Scary monologues

  • User Deleted

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    Hi everyone, I wonder if anyone can help me. I know it might sound random but I need to find a halloween scary monologue for an audition I have coming up. It needs to be 3 minutes+ long... any ideas?

    Thanks

    Amy xx

    • 12th Aug 2007
    • 19671
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Basically, I *should* be the world expert on this kind of thing - but now you're asking, I have to say, this is a bit of a poser. Certainly, I love the artifice of horror to a large extent, but I have to say, it's not a genre that the theatre has ever done that well. As a result, there aren't many obvious 'scary' plays that spring to mind. Still, my ideas for what they're worth:

    a) There are a few very prominent modern 'horror' tales e.g. the adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black is fantastic (but I'm not sure it can be tweaked that easily to a female performer). As with this piece, many of the works you may find are likely to be adaptations of something that was originally literary horror - Berkoff did some interesting early adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories for instance, like 'Fall of the House of Usher' and there may be others. There are a couple of interesting female parts in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', although I don't know if they have extended monologues in modern stage adaptations of the story. And so on. Writers I can think of who are likely to have had work adapated in this vein include Poe, Dickens (who wrote, especially, Christmas ghost stories), The Turn of the Screw (by Henry James - which would be brilliant, if there is a stage adaptation out there) etc.

    b) The really 'big' 'horrific' genre in historical theatre was the French 'Grand Guignol' of the late 19th/early 20th century. A lot of this material is very sensationalist, sometimes truly disturbing stuff, and it's very physically nasty. Whether this provides good material for monologues, I'm less sure, although it's never less than striking stuff - the main problem with it is translations are very hard to come by, and you might even have a problem getting hold of a version of these plays via French's. However, I think there's stuff on the web you could look at, so I'd try there first, and see if you can get a feel for the genre, before shelling any money out on a book that might not be of any use.

    c) It is worth considering the possibility of doing a 'vicious' historical genre that was not designed as horror per se, but has horrific components. It occurs to me that, if you're comfortable doing verse speaking, then Jacobean Revenge Tragedy is full of chilling scenes of this sort obsessed with death, morbidity and pre -meditating killing: Macbeth on crack. My great love has always been for John Webster and although 'Duchess of Malfi' is the obvious choice, 'The White Devil' has some great female speeches, too. But there's all sorts in this genre: The Changeling, Revenger's Tragedy, etc. etc. You'll probably be able to find a selection of revenge pieces placed together, and flick through them quickly to get a feel.

    d) Surrealism and Romanticism don't generate scariness exactly, but in the right mood, they can provide characters/speeches which are highly unconventional and disturbing in tone. I have always felt Ibsen (Ghosts, Peer Gunt) and Strindberg (Dream Play etc.), in the right mood, conjure up this 'off - kilterness', as does Buchner (briefly) in Woyzeck, and as do a lot of the Absurdists (Ionesco especially shifts towards Grand Guignol at times in my opinion). Phillip Ridley is fantastic at doing strange things with more modern texts. Many of the characters created by these writers could be played very 'spookily' with the right choices made.

    e) There are even some comic playwrights whose humour is so black that their morbidity becomes unnerving. As I've said, this is true of many Absurdists. It's also true of an old favourite of mine, Peter Barnes, who, for example, wrote Red Noses, a fantastic play which happens to be a comedy about the Black Death. You can get the same morbid/funny quality in a lot of Brecht (although whether it's Halloweeny is another question). James Saunders can be very dark as well (and every funny) if you can find his scripts still - also Joe Orton and Harold Pinter (though, I admit, they don't write as well for women as they could do).

    g) One final possibility is to look for radio, rather than stage, plays - for whatever reason, horror lends itself particularly well to radio broadcast, and you may find there are more lengthy speeches in radio adaptations of work than are acceptable in the stage versions. This might provide you with the 3 minutes worth you're looking for.

    Hope some of those ideas are useful.

    Happy searching

    Lee.

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 1
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, just before I sign off:

    a) Let me apologise for all the typos, gabbling etc. in the previous reply - but it's late, I'm tired, and I hope the basic points have been made.

    b) I am, of course, ignoring the fact that horror (which has a minor career on the stage) has had a fantastic career in TV and film. If you can find any film/TV screenplays, then these may be as good a source for your material as any. Of course, a screenplay is rarely written with the idea that the characters have an extended monologue in mind - but this material may also be worth looking out for.

    c) I'll just add - as we've been talking about getting all of these out of the way books(!) - if you're likely to be in London, then one great second - hand place I use is called Skoob Books. Based off Russell Street, in a place called the Brunswick Centre. They carry a very good selection of many obscure playwrights, which can be just what you need when you are looking for obscure audition speeches! But, anyhow...

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 2
  • User Deleted

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    Wow, thats a whole bunch for me to look at thanks alot, I am going to todde off, and start looking. I only got the audition yeasterday and have litle time to learn but I am going to put my davey crockett hat and hunt away!!

