Wow. This past month or so has been crazy. In-depth and other such projects have been put on the back burner for a little while, at least in some ways. All that’s happening right now means that it’s everyone’s first priority to be safe and to maintain the most essential areas of their life. Because of this, I haven’t been able to get in contact with my mentor. I’ve tried emailing, which is the only information I have of her’s, but I completely understand that her mentorship to me is not the most important part of her life right now. So, I took an extra week to write up this blog post in order to find ways to redirect my learning for the rest of this in-depth project. I’m really just trying to make the best of the resources available to me. I dedicated some time this week to watching videos and taking a few notes on the tips I feel are important. I’ll list the links to some of the videos I’ve watched below:
Some of the resources I’ve found are much simpler than others, and some discuss very basic information. The second link above went through an exercise that I enjoyed. I think that in the next few days I’ll be searching for other such exercises that get my mind working. Then I’ll go back to my chosen monologue and apply the new skills.
I now have my monologue completely memorized, which wasn’t very difficult since the one I am working on is quite short. One tip that I picked up from my mentor in the beginning of this is that the length of a monologue does not determine the quality. In fact, after about a minute to a minute and a half, people can start to lose interest in what you’re saying.
Something else I’ve learned, from almost everyone I’ve acted with, is to mark out beats. A beat is essentially a change in thought or a new idea in acting. Especially in monologues, identifying beats is very important, because you don’t just want to be speaking a monologue the whole way through without any real breaks. It would be boring for you and for your audience. A monologue is never supposed to be a monologue; a character never knows what they are about to say. You say a line, and when you don’t achieve what you want, you voice another idea. With those beats, you can then identify objectives, specific feelings, and so on. Beats can also be very individual things. A new beat for one person may not be the same for another person; it really depends on how you want to break up your scene. To give an example, I’ll put each of my beats in my monologue on a new line below.
“But one day I’ll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won’t ever really go away.
I’ll tell them how I survive it.
I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything
because I’m afraid it could be taken away.
That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do.
It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after all these years.
But there are much worse games to play.”
You’ll notice that many times a new beat will come at the beginning of a new sentence, or after several sentences. Sometimes, however, beats can pop up partway through a sentence, which happens once in my monologue. Keep in mind, though, that this is only my interpretation of that monologue. I could pass it on to the next person and have it come out completely different.
These are the kinds of skills I’ve been able to pick up on using resources beyond my mentor. As I said, I’m really just trying to redirect my learning in order to make the best of this situation. This is still a great opportunity, and I’m learning to be flexible, just like everyone else.