Strong Monologues

Lesson Objective:

Students will acquire the skills to find monologues that best highlight their skill by discussion, journal writing and participation in an activity.


Materials Needed:

balloons, slips of paper with examples of monologues for balloons (explained below)   Lesson 1.Balloon Activity; monologue to be cut  Lesson 1.Blood Brothers Script Side, rubric for monologues (in an electronic form as well)  Lesson 1.Monologue Rubric; chalk/dry erase markers; journals (paper); tape  Lesson 1.Deadlines


Step 1: Identifying Good and Bad Monologue Traits Relay (10 min)

Split the class into three or four groups, depending on the number of students. Groups should be about four or five people each. The balloons will be placed in a pile away from the groups. One teammate from each team will run, get a balloon, run back to their group, blow up the balloon and then pop it to get the piece of paper out. They can confer with their group whether or not the characteristic goes under the “good” category or the “bad” category. Depending on the class, you may want to make it a more formal competition. If you are doing this, keep a tally point system for each piece of paper that the team posts. The team with the most posts wins.


Step 2: Discussion (7 minutes)

Look at the traits that are posted in categories on the board. Ask the students if there is anything that they think belongs in a different category and why. If the class agrees, move it to a different category. Ask if anyone has questions about why an example is in a certain category.
•What similarities and differences or trends do you see within the good and bad categories?
•Why do you think these specific traits make it a “good” or a “bad” monologue?


Step 3: Discussion (5 minutes)

•Who has auditioned before?
•Do you have monologues prepared? If so, think about if those monologues fit these principles.
•Was it for a specific play?
•Has anyone auditioned for a college before?
•What do you think are some differences between the choices of audition pieces for a specific play versus for a college auditions, possibly for entrance into a program or for scholarship?
Lead a discussion about how in college auditions, instead of auditioning for a specific character or role, professors/auditioners are looking for contrasting pieces that show off your own strengths and range. They are looking for monologues that are age appropriate. They are looking for people to fill their programs, not just for one person to play one very specific part. They want to see YOU!


Step 4: Pep Talk (7 min)

So, who are YOU? Express that during this unit we will be focusing on our strengths. It is not cocky to understand what we are good at. It also is not effective to compare ourselves to others. We don’t have to be the best to say that we’re good at something.
•How can we confident without being arrogant?
•Why would an auditioner like to see someone who is confident?
•What does being confident look like?
•What does being unsure of yourself look like?


Step 5: Journal Prompt (7 min)

Ask the students to consider their own strengths in acting and in life. Have them consider personal traits that they feel translate well to the stage, personal traits that help them in processing a monologue, things that they like about monologues and/or characters, etc. In their journals (or on a piece of paper), have them 1) make a list of all of their strengths. Then have them 2) choose one or two to expound upon in writing. Explain how that trait helps in an audition setting—whether it is in choosing monologues, performing them, or how it can be utilized in any other monologue aspect.


Step 6: Sharing (15 minutes)

When everyone is done, have each student go around and share one of his or her strengths. Make sure that they do not qualify their response (“sometimes I’m good at…,” or “I can be….,” or “Some people say that I’m….”). After everyone has shared, ask how one or some of these strengths can be utilized in an audition setting. These can be his or her own strengths or a strength of someone else that they heard.
•How is this strength useful?
•How can this be utilized in auditions?

Explain how you want to use your own acting and characteristic strengths to help you pick a monologue that is good for you.
•What type of monologues do you like?
•What monologues coincides with your strengths?


Step 7: Review Monologue Rubric (5 minutes)

Show the class the monologue rubric (on the projector) so that they know what is expected as they choose their monologues. Ask a student to explain what “contrasting monologues” mean? (Contrasting in feeling, in tone—comedic to dramatic, or excited to sad, etc.) Discuss any other questions the students may have about the rubric. Point out the time limit to the students—3 minutes. Most college auditions are strictly limited in time—either 2 or 3 minutes for BOTH monologues. As you find monologues to be turned in next week, remember this.
•So how can you cut a monologue to the right time?


Step 8: Cutting a Monologue (15 minutes)

Pair the class into partners. Give each partnership a copy of dialogue from a play (every pair will have the same dialogue). Let the partnerships decide how to cut the dialogue. They must cut it to where it creates a monologue that is no more than 50 seconds long. Have them consider:
•What are the important lines?
•Which are the storytelling lines?
•What needs to be said, what doesn’t need to be said?
•Which lines will present an appropriate arc?


Step 9: Examples (5 minutes)

When the students are done, ask for a few partnership volunteers to read their cutting. The other students will follow along. After each reading, we will analyze as a class why lines were cut and how that can be useful.


Step 10: Wrap Up (3 minutes)

Ask for some volunteers to recap what makes a good monologue. Ask for volunteers to recap how to cut a monologue, and what we learned about our own strengths and using them.


Pass out the calendar of due dates. Remind the students that one of their monologues (cut version) is due in two class periods, and that it needs to be memorized. One monologue choice is due this next class period. It does not need to be cut or memorized, but you must have a copy of it in class so that it can be approved.

•If you have questions, you may bring multiple monologues to clarify with the teacher which will be best.