Sarahjones

Sarah Jones is an Obie Award-winning playwright, actor, and poet. She attended Bryn Mawr College, where she was the recipient of the Mellon Minority Fellowship, then returned to her native New York and began writing and performing. Called a master of the genre by the New York Times, Jones and her solo shows Surface Transit, Women Can't Wait, and Bridge and Tunnel (this show was produced by Meryl Streep) have garnered numerous honors, including a Helen Hayes Award, an award at HBO's Comedy Arts...

Working from the Outside in as an Actor and Writer

Many actors, especially those who have studied the British technique for character development, work externally at first. Actors are informed about their characters by focusing on the character's age, speech mannerisms, appearance, and physicality. Actors gather information on these things from the dialogue in the play, the stage directions, and the action. A character's age quite often determines what he will think, feel, and do. It affects his behavior to some extent, perhaps what he'll be...

Out on a Limb

On a purely personal level, it was terrifying to go out there every night. It felt like I was putting myself much further out on a limb then I ever had before. I felt that if the people weren't liking it, essentially they weren't liking me. On the other hand, it made me feel prouder and more powerful than ever before, because every bit of its success was my success. In the beginning I wasn't remembering all my words, so I had little < cheat sheets in my pockets. It was a very massive thing....

David bar katz

David Bar Katz cocreated, produced, and was head writer of the Emmy-nominated Fox show House of Buggin'. He coproduced and wrote The Pest for Tristar Pictures and developed as well as directed John Leguizamo's show Freak. He is also the coauthor of the book Freak, which is based on the show. His novel The Heaviest God is published by Crown Publishers. Mr. Katz is the cofounder (with John Leguizamo) of Lower East Side Films. He is presently writing a screenplay of the science fiction novel The...

Danny hoch

Danny Hoch performed his solo show Some People at P.S. 122 and at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1994 (directed by Jo Bonney). The show toured over twenty U.S. cities as well as Austria, Cuba, and Scotland. It also aired on HBO. Mr. Hoch has written and acted for television and several films, including HBO's Subway Stories, Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, and Fox Searchlight's Whiteboys. His writings have appeared in Harper's Magazine and the New Theater Review. Out of Character Jails,...

Quentin crisp

Quentin Crisp was a famous wit and celebrated author whose autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant, has become a literary classic, as well as an award-winning play and film starring John Hurt. He played Queen Elizabeth in Sally Potter's 1993 film Orlando. Other films include The Bride, Philadelphia, and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar. He contributed The Diary of Quentin Crisp, a column about New York and American culture, to the New York Native. He appeared in television...

To Whom Is the Character Speaking

This is a very important question to answer when working on a monologue. Many actors, when asked why their character is speaking will answer, Because he feels like it, or simply, He needs to. When asked whom is the character speaking to, many actors are uncertain, and answer something like, I guess to anyone. It is the monologue writer's job, at the very least, to provide some clues that will assist the actor in answering these questions. One way of dealing with this is by imagining whom your...

Rewrites Rewrites Rewrites and Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft

I booked the theater and that made me have the piece ready. That was the first step, but I knew from my structure when it was finished. I had set up a structure where the beginning would also be the ending, so I knew where I was headed. However, I didn't know this until halfway into writing the piece. When I finished the show in 2001, it was two and a half hours long with the intermission. That's quite long for a solo show, but it did quite well and was awarded best solo show by L.A. Weekly and...

Artist colonies where you can develop your solo show

This section lists artist colonies where solo artists can escape to do their work in a tranquil and (usually) idyllic surrounding. Artists are offered a getaway opportunity where they can avoid life's pressures and annoyances. The fees for this dream working vacation are small or nonexistent, depending on the residency you apply to. Many of these residencies offer housing to artists in different disciplines. The deadline dates may change, so please always check with the residence that you're...

Aural Autobiography

First of all, it's important to say that I don't start off writing material, although I like to consider myself a writer. I'm definitely an aural composer. I was working with the Wooster Group in 1976 and 1977 I was evolving with the group theater pieces that involved stories of my life. One of the seminal pieces was Rumstick Road, which was about my mother's suicide. In that I'd do little direct addresses to the audience. I'd be saying, This is me, I'm Spalding Gray, and this is what happened...

Tim miller

ITim Miller is an internationally acclaimed perform- ance artist. His creative work as a performer and writer explores the artistic, spiritual, and political Itopography of his identity as a gay man. Hailed for his humor and passion, he has tackled this challenge in such pieces as Live Boys (1981, created with John Bernd), Postwar (1982), Cost Of Living (1983), Democracy in America (1984), Buddy Systems (1985, created with Doug Sadownick), Some Golden States (1987), Stretch Marks (1989), Sex...

