June 29, 2022
How to choose a monologue for an audition? But first of all, do you have a monologue? Actors, "You know, look. Oh my God, I need a monologue". I don't work on monologues. In this video, we're going to explore the importance of the monologue to the actor. One of the things I hear a lot these days is in film and TV you know I'm never asked for a monologue and then my response is but do you ask to perform one? Here at the studio, we work on something we call the one-minute play. Where in one minute 15 guide posts six view points four parts of vocal variation and the four agreements are demonstrated. When actors say, "I don't do monologues", I go, "Well, that's why you're nervous whenever an audition happens", because you haven't you're not used to the sound of your own voice leaving your body. Here in New York we work on a minimum of six monologues in a variety of styles. What ought those monologues? I resisted using the word should never should on yourself. Demonstrate an ability to do dialect or dialects at least one or two ought to be Shakespeare. Don't be afraid of Shakespeare, I'm going to talk about that in subsequent videos. Shakespeare is your pal, right, he will change your life. You know one should be very physical. In the event that you get called into a theater where there's a very large space that you can fill it up with physical destinations that's really important. One should feel a lot like a sitcom but they're really fun to do. I've had students that have 20 monologues, 20, right now you ought to have six. Why not? They're free. Why you got to do them and you got to do them daily. Here's something to write down, I convince myself I am an actor by my actions and the world is my witness. But you convince yourself because something else to write down. Love takes time. Love makes time. If you want to look at what you really love look at where you put your time. We've all been told by someone that they love us but why do they take two weeks to return our call? But then there's the person that when you're sick brings you the chicken soup. That's love, they took the time. If they made the soup they really love you. So, the importance of the monologue to get used to glancing at words and connecting your voice to it, right. So, another thing to write down, connection to my voice is connection to my emotional body. Actors love to say, "I'm just in my head", I go, right. Well, you're in your head cause you like it there, you really enjoy it in there. But why would I take this whole torso and cram it into my cranium? That's no fun. something else to write down, in my head, I'm dead and beware of something that actors love to do is this is a dramatic scene or monologue. This is a comedic scene or monologue. This is sad. No, everything is everything all the time, right? Much like life. If you label it as one thing it will be one or two dimensional and it will not reveal who you are. So, the importance of the monologue to demonstrate your skill as a storyteller. Now, I like storyteller better than actor because I think actor the focus is a lot this way in storyteller the focus is on the world and life and off yourself. So, in previous videos we talked about the importance of relaxation. Here's a great secret, the key to relaxation keep the focus off yourself and put it on what you want to say and the other actor. Things to focus on, what am I looking for in a monologue? I'm looking for a universal. what's going to speak to everybody? If I want to do a monologue or a play or a film on the rise and fall of the dot-coms in the 90s you're probably not going to have a very wide audience for that. Because there's a whole lot of people that go whats, a dot com and they don't really know what it is. So, here's another secret. The greatest universal in the world is family and you can't argue with it. Look at the first plays ever written about the greeks. They're the first dysfunctional family the house of atrius that we know of. Let's jump around historically. Let's look at Mr. Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet it's about two families. Did any of you ever date somebody that your parents didn't approve of? That's Romeo and Juliet, you can relate to that. Do you ever have a friend your parents didn't approve of? Did you ever dated somebody that they didn't approve of? That's such a universal that music was added to that and it became west side story and that was so popular it was remade. So, family, family, family, Moliere's plays are about family and money. Who gets the money? Tartuffe, the miser, family and who's going to get the inheritance? Well, wait a minute, that sounds like cat on a hot tin roof. Brick and maggie are they going to finally have a baby and get big daddy's money or is it going to go to may and those no-neck monsters? Find the universal, find something, that everybody can relate to. One of the films I enjoyed this past year and you know I'm a voter on this stuff and I picked it early on. I really liked Coda it's family, it's a simple story. Make sure you're moved by what you're working on. When I was new to this stuff I wasn't always sure what I liked because I felt like I needed to like the right stuff. But if you need to think about whether you really enjoyed something you didn't. What's my gut response to this stuff? Was I moved by it?
So, things to look for in picking a monologue and choosing a monologue it's got to do one of five things. One night at the studio in New York we were breaking down why people go to plays and go to films and watch good television and we came up with five and these are in no particular order. We go to laugh, to cry, to learn, or be enlightened, that's the documentary film, to be scared. Horror is the easiest genre to sell because somebody chasing you with a chainsaw in Orlando Florida or Thailand. A chainsaw is a chainsaw. It really travels well, it translates right or to be turned on sexually. The erotic thriller. The good romantic comedy. So, in picking a monologue does it do one of those five things? Does it do two? Does it do three? If it does all five wow you're going to get a lot of work with that monologue. You know I'll take a poll sometimes at the studio and say, "So, what's the one film that did all of those and it also for a period of time was the most successful film of all time?", and that's Titanic whether you liked it or not. Because it has humor in it, it's very emotional at the ending of it. You learned about the boat yeah of the ship maker played by Victor Garber dear pal was in that movie. He's the guy who built the boat. It was terrifying and it was very sexy, right, sketching all that stuff. So, it's got to do one of five things. Another phrase to write down raise my personal standards to the heavens. You know I'll ask an actor, "So, you know I'm here with my pal and we're here at this all-night diner and I think you're an actor, right? You gotta hear do a monologue for us we like you, right". They go, "Wow, monologue. Gosh, yeah. Well, I have one but you know I really hate it", "Oh, you have one monologue you really hate and we're excited to hear that?". Why would you have one and why would you hate it? Guys, don't do things you don't like doing. If you love it we're gonna love it. So, one of the things one of the many facets of what I love about training actors is you become the actor becomes the storyteller becomes more comfortable in your own skin. I also refer to this as illness prevention treatment. The more relaxed you are in your body the more comfortable you are in your own skin also the healthier you are. But the power of the monologue guys, you work on a monologue. One of the things I recommend you work on and learn it tonight is Hamlet's advice to the players. It's the best acting class you're ever going to take. It'll work out your voice and your body. It's got humor. It's got all the stuff in it, okay. So, that's what I'm giving you here today Hamlet's advice to the players. So, the purpose of the monologue, to demonstrate your ability to be a professional storyteller and to reveal who you are. In your work ask yourself, am I concealing or am I revealing my heart and I want you to think of monologues like you're going on a first date. That's why you really don't want to pick the one that's all about being angry. So, now you know the importance of the monologue we mentioned Mr. Shakespeare. Now, let's get into why it's really important to study him and why you didn't know this yet maybe he's your best friend. Go watch that video next.