Strategies for Memorizing Your Monologue

Read the full (and very short) article here:

  1. Begin by reading the script over and over again, looking for what actors call the “throughline” — the causal chain that leads one event in the play to topple into the next and the next. Memorizing the thoroughline, which doesn’t appear as such in the script, is as important as memorizing the words in the script themselves.
  2. Engage in “micro-level” processing of the material; pay minute attention to every snatch of dialogue because each word offers a hint of the speaker’s motivations and desires. The words are an expression of these motivations and desires. If you have a sense of those the words appear more naturally.
  3. Try to tie the words you speak to the moves your body makes — the finger pointing you might do during a moment of accusation, for example, or the welcoming posture you adopt when you’re greeting new acquaintances.
  4. Infuse your delivery with some real emotion.

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.”