Sunday, April 26, 2020

Acting Tips for New Actors on How to Practice a Monologue

Here are some tips for actors on how to practice a monologue:

First, select a monologue that is right for you. Try to find one that fits your age and personality. If you are a 14 year old girl, don’t do one about a 70 year old man. Ideally, look for a monologue that you can understand from your own experiences. For example, a monologue about sailing might be hard to connect to emotionally if you’ve never been on a boat.

Next, read the source. Find the play that your monologue comes from and read it to understand what is happening before and after the monologue. Work on understanding the character and monologue in the context of the entire script. Focus closely on what happens in the scene before the monologue so you know what is motivating the character to speak.  If you are in a competition and need to use a published play, it is good to purchase a copy of the play the monologue comes from to take with you in case the judges ask for it.

Now, ask yourself, “who is the character?” When you read the monologue, and the play it comes from, look at the character more closely.  Here are some ways to study the character:

  • Make a list of 10 adjectives that describe the character. 
  • Imagine what an ordinary day is like for this character. Does the character wake up early or sleep in? What does the character eat for breakfast? Does the character spend a lot of time getting ready in the morning or does he/she rush out the door because they are late? Do they have friends? Are they social? What kind of job do they do? Go through an entire day with the character. You can use the full script to justify your answers or just use your imagination and make the character your own.
  • If you were to cast this character in a movie version of the play, what actor would you cast? Why would you pick this actor? What performance of this actor reminds you of this character?
  • Look at each line of the monologue and ask, “Why is the character saying this?” and “What emotion is he/she feeling when they say it?” Selecting different emotions for the lines can create a more dynamic performance. Identifying subtle differences in line delivery from frustrated to angry can make a difference in the overall performance. This also prevents speaking in a monotone, which some new actors struggle with.

Once you know the character, then you analyze the monologue. Break it down into parts. Find changes in tone. If you show an emotional range, it will keep it interesting. Find parts where you can show different emotions. Perhaps one part is silly and another more serious. Maybe you can show sadness in one part and anger in another. The more variety you add, the more interesting it becomes.

Now, re-read the monologue dramatically.

Then, memorize the monologue.

After memorizing the monologue, record yourself performing the monologue and review it.

Next, perform for someone you feel comfortable with and get feedback.

Now, you’re ready to perform or audition.


For additional help, check out


Sunday, February 23, 2020

THE CURSE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN for 8 actors of any gender

By D. M. Larson

Cast of Characters (8 total)
(all characters are written as female but can be played by males) 

LYRA: A new student at the magical school who is searching for something.
She has powerful natural magical ability.

VEGA: Lyra’s new friend who is cautious and nervous.

NYX: Lyra’s other new friend who is adventurous, bold and a bit sassy.

WEEZ: The lead bully at the school who likes to harass NYX and VEGA.
She wants to get LYRA to be on her side.

HOGGLE: A toady of WEEZ who is a bit troll like and obnoxious.

SORCHA: A sneaky toady of WEEZ who lurks around and is creepier than the others.

FLOOGLE: A Preceptor (teacher) at the school who has a dark plan for the students
and wants to include LYRA in her evil plot.

RUMPLE: A crazy creature, Rumpelstiltskin, who tries to trick people into using her magic.
She also plays SHADOW and ORLA (which can be a male character ORLO).

BUY A WORD DOCUMENT VERSION (includes royalty)

THE CURSE OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN for 8 actors of any gender SCENE 1



(The scenes take place in an ancient castle which serves as a school for magical people. Everything has a timeless feel and could take place in the past during the middle ages or in the present. LYRA, VEGA and NYX discover a secret chamber in the school)

LYRA: I’ve never seen this room before.

VEGA: Maybe we shouldn’t be here then.

LYRA: You might be right.

NYX: Wait! I know why we’ve never seen this room. This is the Phantom Attic!

VEGA: The what?

NYX: It’s a magical disappearing chamber that only appears to certain people. I knew you would be out good luck charm Lyra.

VEGA: you think it appeared for her?

NYX: You and I have been at this school for awhile but Lyra is new. 

LYRA: But I know nothing about this room. Why would it appear to me?

NYX: That’s the mystery we have to solve. I love a good mystery.

VEGA: It won’t disappear with us in it, will it?

NYX: No… I don’t think so.

VEGA: Maybe we should go.

NYX: Please stay, Vega. This could be the discovery of a lifetime. They say the Phantom Attic has special powers and magical secrets that no normal magic user can learn. 

(NYX is snooping around)

LYRA: How do you know all this?

VEGA: Nyx’s family has been working at this school for years.

NYX: For centuries. My family helped build this school. 

VEGA: Some parts of the school were built the normal way but other parts were created magically.

NYX: Lyra. Does anything look familiar to you? 

