Acting Lesson: Monologue Preparation

Unit Title: Acting
Lesson: Monologue Preparation
Grade Level: 6th-12th Grade

Overview: In this lesson, students will select and prepare a monologue from the collection STRANDED: VIEWS FROM QUARANTINE presented royalty-free by StagePartners. Students will be given resources to develop physical character from a text and introduced to concepts of creating OBJECTIVES, TACTICS, and identifying OBSTACLES.

Reference Material:
Stranded: Views From Quarantine Full Text
Monologue Character Development Handout
Acting Terms: Beats & Objectives
Acting Objectives List
Download This Lesson

Lesson Steps:
1. Using the text STRANDED: VIEWS FROM QUARANTINE (used with permission by StagePartners), have students select one of the 20 monologue options. Students should print or transcribe a copy of the text of their monologue to work with in the following activities.

2. Use the Monologue Character Development Handout to start the conversation about who the character is and what motivates them in the monologue. Students may share their answers by writing on the handout or by discussing the answers with partners or in groups. Although the characters in the play are independent, they are all living on the ship at the same time so the students may discover areas of overlap that they can build and share.

3.Students should view the GoogleSlideShow: Acting Terms: Beats & Objectives and use the text of their monologue to divide into Acting Beats. Teachers should check for understanding and to ensure students are not combining too many lines together to minimize the number of beats in the piece.

4. Students should identify the acting objectives that match with each of their acting beats. Each objective should be unique and should be in the form To + Active Verb.

5. Students may work on getting the monologue “on its feet” at this point, taking each acting beat as a moment to focus on. This is helpful for dividing up the piece in terms of blocking as well as memorization.

6. Students should create an “Objective Statue” to accompany each acting beat. This is a single gesture or frozen pose that they hold for that acting beat, only moving when the acting beat changes and they choose a new objective statue. Gradually, students can smooth the transitions between statues to be more seamless. This builds the natural, motivated movement that will eventually become the blocking of the piece.

7. Students can film themselves “in-process” during this stage of the monologue preparation to share and receive feedback from peers and their teacher. Teachers should set reasonable check-in points for students to pace themselves and make incremental progress as they prepare the pieces for performance (if that is the goal).

-This lesson can be used as a distance-learning performance. Each monologue is a stand-alone piece but they are all characters in the same environment so it could be performed together as a complete evening of theatre.

Created for Essential Theatre: Lesson Plans & Resources for Educators by Emily McClain © 2020