Ten years ago when I began making my webpages, I thought that one day there will be many little books... like "MONO" (monologue). What is need to understand about performing monologues.
I still hope that this day will come.
I will collect my notes and pages in one place; use docs.google.com, print it with Lulu publishing, and the book is ready for POD (print on demand)...
After retirement... I have now my African plans -- Theatre Lul Academe.
Use the web-texts for now:
mono + mono1 pages
monologues in acting2
"Playing Shakespeare requires technique. You don't play a Bach toccata by getting in the mood." Kevin Kline
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Fundamentals : BioMethod
(c)2004 * Taming of the Shrew (adaptation)
SummarySTEPS: THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE
* TEXT ANALYSIS TO ROLE
* BUILDING A CHARACTER
NotesSeagull Chekhov (online)
From Acting I: Material must be drawn from published scripts written for the theatre by someone other than yourself. Poetry, fiction, and lyrics are not allowed. Do not select monologues from monologue books and please be prepared to answer questions about the whole play your selection comes from. Choose a character close to your own age.. Do not use an accent (i.e.. Cockney, Southern, etc.) unless the monologue demands it. Only play one character in each monologue. Do not choose a monologue with violent behavior patterns, vulgarity, strong language or those that are sexually explicit. Avoid imitations of other actors and avoid stand-up comedy.
Choose a monologue where you are speaking to someone actively. Cut any interruptions from other characters. Avoid monologues that "tell a story" - they are boring. You want your character to be active, not sitting and telling a boring story to some other character who is also probably bored. Past tense narrative monologues should only be used to put children to sleep with. Try to select emotional, present tense, and active material. Choose monologues with a CLEAR OBJECTIVE. (I want something now!) AND which are self-explanatory (beginning, middle, end). Choose a piece that tells them everything they need to know in advance.
Once you find a great monologue, read the whole play. Do not for a minute think that you will get away with not reading the play. That is how you prepare for the audition. You must read the play that your monologue comes from so that you will have an understanding of your character and the situation that your character is speaking about, or is involved with. It will show like a red flag that you haven't read the play! Reading the play will give you a foundation to build your character around. So be prepared! Read the play!
Stage your piece simply for dramatic impact: - Use a limited performance area (5 to 10 feet square) - Place the (imaginary) character you are addressing downstage of you beyond the fourth wall and toward the auditors. Keep consistent eye contact with that imaginary character.
Avoid props. Other than things that might ordinarily be worn (glasses, watches, hair ribbon, etc.). You will have one chair available to you for your audition. This chair can be used or not used in any way that is appropriate for your piece(s). You may decide to use it in one, but not the other. You may decide to use it as something other than a chair. The audience will believe anything as long as you do consistently.
* At its best, a monologue is a rich illumination of a character’s heart & soul, a compelling piece that is carefully shaped with a beginning, middle & end.
Please practice: The more comfortable you are performing your pieces, the better. When you walk into an audition you must be ready to go at the drop of a hat. Forgetting your lines is bad, very bad. So practice! Show your pieces to as many people as possible. Get your family together and go through the whole audition with them as the "auditors". Have them give you notes, if you wish, just get used to performing your pieces. The more comfortable you are doing them, the more comfortable you will be at the audition. Check and recheck your length by reading aloud. Add 30 seconds to get a more accurate idea of how long the piece will take in performance. Aim to come in a minute under time.
For any audition, you should look your best while also dressing comfortably. Avoid costumes, but don't dress completely out of character either. Avoid big clunky shoes or jewelry that may impede your movement and avoid anything that will create unwanted sounds (swishing fabric, loud shoes, velcro pops). No hats.
INTRO -- Remember that your audition begins the moment you step into view. Be confident, pleasant and positive with everyone. When you get into the performance space, find your light and arrange your space before you begin speaking. Take a breath, then begin.
Hello, my name is ______ and I am from ____. My first piece will be _______ from ______ and my second piece will be _________ from ________.
Then let the monologues speak for themselves. Do NOT describe the play or the scene beforehand. Give yourself a moment, and then perform your pieces as best you can.
