Rehearsal Update: Monologues | Week 3


On choosing monologue:

I really appreciate the fact that everybody's monologue fits them so well, as if it would be wrong for another person in the class to do it.

The character should have the similar level of mental maturity as we do, not necessarily the same age.

Often in an active monologue, the speaker:

Wants something from a specific person

Reveals her thoughts toward a specific person

There are some nice monologues that tell stories.  We need to consider whether they are active or not.  Joe advised us to look for monologues from plays, films, poems, even song lyrics... as long as they are written in a context.  He didn't recommend us to look for monologues from monologue books.

A monologue suitable for auditions and tournaments should be within 2 minutes.  If it is too long, we will have to cut it carefully.


On starting to rehearse a monologue:

There are several questions to think about before and during the process of rehearsing a monologue:

Who am I?

Who am I talking to?

What is my objective? (To ________)

What is this monologue about? (e.g. honesty, self-realization...)

There is a pre beat before I say the first line.  I need to plan this out.  It is always a better choice to take a beat between slating and saying the lines than starting right after slating.

I should be clear and specific about the conversation I have had (if any) before my monologue, whether through reading the play the monologue is from or through imagination.  All the context I have will add depth to and build the subtext of my monologue.


My monologue is from The Children's Hour by Lilian Hellman, of the character Martha.  I relate to it a lot.  We've worked through the first 1/3 in today's class, in which I found my character painting a mask and convincing herself, then moving onto the deep shock and alert of self realization.  I am looking forward to rehearsing next week and getting it off-book.

MARTHA (talking to KAREN):

We aren't like that.  We don't love each other.  (Suddenly stops, crosses to fireplace, stands looking abstractedly at Karen.  Speaks casually.)  We've been close to each other, of course.  I've loved you like a friend, the way thousands of women feel about other women.

There’s nothing wrong about that.  It's perfectly natural that I should be fond of you, that I should… love you.

But maybe I love you that way.  The way they said I loved you.  I don't know.  There’s always been something wrong.  Always – as long as I can remember.  But I never knew until all this happened.

I've been telling myself that I’m guilty since the night we heard the child say it.  I’ve been praying I could convince myself otherwise.  I can’t, I can’t any longer.  It’s there.  I don't know how, I don't know why.  But I did love you.  I do love you.  I resented your marriage; maybe because I wanted you – I’ve never loved a man – (Stops.)

(As though she were talking to herself)  It's funny.  It's all mixed up.  There's something in you, and you don’t know it and you don't do anything about it.  Suddenly a little girl gets bored and lies, and there you are, seeing it for the first time.  (Closes her eyes)  I don’t know.  It all seems to come back to me.  In some way I've ruined your life.  I've ruined my own.  I didn’t even know.  (Smiles)  There’s a big difference between us now, Karen.  I feel all dirty and – I can’t stay with you anymore, darling.

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