Dael orlandersmith

Dael has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Caf throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. She has appeared in productions of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and A Raisin in the Sun. She can be seen in an offbeat role in Hal Hartley's Amateur. She premiered her one-person show, Monster, at the prestigious New York Theatre Workshop as part of the Solo Mio festival. Her solo show, The Gimmick, was performed as a work in progress at the Sundance Film Festival. It later ran as a...

What Makes a Good Solo Show

In a one-person show, that one person is the center of everything. The tech that surrounds him should not overwhelm him. A lot of times, in blocking and transitions, I never want that person to go off stage if I can help it. I know that some actors do leave the stage during the performance, especially when playing multiple characters. But you always have to let the audience be in connection with that performer. With Anna, one of the things we discovered in rehearsal was, anytime there was a...

Brian dykstra

Besides his one-man show, Brian Dykstra Cornered and Alone, his screenplays include Joints, V.I.R.T.U.E., Amazombies, Fight Game, jfUn-Coupled, Baggage Claim, Double Down, Qand adaptations of his plays A Sane Policy and As a playwright, Mr. Dykstra most recently saw a production of his play Hiding Behind Comets at 29th Street Rep after its world premiere at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and That Damn Dykstra and STRANGERHORSE at the Access Theater in New York Before that, Forsaking All...

Clustering or Webbing Finding the Initial Core of Your Work

Once you have prepared yourself and perhaps done the free-writing exercise, unless you're very clear about what you want to do and how you want to do it (and more specifically, about what you want to say), I suggest starting out with an excellent exercise called clustering. Clustering is a very popular writing method that was created by Gabrielle Lusser Rico and discussed in her book Writing the Natural Way, an excellent book for writers. Her technique helps you focus on what you're trying to...

Dreams and Alchemy

In my plays there's a beginning, middle, and end. There is the story, the conflict, and the resolution of that conflict. Back when I started, a story would just come to me. I was living in a room in Harlem. Like most people's work, my work is autobiographical. I was really poor. All I could afford at the time was to buy books because I read voraciously. I would read about my dreams. I'd look up what my dreams meant, what they signified. I read guys like Freud and Toni Morrison. So it's from the...

To the second edition

Since the first edition of this book was published the world has changed a great deal. September 11th occurred and many lives have been dramatically affected. Art reflects people's lives and the world we live in. There have been a great many one-person shows dealing with the effects of 9-11. James Cartens's harrowing solo show After is one that immediately comes to mind. In trying to deal with their feelings about this disaster, a large number of other solo artists have found the solo show a...

Peter askin

Peter Askin directed and developed the award-winning off-Broadway productions of John Leguizamo's Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama, and Dael Orlandersmith's Beauty's Daughter. Other offBroadway directing credits include Reality Ranch, Beauty Marks, Reno, and the New York and Pasadena Playhouse productions of Down an Alley Filled with Cats. He directed The Gimmick at the McCarter and the Sundance Film Festival, and the highly acclaimed rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. For television, he...

Developing the Show

So I built up, developed this show, so that it had a beginning, middle, and end. The way the show changed was that I altered it in areas where I felt people didn't understand me, what I was talking about. If people didn't laugh at certain jokes, I'd leave them out the next show. I was learning by doing. The entire show was about an hour. The rehearsal, you might say, was the night before's performance. It greatly developed, changed. I always remembered what I did the night before. I'd discuss...

Types of Monologues

It's difficult to categorize monologues and monodramas because quite often they are hybrids of style. The following categories are somewhat arbitrary, but hopefully will be of some use in identifying specific characteristics of both monologues and monologue plays. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVE MONOLOGUES In these plays, the artist recalls actual stories and events from his life. The actor writer generally is the narrator in these pieces. There may be little or no attempt to perform different...

From Grays Anatomy by Spalding Gray

He had joined the Universal Church of God in Fresno, California, for thirty-five dollars. We had written the ceremony together, and he spoke it beautifully, ending with, May this couple be together for as long as they both shall love. We run down to the sea together to look out, and then we went back to the house to celebrate. I drink vodka and I drank white wine and I ate big fish. I ate steamed vegetables and I ate wedding cake. I drank coffee and I smoked a cigar. I...

