Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Quick Monologue Thoughts
Monologues are the necessary thing actors can encounter, even in LA. Some friends asked about them, so here are a few thoughts. In LA an actor who isn't interested in doing stage plays probably doesn't need a monologue.
Many theatres prefer something from a play as opposed to film/TV, often something considered to be from the established cannon of plays (meaning typically not something you or a friend wrote).
In all cases run your monologue choice through this gentle guideline: If the monologue is so well known the people watching can do the monologue with you, that is not ideal. Nor is it always a great idea to do something from a movie or TV show unless you can do it better than the original. Otherwise you may get stuck in the shadow of that already-seen-by-casting version.
Remember that "better than" the original has some leeway. I heard of a woman doing the "to be or not to be" speech from Hamlet and doing it well enough and unconventionally enough (helped that she was female) that she did get a callback. Being memorable in a good way is usually good.
Monologues are typically used more for stage auditions than for auditions for film/TV auditions. If a representative (agent or manager) wants to see a monologue before taking you on, but does not represent actors for legit (meaning stage), then this is not great. In working with a rep that doesn't cover stage work, you will likely never be asked to do a monologue on any auditions they send you on, so why would they want to see one?
Choosing something you love, and love doing, that makes sense for you, whatever you decide "makes sense" means for you and for your purposes, is probably a good idea. You enjoying doing the speech will typically make it better. It also may make you enjoy the process of going to auditions more.
Follow their instructions: if they say contemporary, then the writer should still be alive, or could be alive. Contemporary monologues were likely written in the last half of the 20th century or in this one. Modern would likely be any writer alive roughly during George Bernard Shaw's lifetime, which was long (1856-1950). Classical usually means things like Shakespeare and contemporaries, Classical Greeks, and the like. If they say dramatic, don't use a comedic monologue, if they want comedic, make it something funny.
If you have any thoughts on monologues, or what I've just written, please leave a comment. Break a leg!