What makes one actor compelling to watch and another actor tedious? I was coaching an actor who brought in a monologue that at first I didn’t like at all. It was written in a complainy way about somebody being suicidal. She’s a good actor and her first take was sincere and deeply felt, but I found myself bored by it and resisting working on it. We did a few exercises to get her out of her head and it got more lively. Thank God, I don’t want to torture myself just to make a living. Then I prodded her to do it with a real sense of humor (again a few exercises to get her going that way). The very same dialogue that I could barely tolerate hearing in her first rendition of it, became fun to listen to and genuinely funny. It went against the superficial writing of it and became dynamic in an organic way (not forced).
It’s a monologue, but you still need to stay connected even if it’s to an inanimate object. Don’t go off into some kind of soliloquy because you are acting by yourself. Stay connected to that pillow or clip stand and don’t rush, the point is not to get all the words out. AND please don’t push for emotion; those monologues are the most torturous of all! If it’s an emotional piece allow yourself to feel. Let the words you are saying do something to you, rather than you doing something to the words.
Why do stars make the big bucks? When you can take dialogue that in the reading is a bore, or even worse, torture to hear and turn it into something amusing and fun, without changing a single word, you deserve the gold! Think outside the box. Don’t do the obvious. Take the risk. Find ways to get there! You will be unforgettable.