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Making a monologue your own

Once you have chosen your monologue it is important that you make it your own. Whatever you decide to change about the script you have chosen, remember to follow the guidelines mentioned in Choosing your Monologue Piece. There are many ways in which you can change the script to make the performance different from the original, without changing the actual words. Here are 5 things you can do;

Remove all direction With most roles in which you will be cast, the direction in a script can really help you learn about your character. Writers use the direction to subtly imply character traits that can really effect your performance. When trying to make a performance your own, the direction in the script can sometimes inhibit you. Remove the direction so you are not tempted to follow the writers version of the characters.

Change the details Whilst we do not suggest that you change the actual script, there are some subtle changes that you can make to fit your requirements.

  • Choose the part you want to play and don't worry about the sex of the character, you can change this if you want to play a part originally for the opposite sex.
  • You can change the other characters mentioned in the script if you need to; him can become her, he – she, James – Jennifer, and so on. Only do this if you need to to make the piece make sense.
  • Make dialect based changes to the script. If you choose a piece from an American script, it may contain specifically American words. This is fine if you choose to perform the piece with an American accent, but can seem disjointed if performed with an English accent, so change these words for the English alternatives. For example you might change Fall to Autumn, or elevator to lift.
Change the period It shows great creativity in an actor to be able to make a script contemporary without changing the words. A great example is Joss Whedons Much Ado About Nothing, which was modernised whilst retaining the original Shakespeare script. Making your piece contemporary can also help with your location and costume choices, meaning you don't have to spend money creating a convincing period set piece.

Change the context Ignore what you know about the character regardless of how well known they might be, just look at the words. Think about who might be saying them and the context in which they are being said. The emphasis you put on different words can drastically change the emotional context of the scene. Practice performing your piece several time, changing the emotional context of the script; If the character was originally sad during the scene, play it angry, or excited. Whilst not all scenes can be drastically changed in this way, subtle emotional changes can also add an edge to your performance.

It may help to think about your characters backstory, and what got them to this point in the script. For example, at the end of many slushy rom coms, the leading man will declare his love for his leading lady, before they live happily ever after. By changing his the story prior to this monologue you can change the emotion involved. Perhaps he was too late and she has left, or died in a tragic accident, the same speech would become sad and sorrowful. Perhaps he gets there and she is with another man, this speech can become angry or confused.

Be Confident So long as you have a reason to how you have changed the character or script, you can be confident in your performance. If a casting director asks you about your creative decisions for the piece in an audition, you want to be able to answer with authority. As an actor you should love what you do, so make sure you find a piece that you are passionate about, go with it and make every second count.