Theaters that accept solo material

This appendix includes theaters that you can submit your material to. Be selective about where you send your work. It's important to read the general information about the theater. If they're interested in solo material that is unusual or surreal, don't send your naturalistic monologue. If they say not to send unsolicited material, don't. Always include a letter of inquiry and a synopsis of the monologue when writing to potential theaters. Actors and Playwrights Initiative Theater P.O. Box...

Publishers of solo material

Having your solo piece published is certainly one way to feel validated and get some type of recognition for your work. But before you submit your manuscript to anyone, it is in your best interest to find out something about the publisher you're submitting your manuscript to. You'll want to be sure that your work will be presented in the best way. You should feel confident that you are dealing with a reputable and honest publisher. 31 East Twenty-Eighth Street, Tenth Floor New York, NY 10016...

Management Booking Agencies That Handle Solo Artists

The following are just a few management booking agencies that work with solo artists. This list is just a starting point there are many others. Web site www.washingtonsquarearts.com This agency is dedicated to artists who are unique, challenging, powerful, and fun, artists whose work is designed for diverse and wide-ranging audiences. They are a relatively small agency handling a select, handpicked group of artists. Their present roster includes Danny Hoch, Hazelle Goodman, Holly Hughes, Marga...

What Teaching Taught Me

Because I had been a high-school English teacher, I had developed a way of working. I wrote and clipped and cut material for my shows, just as I had in school. Also, I would try out the material with people at dinner. And I'd read things to my partner. I discovered that although I'd written a two-page piece of material, after performing it once, I could cut it down to one or two lines, based on a person's or audience's reaction. I would watch to see how people reacted to my material, and that...

Marilyn sokol

Marilyn Sokol starred on Broadway as Miss Lynch in Grease in Herb Gardner's Conversations with My Father in Welcome to the Club by Cy Coleman and A.E. Hotchner in O'Neill's The Great God Brown, directed by Harold Prince and in Moliere's Don Juan, directed by Stephen Porter with the Phoenix Rep. Her regional theater credits include The Sisters Rosensweig, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof. Her films include Milos Foreman's Man on the Moon, The Goodbye Girl, Basketball Diaries, and Foul Play. TV...

The Importance of the Narrator

In many monologues, there is a narrator who takes us through the journey of the piece. In autobiographical material, it can be the character representing the author in an evening of character monologues, it may be the person who ties all the characters and or the story or stories together. In performance art pieces, it can be the performance artist himself, telling the story as he wants to tell it. We the audience should like or identify with the narrator in some way. At the very least, we...

Fundamentals of all good monologues

I'm listing these particular attributes here because I believe that most good monologues contain them. Before you build the bridge, I think it's always a good idea to know where it's going to go. But don't think that these are absolute or unbreakable. The only rules that you must follow for your monologue writing are the ones that you create, that work for you. Good monologue plays, no matter what form they take, should have a well-defined structure, just as a good play would. Even a...

How to Talk to Actors

My first one-person show was a play called Reno, with Paul Zimmerman. I directed it at the West Bank Cafe and later on at the Acme Bar and Grill. I was very attracted to the material. It had a dark bite to it, dark, dark humor. One thing I learned working on that show was how to talk to actors. I had been a directing student with Wynn Handman, and was now learning to apply some of my new skills. Prior to this I had been a writer. So what I brought to directing was a writer's eye in terms of...

Inspiration

When I was a child, I was fascinated with Ruth Draper, so I thought about monologues, but it didn't seem like something someone did in modern times. I hated the idea of a one-woman show. A one-person show just seemed like something that couldn't be done. You needed two actors for a play to happen. The only one-woman show I ever saw that I liked was Pat Carroll's Gertrude Stein. I liked that show very much, was very impressed with it. It was an inspiration to me. To be honest with you, I decided...

Charlayne woodard

Charlayne Woodard's first play, Pretty Fire, which she wrote and performed, enjoyed successful engagements at the Manhattan Theatre Club and at the Seattle Repertory Company. It was published by Penguin Press. Her second play, Neat, also enjoyed sold-out runs at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Theater, and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. As an actress, Ms. Woodard performed in the original cast of Ain't Misbehavin' on Broadway. Off-Broadway, she performed in such shows as...

Lanie robertson

To begin this section, I wanted to include a segment on Lanie Robertson's play, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, the first solo show I ever saw. I remember how impressed I was that one person with a back-up band on a stage could hold an audience's attention just as powerfully as a play with full cast of actors. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill has had legendary success in the solo play world. There have been countless productions over the last twenty years or so. There are still many...

