Devised Monologue: Integrating Other Arts

devised monologue integrating other arts

Are you multi-talented? Like maybe you act, but you’re also an accomplished cellist? Or painter? Or folk singer? Or cheerleader? Or DJ? Or baton-spinning, fire-juggling, sword-swallowing figure skater? (If you’re the last one, you don’t even need to fill out the application. You’re accepted. Boom.) Devised theatre is the perfect art-form for integrating your other artistic talents into your performance work.

1. Find the Emphasis.

Go through your monologue and underline words and sentences that you really want to emphasize. Maybe they’re the central ideas, maybe they have the most emotional resonance, maybe they’re your “a-ha!” moments. Think about how you can use another art-form to emphasize those moments. Maybe you pause after your most significant sentence and play a short instrumental work, giving the audience time to reflect on your ideas. Maybe you punctuate your most powerful words with circus skills to ensure that they pack a punch and “wow” your audience. Whatever you choose to do, start by finding those moments that you want to emphasize. You don’t want to just insert random “talent show” moments; you want your monologue to feel like a cohesive whole.

2. Consider Your Content.

Next, consider your content. If you’re talking about the time you missed your flight (and missed out on your vacation), then don’t start playing your unplugged rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” on your acoustic guitar. Those two things (probably) don’t connect in any way. Instead, make sure that the art-form you’re integrating clearly connects to the content of your monologue. It’s kind of like writing an essay for AP Lit. You need to make sure that every single sentence that you write clearly connects back to your thesis statement. Same thing with devised theatre. You need to make sure that every choice, that every moment, clearly connects back to your monologue. Our anaconda don’t want none . . . unless the content is relevant to your monologue.

3. And Push Your Content Farther!

You can use your art-form to shed even more light on your monologue. Let’s go back to that missed flight monologue. Maybe you don’t tell us how you’re feeling about missing your flight; instead, you share that information through your choice of instrumental. Maybe you leave a key plot point out of your spoken monologue and instead make the audience figure out that information through a dance. (It’s like an arts-based puzzle!) Think about how you could push your content farther, how you could further engage your audience, by using other arts in your monologue.

4. Get Creative!

Maybe you’ve mastered an art-form that doesn’t lend itself particularly well to the stage. This is where you need to get creative! If you’re a painter, for instance, you could deliver your monologue while illustrating the central concepts. Check out our 2013 production of Circuits/Clipped at Atlantic Stage 2 for an example:

We want to see what makes you a unique and interesting performer in your monologue. So show us the talents that you’re proudest of! Show us how you’re different from everyone else who’s applying! And, again, don’t forget to take those big bold risks in your devised monologue. Devised theatre isn’t the art-form for playing it safe!

Feel up to the challenge of creating devised work off-Broadway this summer? CLICK HERE to audition for NTSA!

Posted on Nov 23, 2017 in Auditions  

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