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Monologues for Women

I woke up one morning and thought, “I’ve got some soliloquies tucked away that would make good monologues.  This book is unique because all the contemporary monologues are original.  Directors get bored and tired of the same old shoes like speeches from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Barefoot in the Park, Streetcar Named Desire, Pygmalion, View from the Bridge and others. Make them sit up and listen when you use something they have never heard before!

And that brings me to the point that I want to share with my readers out there who are writers or want to be writers.  Previously I was talking about my digging out some old and new work and turning them into a book of monologues.  Never, never throw anything away.  Open up that dusty old box of your scribbles that you have hidden away on the top shelf of the closet.  You might be surprised what you find and how much you like it after a year, five years or ten.  “Note from a Watery Grave” which I scribbled down back in 2002?….turns out it was pretty good with some additional editing on my part.  The end result was a new book.  My motivation: as an actor, I know how hard it is to find that perfect monologue for an audition.  How difficult it is to get the director’s attention and keep it.

While compiling this book, I remembered how I would go to an audition and announce that my classical piece was going to be Anne from Richard III.  The director (or audition panel) would roll their eyes and yawn in my face.  The ‘Anne’ that they were thinking of was an old tired thing that’s been done to death, when Richard confronts Anne over the coffin.  My ‘Anne’ was a conversation that I pieced together into a soliloquy and I was certain that they had never seen.   I got the same reaction from the director every time;  they sat up and listened!  And afterwards, they laughed and told me they were expecting something else and how refreshing mine was.

A final note:  I have included not only some classics (so that your audition will show contrast in your acting ability)  but also some original monologues for the African-American actress.

Sampling from Monologues 4 Women:

MARY ELIZABETH

(The Waltz, comedic)

My first dance! My first grown-up dinner dance since I got my job in the typing pool. I haven’t been asked to dance yet…no surprise… but I don’t care. My dress is only second hand, my hair is dressed and my nails are clean. I’m just happy to be here, watching the couples twirl around the floor to the most wonderful band I’ve ever heard. Never mind it’s the first band I’ve ever heard in person.

Ooo, look at that tall handsome man walking towards me. He’s probably getting something to drink for his date.
My mother always told us girls to stand near the refreshment table so more gentlemen would notice us and ask one of us to dance. But it was always Violet that they asked; of us six girls, she’s the beauty in the family. Wait! He’s looking right at me….he caught me staring and day-dreaming. I looked down and stared at my shoes; maybe he will ignore my bad manners and continue on….oh no, he stopped! His shoes are standing right in front of me.

He speaks. ‘Excuse me, Miss Guyer?’ My chin resting on my chest I mumble, ‘yes’. He tells me his name is Arthur. Wouldn’t you know he was a namesake for a great king? He then asked, would I like to dance. I forced myself to look up, just a tiny peek before I declined. Looking into the most beautiful eyes…hazel I think it’s called, sometimes green, sometimes brown. I am lost. He’s holding out his hand and without speaking I put my hand in his and he led me to the dance floor.

The band had begun playing a waltz and Arthur smoothly led me into the dance. I guess we chat about small things. He asked where I worked in the company and then tells me he’s part of the law firm that my company retains. He tells me about his mother and four siblings. Suddenly he asked me if I intended to look at him at all before the dance was over. I realized I had been staring at his crisp white shirted chest the entire time. My eyes snap up to his face to find he was smiling…..

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My Years in the French Quarter, New Orleans! Nostalgia (part 8)

New.Orl.Mist.Hand to the heavens these are all true stories of my life in New Orleans. 1977-79 was a wonderful time to live in the French Quarter.  I was working full-time as an actor (stage, radio, TV) and since that never pays anything regular, I had a part-time job as personal assistant to the publisher of a tourist magazine.  So now to the storytelling:

My apartment was a two room attic above a restored (1860’s) town house. I couldn’t afford the downstairs. (starving artist, remember)  The slave quarters on the other side of the garden was also a luxury apartment.  But I loved my little place where when you opened the windows you could look out over the French roof tops and see just the upper structure of freighters moving slowly up the river.  Late at night I would lie there with the windows open and listen to the clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages wearily making their way back to the stables.  The tenants changed out below me and  my new neighbors, it turned out, was the mob boss’s nephew coming up through the ranks and his (high-end call girl) girl friend who worked at Lucky Pierre’s (a lounge and escort service).  I’ll tell you more about the ‘connected guy’ later.  more »

How to Write a Short Play…7 tips

When writing a short play, you will have no time to ‘set up’ the story.  It’s only ten to twelve minutes long, remember? Rather, think of it as walking into the middle of the story; more like a scene…but in this case it must have a beginning, middle, and end, all in roughly ten-twelve minutes.