* You will have four minutes to complete your audition after you finish your introduction. If you run over time, you will be stopped. You do not have to use your full four minutes for your monologues. If you can show some great stuff in less time, the better. Keep them wanting more. If the timer calls "time" - stop immediately! Thank the timer and the audience and exit. Remember, your lack of preparation is keeping someone else waiting.
* When you are done, hold your final moment and then released with a simple smile and a warm thank you.
EXITING -- ALWAYS thank the auditors, and NEVER apologize for your audition. Unless you let the auditors know it, they will assume that's exactly what you meant to do. Just in case they thought it was brilliant, don't telegraph that you think you blew it. Leave the stage at a measured pace. There's no need to run away (even if you went over time). If the auditors want to know anything, they will ask.
Enough about monologues!
Except, if you are an advanced actor this is your "star moment"!
Except, if you are an advanced actor this is your "star moment"!
The Wild Strawberries, Bergman:How to Prepare a Monologue [ from acting I ]
AT THE AGE of seventy-six, I feel that I'm much too old to lie to myself. But of course I can't be too sure. My complacent attitude toward my own truth-fulness could be dishonesty in disguise, although I don't quite know what I might want to hide. Nevertheless, if for some reason I would have to evaluate myself, I am sure that I would do so without shame or concern for my reputation. But if I should be asked to express an opinion about someone else, I would be considerably more cautious. There is the greatest danger in passing such judgment. In all probability one is guilty of errors, exaggerations, even tremendous lies. Rather than commit such follies, I remain silent.
As a result, I have of my own free will withdrawn almost completely from society, because one's relationship with other people consists mainly of discussing and evaluating one's neighbor's conduct. Therefore I have found myself rather alone in my old age. This is not a regret but a statement of fact. All I ask of life is to be left alone and to have the opportunity to devote myself to the few things which continue to interest me, however superficial they may be. For example, I derive pleasure from keeping up with the steady progress made in my profession (I once taught bacteriology), I find relaxation in a game of golf, and now and then I read some memoirs or a good detective story. My life has been filled with work, and for that I am grateful. It began with a struggle for daily bread and developed into the continuous pursuit of a beloved science. I have a son living in Lund who is a physician and has been married for many years. He has no children. My mother is still living and quite active despite her advanced age (she is ninety-six). She lives in the vicinity of Huskvarna. We seldom see each other. My nine sisters and brothers are dead, but they left a number of children and grandchildren. I have very little contact with my relatives. My wife Karin died many years ago. Our marriage was quite unhappy. I am fortunate in having a good housekeeper.
This is all I have to say about myself. Perhaps I ought to add that I am an old pedant, and at times quite trying, both to myself and to the people who have to be around me. I detest emotional outbursts, women's tears and the crying of children. On the whole, I find loud noises and sudden startling occurrences most disconcerting. Later I will come back to the reason for writing this story, which is, as nearly as I can make it, a true account of the events, dreams and thoughts which befell me on a certain day.
In the early morning of Saturday, the first of June, I had a strange and very unpleasant dream. I dreamed that I was taking my usual morning stroll through the streets. It was quite early and no human being was in sight. This was a bit surprising to me. I also noted that there were no vehicles parked along the curbs. The city seemed strangely deserted, as if it were a holiday morning in the middle of summer.
The sun was shining brightly and made sharp black shadows, but it gave off no warmth. Even though I walked on the sunny side, I felt chilly. The stillness was also remarkable. I usually stroll along a broad, tree-lined boulevard, and even before sunrise the sparrows and crows are as a rule extremely noisy. Besides, there is always the perpetual roar from the center of the city. But this morning nothing was heard, the silence was absolute, and my footsteps echoed almost anxiously against the walls of the buildings. I began to wonder what had happened.
Just at that moment I passed the shop of a watchmaker-optometrist, whose sign had always been a large clock that gave the exact time. Under this clock hung a picture of a pair of giant eyeglasses with staring eyes. On my morning walks I had always smiled to myself at this slightly grotesque detail in the street scene.
