"This book helped me through my first professional audition—it was a godsend. It breaks your roles up into that of self-director and actor with incredible effectiveness. The tips and instruction she gives seem so obvious and "right" once you have read and tried them - it is an intuitive approach."
— An Amazon reader from Devon, UK
"Transformational is the best word I can use to describe your book. I have read several audition books but none was as concise and implementable. I had an important audition this week and I committed a great deal of time to working through your book and applying it to my monologue. It resulted in an "in the moment” performance that allowed me to connect to the material, clear away the worries about whether or not I could emotionally get where I wanted to go, and have interesting staging that supported the message of the monologue. Thank you for such an incredible contribution! I will use it as my monologue preparation bible!" — Jacquie Duckworth, San Francisco, CA
"As an actor, I have found this book invaluable to my audition process & relative mental well-being. After reading more acting books than I should have, I found this smart amplification of David Mamet's Practical Aesthetics a page-by-page, step-by-step relief...Kohlhaas shares techniques refined through her influential professional work & teaching at the legendary Atlantic Theater Company. The New York-born ideas apply just as clearly & constructively to auditions here on the West Coast—or anywhere else, I imagine. They're also helpful in audition scene work and cold readings.Taking a step further, this steady examination of the audition—or interview—process provides a winning approach to any and all analogous situations demanding a good first-impression, stand-alone confidence & persuasive communication. Amid such seemingly powerless circumstances, Karen Kohlhaas shows you why and how to give yourself a break & focus on all the things that are still under your command. I've recommended it to as many non-actors as actors—anyone faced with a public arena which, to borrow from Mr. Mamet, "if turned on its head," will open up paths of self-direction, self-discovery and betterment." — An Amazon reader from Los Angeles, CA
"If you're looking for a resource on how to perform, coach, or direct monologues this book is an excellentchoice. It is one of the most comprehensive and easy to understand guides I've read for preparing a monologue. The research for the book came from Ms. Kohlhaas' own workshop and classes and it's clear the exercises and techniques in the book have been practically applied. The book focuses on rehearsing monologues for auditions, but I believe the information works just as well for a class or competition.
The tips start on page one of the introduction. The first thing the author shares is how she has her students list what is “in” their control and “out” of their control during the audition process. This allows students to have a concrete idea on paper of what they can (or cannot) control in the situation. Not only that, they have a list of things they can work on from the “In Control” column to make their audition the best. It is interesting to note that under the heading “Preparation” there is nothing in the “Out of Control” column.
The book proper is divided into three parts: Directing the Monologue, Acting the Monologue, and Auditioning With Your Monologues. The directing section details how to look at a monologue from the outside. Many actors only focus on what's going on inside of them and forget what they look like. Some of the topics involve staging, the speed and size of movement and gesture, writing a description of the monologue (not a synopsis, but what you want the audience to see), and analyzing the monologue in terms of structure, story and suspense.
The best practical tip in the section is the suggestion that actors should rehearse their monologue within a six by six foot square. Ms. Kohlhaas encourages actors to tape out the square on the floor. The square helps define the acting space, prevents wandering and gives an easy start to blocking. She suggests actors plot out different positions in the square and decide where they should stand for the end, the climax and the beginning of the piece. She recommends starting with the final position.
The second part focuses on the acting; what's going inside. This section helps actors find and develop an objective (which the author calls “the action”) to play in the monologue. There is also a tool called “as if” which helps the actor explain what the action means to the character. Some suggested actions are: to get the truth, to get what I deserve, to win an ally.
The last section deals with the non-monologue parts of the audition, such as the entrances and the exits. How an actor enters and leaves a room is very important! Ms. Kohlhaas gives examples of how to do positive entrances and exits. She also provides different types of audition scenarios to rehearse with such as the neutral audition, where the auditioners are expressionless to the chaos audition where everything is distracting.
What I love about this book is how Ms.Kohlhaas demonstrates her process throughout. Quite often books give you the tools but don't necessarily show you how to use them. Ms. Kohlhaas follows through her methodology with a case study: you see how to apply her tools on an actual monologue. When she provides possible questions (there are so many great questions in here to ask your students!) she also provides a sample answer. There are pictures of how to use her staging options. She outlines exercises she has used with her students. You get to see her process in action. As I was reading, I felt that I could easily take this book into a classroom tomorrow and apply the process right away." — Review by Lindsay Price of Theatrefolk.com
"I had the glorious opportunity to study under Karen Kohlhaas for two years at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School . She is one of the most inspiring individuals you would ever hope to meet; chiefly because of the practicality of her instruction and the confidence she inspires in her students. There is a quality in her cadence, quite well transmitted into her writing, that gives one a remarkable sense of ease. If you, like nearly all aspiring (and successful) actors, hate the audition process, this text can do divers good for your sanity. To paraphrase Ms. Kohlhaas, you are either good at auditioning or not, but when you turn so daunting process on its head, it can be made to serve you. If you do not have the opportunity to experience Ms. Kohlhaas' instruction firsthand, this is an essential document." — Holt Richardson, New York, NY
"This is the only auditioning book you will ever really need. Karen Kohlhaas knows her stuff cold. Right from the first couple of pages you can tell she wrote the book in order to inspire and encourage instead of just presenting a method. This is a mark of a great teacher, which you would expect from one of the founders of the Atlantic Theater Company (ATC) and Atlantic Acting School, where she teaches. It is also worth noting that the Atlantic Acting School, which is part of the ATC, is also one of only 8 studios connected with New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This top conservatory (NYU) is the reason I bought this book. I saw it as a way to give myself a competitive edge with auditions. All in all, having flipped through this book immediately after receiving it, I found it to be a no-nonsense must-buy audition text. I feel that just in reading the introduction and preface alone you are very much encouraged and relaxed about monologues and it has everything you need to find, stage (block), and perform them." — Amazon reader Brad Olinger