Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"The play's the thing..."

Last summer I got all ambitious and set out to read one play a day. Didn't happen. After spending a lot of time trying to dig up a decent monologue of a certain length for last week's audition, I was once again confronted by how dreadfully under read I am. I mean it. It's almost embarrassing. So this summer I'm going to try once again, and attempt to read one play for every day of the working week. This will hopefully expand my general theatrical knowledge, and assist in the finding of more useful monologues--though the young, female comedic continues to elude me. (Seriously: girls in their teens talk a lot and are sometimes funny when they're not talking about being molested or having an abortion, thirty-somethings are neurotic about men and potential spinsterhood, and older female parts are ornery. But a monologue that's comedic and written for a woman in her twenties: they don't seem to exist. For reals. What the hell? Why is no one writing these? We are real, damn it!)

Anyway, the stipulations of this self-imposed challenge is that I read five plays a week, Monday through Friday, and that I log/blog what I've read to prove that I have read it. I also cannot read a play I have already read (even if it's a different translation of something I've read before--doesn't count), though I can count plays I've never read the entirety of but have worked scenes from in various academic situations (yes: I should have read the whole play at that juncture, but I used to be a slacker--what do you want?). I can also read plays I read a long time ago but have, in fact, completely forgotten (it happens). My hope is to find one monologue a week<--and quite frankly, that's pretty ambitious, really, considering the ratio of male to female parts in plays to begin with, and then making sure it's actually a good, audition-appropriate monologue. I could go into what makes for an appropriate audition monologue right now, but I won't--because I have to start reading a play, and soon!

I began yesterday with A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller. Boy, that was depressing. I really wanted to read Odets (Odets, Odets, Odets!) so I chose a play I had on me by an author with a similar voice. The overlying difference between Odets and Miller though is that while they both present characters who at times have to call into question their own idealism because of their "real world" circumstances, some of Odets's characters are actually successful in getting out and moving away from whatever may be plaguing them--or if they can't, by the end of the play there is usually a sense of renewed hope or drive (disregard Paradise Lost, please). With Miller, they're all pretty much doomed from the beginning. Still, there was a good monologue in this play--good for auditions for plays of that ilk--for someone my age, so I've already filled my quota for the week. Huzzah!

Today, another Miller: After the Fall. This play is terribly autobigraphical, even though Miller largely denied that when he wrote it, and it is supposed to suck. We shall see. If anything, I'd like to read his whole cannon this summer, as I'm really only familiar with All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible--those three standards. I have also seen The Misfits. Meh.

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