Phase

I was at a performance art piece at St. Marks in the Bowery. I really hated the piece. So I was in the lobby pacing back and forth, smoking cigarettes, and ranting about how bad it was. Chris Kraus, who was the curator, came up to me and said, You're fantastic would you like to do a show here I looked at her and said, What would I do And she said, I hear you write your own material. So I said, I perform it, I don't write it. She said, That's fine with me. She gave me a booking. In my real life,...

Working with Eric Bogosian and Danny Hoch

Danny, Eric, and I have a similar work situation. Both of them came out of theater as actors, not as writers. Initially, when they were both doing their work, they'd get up on stage, unscripted. Much of the work was in their heads, and they'd improvise. When I started to work with Eric, and then later with Danny, I told them, I can't direct you if I don't have something on paper, it's way too ephemeral. So at a certain point, they both started scripting their pieces, transcribing them, writing...

From Full Gallop by Mary Louise Wilson and Mark Hampton

SHE CROSSES TO PHONE, CAREFULLY PICKS UP RECEIVER, AND LISTENS. THEN Fran oise I'll take this, Yvonne . . . Comment a va . . . Je suis arriv Early this morning. . . Oh, it was glorious. Just glorious. London, Milano, Madrid, Paris . . . No trouble with customs, no, but I did have a bit of a set to getting off the plane . . . Well, the stewardess attacked me with a Kleenex. Here dearie, you've gone and got lipstick all over your ears Very efficient, these little steward . . . Oh, I'm tip-top ....

Charles Mathews

During the nineteenth century, Charles Mathews, a comic actor and mimic, wrote The Mail Coach Adventure, which later evolved into what became his very popular one-man show. Eventually Mathews developed an entire group of solo shows called At Homes, which he toured in both England and America. Like Foote's monologues, Matthews's monologues mimicked many of the famous actors of the day, but unlike Foote's, Matthews's were not offensive. By the early 1900s, monologues were quite often used to...

Examples of Different Voices and Styles

As I mentioned earlier, one of the main goals of this book is to help you find your own voice as a monologist. To give you some idea of how diversified this field is, I've reprinted some excerpts from some well-known monologists. Notice the differences in their styles. Notice their choices of words, phrases, and ideas. From An Evening with Quentin Crisp by Quentin Crisp I've been told that I equate wealth with style. I don't, but I would say this To a physicist, money would be the solid state...

After the Break Two Scenarios

After the break you continue working in the same way that you were prior to your break. You may notice that you suddenly have fresh ideas, have a new outlook, are able to look at the material from a new point of view. If that's the case, the break was successful. If, however, you're still creatively dry, you have two options. You can either take another break, or this is more advisable work through the dry patch. Periods of mental lethargy can be frustrating, I know. But many times they come...

Your Opening Section The First Paragraphs

The opening section of your monologue is quite important. It's your diving-off point. It's your welcome mat to your audience. It's the once upon a time element that invites your audience to sit down with you for a while and listen to what you have to say. Your monologue should begin where it needs to begin for you. It should start where your story has to start for you. The beginning of your monologue is your foundation, the base that the rest of the piece will stem from. It should hint at, if...

Winfred from Monster by Dael Orlandersmith

An I'm feelin' bad 'cause, you know, she ain't with me, right I mean, you know what I'm talkin' about Like when your woman ain't around, man. Dat's some hard shit. beat She write poetry and listen to classical and rock. You know 'bout that shit, right Well, my girl, she like it too. beat You should see her, man, she got soft smooth skin. Yeah, an' she got much booty I likes dat booty, man. In order for me to peep a broad she got to have some ass. Gots to. beat...

Staging a Solo Show

One of the main areas that I work with technically, in solo work, is lighting. The work that I do uses minimal set and props. This isn't always the case with other artists' solo shows. There is a huge range of solo work. Some are very prop-, costume-, and set-intensive. Some use video screens, multimedia, etc. What I like about the solo work that I do with Eric and Danny is the quick change from character to character, and the quick change in body language and voice you're suddenly in another...

The Solo Show Today

Over the last few years there have been many successful one-person shows to hit the Great White Way, such as Elaine Stritch's At Liberty for which she won a Tony , Eve Ensler's The Good Body, Tovah Feldshuh in Golda's Balcony, John Leguizamo's Sexaholix, and Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman, to name just a few. In the last year or so, many solo shows have opened on Broadway. They include Dame Edna Back With A Vengeance, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, Mario Cantone's Laugh Whore, and Whoopi...

