Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Thoughts on Monologues

First, there is another thing that I don't understand. Why do people constantly want to have someone tell them what monologue to do for an audition? Having to come up with monologues for auditions is basic to the business of being an actor. Besides it is not so simple to pick exactly the right monologue for an actor. It has to fit them perfectly or it is not going to do them much good. I cover this in my book.\

Second. What is this with every little amateur theatre wanting monologues for their play and musical auditions? Did some Great Authority somewhere say "Thou must use monologues to do your casting." Well, maybe for membership into a company or for a season of shows, but for the Jr. Class Play or the All School Musical? What a waste of time! Don't you still have to have call backs to read from the script? Why not just start with the reading from the script and skip the callbacks? Unless you are weeding out the weak from hundreds of wannabe cast members, this has got to be the dumb idea of the decade.

Third. All you ill-prepared acting teachers out there stop assigning people in your acting class to write their own monologues! They are there to learn about acting, not to lean how to be playwrights. Playwriting is such a special art that it needs to be left to those who thoroughly understand it and have the theatre background to give it a try. But most acting is done from scripts that playwrights wrote, so supply your students with those. And don't just tell them to go find a monologue. Prepare for your teaching by getting a bunch of them together so you can hand them out. The exception to this would be a class that has only experienced actors in it who will know where to find monologues. All monologues for classes and for auditions should always be from published plays. Never original monologues or those from a book of monologues that are not from plays. Because of item four below>

Fourth. A monologue is just a long speech from a play and therefore can be approached like any other speech:
It is the character's reaction to the stimuli of the situation he or she is in. It contains both the physical and the emotional response to those stimuli. (An original monologue or a monologue that is not from a play is liable not to have those qualites with which a playwright infuses his speeches.) So actors, when you do your monologue, remember this simple advice. The words represent the character's emotional and physical responses at that particular moment of the play. Express those responses using the playwright's words and you will be fine. Just act the speech, okay?

Well, enough already. God bless, Doc

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