Cover image for Creating your own monologue
Creating your own monologue
Alterman, Glenn, 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Allworth Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 193 pages : portraits ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1530 .A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN1530 .A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN1530 .A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PN1530 .A48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"This is a one-of-a-kind book that shows actors how to write and produce successful monologues." "In-depth interviews with top monologists and solo play directors - including Christopher Ashley, Mary Louise Wilson, Spalding Gray, Evan Handler, Danny Hoch, and Jo Bonney - provide honest, inspiring insights into the development of one-person performances. In addition, the extensive appendixes supply information about artists' communities, playwrighting grants and competitions, and theaters that nurture solo works."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Glenn Alterman is an award-winning writer, actor, playwright, and screenwriter.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Beginning with a brief history of the one-person show, the author, himself an accomplished playwright, screenwriter, and actor, has written a comprehensive manual for anyone interested in preparing and producing their own solo performance piece. Chapters cover how to begin writing your own monolog, different types of solo material, fundamentals of a good monolog, creating characters and rehearsing, and performing and marketing your show. Included are samples of monologs and interviews with performance artists and directors, among them Quentin Crisp, Penny Arcade, Spalding Gray, Danny Hoch, and Kate Clinton. Useful appendixes cover lists of artists' colonies, theaters that accept solo material, publishers, competitions, agents, and tips on applying for grants. Well organized and clearly written, this book can be recommended for public, high school, and academic libraries.--Howard E. Miller, Rosary H.S., St. Louis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Cheryl KingCheryl KingQuentin CrispDael OrlandersmithGlenn AltermanShelly MarsSpalding GrayEllen LewisTaylor MacDanny HochEvan HandlerKate ClintonMary Louise Wilson and Mark HamptonBashore HalowJoe PintauroGlenn AltermanPenny ArcadeGlenn AltermanSpalding GrayCharlayne WoodardDanny HochAnastasia Traina
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction to the Second Editionp. xvii
Introductionp. xix
Six Ways to Get the Most Out of This Bookp. xxiii
Part I The monologue: writing, rehearsing, performing
1 A Definition of Termsp. 3
What Is a Monologue?p. 3
Types of Monologuesp. 4
What Is Performance Art?p. 6
2 A Brief History of the One-Person Showp. 8
Samuel Foote (1721-1777) Creates the One-Person Showp. 8
George Alexander Stevens, the Father of the Monologuep. 8
Charles Mathewsp. 9
Ruth Draper Perfects the Monologuep. 9
Cornelia Otis Skinnerp. 10
Historical Monologuesp. 10
The Solo Show Todayp. 10
3 A Preliminary Lookp. 12
Questions to Ask Yourself before Starting Work on a Solo Showp. 12
The Similarities/Differences between Being an Actor and Working as a Writerp. 13
As an Actor, Do I Have the Necessary Skills to Create My Own Material?p. 14
Pluses and Minuses, Assessing Specifically Where You Are Nowp. 14
Your Sense of Truthp. 15
4 Ways to Work, Selecting Your Toolsp. 16
Writingp. 16
What Is Creative Writing?p. 17
Fear of Writingp. 17
Journal Writingp. 18
Using a Tape Recorderp. 18
Improvising: "Are Your Talkin' to Me?"p. 19
Working Orally: In Front of an Audiencep. 19
Working Orally: Developing Your Stories Throughout the Dayp. 20
5 Preparingp. 21
For Those Actors Who Know Which Type (Style) of Monologue They Want to Createp. 21
For Those Actors Who Don't Know What Type of Solo Material They Want to Createp. 22
Perking with an Ideap. 23
Exercises to Help You with Your Solo Showp. 23
Deciding When to Beginp. 24
6 Guidelines for Creating Short or Audition Monologuesp. 25
7 Fundamentals of All Good Monologuesp. 28
To Whom Is the Character Speaking?p. 30
Questions Every Monologue Must Answerp. 30