Fires in the Mirror

The two most well known one-person shows that I've done are Blown Sideways Through Life, written by and starring Claudia Shear, and Fires in the Mirror, written by and starring Anna Deavere Smith. I directed both of these shows at almost the same time, but I believe Fires in the Mirror came first. I believe Fires in the Mirror was the first piece in Anna Deavere Smith's documentary-type series. I didn't know Anna before I was asked to do that piece. For me, the hook there was the material it...

Historical Monologues

As I mentioned earlier, solo shows went through a period of decline, but historical solo shows continued being popular even during that period. Some monologists created shows based on real rather than imaginary characters. Emlyn Williams played Charles Dickens, Paul Shyre played H. L. Mencken, James Whitmore performed in Will Rogers U.S.A., and Hal Holbrook was Mark Twain Tonight . These are just a few that come to mind. Some solo plays have been written by playwrights for specific actors....

From Charlotte by Penny Arcade from True Stories

I had a face-lift Well, I had to. Well, I had to work. See, I figured I could work four or five years if I got my face done. You know my friend Sandra, the big blonde Well, she had her eyes done up here in New York, and that cost her twenty-five hundred dollars. Well, I did not have that kind of money. But I know this gal, she used to be a madam up here in New York, but she retired to Caracas. She's real well-connected down there, you know, diplomats and all. Now,...

From Pretty Fire by Charlayne Woodard

One day, when Allie and I were watching old black-and-white movies, Mommy walked into the living room and turned off the TV. She said, Ladies, tell me what would you like to be when you grow up. Raising her hand Me first, Mommy, me first Standing I want to be Lassie. Yes, Mommy, I want to run through the field and jump over the fence, and see . . . the little girl . . . trapped in the mine . . . and I will call for help Barking Arf, arf, arf, arf, arf arf And evening will come and they will...

M Release

Introduction to the Second Edition xvii Six Ways to Get the Most Out of This Book xxiii the monologue writing, rehearsing, 1. A Definition of Terms 3 2. A Brief History of the One-Person Show 8 Samuel Foote 1721-1777 Creates the One-Person Show 8 George Alexander Stevens, the Father of the Monologue 8 Ruth Draper Perfects the Monologue 9 Questions to Ask Yourself before Starting Work The Similarities Differences between Being an Actor and Working as a Writer 13 As an Actor, Do I Have the...

Your Personal Style Your Voice

Your voice is your style, your way of expressing yourself. Your voice stems directly from your sense of truth, which we spoke of earlier. It is your unique choice of words and phrases, your rhythm, the way you speak, your vision, how you tell your story. It is your trademark style. It is a major factor in determining the tone of your work. All good writers, successful monologists, and performance artists have their own distinct voice. Finding and developing your personal voice is an integral...

Storytelling Monologues

Actor Scott Robertson took the storytelling workshop led by the late Spalding Gray see Gray's interview at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Robertson recalls, There were eight participants in the workshop. Their assignment was to 'tell a story that could engage the rest of the group.' They'd meet three times a day for eight days to tell their stories. According to Scott, Spalding believed that we all have a story in us. That story can be something that once happened to us, an event, something...

From Time on Fire by Evan Handler

Nixon's diagnosis, I came walking down the hallway of Sloan-Kettering's twelfth floor. Earlier that day some bone marrow had been taken from the back of my hip to be examined and checked for any leukemia. If the marrow was clean, then I could go home, take a month off, before moving on to rounds two and three, known as Consolidation Chemo. In the room when I got there were Dr. Klaus and my parents. I tried my best to mask my awareness of what I was asking, and I faced Dr....

Playwriting competitions that accept solo material

Another potential source for income from and exposure for your monologue play is playwriting competitions. These nationally held contests offer cash prizes and in some cases production opportunities to winners. A few things to keep in mind before entering your monologue solo work 1. If a competition requests that you send for guidelines, do so. These guidelines give specific instructions for that particular contest. In some cases, they even request that you fill out an application form to send...

Kate clinton

In 1993, Kate Clinton's first one-woman show, Out Is In, debuted in Los Angeles to sold-out crowds. The show then moved to New York for a three-month run off-Broadway. In 1995, her next one-woman show, Impure Thoughts, debuted in Los Angeles. Her next show, All Het Up, toured the country in 1996. Ms. Clinton joined The Rosie O'Donnell Show as a television writer, seeing them through their initial launch and rollout period. She has appeared on Comedy Central, Good Morning America, Nightline,...

