Talking to God

Luke & Michael were drilling dramatic monologues and soliloquies last night. (Peter More breaks down the different kinds of dramatic monologue here, here and here.) By experimenting with varying attitudes, we made an interesting discovery: a character shouldn’t talk to him/herself. Even when they are alone, or the other on-stage characters cannot hear (as in an ‘aside’), when characters talk to themselves, the words do not ‘land’. When directed inwardly, the speech becomes weak. Like improvisers, soliloquizers should stay out of their own heads. It works better to think of the character as talking to God. In a performance, the audience is God.

It is then possible to introduce God into a dialogue scene. Usually, two characters will have conflicting needs, and drama can stem from these needs being unacknowledged. When one character opens up their feelings and addresses the other as though delivering a monologue to God, it is practically a divine revelation. The audience is instantly brought into the heart of the scene.

There’s loads  more experimentation to be done. We’ll be looking further into this in the future.

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2 Comments on “Talking to God”

  1. petermore says:

    Very interesting way of viewing it. Seems there should be someone the monologue is trying to affect. I think you can do monologues to yourself, but you have be affected. Good examples would be Shakespearean soliliquies which are often heated debates with oneself. They’re almost as if the speaker is listening to what he’s saying and being changed because of it.

    • Michael says:

      Wow, the inner debates thing reminds me of the “thought anchors” that Ken Campbell used to teach – where you locate a each emotion or point of view in a different part of the auditorium and literally turn to it as you debate with yourself. That’s more of a stagecraft thing than an improv thing – but yeah, to watch someone being changed by their own words is thrilling, and rescues a dramatic monologue from being introspective. Thanks for the feedback – always a pleasure to be given more ideas to work on!


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