To my amazement, the hands of the clock had disappeared. The dial was blank, and below it someone had smashed both of the eyes so that they looked like watery, infected sores.
Instinctively I pulled out my own watch to check the time, but I found that my old reliable gold timepiece had also lost its hands. I held it to my ear to find out if it was still ticking. Then I heard my heart beat. It was pounding very fast and irregularly. I was overwhelmed by an inexplicable feeling of frenzy.
I put my watch away and leaned for a few moments against the wall of a building until the feeling had passed. My heart calmed down and I decided to return home.
To my joy, I saw that someone was standing on the street corner. His back was toward me. I rushed up to him and touched his arm. He turned quickly and to my horror I found that the man had no face under his soft felt hat.
I pulled my hand back and in the same moment the entire figure collapsed as if it were made of dust or frail splinters. On the sidewalk lay a pile of clothes. The person himself had disappeared without a trace. I looked around in bewilderment and realized that I must have lost my way. I was in a part of the city where I had never been before. I stood on an open square surrounded by high, ugly apartment buildings. From this narrow square, streets spread out in all directions. Everyone was dead; there was not a sign of a living soul.
High above me the sun shone completely white, and light forced its way down between the houses as if it were the blade of a razor-sharp knife. I was so cold that my entire body shivered. Finally I found the strength to move again and chose one of the narrow streets at random. I walked as quickly as my pounding heart allowed, yet the street seemed to be endless. Then I heard the tolling of bells and suddenly I was standing on another open square near an unattractive little church of red brick. There was no graveyard next to it and the church was surrounded on all sides by gray-walled buildings.
Not far from the church a funeral procession was wending its way slowly through the streets, led by an ancient hearse and followed by some old-fashioned hired carriages. These were pulled by pairs of meager-looking horses, weighed down under enormous black shabracks. I stopped and uncovered my head. It was an intense relief to see living creatures, hear the sound of horses trotting and church bells ringing.
Then everything happened very quickly and so frighteningly that even as I write this I still feel a definite uneasiness. The hearse was just about to turn in front of the church gate when suddenly it began to sway and rock like a ship in a storm. I saw that one of the wheels had come loose and was rolling toward me with a loud clatter. I had to throw myself to one side to avoid being hit. It struck the church wall right behind me and splintered into pieces.
The other carriages stopped at a distance but no one got out or came to help. The huge hearse swayed and teetered on its three wheels. Suddenly the coffin was thrown out and fell into the street. As if relieved, the hearse straightened and rolled on toward a side street, followed by the other carriages.
The tolling of the church bells had stopped and I stood alone with the overturned, partly smashed coffin. Gripped by a fearful curiosity, I approached. A hand stuck out from the pile of splintered boards. When I leaned forward, the dead hand clutched my arm and pulled me down toward the casket with enormous force. I struggled helplessly against it as the corpse slowly rose from the coffin. It was a man dressed in a frock coat.
To my horror, I saw that the corpse was myself. I tried to free my arm, but he held it in a powerful grip. All this time he stared at me without emotion and seemed to be smiling scornfully.
In this moment of senseless horror, I awakened and sat up in my bed. It was three in the morning and the sun was already reflecting from the rooftops opposite my window. I closed my eyes and I muttered words of reality against my dream—against all the evil and frightening dreams which have haunted me these last few years.
ISAK: My name is Isak Borg. I am still alive. I am seventy-six years old. I really feel quite well.
When I had muttered these words I felt calmer, drank a glass of water, and lay down to ponder on the day which was ahead of me. I knew immediately what I should do. I got out of bed, pulled open the curtains, found the weather radiant, and breathed in the fine morning air. Then I put on my robe and went through the apartment (where the clocks were striking three) to the room of my old housekeeper. When I opened the door she sat up immediately, wide awake.