How the Rehearsal Processes Varies

The rehearsal process with John Leguizamo was fascinating for me. I learned so much about acting from him. It was simply a question of having an idea, communicating it to him, and then watching him make it his own. You just watch it grow. He has the tools, these extraordinary gifts as an actor. Not only is he a comic, but he's also a stunning dramatic actor. Doug is a highly skilled writer and one of the funniest people alive. I did a lot less dramaturgical work with Doug, and when I'd give him...

Guidelines for creating short or audition monologues

Now that you have selected the tools you'd like to work with and have some preliminary ideas of what you think your piece will be about, let's discuss some of the technical aspects of monologue writing. As I mentioned earlier, the monologue form is a very flexible form, with flexible rules. However, since the short monologue and the audition monologue have more strictures, especially when it comes to time, I'd like to give you some of the basic rules. While rules are made to be broken, I offer...

Blanka from Some People by Danny Hoch

Blanka, a young, twenty-ish office worker, stops by her friend's house to borrow shoes. Listen Linette, lemme borrow your shoes The short black ones. No because Manny gets off Footlocker in twenty minutes and I have to take the bus. But I can't be looking ugly in the bus. So find them Don, 't stress me more all right My life is already stressed enough, can I tell you The other day right I was at Manny's house, and we was fooling around, and like you know how guys be getting all shy like when...

Jo from Eternal Pyramid by Anastasia Traina

I wanted to tell her a story, a story . . . of a sunny day when I took my socks and shoes off and sat near Indian Pond, watching the crayfish jump as I threw them some bread. I liked it there, sitting under that tree, near the water. It had motion . . . I wanted to say . . . Life was good and terrible at the same time I mean, with all the fighting going on at home I use to like to watch TV I loved the cowboy stories, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and the Cisco Kid . . . Oh and Tarzan and Superman too...

Agents

Literary agents can be very helpful in getting your material to the best theaters and the top readers for your specific type of play. Although they primarily deal with regular plays, it's certainly worth your while to try to find an agent who believes in your monologue play. It's been suggested that you should only contact a couple of agents at a time. Most literary agents request that you first send a query letter describing your piece. You should also enclose an updated bio with the letter...

Cornelia Otis Skinner

A contemporary and admirer of Draper was Cornelia Otis Skinner. When Skinner first began performing her one-woman shows, there were many similarities between her work and Draper's. Eventually however, her taste ran toward more sumptuous costume dramas. In 1937, she performed an adaptation of Edna, His Wife, a bestselling novel of the day. This further distinguished her from Draper, who primarily did character-created plays. Skinner also made a very comfortable living as an actress in regular...

From Safe by Taylor

I'm a New Yorker. I'm from California. This is my home. Home is where the heart is. My heart is here. Except in the winter. I hate it in New York in the winter. And the summer. It smells like cat piss in the summer. The spring, then There is no spring here. Fall Then the holidays are coming. I should move back to California. But the North Koreans. The North Koreans can reach California. I should go someplace safe. Someplace central. Someplace landlocked. Someplace where...

Narrative and Dramatic Style

I think it's important to describe the difference between narrative and dramatic writing, since both styles are interwoven throughout most monologues. In the narrative style, a narrator sometimes in character tells a story. There is a great deal of background material with very detailed descriptions. Character, setting, and plot are developed in these detailed descriptions. Generally speaking, autobiographical monologues use more of the narrative style than other types of monologues. In the...

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I had never seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch before, although they had done several performances before I got involved. I also had never worked on a musical before. I was struck by the intelligence of the writing, a combination of broad standup and very smart storytelling and songwriting. Still, the first thing again was dramaturgy. It was kind of all over the place, hard for the audience to follow. I worked on clarifying it. We broke it down into two acts. Once we did that, it was easy to build...

Questions to Ask Yourself While Reading through Your Script

Whether or not you decide to use the Who Wrote This . . . exercise, here are some important questions you should try to keep in mind while reading through your monologue play . You should refer to these questions periodically, also using them as guidelines during subsequent read-throughs Does the script engage you The moment you feel disengaged, just mark the passages, then continue reading. Don't analyze or try to fix anything at this point. Do you find the story interesting, easy to follow If...

Directing John Leguizamo

I first saw the show at Intar on 42nd Street. It had elaborate costumes and changes could take five minutes between monologues. It was mainly a question dramaturgically of shaping, condensing, combining, and eliminating redundancy. I worked with him on shaping the monologues so they'd have an arc. We worked to illuminate the monologues, to find what a monologue was really about. The best example of this was Crossover King. It was the last monologue of the evening, as a Japanese businessman....