30 Second Monologues

Created by Lindsay Price

A monologue unit is an excellent way for students to demonstrate learned skills: vocal skills, movement skills, memorization skills, and character development. It also touches on soft skills such as communication, confidence, and attitude. That being said, monologues are not easy. A typical monologue is two minutes long. That is a lot of text to memorize, block, and develop into an engaging presentation. How often have you sat through a bad monologue performance with little to no characterization, wandering blocking, and a tenuous grasp of the lines?

Performing a monologue is a learned skill. And the best way to learn a skill is in steps. Instead of starting with the end goal—that two-minute piece—start at the beginning. This four-lesson unit will take students up the ladder toward the goal of a longer monologue.

The overview lays out the structure of the unit, including time management, outline, and assessment strategies.
1: Nonverbal Monologue
Students start the monologue process nonverbally. They will present an entrance, an action, and an exit that shows a story without dialogue. In a monologue, the physical body is an important communication tool—just as important as dialogue. And that’s the focus of this lesson. Physical action can demonstrate location, mood, age, and subtext.
2: One-Line Monologue
Students further develop what they learned during the nonverbal monologue exercise by adding a single sentence. How can you communicate a character to an audience when you only have limited dialogue?
3: Three-Line Monologue
In this lesson, students will work on a three-sentence monologue to address both issues. Everyone will do the same monologue, so there is also the opportunity to talk about individual character choice, physical expression, and verbal expression.
4: 30-Second Monologue
Students will apply what they have learned in previous lessons to a 30-second memorized monologue. They will pick their own monologue to perform, design a beginning and end, create the character’s physical expression, and decide on their matching/opposing movement. They will add their thoughts on vocal variety. Finally, students will complete a post-performance monologue reflection.

Standards Addressed

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