5 Vital Questions to Ask Yourself When Performing a Monologue or a Scene

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

March 1, 2018

Preparing a monologue or in rehearsals for a show? Check out these five essential questions you should answer right away to determine where you take your character.

1. What does your character want?

This is the first question you should always ask yourself for every scene in which your character appears. Do it in stages: what do they want in this scene? What do they want by the end of the play? What do they want after the play has finished if everything goes according to their plan? The answers to these questions will greatly affect how you play your character and how your character interacts with other characters on stage.

2. Where is your character?

The answer to this question will also greatly affect how your character behaves. If your character is in a church, will they behave and speak differently from the way they would behave or speak in their own home? What about if they’re in someone else’s house? Do they lower their voice or show reverence or respect? Or are they loud and obnoxious? Or, depending on the character’s personality, they may or may not care where they are.

3. Where is the love?

Every scene is a love scene. This doesn’t mean that the characters are in love, but it does mean that there is an affection/love/admiration/trust that exists between your character and your scene partner’s character. Similarly, if two characters are fighting, it’s still a love scene: where did the love go? What trust was broken? Are they fighting to regain the love they lost? If two characters hate each other, they must have trusted each other at one point  —  and been betrayed intensely  —  for the hate to be so strong.

4. Where is the pain?

Where in the scene does your character hurt? Why do they hurt? Do they show this pain? Even if the pain has nothing immediately to do with the scene, find the answer to this question. Every person carries a pain with them that influences how they interact with other people, so the same can be said for your character.

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and PerformerStuff.com’s Editor.