Uncategorized

THE "ALWAYS THINKING" ACTOR IN A SCENE OR MONOLOGUE

Gerald Langiri
May 14 / 2012

Acting monologues are some of the most important tools beginning actors need to master to get their first acting jobs, yet many performers rush through the process of preparing their audition monologues, going straight for the emotion and never taking the time to truly understand their monologue before performing it.

Of course, you have an idea of what a monologue is about even after reading it just once, but the goal is to understand exactly the weight and meaning of every word so that what you're saying is easily understood by others who can start thinking with you.

Why is it so important?

Because whether you're auditioning for Hollywood acting jobs or performing on stage, your audience is only with you if they can follow your thought process. So that has to be your number one goal, for them to think with you as you deliver your acting monologue.

If an audience thinks with you, they breathe with you, and as an actor that's where you want to be.

That's when you hold your audience in the palm of your hand. Draw your audience into the story and keep them there, and they will cry, laugh and hold their breath with you.

Some actors can deliver a huge explosion of emotion and leave us as audience members completely unmoved. We may be impressed by their capacity to cry on cue or to reach emotional heights, but just watching someone feel gets boring pretty quickly if they haven't been able to make us care about the story. It's like a former acting coach once said, "When I'm in the theater, I don't care how the actor feels. I want to feel. That's what I pay for."

One of the biggest mistakes actors make when acting monologues is to try to artificially keep it interesting. Too often the result is the opposite of what was intended. The performer turns the acting monologue into a showpiece at the expense of the logic of the words, and the audience stops listening. Of course, audition monologues need to show range as much as possible, but if you can get the auditioner to forget about you for a second and just be completely absorbed in the world you created for them, that's even better.

Actually, working on bringing out the meaning of your monologues will help you show range, naturally. That's because the more you discover the true meaning of the words, the more subtleties you uncover that will color your performance organically without getting out of character or arbitrary jumps from one emotion to the next.

Of course, there are some directors who are really impressed by actors who can cry on cue and sometimes that is just required for a role. If quick tears are not in your bag of tricks, fixating on turning on the waterworks will only make things worse. But if you just start thinking moment to moment the thoughts of your character, the tears will come, at least in the eyes of your public who really doesn't care how you feel, as long as you take them for a ride.

Think about the actors you admire and the really good actors out there. They all have this thing in common that they always have an inner monologue going on. One of my favorite actors is Denzel Washington. I love to watch him act because he'll draw me into the story of any movie, even movies I wouldn't normally enjoy. Why? Because he's never just "performing" or reaching out for an emotion... he's always thinking.

Of course, really understanding what you are saying and "thinking the words" is not the end of it. Actors have to work on staying open and vulnerable and use their imagination to create characters that are unique to them. But that first step of really digesting the meaning of the words is the one we most often skip and take for granted, yet one of the most important steps to get off to a good start on your acting monologues.

There's plenty of ways to work on that first step, like paraphrasing or using Meisner exercises to really impart the words to a partner. The Stella Adler Technique is also designed to bring out the meaning in the words of the play and communicate it to others.

So if you feel frustrated with your acting monologues or if you've been driving yourself crazy trying to wring tears out of your dramatic pieces, try some of these techniques and remember that the mark of a good actor is not necessarily the ability to emote but more the power to take your audience for a ride!

By Alex Swenson

Alex Swenson has worked as an actor, writer and film editor for the past 15 years in New York and Los Angeles. She has created the website Acting-School-Stop.com to help aspiring actors start an acting career. You can view a free acting class on how to work on your acting monologues at http://www.acting-school-stop.com/acting-monologue.html. You can also get monologue ideas on the website at http://www.acting-school-stop.com/monologues.html.

 


You may also want to read:

- AUDITION MONOLUGES:HOW TO CHOOSE MONOLOGUES THAT WORK

- POINTERS ON PERFORMING MONOLOGUES :ACTING 101

- "ACTING AND PROSTITUTION ARE SIMILAR" SAYS KEN

- DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE MEMORIZING YOUR LINES? THIS WILL HELP

 


Share this post


Other Posts

ACTORS.CO.KE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Posted on May 09, 2012

Welcome to actors.co.ke. Your use or browsing of this website means you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern actors.co.ke’s relationship with you in relation to this website. If you disagree with any part of these terms and conditions, please do not use our website. The term ‘actors.co.ke&rs...

9 LESSONS LEARNT FROM DA CREME DE LA CREME OF ACTORS PARTY

Posted on May 07, 2012

31ST April 2012 marked the day that saw a publicly advertised and organized event to celebrate Kenyan actors.  Dubbed as the “crème de la crème of acting party”, the event doubled up as a charity event and the funds raised were to go to the FISA foundation. The event was organized by Filmbiz Africa magazine and actors.co.ke along side their sponsors. Filmbiz Africa h...

DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE MEMORIZING YOUR LINES? THIS WILL HELP

Posted on May 07, 2012

Here is one acting tip - acting is not about learning lines. Yet actors often worry about memorizing lines, so below is some information on when you need to know your lines and the best way to avoid drawing a blank. 1. Do you need to know your lines for acting auditions? It depends on whether you have to do a monologue, a prepared scene or a cold reading. If you're presenting a monologue, yo...

ZUKU:CELEBRATING AFRICA'S STARS - A NIGHT OF 1000 LOLS

Posted on May 04, 2012

Zuku is a satellite multichannel pay-tv service that spans across East Africa. Their main objective is to make affordable quality home entertainment available at affordable prices. It has embarked on an initiative that sees it promoting and marketing African stars in the arts industry. One such event I was privileged to attend was the one held on the 25th April 2012 dubbed “Celebra...