[ analysis ]
1. Read the entire play from which your monologue comes, several times.
2. Memorize the monologue thoroughly.
3. Break down the character. What does the character in the monologue want? How will the character get it?
4. Break down the monologue into a beginning, middle and end.
5. Practice keeping hand gestures, walking, pantomiming and use of props to a minimum.
6. Imagine the person you're speaking to in the monologue, and keep her clearly in your mind's eye at all times as you speak. Imagine her reactions, and see the other person in the piece. Remember, monologues are really dialogues in which the other person doesn't speak.
7. Practice performing the monologue first to an inanimate object. Then perform it for a trusted professional, such as a fellow actor or a casting director, and get feedback.
8. Try performing the monologue in several different ways. Be prepared to perform it more than one way at the audition.
9. Time yourself and make sure the monologue fits the length acceptable for the audition (usually one to three minutes).
Tips (the obvious):
Be brave and adventuresome in your initial interpretation and performance of the monologue. Then hone your vision in time for the audition.
Choose material that you have an immediate gut reaction to - material that touches you or moves you.
Record your monologue on tape and play it back to yourself repeatedly to help you memorize it.
Choose a monologue from a play you love; don't choose one from a book of monologues. Those tend to be overused, and casting directors tire of them.
Keep it within the time limits. Never go over!
Don't look down at your feet.
Don't move around too much; it's distracting.
Don't perform the monologue too close to the casting director. Stand at east 5 feet away, and don't touch him or her. What are contrasting monologues? Two completely different characters from two different plays and play genres. One classical and one modern piece is the norm. Make one a comedy and the other dramatic. One character may be a love-struck fool, the other a hacker nerd who let loose a devious computer virus. Contrast is day and night. Not shades of gray. But if all you can presently do is romantic, love-struck fools, at least contrast those fools by who they are and by each character's situation. Cut your monologues for content : If your character is carrying on a conversation with some other character, cut it out. Try to choose a piece of the monologue where you are speaking to someone actively, but with little to no interruption from the other character. Try to avoid "telling a story". There are a hundred and one monologues where the character is telling a story of what happened to them at a party, or on a hunting trip, or on the subway... you get the picture. Or worse, they are telling a story about what happened to someone else! Don't do it. It is boring. You want your character to be active, not sitting and telling a boring story (out of context) to some other character who is also probably bored. My advice: Stay away from them. Read the play : Do not for a minute think that you will get away with not reading the play. That is how you prepare for the audition. You must read the play that your monologue comes from so that you will have an understanding of your character and the situation that your character is speaking about, or is involved with. And not just once for heck of it. Read the play again. And again. Study the relationships between your character and the others in the play. It will show like a red flag that you haven't read the play, believe me. The auditors will know if you have done your homework, or not. If you go into that audition with just a few lines from some character in some play and they ask you about the play or the character in the play (and they will!) you will regret it. The auditors will probably not wrestle you to the ground and pummel you, even though you would deserve it. You probably will not be called back nor be asked to join the program. Read the play and study your character. This will give you a foundation to build your character around. Be prepared. Read the play! A Monologue Repertoir... -- Keep a file of every monologue you ever work on, and keep it handy. Type or write our your monologue, listing the character type, play it comes from, the playwright and the age-range at the top of the page. Print it out and store it in a file, or save it on your computer in an appropriate folder. Then at a moment's notice you can search for such and such of a character you performed, print out the monologue, or pull it from your files, and refresh your memory.
Lesson #60 or 90 min
1. review (previous class)
3. new key terms & definitions
4. monologues & scenes
5. issues & topics
6. questions, discussion, analysis
7. in class work
9. improv & games
12. online, journals
* new : teatr.us
... Dramatic Arts students often need to find monologues or scenes to use in classes or auditions. While libraries have many complete plays, it may be convenient for students to locate individual monologues and scenes that have been collected in anthologies. Many libraries have a large number of these anthologies. Many have a specific theme (e.g., contemporary, classical theater, comic, or specific playwrights) or are intended for a particular group of actors (e.g. women, men, younger, older, actors of color, or scenes for two actors). Use the anthologies to identify characters and situations that you can play. Don't just focus on the monologue. Find the play! It might have other appropriate monologues. Read and study the play, and get understanding of your character and the overall dramatic situation.
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