Is your monologue not where you would like it to be? Let’s go over some of the reasons why this may be the case and how you can improve your monologue.
Some notable reasons why your monologue may not be working for you:
- Not off book.
- Monologue fatigue.
- Monologue is passive.
- You actually don’t like the monologue.
- Not enough time spent working on the material.
5 Tips to Improve Your Monologue
Let us now go over some tips to help you improve your monologue. This will help counter the 5 issues regarding your monologue as mentioned above.
Not off book. There’s nothing wrong with being loose with your script in rehearsal. It’s a given. If you are trying to perform your monologue and don’t know the lines, that’s a different story. You can’t be committed to the author’s intention in performance if you don’t know the lines. What makes you worse off is if you are performing and trying to remember the lines. There will be a stop and go in your work that will appear mechanical.
There may be an element of truth that will give off the intention of you trying to think the thoughts of your character by trying to remember your lines. The inner rhythm and pacing will be off. There are moments to punch through that sort of thing and improvise dialogue but if you don’t know the words, you won’t have much to return to. This will be a constant strain on your instrument. It’s all unnecessary. Learn your lines.
Monologue fatigue. There are times when you have beat your monologue to a pulp. Months or even years have gone by and it’s all starting to feel the same. This can be monologue fatigue. One of two things must happen. You need to revisit your monologue and make new choices. Break away from all the work that transpired before. You may have gotten into the repetitive funk and everything has become routine. If you are bored stiff with your monologue, don’t you think the people watching you are going to be bored stiff with your monologue also?
You need to challenge yourself with new creative choices. Think out of your comfort zone and try things that will make you uncertain. This uncertainness will awake you. Changing things up will bring new vibrancy into your work.
The second thing is that if you feel you have done all that you can with your monologue and you want out, then find a new monologue.
Monologue is passive. Perhaps you are working on a monologue that is too passive. Not enough action going on. You want to find material that will bring about a physical life to some degree. That’s not to say you want to be bouncing off the walls and diving over tables. You need to work with monologue material that will have an inner life as well as an external one.
Avoid monologues that are vague and empty. You need monologues that are about something. if there isn’t a subject matter, circumstance, character that connects you to the material in some way, chances are that there is a reason. Trust your instinct. Find something that makes you feel like you have stuff to give.
You actually don’t like the monologue. You’ve hated the monologue from day one or perhaps you’ve fallen out of love with it. Either way, you can’t stomach the damn thing. You have options. You can take this dislike on as a challenge to yourself and work with it. This can lead to extraordinary discoveries about the monologue piece and your own work. That in and of itself is worth a look.
You can also try expressing your monologue with the disdain you have toward it. Why not? See what happens. Again, interesting discoveries may come alive.
Last but not least, find a new monologue.
Not enough time spent working on the material. You really won’t be at performance level in two hours. You can make a go of it and there may be some merit to what you deliver but this isn’t a cold reading we are talking about. This is about improving your monologue for performance.
Take your time. Give yourself the room needed to explore the context of the material in all aspects of your work as an actor. The various aspects of acting is much too large to even consider writing about in one article.
You will need to make sure that you digest and live with your monologue for the gestation period. However long this process is for you, is solely up to you. I only wish to remind you that you may be rushing things, expecting too much top soon, demanding way too much of yourself early on. That’s counterproductive in your work. Why hurt yourself in such a manner?
There are times when a play or a film or a t.v. show doesn’t give room for such development. Well, in those cases, you need to trust yourself and give what you need to give to the best of your ability. Different circumstances call for different adjustments.
If you are focusing only on improving your monologue, then take the time needed to give it the life it deserves.
Those are 5 ways you can improve your monologue. Monologues can be challenging at times but if your are committed to your work, you will always come out the other side.