Hello everyone! This week, we will further explore my monologue from Molly Sweeney. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out last week’s blog! Anyway, here is my progress for this past week:
Unfortunately, I am not yet completely off-book. It has been difficult with learning the lines for Big Love at the same time. However, I hope it is evident that I have marked out body movements as well as breaths. I am quite happy with how this has progressed thus far, as it is much different performing a monologue than simply reading it, and I liked both. Here is the script again, bolded at the points that I am talking about:
“I spent a week in the library — the week after I first met her — one full week immersing myself in books and encyclopedias and magazines and articles — anything, everything I could find about eyes and vision and eye diseases and blindness. Fascinating. I can’t tell you — fascinating. I look out of my bedroom window and at a single glance I see the front garden and the road beyond and cars and buses and the tennis courts on the far side and people playing on them and the hills beyond that. Everything — all those details and dozens more — all seen in one immediate, comprehensive perception. But Molly’s world isn’t perceived instantly, comprehensively. She composes a world from a sequence of impressions; one after the other, in time. For example, she knows that this is a carving knife because first she can feel the handle; then she can feel this long blade; then this sharp edge. In sequence. In time. What is this object? These are ears. This is a furry body. Those are paws. That is a long tail. Ah, a cat! In sequence. Sequentially. Right? Right. Now a personal question. You are going to ask this blind lady out for an evening. What would be the ideal entertainment for somebody like her? A meal? A concert? A walk? Maybe a swim? Billy Hughes says she’s a wonderful swimmer. (He shakes his head slowly.) The week in the library pays off. know the answer instantly. Dancing. Take her dancing. With her disability the perfect, the absolutely perfect relaxation. Forget about space, distance, who’s close, who’s far, who’s approaching. Forget about time. This is not a sequence of events. This is one continuous, delightful event. Nothing leads to nothing else. There is only now. There is nothing subsequent. I am your eyes, your ears, your location, your sense of space. Trust me. Dancing. Obvious. Straight into a phone-box and asked her would she come with me to the Hikers Club dance the following Saturday. It’ll be small, I said; more like a party. What do you say? Silence. We’ll ask Billy and Rita and we’ll make it a foursome and we’ll have our own table and our own fun. Not a word. Please, Molly. In my heart of hearts I really didn’t think she’d say yes. For God’s sake why should she? Middle-aged. No skill. No job. No prospect of a job. Two rooms above Kelly’s cake shop. And not exactly Rudolf Valentino. And when she did speak, when she said very politely, “Thank you, Frank. I’d love to go,” do you know what I said? “All right then.” Bloody brilliant! But I vowed to myself in that phone-box, I made a vow there and then that at the dance on Saturday night I wouldn’t open the big mouth — big? — enormous for Christ’s sake! — I wouldn’t open it once all night, all week. Talking of Valentino, in point of fact Valentino was no Adonis himself. Average height; average looks; mediocre talent. And if he hadn’t died so young — in 1926 — he was only thirty-one — and in those mysterious circumstances that were never fully explained — he would never have become the cult figure the studios worked so hard to . . . Anyhow . . .” (Gale, Outstanding Stage Monologs and Scenes from the ’90s, 59-61).
Now, I’ll explain my thought process at different points in the piece. One thing I could work on is my pacing. Right now, I am speaking too quickly, which is intentional, but I also have to establish more contrast because that would make the monologue much better received. In watching my video, you can see that I am working to create a mental image for the audience at most points, something I believe to be an intention of the author to contrast Molly’s blindness. I would like to add more specific movement to the picture of what Frank sees outside of his bedroom window, specifically from “front garden” to “tennis courts”. I am pretty happy with where I am with both the carving knife description and the step-by-step analysis of a cat (when will I ever say that sentence again? haha). I’m struggling to create that humor that I commented on in the last blog. I am also having difficulty creating specific movements in “nothing leads…nothing subsequent.” I am happy with the lines before and after, though. I’m wondering if there is another way for me to recount the phone call. Finally, I’m trying to understand the significance in “anyhow,” a word Frank uses repeatedly throughout the play. If you have suggestions for anything in this piece, I would love to hear them!
Last week, I ordered a special offer on The Monologue Audition Video as well as two books that further the topic, so those should be coming soon! I watched it while I was in Seattle. It is from the 90s, however as my aunt tells me, it is still very relevant in today’s audition world. It provides many helpful tips about how to perform a good monologue, one of which includes not looking at the judges (in this case, the camera), something I know I will struggle with and tried to avoid this time around.
Again, thank you for reading! Next week, I hope to be off-book with revisions surrounding those specific areas of focus I highlighted earlier!
Tray Hammond ’18
This past week, I read a very interesting blog by Alec Baldwin about the change in Broadway in the past 21 years. You should check it out!