Monologue Coach Blog - DON'T DENY HOW YOU FEEL Pt. 2

Posted on April 17th, 2011

When starting a monologue, whatever emotion you may be having is absolutely appropriate.

Quickly check in and acknowledge what you’re feeling. Try this a few minutes before starting. It may go something like this: “I’m feeling kind of nervous right now. Okay, I can see why my character may be nervous. He hasn’t seen his friend in twenty years!” You may notice that once you acknowledge you’re emotion it may shift. Check in again. “Letting myself have my emotions is empowering! Wow! Now, I’m feeling excited!” However, nine out of ten actors are riddled with self doubt. (Sorry.) So, check in one more time. “I’m gonna screw up anyway. Damn! Now, I’m nervous again.” If that’s how you’re feeling, then that’s how you’re character is feeling.

Often the main concern that comes up is that if you start your monologue with a different emotion, each time you do it, it will affect the performance, the objective and everything that you had worked on in rehearsal. To dispel this fear I’d like to present the following explanation which was developed with a friend and colleague of mine who is a linguist: (Come up with your own situation and draw a parallel to a monologue you're working on.)

The Givens
1) Who are you?
-I am a temporary office worker.
2) Where are you?
-Every week I’m assigned to a different location, however, each office is so similar they might as well be the same place.

Background
1) Where are you coming from experientially?
-I finally got up the nerve to quit my restaurant job.

Objective
1) What do you want?
-I want to make enough money to supplement my income so that I can pursue my career in the theatre.
-I want solvency.

Now ask yourself this: Does it matter what emotion you're having at the start of this work day scenario in order to go after your objective? Or, more to the point, does it matter what emotion you're having at the start of your monologue?

If you're working on changing your emotion to what you think is "right" for the monologue, you're working on the wrong thing. There are plenty of things to work on. Don't even mess with the emotions. Have the emotions, yes! Feel them deeply. But, don't ever that think what your feeling is wrong. Empower yourself by believing that whatever you are feeling is exactly how the character is feeling and is completely appropriate for the monologue. Don't deny what you really feel!

So, now.... I'd love to hear from you. What do you think about this ideology? do you think you might play with it in an audition? Please, write some comments below.


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