2017-2018 Season,  Learning

Behind-the-Scenes at Our Monologue Intensive (Or, The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Monologues)

Our second week of summer camps kicked off with an intensive mini camp for 10th-12th graders. Teaching Artist Cassy Whitley, who is the Theatre Director at The Academy at Lincoln and a board member of the International Thespian Society, led an amazing 3-day monologue intensive for high school students.

Students spent their first day getting to know each other, participating in a series of improvisational theater games, and learning about Uta Hagen’s nine character questions. Uta Hagen was a well-known performer and theater practitioner known for her contributions to theater training and education.

Each of the students explored the following questions as they considered their characters:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What time is it?
  3. Where am I?
  4. What surrounds me?
  5. What are my given circumstances?
  6. What are my relationships?
  7. What do I want?
  8. What is in my way?
  9. What do I do to get what I want?

Professional actors use these questions when preparing a character for an audition or a production. They are essential to understanding the character and the play. In order to bring characters to life, the individual actors and the company need to have an understanding of who the characters are and what motivates them in order to realistically bring their actions to life.

On the second day, students studied interpretation and learned new terms: word color, build, emphasis, subordination, phrasing, mood and definition. They all conducted table work, which is when actors and the director gather around the table to get to know the text and it’s meaning for them through reading and discussion before they ever get on their feet and begin performing. For this camp, students used the text of the Gettysburg Address to work on these new interpretive skills.

The students incorporated what they learned working with the Gettysburg Address into their own monologues and rehearsed several times before the end-of-camp sharing on Wednesday.

At the sharing, family and friends got a first-hand look at the progress each of their students made during camp. Cassy showed videos of the students performing their monologues for the first time at the beginning of camp, and, after the videos, each student performed their monologue using the techniques they had learned.

The transformation from the first performance to the last was powerful to observe. Students demonstrated a real grasp of the concepts learned this week and a knowledge of how to put them into practice. They also now have material to use for future auditions. We’re very proud of their hard work!

Do you want to get in on the action? Triad Stage is offering a wide array of summer camps for students in fourth through twelfth grade! Check out our camp schedule to find a week that catches your eye! If you have any questions, contact Learning Director Lauren Smith at lauren@triadstage.org.

Triad Stage

Triad Stage is a North Carolina theater company that produces and performs live, professional theater in the Piedmont Triad region. With local and national talent, a focus on artistic excellence, and a distinctly Southern voice, Triad Stage offers a wide sampling of quality theater, including original works and re-imagined classics. You can see Triad Stage’s work at two world-class performance venues in the state: The Pyrle Theater in Greensboro and Hanesbrands Theatre in Winston-Salem.

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