It’s about time that I wrote something about the ‘This is Me’ Monologue. This is an idea identified by Karen Kohlhaas, Master Teacher of Audition Monologues at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Acting School in New York City. The ideas and principles that I express in this blog posting come from Karen Kohlhaas, although the words are my own. Karen’s ideas came to me through some training, her two books and the DVD that she produced. Karen has an excellent website The Monologue Audition (also the name of her first book) that you should all visit. I recently ordered her second book ‘How to Choose a Monologue for ANY Audition’ and this can be ordered through her website – it costed me about £14 including postage from the US, and arrived within a week. It’s not as practical as the original book, but the advice is practicable – meaning it isn’t a theory: it’s advice borne out of practice.
ANYWAY – the This is Me Monologue:
The ‘This is Me’ monologue is your base monologue. It allows you to show off your natural ability, style and personality. It is not a chance to show range. It is a chance to offer the casting director, agent or director your baseline. This is Me, without the trapping of characterisation (yuck).
This is Me is a great way to show what they are getting when they cast you.
This a well thought through, carefully prepared, well learned piece that sells you. YOU, not your ability to play Widow Twanky or a Psychopath. It’s selling YOU. It’s called ‘THIS IS ME’ for a reason. Ensure that you have one of these in your arsenal of monologues (and you should have an arsenal of monologues). One or two monologues for each medium and several for theatre. So you might have:
- 2 or 3 THiS IS ME pieces
- 2 film monologues (contrasting)
- 2 radio monologues (contrasting)
- 2 theatre monologues (contrasting comedy pieces)
- 2 theatre monologues (contrasting drama pieces)
- 2 theatre monologues (classical and yes, contrasting)
How many of you have done this MUCH preparation?
But the ones that will give them the best chance of seeing who they are employing or taking onto their books are the THIS IS ME Monologue.
Karen suggests that a THIS IS ME monologue is defined not by what it is, but by what it isn’t. Here’s a list of what to avoid for a THIS IS ME monologue.
- Monologues outwith your playing age/range
- Monologues in an accent other than yours
- Monologues with heightened language (and therefore requiring a heightened playing style)
- Monologues with anything shocking or graphic (THINK – choose something I could show my ‘Mother-in-Law’)
- Monologues that are self-written
- Monologues that attempt to demonstrate range
- Monologues that are intensely…. ANYTHING.
- Monologues that allow you to hide behind
- Monologues that talk about someone else constantly (THIS IS ME should be about… YOU!)
- Monologues related to the industry or business
- Monologues for women about what a shit your husband, boyfriend etc is… they flood the market.
- Monologues that are particularly negative in any way.
SO WHAT SHOULD A ‘THIS IS ME’ MONOLOGUE BE?
* ABOUT SOMETHING YOU CARE ABOUT
* WELL WRITTEN (has a beginning, middle and end)
* NOT TOO LONG (2 minutes max)
* AUDITON SPECIFIC (film for film, theatre for theatre)
* GENRE/STYLE SPECIFIC (funny for comedy, drama for drama)
* SOMETHING YOU DO WELL.
This is a perfect piece to offer a new agent or casting director. Use it to impress and to introduce. This is something you can do at home, taking time and pride over and then you can kick butt with it. Once you have a strong THIS IS ME monologue, then you’ll find choosing other monologues much easier.