LYRA: Why should it? I’ve never been here before.

NYX: I mean in sixth sense kind of way. Like a feeling of Dejavu when you see it.

LYRA: Not yet. But I’ll keep looking.

VEGA: Maybe I should go be a lookout… and stand in the doorway… I’m really worried this room is going to disappear again. Maybe if I stand in the doorway, it won’t vanish. And make sure no one sees us. And warn you if someone is coming.

(LYRA can see VEGA is nervous and speaks to her kindly)

LYRA: That sounds like an excellent plan, Vega. Good thinking.

(VEGA exits)

NYX: Vega always gets nervous in new situations.

LYRA: It’s okay. I was getting a little nervous too. But something is drawing me over here.

(LYRA points and goes toward a wooden box [or treasure chest])

NYX: I knew it! This is connected to you.

LYRA: This looks familiar somehow.

NYX: Let’s open it.

(NYX tries to open it but can’t)

NYX (cont.): It’s locked.

(LYRA looks at it and touches it and it opens)

NYX: Magical lock. It’s meant for you.

LYRA: It’s a book.

(LYRA takes out a really old looking book)

NYX: A magic user guide. Oh no…

LYRA: What?

NYX: I recognize that R. That’s the name the never should be said.

LYRA: You mean…

NYX: Don’t say it!

LYRA: But…

NYX: No!

LYRA: Why should you say....

NYX: Stop! That name is cursed. Never say that name.

(A SHADOW appears in the background but they don’t see it yet. VEGA rushes in and the SHADOW vanishes)

VEGA: Someone’s coming.

NYX: Hide the book… and the box.

(LYRA quickly puts the book in the box and hides it. NYX tries to be cool and VEGA is nervous. A group of bullies, WEEZ, HOGGLE and SORCHA enter)

WEEZ: Well, well, well… if it isn’t the chosen one.

NYX: Don’t call her that.

HOGGLE: Who chose her anyway?

(SORCHA wanders and snoops around. HOGGLE checks out VEGA, NYX and LYRA making them all nervous)

WEEZ: But it’s true… everyone says she is the chosen one… she comes from a family that dabbles in darkness. You think my family has the corner on dark magic? It’s mere child’s play compared to what her family has done. Remember the dragon that destroyed half the kingdom a century ago? That was conjured by her great Aunt. And the hydra that ate the mighty King Elias…

NYX: We don’t need a history lesson, Weez. We all know you’re just jealous because the scariest thing your family has done is make a farting mud worm.

(HOGGLE laughs but stop when WEEZ gives a mean look. SORCHA is close to where LYRA hid the box but WEEZ motions to her and she nods in understanding and goes)

WEEZ: So what is this room? I’ve never seen it before.

NYX: We’re not sure.

WEEZ: Come on, Nyx. I know you better than that. You’re such a know at all. You must have a guess. If you won’t tell, I know Vega will.


VEGA: I won’t! I won’t tell!

HOGGLE: Come on, Vega. Spill the beans.

LYRA: Leave her alone!

(LYRA touches HOGGLE who lets go of VEGA and starts doing weird spazzy movements)

HOGGLE: What? Ah! Uh!

(HOGGLE passes out)

WEEZ: What did you do?

LYRA: A sleep spell I think.

(HOGGLE snores)

VEGA: Yup, a sleeping spell.

WEEZ: You know, you’re not supposed to use magic on other students outside of class.

NYX: But grabbing Vega and roughing her up is okay.

WEEZ: I don’t make the rules. I just use them.

(A teacher, FLOOGLE, enters with SORCHA. FLOOGLE sees HOGGLE on the floor snoring)

FLOOGLE: What is the meaning of this? 


FLOOGLE (cont.): Awake!

(HOGGLE sits up confused)

HOGGLE: I had the weirdest dream. And you were there… and you… and you.

FLOOGLE: Enough. Who conjured this unauthorized room?

(SORCHA continues her search but LYRA and VEGA block her way from the box)

WEEZ: They did.

NYX: We found it. We didn’t make it.

FLOOGLE: You know the rules, Nyx. You report these sorts of rooms immediately.

NYX: But we just got here. We didn’t have time…

WEEZ: Yeah, right. We found you here and we had time to go get Preceptor Floogle.

FLOOGLE: Weez has a point, Nyx.

NYX: Does she?

VEGA: I was at the door waiting for someone to wander by so I could report it.

SORCHA: More like a lookout to warn the others. I saw your eyes pop out of your head when you saw us. You ran like a scared little mouse.

VEGA: You’re not who I was hoping to see. You’re all very scary.

SORCHA: We are, aren’t we?

FLOOGLE: Silence. I’ve heard enough. Weez, Sorcha, and Hoggle will receive rewards for reporting a found magical room and for notifying a teacher of rule breakers.

