About the Shakespeare Monologues for Your “Type” series:
There are many sources for Shakespeare monologues available to students, including a popular website that includes literally thousands of choices. You would think that there was no need for another guide. My experience as a teacher, however, is that when my students encounter these well-intentioned books, lists or websites they tend to be overwhelmed and then frustrated. Collections of “male” speeches are apt to contain Puck, Falstaff, Macbeth, and Lear (or some equally eclectic mix) even though no one would ever be cast in all those roles even over the course of an entire lifetime. Roles for juveniles, adults and mature actors are freely mixed, with no distinction between character types and leading men. Very few of the speeches are useful for an actor at any one time, with no real guide to finding which ones are applicable. Lists of “female” speeches encounter not only the same problem, but also a greater tendency for the speeches to make almost no sense out of context. It is not only possible, but probable, that you will buy a book of speeches in which there are only one or two (or zero) monologues useful for you.
My current project is the creation of a series of 14 inexpensive e-booklets that usefully sort speeches into sub-groups according to the “types” that would have played them in Shakespeare’s troupe. “Leading” men and women are separated into young, adult and mature age groupings. “Character” types are placed in their own parallel age and gender groupings. Children have their own volume. The series finishes with a list of sonnets that are dramatic enough for use in auditions.
The idea is to help actors find monologues that are really “right” for them. By grouping the speeches into categories it is possible to assist actors in narrowing their search and identifying lesser-known material with parallels to parts they know well or for which they might be auditioning. Links to all these volumes appear in the right hand column of the blog.
During fall semester 2013, I will be teaching theater history at San Francisco State University in an online section of introduction to theater called “Theater Imagination.”