August 10, 2022
So, hi folks. Hi. Hello. So, the question is how to get into character for a monologue? What do you think about that, Emily?
In this video, you will learn about how to get into character for a monologue. Here we go. First of all, there is no character, the character is you, or if it's me, and I'm in a piece, that character is me under these given circumstances, right? So if I lived in this time, if I'm in the Victorian era, If I lived in the Victorian era. If I was born to this family under these socio economic circumstances, how would I be? How would I behave? How would I react? The reason we need to speak about it because it's often in interviews with actors, right? You'll hear people say, well, what the character is thinking or what she says or what he feels, and we find that if we speak and I statements, what I feel what I want, there's just an ownership there that is so important, because it just makes you- it makes you feel closer, it makes you feel kind of vulnerable. When you say I.
It's kind of honorable, vulnerable, it makes you feel vulnerable. And that's really important. So there's no distance between you and the character. So it's always me under these given circumstances, right? And it also implies ownership. Yeah, it really changes the way you feel. Haven't you ever listen to one of those voicemail things that says, Hi, Corbin is not home right now leave a message and I'll call you back. I go does Corbin have multiple personalities or does he have a butler? Corbin is not home right now, right? I'll call you back. Corbin you don't know like, there's a lot of people over there at your house. Okay, so I... because you want us to hire you, you, you, you, you. But building any character starts from the ground up. But as Emily said, the character is always you under these given circumstances, right? If I were born in this era. You know, acting is an imaginative art and the more that you work on in our studio in New York. You know, we work on a lot of, you know, challenging elevated texts, Shakespeare, the Greek smolyar, etc. But we also do improv because you need to be able to be spontaneous, and take the focus off yourself and say, yes, and, for those of you that have done a little bit of that. It's an imaginative art and your imagination is a muscle and it needs exercise, right? So let's start with what's going to feed the imaginative muscle, the shoes, right. Don't act in your own shoes. Go to Goodwill, Salvation Army, borrow shoes from a friend, they will change the way you feel. Yeah, same thing with what you're wearing and also that depends on what you're auditioning for, right? So, if you're going out to be the lady lawyer, the lady judge don't walk in and a pair of Daisy dupes and high heels as that sends a different message. That's a different character. But it says so much about we project character onto you. The way you sound, the way you dress, the way you move. Before you've said a single thing, we think you are a character. So there's so much that you can do and that's really a gift as an actor that relaxes you. You know, it just dressing in a certain way. Maybe wearing a certain perfume. You know, thinking about what sort of textures you're wearing. All of that just feeds your imagination as you were saying, which is a muscle which you want to be working out regularly and it's fun, it's joyful. You know, that's the fun part is really, what am I going to do that's going to ignite my imagination?
You know, what you see in our studio when we work on one minute plays, you know, people spend a great deal of care choosing their background, a great deal of thought into the lighting, and then that's something they'll use for other pieces and their clothing. And you'll see one minute monologues one after another and the minute their image comes on the screen based on how they're lit, what they're wearing, what the background is. You have an opinion about how professional they are or not they all feel very professional. And when you were allowed to enter a world in one minute and have a real sense of this person as a professional storyteller. Yes. So, in the next section, we'll give you some more ideas for how to get into character but just take a moment right now. Click the link below to subscribe. Your grace shall pardon me. I will not back. I am too high born to be property, to be a secondary or controlled or useful spelling man and instrument to any sovereign state throughout the world. Okay, so let's pause there. You know, you need to think, folks, of all auditions and all monologues are like you're going on a date. So if I say so you're Austin, right? Austin, I turn it. Yeah. I'm Tom and I'm really mad at my mother. But you think I'm a crazy person? Because why am I yelling at you? So, you know, the purpose of any monologue is you've got to fulfill the requirements and the given circumstances and the writing but you're also introducing Austin Michael Young. So your grace, you shall pardon me but listen, you know, I'm high born, you were appointed, but I've got blood on my side. You know, I'm a royal. Yeah, unlike Lord who would like to be a royal, we could be royals. So, there it is. So, let's begin with some humor. Because when you start to fight that much in the beginning, I don't know why because you look like you're to the manor born I can believe that And you look like you know, it feels insecure. The summer of 1984 was my first of three summers at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and an actor that became a lifelong friend is Diane Venora. Diane Venora later went on to play Ophelia to Kevin clients first Hamlet, and she also played Hamlet him herself. And she's the only woman in the last 100 years so to do that. You may remember her as Al Pacino, his wife in Michael Mann's brilliant film Heat. Well, Diane played the troll queen in Pure Games, the Gibson play, and Williamstown where we lived in faculty housing at Williamstown and I went over to pick her up for a dinner and I walked into her place and she had xeroxes of paintings of trolls, on every surface. All over the refrigerator, her bathroom mirror, her coffee table, her nightstand and then went, wow. And she was electric in this production. But she taught me a lot that summer about really immersing yourself in the world of the character, immersing your imagination. So everything she saw in terms of a posture. Yeah, period film, when I was at Juilliard, we studied 17th century painting as a required course, to see how people held themselves and moved in that era. And guys, you know, most of you have one of these, right? It's a supercomputer in your pocket, really help you learn about the era. So, anything that you're working on if it's Boston in the 50s, if it's London in the 1800s, Google it, google images, look at those images, they're feeding your imagination all the time, constantly feeding your imagination. So, the character is not out there somewhere. It's inside you and it's largely imaginative. But then one distinction would be if we're doing the Knights of the Round Table. Do I rent a suit of armor? Don't do that. No, don't do that. Again, if you're playing lady lawyer, don't go in a halter top and, you know, bikini bottoms. Because the minute we see you, we haven't a real sense of whether you understand the character. If you're reading for a Shakespeare play where something neutral, probably monochromatic. Never wear t-shirts with messages on them because we just keep reading that and we don't get lost in the story. If you're reading for King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, you know, black shirt, black jeans, do not go to Western costume and rent a suit of armor and come clanging in going, you know, because then we think you don't have a life and you have nothing better to do.
The other thing that's really great about learning about character, as we've said earlier, because the character is me under these given circumstances, is that I learned never to judge the character. So sometimes actors will come in and say, I'm playing a bitch, or I'm playing an asshole. But be careful of ever using that language because if it's me, I have to back myself 100% and I have to justify everything that I do in this story. So, I always have a reason for it and I never want to judge the character that I'm playing. So, what that ends up doing is it really- it really helps us exercise empathy, learn empathy, and learn how to walk in other shoes, no matter what sort of experiences those are and that's another really wonderful reason to study acting. Whether or not you decide to do it professionally, is you just begin to see life from all these other perspectives outside of your own. And an actor is a professional human being. So, develop, write this down folks, radical, imaginative, empathy. This work makes one more deep feeling, if I were this person living under these circumstances, how would I be?
But is this your consciousness level. Well, that's what we say about conservatory training. Conservatory develops consciousness, confidence, teaches confrontation and con in Spanish means with. You can't do it on your own you need a community. Absolutely. Remember folks, in your work, the core of the character is yourself. Don't hide behind a preconception. If you preconceived what you think this ought to be, you will be predictable. So, it's a journey of discovery, right? Enjoy that. Make sure your authentic self is in the work because we need to get to know you through the work. The amalgamation that happens is between the author's writing and who you are, right? So you're not here to become somebody else it's a journey to the core of who you are, and that character lies deep within you and within your heart. Come exercise your imaginative muscle with us, click the link below and join.