(WEEZ and HOGGLE do a high 5. SORCHA chuckles evilly next to VEGA who gets a sick look on her face)

NYX: What?! That’s not…

FLOOGLE: Excuse me!

NYX: That’s not for me to argue about. I’ll be quiet now.

WEEZ: And Lyra used magic on Hoggle.

(WEEZ pokes HOGGLE who suddenly looks hurt and ill)

FLOOGLE: Did she now?

HOGGLE: It was terrible. I’ve never felt so strange in my life.

NYX: You looked more like you had a nice nap a few moments ago.

HOGGLE: I’m starting to feel a sickness. That happens after bad spells. 

FLOOGLE: You better take Hoggle to the infirmary. 

WEEZ: Right away.

(HOGGLE plays up being sick and WEEZ and SORCHA help her exit)

NYX: This isn’t fair.

FLOOGLE: You keep digging yourself a deeper hole, Nyx. It would be in your best interest to stop talking.

NYX: But I…

(FLOOGLE touches NYX)


(NYX can’t talk anymore and is very frustrated)

VEGA: Silencing spell.

FLOOGLE: A teacher’s favorite magic. Vega, please escort Nyx to detention where she shall sit in silence for one hour.

(NYX stomps her foot in anger)

FLOOGLE (cont.): Make that two hours.

(NYX deflates and looks down in defeat. VEGA goes to her and leads her away)

VEGA: It’s okay, Nyx. I’ll keep you company.

(VEGA and NYX give LYRA a worries look as they exit. LYRA starts to follow but FLOOGLE stops her)

FLOOGLE: You stay here, Lyra. We need to talk.

(VEGA and NYX look worried but exit when FLOOGLE gives them a mad look)

LYRA: I’m sorry, Preceptor Floogle. I didn’t mean to hurt Hoggle or break the rules. I’m new and I am still learning what is okay and not okay.

FLOOGLE: Ignorance of the rules is no excuse.

LYRA: Yes, Preceptor.

FLOOGLE: I have a feeling Nyx did tell you about this room. And that it is has something to do with you. My intuition is telling me that you were to key to opening this door.

(FLOOGLE goes to where LYRA hid the box)

FLOOGLE (cont.): You found something, didn’t you? Something meant for you. Show me.

(LYRA reluctantly goes and retrieves the box)

FLOOGLE (cont.): Open it for me.

(LYRA opens the box and takes out the book. FLOOGLE takes a step back)

FLOOGLE (cont.): The R. That’s the symbol of the name the never should be said.

LYRA: You mean…

FLOOGLE: Don’t say it!

(The SHADOW appears again. FLOOGLE looks nervous)

LYRA: It’s a name my family has said many times.

FLOOGLE: Because your family is cursed. 

LYRA: Then why am I even here? Why did this school even ask me to come here if you’re all so worried about me?

FLOOGLE: I ask that question every day, but Headmistress Seren has her reasons.

LYRA: And what are those reasons? Why won’t anyone tell me?

FLOOGLE: I would say if I knew, but I don’t. I will tell you this though. I can be a great ally… or a bitter enemy. Decide carefully what you want me to be.

LYRA: I want to be your ally of course. I don’t want trouble.

(The SHADOW has been motionless but appears to be excited by the following conversation)

FLOOGLE: Wise choice, Lyra. So let’s give you a test to prove your loyalty. Your family has powerful magic… as powerful as the nameless one. And legend says your family can turn ordinary objects into gold.

LYRA: I don’t know how to turn things into gold.

FLOOGLE: But that book… that book contains the secrets.

LYRA: Then you take it. You can do it.

(FLOOGLE wants to take the book and reaches for it. The SHADOW makes angry motions. FLOOGLE stops and can’t touch it)

FLOOGLE: I can’t. It’s meant for you. Open the book and show me a page.

(LYRA opens it and shows her)

LYRA: Like this?

FLOOGLE: I don’t know this language. 

(LYRA looks at the book)

LYRA: But I can read it.

FLOOGLE: Yes, it’s meant for you. Read the book. Find the spell. Make something gold. And then I will let you leave.

(The SHADOW is pleased)

LYRA: What?

FLOOGLE: You will remain in this room until you make something into gold.

LYRA: But what if I can’t?

FLOOGLE: Then this will be your new home.

(FLOOGLE leaves and LYRA starts to cry. LYRA hears the sounds of the door being locked. She throws the book down in anger. The SHADOW makes sad, caring motions like she wants to pat LYRA on the head and give her a hug. )

LYRA: Why is this happening to me? Why am I being punished for what my family has done? I’m not my parents. I’m not my grandparents. I’ve never known any of them. They were never hear for me and that’s probably for the best. Everyone says they were evil and I don’t want any part of that. I’m not sure I even want to be a part of this school or magic at all. But the magic is in me. It’s something I’ve never been able to stop. It bubbles up inside and comes out in strange ways. It’s as much a part of me as my blood. It lives in me. 

