Monologing Characters

When I was in fourth grade, my mom signed me up for a summer theater class. Me, the kid who was scared to answer roll call each morning because people might look at me. They gave me the part with the most lines because I could memorize them. I wanted to be the umpire, who didn’t have any lines. Instead I had to open the whole play by walking on stage singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

I remember nothing about this experience, which is probably a good thing. Never had any desire to take another theater class.

However.

In Toastmasters, I’m working through the Interpretive Reading manual, which includes reading a short story (I’ve done this one three times, since it’s what I joined Toastmasters for), reading a poem, read a famous speech and a play (haven’t done either of those), and read a monologue, which I did last week.

And that was an interesting experience.

I was dreading it–the play, too–because of the whole acting thing. I’ve barely gotten over my fear of speaking to the group, now you want me to act out a role?

It turned out kind of fun, trying to figure out how to pretend to be someone else. And now I have an idea for a really interesting writing exercise.

The point of the monologue is to portray a character. Basically it’s one character from a play spouting off to another character. You’re trying to use your voice and gestures to show what the character is feeling.

Cue the writing exercise. I’ve occasionally found it useful, when feeling my way into a new project, to write a few paragraphs of the characters blathering about their problems. Now I want to do that for my next (or current) project, and then turn it into a monologue to do for Toastmasters. I think it’d really help me figure out how character x expresses emotion y.

My poor club. I don’t think most of them read much speculative fiction. Now they’re going to have to watch me be a mad king or a power hungry sorcerer.

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