Tips for Preparing a Monologue
A monologue is one of the fundamental staples in an actor’s toolbox and can be used as a form of entertainment. It is a performance by a single actor and can have comedic or dramatic elements as well as a combination of the two. A monologue is simple to identify because it is always performed by one person and involves no additional actors or extra dialogue. For audition purposes they are typically kept under a minute long but monologues within the context of a show can be much longer than that. This Premiere Talent Tip Series post will share some suggestions about finding and performing a monologue.
Selecting Your Monologue
Before you can start practicing your monologue you need to the find the right one for both you as an actor and the role you are auditioning for. Start with monologues that are a match for your age and gender and then narrow them down to pieces that you can identify with. The roles you will be able to play will be influenced by what you are comfortable performing in addition to your personal background. The process of reading and experimenting with different monologues is the best way to help you find the best piece for your particular needs. A good online resource for monologue books is Amazon.com.
Performing Your Monologue
One of the most difficult but necessary aspects of acting is to make it appear natural. Getting in touch with your piece can help you achieve this and it should seem as if you are having an ordinary conversation even though you are the only person speaking. Use conversations that you have had with family and friends to help you find an ideal pace. When you are performing a monologue you are the sole person responsible for moving the story forward. In order to do this you need to understand the motivation/intent of the character you are playing. If you are going to achieve a believable performance you also have to be familiar with the character you are speaking to. People tend to speak and behave in different ways when they are talking to certain people in their lives. This concept needs to be applied to your monologue.
Fine-Tuning Your Monologue
As you become comfortable with the piece you have selected and gain an understanding of your character and the situation they are in you can focus on the gestures, body language and diction involved. It is very important to speak in a way that will allow your audience to clearly understand you. Focusing on your pitch, speed and enunciation will help with this, as well as focusing on the person you are supposed to be talking to. You can start out by practicing on your own, and with family and friends, but before you use your piece in an audition it can be very beneficial to perform it with an acting coach so that you can work out the kinks in your performance and strengthen your understanding of the piece.