Q & A Edit Length of Monologue?

Q: I’m working on finding a monologue for our assignment and I think I’ve found a good one. I found a script of it on one of the websites you put in the folder. However, after watching the scene, the script was much shorter than the actual scene. I can fit all of the script into two minutes but can’t pause as much as he does in the actual scene. Is it allowed to cut out parts of the monologue that are unnecessary for understanding the theme?

A:

Hello anonymous student,

I don’t recommend using a script from the internet. I recommend watching the scene and writing the script yourself, especially if you can start out writing it by hand so you remember it better.

Once you’ve done that, if the scene is still too long you can either start it later or end it earlier, trying not to cut out anything important for the central idea. In some instances I’m okay if you take out a chunk from the center but that’s it, only remove one big chunk. Don’t cut and paste. It will make it harder to memorize because it will lose the flow of the script.

With respect to delivery, I don’t recommend significantly altering the delivery of the scene especially if it’s to make the time. However, some slowing down or speeding up isn’t a huge deal. I find that most monologues are actually too fast for me. But in some instances they’re way too slow. Mostly, however, I try to stay within 10 or 20 wpm of the original.

I hope that helps.

Lee

Vet Your Monologue with Research

For those of you worried if your monologue is “acceptable” or “good” —

There’s really no such thing as an acceptable/unacceptable or good/not good monologue except when it comes to things that obviously don’t meet the basic requirements (it’s four minutes long, it’s from an Obama speech, etc.). Otherwise there’s just more clear and interesting and less clear and interesting themes. Part of what the assignment is teaching and assessing is whether you can parse that out.

One way to help you make that judgment (besides applying what we’ve discussed in class to the monologues under consideration) is researching who else has discussed/reviewed/critiqued your monologue somewhere on the interwebs–usually if people are talking about the meaning of something (or even better debating the meaning of something) you’re onto something with strong potential. Even if you find a lot of writings about how a particular monologue is the worst (i.e. the mean girls prom scene) then at least you can safely rule it out.

It’s probably above and beyond the research I expect most students to do for this assignment but, nonetheless, it’s available to you if you’d like to do more vetting of your monologue prior to delivery.

Q & A Monologue Assignment

Q: I found a monologue that I really love, but am unsure if there is a strong enough theme only because unless the audience knows the story, the theme is not necessarily evident. I would like to perform the opening monologue from the movie THE BLINDSIDE…

A: I can’t really “vet” monologues (I wrote a wordpress on this recently) but I would say that if you think the audience NEEDS the story’s context to understand the monologue’s theme then it probably isn’t a very good theme (or you are underestimating your audience). I will say that this monologue is very popular and having heard it a few times I don’t think the audience needs the story to understand the theme. In fact, the monologue appears before the audience even gets any story in the movie. so….?

The more important questions you should ask yourself are a) where does the theme appear, b) do you need all of this monologue or only a piece of it to make your point, c) is the theme any good?, d) are you likely to be the second or third person to deliver this monologue and, if you wind up being that person, can you still deliver effectively?

Hope that helps,

L

Q & A Monologue Assignment

Q:

Would the monologue from 10 Things I Hate About You be a sufficient monologue for the assignment?

A:

I don’t really vet monologues–some of the assignment is you using the criteria to select a good fit. My thoughts are this, assuming you mean stiles monologue/poem toward the end since you didn’t specify.
That’s a tricky one. It doesn’t have a central idea really; she’s processing out loud the fact that she still has attachment to a person who has not treated her well…so the central idea is like “I hate that I love you” which I can see coming across as complex and interesting in some situations but not on this one as much. It’s more about character development, which is to say that even disappointing emotional attachment has made her more available to herself and others (hence the teacher sending her to the principal for not being a smart ass). But I think that’s something we learn from the movie arc generally that isn’t necessarily clear from that movie specifically.

Strategies for Finding a Unique Monologue

  1. Go through your Netflix or DVD collection and look for movies you already know you love. Then try to remember if there’s a monologue in them that might be worth considering. If you’re not sure, search “title of movie” and “monologue” in your browser to see if the internet can point you to one. If it looks good, it’s worth watching the movie to see if the monologue is good for the assignment.
  2. Rather than searching the generic “movie monologues” try searching something like “movie” and “monologue” and , for example, “redemption” or “optimism” and see if you can let a specific theme that interests you guide you toward a monologue-less-traveled.
  3. Go for plays. People tend to be less familiar with plays than movies so it’s less likely someone will choose the same monologue as you if you look at a play. You can combine a search for “plays” with the theme-driven search from #2.
  4. Go for TV dramas not sitcoms. One-hour TV dramas or longer tele-dramas like “Sherlock,” for example, will have a monologue here and there. Shorter TV shows and sitcoms won’t dedicate the air time to a monologue.
  5. Look to movies that are about public speaking, speech making, speech writing, or famous speakers, such as “The Great Debaters,” “Lincoln,” “The King’s Speech,” or “Larry Crowne.” Because of the topics of these movies they tend to include significant—though not necessarily good—monologues (and are also not usually on the popular monologues list because they aren’t blockbuster movies.
  6. Go for older movies. The older the movie the more likely it is to include a significant monologue, especially if it’s a drama such as “Sunset Boulevard” (one of my personal favorites) or “12 Angry Men.”
  7. Look for books that have been adapted as movies as these are likely to contain monologues, especially if they are adaptations of classic works such as “Great Expectations,” “Great Gatsby,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”