Monologue Coach Blog - DON'T DENY HOW YOU FEEL pt. 1

Posted on April 10th, 2011

As a Monologue Coach, I often hear actors say that they weren’t in the right place when they began their monologue. Meaning, that what they were feeling was inappropriate for the emotional reality of the character. This kind of thinking can make it very difficult to get started and often be the one thing the actor thinks about throughout the piece. Don’t deny what you are feeling. Anything you are feeling is completely appropriate to the situation your character is in.

So appropriate are your feelings that I suggest checking in with yourself before you begin. For example, I may be doing a monologue where the character is anticipating seeing a loved one that they haven’t seen in a very long time. Foolishly, I’ve made a decision that the only way the monologue will work is if I can conjure up a feeling of sheer excitement. So, I warm up the best way I know how. I jump around, smile ear to ear and laugh at myself while doing it. I think about seeing an old friend from my own life so that I can relate to the situation personally. All of this preparation worked in rehearsal, but now that I have to perform in front of people I’ve become nervous and my attempts to create a feeling of excitement and anticipation feel forced. In short, I feel like a fraud and that I’ll just look like a bad actor. Really, what I’m feeling now is scared - scared as hell that this is not going to go well at all. However, let me ask you this: Is it not appropriate to feel anxious about seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long while? Whatever emotion you may be having is absolutely appropriate.


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1 Comments

Eileen Ward - April 17th, 2011 at 9:17 PM
Yes, It makes complete sense to use what and how "you" the actor are feeling first. If we start off first "owning" our feelings, eventually the character work will come out. I think this helps our work be honest and true. If two actors come in with the same monologue, it still is going to be different. Because we are always bringing a piece of who we are, so why then would we choose to ignore that when auditioning? I would say the same thing applies to any audition. A few years ago when auditioning for a musical, the director stopped me after my song and said "that sounded lovely but I didn't believe a word of it". He asked me to start it over and use what ever I was feeling right at that moment. I did, and I got the role. He then said there would be a hundred sopranos coming through the door that day, all with lovely voices, but he wasn't just looking for a money note. I needed to bring something else to the table. And that was who I am and what I felt at that moment.

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