    Thanks for the points

    Amy xxxx

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 3
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I am also going to the same audition- its a bit suilly for a scary monlogue- its so subjective and it seems like they want high camp--- I am doing someting Victorian from Poe, or Bram Stoker- Dracula etc- as a woman, think about Mina Harker from Dracula- a diary extract from the book where she is sexually assualted by old Drac, and forced to drink blood from his chest- very sexual, creepy and lots of depth from the victorian side of stuff- repressed desires etc...

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 4
  • User Deleted

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    Well, I am thinking what is a good all rounder of a scary monologue, as one persons idea of scary, is another persons boredom... you cant scare everyone all the time... theres always that sceptic!!!!!

    hmmm I think I have found one.... but I dont know if its scary enough.. meh.

    I might be headong off to the library... grrr

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 5
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I agree completely. I think its about how itspresented- for me... the workings of the mind and the eveil that men do etc is far more frightening than any monster-

    Remember Silence of the Lmabs? That lunatic in the cage next to lector. jodie foster sees him and then the doctor- a refined, distinguished man with taste and culture- and so psychologically invasive- like a rape of the mind toward her...

    that is my version of terror.

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    *shivers* yup. I loe that film. Jame Gumb freaks me everytime...

    I am trying to find the mina Harker extract you mentioned, I cangt he book, but the search engine doesnt want to play ball when I want it to find the chapter I want....I dont have time to mess about....

    I also found another extract as ap osibility, about a demon who talks about how he (well she in my case) has killed her family and how she talks about killing her brother.... and how... but its b*gger o figure out the best way to play it.... refined or just plain wheezy and quite quiet

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 7
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    On the e book its toward the end, that scene- I think its pretty classy, as many people will do high camp and TRY to be scary- which is not teh point... what was so good about that novel was that the irony is that the liberated women in the book are all liberated sexually ONLY as vampires- its a comment of victorian women- its insinuating that they WANT to be posessed and freed from sexual constraint="

    not" to mention the way men fear the women as vampires- hair down, voluptous- and they destroy the women - they are always referred to as vampires as sexual.

    Its halloween on one level, but on another, a critique on the ultra vicorian ascetism- and male misogyny..

    there will be a test next week... :)

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 8
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    Well I will try the test next week you can judge (but if I fal on my face you still have to clap and cheer.... what time are yuoing for that audition I am on at 2 I think.....

    xxx

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 9
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Me too!!! I will be doing a piece from Dracula as well- just printed out a piece and have cut and adapted it!!!

    I love the lauguage- so expressive and ornamental- such a shame to have to slice it up to fit into five minutes.

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 10
  • User Deleted

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    Well I guess I will see you there, but I have to admit, am going to struggle as I generally end up with comic roles and I need to hone my skills, basically in the next few days to be scary lol. The things I have to do :-P

    Amy xx

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 11
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Trust the nature of the piece- do not try to MAKE it scary- if you keep the reponses real and grounded, acting honestly, you will find it speaks for itself-

    if you do the Mina scene, think of someone in modern day life being forced to perform sex acts on her rapist- that modernises it much more- and for any woman that is a nigtmare.

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 12
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Blake is undoubtedly right - if the character is not themselves meant to be predatory/disturbing, then you can't really play *them* scary. I suppose, in horror, there are two essential types of character: the malefactors/perpetrators/monsters who have to be as vicious, depraved and so on as we can make them and the victims, who are essentially the empathetic characters. We have to care about the victim's fate and situation, and ask ourselves would we cope as well as they would in the same situation.

    So, if you are playing the 'victimised' character (naturally, Mina Harker is not a 'victim' in an attitude related sense - as Blake says, her 'victimisation' potentially liberates her...anyway...), then your duty is to impress upon the audience the fear inherent in your situation. *To be* scared convincingly rather than to scare convincingly. This acted well is also what generates 'scariness' (and, of course, many of the greatest 'visual' horror pieces rely solely on the victim's suggestion of what is to be feared - we never actually get to see the feared 'monster').

    Also, however, as Blake says, if this is all high camp silliness anyway, then perhaps this whole thread is taking the matter a tad too seriously. Just show 'em you can act, I'd say, and do something that'll catch the attention, and you should still do fine.

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 13
  • User Deleted

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    Uhoh.. I think I might be nicking the peice you plan to do..... that might be a bit poo... if it IS the peice you are thinking of (not the Mina peice) but I really like it, so heres to a challenge ;) (and yes its a male part but Meh, I like a challenge ;) )

    xx

    • 10th Aug 2007
    • 14
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Im not stressed at all- you will do it in a way completely unique to you, and I will do it in a totally different way as well. We are all unique--- just like everyone else!!! LOL

    Seriously, I do think its silly for them to make us do a "scary" piece. I can guarantee you that many will be doing stupid things there- and it irritates me.

    I will probabaly still go, but i think the asking us to prepare a huge monlogue for this is totally daft.

    • 11th Aug 2007
    • 15
  • User Deleted

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    Hiya, I am sorry I missed your call, I was working late, I am literally doing 3 minutes as the minimum they have asked for.

    • 12th Aug 2007
    • 16