STEVE BISLEY Act up with the Art of the Monologue

Steve Bisley, one of Australia’s most recognisable actors (Mad Max, Water Rats, Police Rescue, The Big Steal, The Great Gatsby, Doctor, Doctor), is coming to Perth to run Alone – The Art of the Monologue, a masterclass in performance at The Blue Room Theatre on Tuesday, March 17, Thursday, March 19 and Saturday, March 21. The class is perfect for actors of all levels, open to everyone, including ATAR level Drama students, and is perfect for students preparing for WACE. MELISSA KRUGER spoke with Bisley to find out more.

Steve – what are you up to these days?

I am in the middle of writing my third book. The last two books were memoirs, but this latest one is my first work of fiction. It doesn’t have a title yet as I never give them a name till I’m finished.

That’s exciting. Tell me a little bit more about the acting masterclass you are running next week here in Perth; Alone – The Art Of The Monologue. I love the name ‘Alone’ – what was the inspiration behind that?

I’m glad you like the title. I chose the name because a monologue is performed by an actor, alone. It can be a daunting prospect, especially for an inexperienced performer, but handled properly it can be one of the most liberating experiences a performer can have.

I have been teaching monologue performance for years, not only to actors but to people who need experience in public speaking. It can be a frightening experience to deliver a long passage of dialogue to an audience, but I have developed a method that not only supports the performer but puts them in a secure emotional state so that they can really enjoy the experience. If a performer is secure then that’s where the magic can happen. And it does!

What is the secret to picking a good monologue for an audition?

My advice for picking a good monologue to work on is to look for a passage of dialogue that has a lot of emotional changes within it.

Shakespeare frightens a lot of performers but he writes some of the most delicious monologues ever written. In the end it doesn’t matter where the monologue comes from – film, theatre or television – just choose something that you like, and together we will make it fly.

You are involved in a very important fundraiser at the moment. Tell me a little bit more about The Last Ride. How did it come about? Are you looking forward to it?

The Last Ride is a GoFundMe campaign I have started, in which I plan to ride a motorbike around Australia to raise awareness and to raise funds for suicide prevention. Since I started the campaign I have had so many people who have contacted me to share their stories of the loss of a friend or a loved one and my heart goes out to them all. I have also had so many messages of support from people all around Australia, who want to support me on the ride and have offered all manner of fundraising ideas. There is so much planning to do and the logistics involved in a 16,000 km ride is enormous, but I am committed to making a difference.

Why did you decide to campaign for suicide awareness in particular?

On average nine people a day commit suicide in Australia. Then there is the impact on the people they leave behind. If I can do anything to help reduce this awful statistic then I will.

What do you hope that people who come along to Alone will get out of the masterclasses?

The workshop is to make storytelling easy. A monologue is just a fancy name for a story. A lot of people are frightened when they have to stand up and tell a story to an audience, I have a foolproof method that will enable anyone regardless of their experience to not only deliver a great story, but to absolutely LOVE the experience. I promise you that by the end of the course you will feel not only feel full of confidence, but you will never feel that old imagined fear again.

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