Acting Tings: Monologues and Duologues

For those who don’t know, I am currently on a gap year before I head off to the University of Birmingham to study Policy, Politics and Economics. One of the main goals of this gap year was to pursue acting. As you can imagine, this has been quite difficult given the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the acting industry. Nonetheless, I have managed to take part in two acting courses with City Academy so far and have a project lined up in August that will end in the creation of a short film, Insha Allah.

During my most recent acting course, we shot a few monologues and duologues that I would like to share in this here post.

Monologue #1: Like Dreaming

The first monologue we did as a class was titled ‘Like Dreaming.’ We were only given around 20 minutes to read through the script before we had to film it. As you can imagine, nobody was able to commit their lines to memory, but that wasn’t the point. This was just a test to get used to the feeling of being on camera.

We were not given any context about the script, so we had to come up with our own. Off-camera, we did a mock interview, in character, explaining the situation. The context I came up with was as follows:

I’m a young man who is opening up to his therapist about his painful past. A woman I knew committed suicide immediately after we went to see a movie. To add some more emotional stakes to the scene, I was also in love with this woman, but I didn’t have the time to tell her. I also blamed myself for her suicide because had I told her how I felt, maybe she would still be here today. Truth be told, I kind of stole this idea from 13 Reasons Why, but, in my defence, we had very little time to prepare.

Monologue #2: Picasso Revisited

For our second monologue, everybody was given individual scripts to learn. As you will see, my script was really weird, and I had no idea where it was from. So, like last time, I had to come up with my own context. Luckily, we would be doing this monologue for two weeks which gave me plenty of time to learn my lines. The context I came up with for this monologue was as follows:

I’m a struggling comedian who is bombing on stage at a comedy club. I’m currently couch surfing between different friends and have been cut off financially by my wealthy parents for dropping out of med school. I’m desperate to make something of my life, and the story I tell in the scene is fictitious but acts as a metaphor for my desire to be affirmed by others. I just want people to tell me that I’m a genius. That I’m a Picasso.

We shot this scene a total of three times. The first two times, I hit my punchlines and was too funny, which caused my audience (my fellow classmates) to laugh. Of course, if this was a real stand-up show, then that’d be great. However, it wasn’t. It turns out that pretending to be someone trying to be funny but fails miserably is actually quite hard. So, for the final time, I decided to miss all my punchlines and add in a bunch of awkward pauses to make me seem desperate for the crowd’s approval.

Duologue: When Harry Met Sally

For the final week, we did duologues. The scene we were doing was taken directly from When Harry Met Sally (a movie I still haven’t watched). Due to a lack of male actors in the class, I got to act out the scene with two different partners, which allowed me to tackle it in different ways.

With my first partner, Nicole, I decided to approach the scene as a confident Harry. To quote one of my fellow classmates, I was a “cheeky bastard.” Here’s both our takes:

With my second partner, Karoline, I decided to be a bit more like a bumbling idiot. Still cheeky but not as confident and more conscious of other people at the wedding ceremony. Here’s our second take:

I also did a single shot of me acting to my partner off-screen as well:

Special shout out to Nicole and Karolina for being such amazing screen partners as well as everyone else on my course for being a joy to work with.

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