Posted: March 29th, 2021
Memorize a monologue of between one and two minutes in length and record it. Post it for class comment, only positive comments are allowed. You may find a monologue in a play, a movie, a political speech, poetry, or an oral interpretation of a song. Verses from a religious text are acceptable, someone even did a monologue by a video game character. ‘Please, no Shakespeare or original monologues.‘ Be warned, if you do something like “Mary had a Little Lamb,” or “The Lord’s Prayer,” you will be asked to do the exercise again.
Example (It doesn’t need to be as formal as mine but it would help to say your name before you begin, there are two monologues on my audition tape from a few years back. I was offered a job at a Shakespeare Festival from this but was unable to accept it):
Perhaps this example of a master actor plying his craft may be helpful. I started this insane business because of the inspiration I found in the great “Method” performers of James Dean and Marlon Brando but I keep at because of craftspeople like Sir Anthony Hopkins. His amazing technique is analyzed in this clip.
Probably the most famous monologue is from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. What do you think it means? What does it mean to you?
To be, or not to be, that is the question,
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.
If it helps, this is how the passage could “scan” in iambic pentameter. Be aware it’s not a sing-song rhythm. Shakespeare reverses the downbeat for emphasis, the trick is figuring out where he does it. He never makes the speech clumsy for the character, it always flows naturally. I ask you not to do Shakespeare for your monologue unless you understand the rhythm of scansion underneath the lines.
To be,/or not/ to be,/ that is/ the question,
Whether/ ’tis no/bler in/ the mind/ to suffer
The slings/ and ar/rows of/ outra/geous fortune,
Or to/ take arms/ against/ a sea/ of troubles,
And by/ oppo/sing end them?/ To die:/ to sleep;
No more;/ and by/ a sleep/ to say/ we end
The heart/-ache and/ the thou/sand nat/ural shocks
That flesh/ is heir/ to, ’tis/ a con/summation
Devout/ly to/ be wish’d./ To die,/ to sleep;
To sleep:/ perchance/ to dream:/ ay, there’s/ the rub;
For in/ that sleep/ of death/ what dreams/ may come
When we/ have shuf/fled off/ this mor/tal coil,
Must give/ us pause:/ /there’s the/ respect
That makes/ calam/ity /of so/ long life;
For who/ would bear/ the whips /and scorns/ of time,
The oppres/sor’s wrong,/ the proud/ man’s con/tumely,
The pangs/ of despis/ed love/, the law’s/ delay,
The in/solence/ of of/fice and/ the spurns
That pa/tient mer/it of/ the unwor/thy takes,
When he/ himself/ might his/ quiet/us make
With a/ bare bod/kin? who/ would far/dels bear,
To grunt/ and sweat/ under/ a wear/y life,
But that/ the dread/ of some/thing af/ter death,
The un/discov/er’d coun/try from/ whose bourn
No tra/veller/ returns/, puzzles/ the will
And makes/ us ra/ther bear/ those ills/ we have
Than fly/ to oth/ers that/ we know/ not of?
Thus con/science does/ make co/wards of/ us all;
And thus/ the na/tive hue/ of res/olution
Is sick/lied o’er/ with the/ pale cast/ of thought,
And ent/erpris/es of/ great pith/ and moment
With this/ regard/ their cur/rents turn/ awry,
And lose/ the name/ of ac/tion.–Soft/ you now!
The fair/ Ophel/ia! Nymph,/ in thy/ orisons
Be all/ my sins/ remem/ber’d.
It is interesting to think of how Shakespeare would have sounded at the time. He had a Warwickshire dialect, a country boy. The following are examples of Shakespeare’s language in an Elizabethan dialect.
Rubric Exercise 5 (1)
Memorize a monologue of between one and two minutes in length, memorize, film it and post it in the Discussion Board for the Exercise. Film yourself performing the monologue of at least 60 seconds in a 3/4 body shot and “on voice” (your outside voice). DOES HAVE THE SCRIPT WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT DURING THE PERFORMANCE!!! The monologue can be from a play, movie, political speech, poetry, or an oral interpretation of a song. Be warned, if you do something like “Mary had a Little Lamb,” or “The Lord’s Prayer,” what will be asked for on the second version will be difficult
The student filmed a memorized performance of a monologue with a minimum length of 60 seconds and posted the recording to the Discussion Board for the exercise. DOES HAVE THE SCRIPT WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT DURING YOUR PERFORMANCE!
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.