Monologue Coach Blog - AVOID THE ARGUMENT

by Rob Cardazone on December 1st, 2017

I recently had a chance to coach an actor on a monologue for a reading of my new play, One More Time with Malice. Often an actor will want to make the most dramatic choice, especially in an argument. But, if you think about it, when we get into an argument, we often look for the first opportunity to get out of it. Okay – to articulate our opinion and then to get out of it. Perhaps this is the way we should approach arguments in plays, even when it’s a diatribe of a monologue. Sometimes the reason we get into this biz, is because we are drawn to drama. Hopefully, as we develop our craft, we develop an appreciation of nuance, the subtle, the not-so-obvious. In an argument in a play, every line can be thought of as getting-in-the-last-word; as if the subtext was “So there!” And then, suddenly you have to add more. And, more! But, you don’t have to actually yell, or build, or get angrier, or more frustrated to get your point across. Let the words do the work. I may have used this before, but: You don’t need to bring sand to the beach! Meaning: You don’t need to bring an argumentative tone to an argument. See what it’s like to play it, staying on the ground floor. Meaning: don’t escalate, or get louder, or more argumentative. Then, if you absolutely can’t help yourself, if something really snaps inside you, then and only then, let that emotion come out. Or, not! Stuff it! That’s what most people do in real life! If you’re about two thirds or three quarters through the play, maybe that’s the time to lose it, but before that, I would recommend stuffing the feelings. (Not good life advice, but good acting advice!) A problem comes up often in this new play of mine. The characters are siblings that haven’t seen each other in a while. The trap is regressing to childish bickering. That can be grating. Why not say all the crappy things that the script supplies, but say it as calmly and maturely as possible? Doing this will actually create much more complex characters and relationships and tension. Avoid the argument. Try to get out of it. Play the most positive choice you can. Don’t judge your character. Play the character as maturely as possible.

For info on my new play, go to ONE MORE TIME WITH MALICE




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