successfully or unsuccessfully achieved. An actor does not come on a set or stage to ‘feel an emotion.” The actor ventures into a dramatic situation to do something. There is a reason why acting is also re-acting. An actor who feels the electric two-way giving and receiving is truly alive.”

My classes are offered for beginners or professionals, adults or teens. Whether you were referred to me by your agent or manager and have extensive work experience– or your have never acted before– there is a class that will allow you to grow and develop. The intimate class size (a typical class has 6-12 students) insures that you will be challenged according to your ability. 

I will help you take your acting talent to the next level!

All acting classes use common theater terms and exercises, specifically those that concentrate on listening and responding to your partner “in the moment.” Since many actors are naturally self-conscious I initially utilize a process which turns the focus away from your internal state of mind and towards your acting partner. You will be on your feet exploring, improvising, and utilizing various acting techniques from the original teachings of legends Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen or Stella Adler. You will then work on your character’s inner life and subtext, through effective emotional preparation, sense memory and work based on ‘the Method .’ You’ll learn how to deepen your character’s relationships and objective through specific and vital script analysis. Some courses work on preparing monologues and scene work, while others focus on the audition process. The goal is to offer possibilities and tools, and more than one path to characterization. You will learn to function well among diverse directors and actors with varying acting approaches.

In my film acting courses students perform scenes and monologues on-camera. Your scenes are directed and explored over several weeks, initially through cold readings, and then on your feet with blocking, directorial adjustments and enlivening role-playing improvisations. We analyze your work from the digital playbacks. It’s an invaluable opportunity to begin to distinguish between what you are feeling and what the camera sees (and the audience feels!).  Students learn to relax, recognize their insecurities, center their performance and trust in the situation. Your work becomes more truthful, spontaneous, and alive.  

There are terrific advantages to acting training unrelated to becoming a professional actor.  Poise, self-confidence, self-expression, creativity, team building,  problem solving skills,  comprehension, public speaking skills, diction & voice improvement, grace and physical relaxation — all these are benefits accrued from acting training! I’ve worked with executives, lawyers, police officers, doctors, newscasters, reporters, and others who want to explore this kinetic, exhilarating process.

Ready to sign up? Click here: REGISTER

If you have a personal goal or are a working professional with scheduling difficulties or you need assistance on an upcoming audition or current role –you may prefer the flexibility and privacy of individual acting coaching. Feel free to contact me!

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Monologue Prep

Monologue Prep

Rita’s Monologue students write:

“Rita, I wanted to thank you so much for helping me with my monologues and to let you know that I will be going to SUNY Purchase!! I am so excited!! It’s for the ACTING program, 24 out of 1200 got in, and I can’t believe I did !!!!”

Sara M..”


“was accepted early decision to NYU Tisch School of the Arts as a Drama major-I’m so excited! Thank you so much for your help. I am so grateful for everything I learned with you!”

Lauren S.


“Triston felt the audition (SUNY Purchase) went well. They were impressed by the classical piece. They asked where he got that from, he said “his private coach Rita Litton.” This is a small world. The person that auditioned him said “I know her.” She was all smiles after that. He had a call back that same afternoon. Thanks to your great expertise!”

M. Howell


“I wanted to thank you for all you did for Grace in such a short amount of time! Grace auditioned for The Professional Performing Arts School of NYC and was accepted in the advanced Drama Dept. We are thrilled! Thanks again for all your encouragement.”

D. Plimpton


“I just wanted to say thank you so much… I used one of the pieces that you suggested to me, and called upon your direction for my audition. I am so thankful to have been a part of your school and to have the knowledge that I do from you. I feel so incredibly blessed.”

Elizabeth M (Accepted into two of her ‘dream colleges,’ including New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.)


She just found out she was accepted into LaGuardia’s freshman class for drama!! Thank you so much for your help in the selection process and all your fine work with Chloe!”

Stephanie N

Are you planning to audition for a Bachelor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts theater program or acting conservatory?  I have years of experience helping actors gain acceptance to their ‘dream schools.’ The selection of material is one of my specialties. I have hundreds of monologues, comedic or dramatic, of every style and period, from both contemporary and classical plays. As an actress, I’ve performed at classical Shakespeare festivals around the country and I trained classically prior to working in NYC.  If you are anxious about performing the classics I can help you make these passionate and dynamic characters come alive.  I’d love to guide you through this exciting process.

Where have my students been accepted?  NYU-Tisch School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, Yale, Harvard,  USC, Rutgers Mason Gross, Marymount Manhattan College, University of Miami, Emerson, Drew, Ithaca, Ryder, Fordham at Lincoln Center, Pace, University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern University, Montclair State University and many more.

I also work with actors who need audition monologues as part of their ‘actor portfolio’ or reel. In addition I work with younger actors who hope to attend one of the competitive New York performing arts high schools and need to present a monologue (or two) as part of their application.

To discuss your personal needs and requirements call me and we can plan your best course of action.  Try to alert me well before your scheduled auditions.  To make an appointment and discuss rates please contact me!

More? Read my Backstage Article on Monologue Auditions!

Rita Litton (from the book “How to Be a Working Actor” by Mari Lynn Henry and Lynn Rogers.)

Well-trained actors of any age are never a casting risk. A well-trained actor knows how to find solutions to problems. They are flexible, easy to direct yet not afraid to make choices. They are well spoken, have ensemble skills, confidence and physical grace. I am attempting to train actors who will walk out of my classes employable; who will be cast worthy because they are responsible to the director and the other actors on the set or stage. An actor who understands the big picture, how the whole environment should come together. Youth affords many opportunities, and opens doors. But the door stays open for the wise actor with training.”

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