Performing a Soliloquy – Delivering text to an audience whilst alone on stage can be daunting. This is common in Shakespeare, but also prevalent in modern texts. It may get confusing as to who you are directing the text, however most likely, you are expressing the characters inner thoughts. Like we do in everyday life we constantly work through problems in our head, we approach a problem and start to construct a path of thought and action to find a solution.
On stage, you are sharing this inner journey with the audience; allow them into your mind and invite them to follow you. The sharper and more logical you are in your thought pattern, the easier it will be for the audience to hang on your every word. As well as making sense of the soliloquy, it’s important to give it an upward journey; it must build. As Peter Brooks said, “The journey is the destination.” Every new thought must be strong, and must clearly draw you closer to your answer.
Each thought may also give more clues to your character. Try directing specific lines to different versions of your character, linking the content with an appropriate character trait. Hamlet has an infinite number of layers to his character; modern actors continue to uncover deeper complexities.
Hamlet’s most famous speech ‘To be or not to be’ remains to engross audiences and challenge actors. Hamlet tackles thoughts of death and suicide and whether to take immediate action and revenge on his uncle Claudius. While following his thought pattern we get a glimpse of the various Hamlet’s involved in this debate; the scholar, the lover, the soldier, the Prince, the son, the nephew, the boy, the man, the murderer, the coward – the list continues to lengthen. Find every version of your character and address them, allowing yourself and the audience crawl deeper under your characters skin.