A ten minute play (or one act)  is 10-15 pages written in a proper format.  It can have costumes and sets, certainly, but ten minute plays are most popular because of their simplicity.   It’s more attractive to the director or educator, for economic reasons, if there are no sets, no costumes, and minimal props needed.

The ten minute play does not sacrifice excellent writing and content for brevity.  Less is more.  And it is a great exercise for the writer to hone and edit their writing skills.

Ideas have come to me while in the visiting area of a state prison, a haunted lighthouse, my days in Hollywood, or listening to  stories of my mother growing up with 13 siblings ….. the ideas come to me in a little kernel of truth and I am inspired.

I am frequently asked ‘how can you be so prolific?’,  ‘how do you write so many plays?’ ‘where do you get your ideas?’

So I thought what a perfect time to give my readers six tips on writing their first stage play.  After all, 45 play scripts ago and seventeen years earlier I began writing my first script.  And that led me to create five, custom Journals and Handbooks which include how to write a play and how to create exciting characters.

      SEVEN TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED 

1.  Format is very important.  If you submit your new play to anyone they will not read it if it is not in a proper format. There is software out there that offer auto-format but I have found them lacking.  sample.playwrite.format  (here is a format sample)
Notice character name is in CAPS and centered. Blocking (action) is indented and always lower case and double-spaced.  If only one word, it is placed next to the character’s name and in parentheses.  A ‘beat’ is a dramatic pause or to enhance the pace of the speech.

2. Each page represents approximately one minute of time on stage depending on how complex you make the blocking. For a ten minute play your script should be from 10-15 pages. Each line (dialog) should move the story along…you’ve only got 10 minutes. So chose what your characters have to say very carefully. 

3.  Leave lots of white space.  One day when your play is being produced, actors will need a place to make notes in the script during rehearsal.  This is a sample of an actor’s (mine) working script.  how to write a play, Trisha Sugaek, inspiration, An actor usually ‘highlights’ their lines and writes the director’s blocking in the margins.

4.  The blocking (in italics) is where you give the actors instructions on when and where to move.  But, keep it short and sweet.  Remember there will be a director who has their own ideas of where they will want their actors to be.  Be aware of costume changes in your writing.  An actor can’t exit stage left and enter stage right, seconds later in a different costume, if you haven’t written in the time it will take to give them the time to accomplish a costume change.

5.  Your script has to work on a stage If your story takes place in more than one locale, you have to be aware of the logistics of a ‘set’ change. So keep it simple to start.  If you are ambitious in your setting buy a book on set design to research if your set is feasible.  There are some wonderful ‘envelope’ sets that unfold when you need to change the scene.  But you have to consider the budget; would a theatre have the money to build it? Always a worry.

6. 7. The ‘Arc’ of your story: The Oxford English Dictionary defines a story arc as ‘(in a novel, play, or movie) the development or resolution of the narrative or principal theme’.  Story arcs are the overall shape of rising and falling tension or emotion in a story. This rise and fall is created via plot and character development. 

7.  Dialogue: Now here’s the hard part:  everything you want the audience to know, about the story and the characters, is conveyed in the dialogue.  Unlike a short story or a novel, where you can write as much description as you’d like, a play script has none of that.  NO description.  Here is a Sample.Dialogue.Sugarek of dialogue moving the story forward. You will notice that the format differs from the sample I provide. This example is from a published play so it looks different. 

Want more?  45 Writing Tips  How To Write Creatively

 

 

 

Check out my  series of Journals/Handbooks.
To Purchase Playwright’s Journal

Choose from five custom, unique Covers.

Instruction on:   How To Begin 
How to Choose the Subject of your Play

Available now!


Formatting your Play on the Page
How to write Dialogue
How to Create Rich, Exciting Characters
Story Arc
Stage Terminology
Sending out Your Script

How to write a ten minute play?  Click here
How To Format a Screenplay
How to Format Your Novel
How to Format a Stage Play

 

PS. My web site is dedicated to helping new and experienced writers hone their craft.  If you have questions, drop me a line. I always love to hear from readers and promise to answer you.  T.S.

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On Sale NOW!  Custom Journals/Handbooks for the Creative Writer 

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