Drama Ministry

Writing A Monologue

I love writing a monologue. There's something so poetic about climbing into a character's head, painting a picture with words for an audience, and expressing thoughts in a memorable way to drive a point home. With a monologue there is such honesty and purity because the subject isn’t worried about image or what others may think; he is expressing himself without restraint. The reactions that he sees are in his mind’s eye; it could be to no one or it could be for everyone. There are no limits.

The best part about a monologue is that the fewer costumes and sets you have, the more it can come to life (it also makes it more marketable for the average church to use). The audience’s imagination is the most impressive set in the world. Tacky bathrobes and cheap wigs can detract from the meaning of the message. When the focus is on the action, a white shirt and black pants can become any costume; black curtains can become the streets of Jerusalem or the family room of a middle-class family. It’s almost like reading a book and then seeing the movie. When the reader experiences the story by flipping the pages, the detail of sight, smell and emotion becomes a vivid reality. When the reader sees the version of the story on the big or small screen, it Is usually a terrible letdown because we can't portray our experience of or ideas about the story with the same magnitude.

Secondly, monologues work best with minimal costumes and props. Detail in telling the story becomes a vital tool. It’s the heartbeat that keeps the story moving and the audience Involved. How can they follow along if there’s no context? Painting your set with words, creating your character with personality, and adding movement to add depth makes a monologue three dimensional and believable.

In addition, | love using similes and metaphors to express a unique experience and compare it to something that almost everyone can relate to. It also can show the range of emotion of the character in a short amount of time. “I felt lost” can mean minor stress or an emotional breakdown. “I felt lost like a small child at a department store eagerly looking to and fro for the familiar face of my mother” can bring a totally different dimension to the monologue and describe precisely what the character was feeling at that time. It also brings in action for the character to use. Can you see the actor looking back and forth, brow furrowed, panic in his eyes? After hearing that sentence, does your heart beat a little faster? Do you want to know what happens next? It propels the action of the story further and the illusion of reality closer.

And finally, monologues can be a wonderful way to entertain and inform an audience. They are limitless in their possibilities and can express a story vividly. Monologues are perfect for any size church, can be on any topic, and can be a drama or comedy. The only restrictions are those you put on your imagination!

Posted in: Acting, Directing

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