(LYRA hears the door being unlocked. She wipes away her tears. VEGA and NYX enter. LYRA is happy and runs to hug them)

VEGA: Are you okay?

LYRA: I’m so happy to see you.

(LYRA touches NYX’s cheek)

NYX: Thanks! It’s good to speak again.

LYRA: How did you get out of detention?

VEGA: We got Zorina to take Nyx’s place. She can shape shift.

NYX: She owed us a favor.

LYRA: It pays to have friends.

VEGA: Did you get locked in here by accident?

LYRA: Floogle locked me in here.

NYX: What? Why?

LYRA: She wants me to use this book to help me turn things into gold.

NYX: That’s crazy!

VEGA: This isn’t right. She shouldn’t do this to you. We must tell Headmistress Seren about this.

LYRA: No, we can’t taddle on the teachers all the time, even if they appear to be wrong. I can’t afford to make an enemy out of Floogle. I just got here. I have to try to get along with everyone.

NYX: I’m not sure Floogle is the right person to have on your side.

VEGA: But how can you turn this into gold? I’ve never seen magic like that before. 

NYX: If we did have magic like that, magic users would be very rich.

LYRA: Floogle seems to think that this book might help.

NYX: Does it have a spell for making things gold?

VEGA: It’s too dangerous to use that magic.

LYRA: But Floogle won’t let me go until I do. I just need to find the spell in this book.

(LYRA looks through book)

NYX: How can you read that?

LYRA: I could… but now all it says… is a name.

VEGA: What name? Tell me it’s not THE name.

LYRA: I’m afraid so. I guess that’s the only way. All I have to do is say the name.

SHADOW: Yes… say it.

VEGA: What was that?

NYX: You heard it too?

VEGA: Don’t say it, Lyra.

(SHADOW waves a hand and NYX’s hand goes over VEGA’s mouth and VEGA’s hand goes over NYX’s mouth)

SHADOW: Say it!

LYRA: It’s the only way.

SHADOW: Say it once…

LYRA: Rumplestiltskin.

SHADOW: Say it twice.

LYRA: Rumplestiltskin.

SHADOW: Third time’s a charm.

LYRA: Rumplestiltskin!

(NYX and VEGA finally get free of each other)

NYX and VEGA: No!

(RUMPLE comes out of the shadows and laughs loudly. She dances around with all of them during the following)

RUMPLE: It’s good to be free! Hello all your wonderful children. You have done me a wonderful service saying my name. I’m back among the living. Not that I was dead. I don’t know what I was really. Not all there that’s for sure. Trapped in this room until you came and found me again. I’ve been waiting for you Laura and here you are at last. I owe you one, kid. What can I do for you?

VEGA: Don’t ask for anything. 

NYX: It’s a trap.

(RUMPLE snaps her fingers and VERA and NYX make bird sounds and flies out of the room)

LYRA: Leave my friends alone.

RUMPLE: I’m just having a little fun. 

(RUMPLE snaps her fingers again and they return cautiously)

RUMPLE: See no harm, no foul.

(RUMPLE laughs at her own joke)

LYRA: Can you help me turn things into gold?

RUMPLE: Is that an official request or merely rhetorical? 

LYRA: Rumplestiltskin. Help me turn all the junk in this room into gold.

(RUMPLE howls with delight. Does a little dance and opens the book)

RUMPLE: Say this little spell, say it with delight, it will work so swell, and make gold tonight. Adios, amigos!

(RUMPLE claps her hands and there’s darkness and then flashing lights with thunder, then darkness again. Then slowly the light returns and RUMPLE is gone. VEGA and NYX go up to LYRA)

LYRA: Now for the golden spell and I can get out of here.

VEGA: I wish there was another way.

LYRA: I really didn’t feel like I had a choice. I ran out of options. I’m sorry I put you both through all that.

NYX: We survived. Without a scratch really. Your fingers smell weird though, Vega. What did you have for dinner?

(VEGA sniffs her fingers)

VEGA: Is that onions or garlic?

(VEGA holds her fingers toward NYX)

NYX: Never mind.

LYRA: Thanks for being here for me. 

NYX: That’s what friends are for. Facing evil creatures and saving you from locked magical chambers.

LYRA: I guess it’s time to make some gold.

VEGA: I’m kind of excited about that part. I’m a sucker for precious metals. You think we could keep a little of it?

NYX: Maybe.

LYRA: Sure. Pick something small that Floogle won’t notice. We’ll start with those.

(VEGA and NYX search for something small excitedly and lights fade to black)


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