About Autobiographical Monologuesp. 31
Another Way to Approach Autobiographical Materialp. 33
Storytelling Monologuesp. 34
Narrative and Dramatic Stylep. 34
Your Personal Style: Your Voicep. 35
Examples of Different Voices and Stylesp. 36
From An Evening with Quentin Crispp. 36
Winfred from Monsterp. 37
Craig from Two Minutes and Under, Volume 3p. 38
From An Evening with Shelly Marsp. 39
From Gray's Anatomyp. 39
Cudjoe from The Sun and the Moon Live in the Skyp. 40
From Safep. 41
Sam from Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hopp. 42
From Time on Firep. 43
From Comedy You Can Dance Top. 43
From Full Gallopp. 44
From I'm Breathing the Water Nowp. 45
From The Finger Holep. 46
From A Kiss to Build a Dream Onp. 47
8 Using Your Acting Technique to Create Character Monologuesp. 48
Working from the Outside in, as an Actor and Writerp. 48
Working Internally as an Actor and Writerp. 49
9 Starting to Writep. 52
Two Scenariosp. 52
Understanding Writer's Blockp. 53
Techniques for Dealing with Writer's Blockp. 54
Nothing, a Whole Lot of Nothingp. 54
Writing about Painful Eventsp. 55
Free-Writing: An Invaluable Exercisep. 55
Clustering (or Webbing): Finding the Initial Core of Your Workp. 58
Sal from Street Talk: Character Monologues for Actorsp. 59
10 Creating Your Monologue: Structure and Processp. 61
How We'll Be Working from Now Onp. 62
Comparing the Actor's and the Writer's Processes of Starting Outp. 62
The Importance of the Narratorp. 63
Your Opening Section: The First Paragraphsp. 63
From Charlotte (from True Stories)p. 64
Bernice from Two Minutes and Under, Volume 2p. 64
From Swimming to Cambodiap. 65
From Pretty Firep. 65
Blanka from Some Peoplep. 66
Jo from Eternal Pyramidp. 66
Master of the Stale from the play The Dark Stringp. 67
11 Developing Your Monologuep. 68
Developing Your Role (as an Actor)p. 68
Developing Your Monologue (as a Writer)p. 68
The Ongoing Day-to-Day Workp. 69
Working on Performance Art Piecesp. 70
A Word about Songs, Music, and Dance in Monologue Playsp. 70
Mixed Mediap. 70
That Old Devil, the Self-Censorp. 71
Taking Mini-Breaks, Breathersp. 71
Looking Over What You've Written So Farp. 72
After the Break: Two Scenariosp. 72
Working Till the End of the First Draftp. 72
12 Developing Your Monologue II (The Ongoing Work)p. 73
The "Who Wrote This Monologue, and What's It About?" Exercisep. 73
Questions to Ask Yourself While Reading through Your Scriptp. 74
At What Point Should You Have Someone Else Read What You've Written?p. 74
Selecting the Right Person to Read Your Monologuep. 75
Performing the First Draft for a Directorp. 75
Performing the First Draft as a "Work in Progress" for an Audiencep. 76
Making Repairs: Rewritingp. 76
Revising and Reshapingp. 76
The Three Golden Rules of Revisingp. 76
The Subconscious and Rewritesp. 79
13 Completing Work on Your Monologuep. 80
Things to Keep in Mind in Your Closingp. 80
Knowing When the Monologue Is Ready to Be Performedp. 81
A Checklist to Decide Whether Your Monologue Is Ready to Be Performedp. 81
14 Preparing to Performp. 83
Selecting a Directorp. 83
Working with the Director in Rehearsalp. 84
Rehearsing the Audition Monologuep. 85
Performing the Piecep. 86
15 Marketing Your Solo Showp. 87
Preparing Your Marketing Packagep. 87
Management/Booking Agencies That Handle Solo Artistsp. 89
Part II Interviews with monologue writers and performers
16 Lanie Robertsonp. 93
17 Sarah Jonesp. 99
18 Spalding Grayp. 103
19 Mary Louise Wilsonp. 107
20 Charlayne Woodardp. 111
21 Tim Millerp. 115
22 Danny Hochp. 119
23 Dael Orlandersmithp. 124
24 Quentin Crispp. 128
25 Marilyn Sokolp. 131
26 Evan Handlerp. 134
27 Shelly Marsp. 141
28 Brian Dykstrap. 145
29 Penny Arcadep. 151
30 Kate Clintonp. 156
31 Ann Randolphp. 160
Part III Interviews with directors of one-person shows
32 Peter Askinp. 167
33 Jo Bonneyp. 172
34 Christopher Ashleyp. 177
35 Marcia Jean Kurtzp. 183
36 David Bar Katzp. 186
A Artist Colonies Where You Can Develop Your Solo Showp. 191
B Theaters That Accept Solo Materialp. 195
C Publishers of Solo Materialp. 202
D Playwriting Competitions That Accept Solo Materialp. 207
E Applying for Grantsp. 212
F Literary Agentsp. 215
G Recommended Booksp. 222
H Internet Resourcesp. 223
Permissionsp. 225
About the Authorp. 227