Having one “out-of-body” experience would be an adventure in itself, but on Monday 16th February our very own Rose persuaded a great number of us to be the embodiment of others in a fascinating session on the Monologue.
After Rose’s introduction to the reasons for writing a monologue, Angus was the first to entertain us with his own witty monologue, in which his character deceived himself into thinking he was a blue-eyed boy. This was followed by Tony bringing to life the apologetic host of a poetry evening in Roger McGough’s An Ordinary Reading. Next came Evelyn’s monologue The Stepmother, which Rose read. In this Evelyn had turned the tables on Snow White and the stepmother stoutly defended her actions berating amusingly her stepdaughter for taking up residence with seven men, among other perverse actions. A more serious note was introduced by Jack reading Peter Porter’s Your Attention Please, a warning of a nuclear attack, the matter-of-fact tone of which was spine-chilling. Ina lightened the tone by ably taking on the character of a woman denouncing Men in the Liz Lochhead monologue. Ross became a dry weather-forecaster to the life in Roger McGough’s Health, while Val horrified us in an amusing way with Sue Townsend’s Ten Tiny Fingers in which a woman was annoyed at her mother for objecting to taking an injection to end her life. After this Bill Douglas held our interest with his own perceptive monologue Crazy Horse which gave an insight into the American Indian world. I was next with Liz Lochhead’s Mrs Rintoul, in which a teacher bewailed the shortcomings of her pupils. Tony rounded off the session with his tour de force Success, a monologue about Burt Lancaster in rhyming couplets, in the style of Browning’s My Last Duchess; truly a work of art.
After the interval a treat was in store. Pat, actress friend of Rose, had joined us and she delivered three monologues with great skill: Little Red Riding Hood by Roald Dahl, Mrs Abernethy by Liz Lochhead and a very appropriate extract from the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Rose completed the morning by giving us helpful pointers on writing monologues. These covered various types of monologues, elements looked for, and a final note on the time element and content. Pat added a piece of advice: whether the monologue is sad or funny, the character should “laugh through the tears or cry through the laughter”.
Now for the “rub”! Yes, it’s the competition. A list of possible characters has been issued. Choose one, write your monologue. Warning – it must not last more than 5 minutes!
A big thank you to Pat and all the speakers on this exceptional day. Rose might have had something to do with it too.