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:
(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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