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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 23 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Under My Skin]...got under my skin. Now, with pictures!  (Read 9591 times)
Tobias Wrigstad
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2008, 07:24:52 PM »

Quote
(As long as no one cares, I think it's cool to keep this discussion on the thread rather than email since others may find it useful.)

Cool.

Quote
So, interesting. I'd really like to see this in practice. I don't think it's too hard to figure out, but it sure makes the way easier to see how someone else adds this technique in. How do you personally tend to go about it? Do you verbally pause, make a gesture, or something else to distinguish the monologue from the dialog? Is it usually something quick - just a sentence or two? Also, do you do these very often, or perhaps just a couple of times during the game? 

Personally, I always change my voice when I do a monologue. At
least for the first couple of words. It has been said that I make
it "more theatric", which I suspect means "slowly and
deliberately".  If needed, I might do something to call other
peoples' attention, like markedly clearing my throat, or a simple
one or two raised index fingers would do. People need to quickly
understand what is going on. As soon as they do, you can go back
to speaking normally again.

Monologues can be of any length really. As someone who has GM'ed a
LOT, my monologues tend to be on the long side, but I am working
on making them shorter. I've seen and held 5-minute long
monologues, but often, 30-60 seconds is a good length.

The only real pressure I feel when doing monologues is "clinging
on to the taking pillow", i.e., avoid any pauses being interpreted
as the end of the spiel. Experiments with "stop words" really
don't work well, and people are reluctant to use them as they can
break the mood of the monologue. Sometimes, a good end marker is
the "repeat twice" pattern, which I fee is often overly
dramatical, "I just don't know. (sigh) I just don't know..."

To keep claiming space on the stage while quiet, raising the index
finger again to signal that "I'm not done", or have the breaks in
unfinished sentences, pressing slightly on the last spoken word to
stress that I'm doing something here generally works well.

Some games really revolve around monologues and use them a lot,
others don't. Per Wetterstrand, a fellow jeep, recently wrote a
game called "Conversations (Read my mind, not my lips!)" where a
group of friends sit in a café and talk about everything except
the issues they need to talk about, things which, at least
initially, are brought out through monologues.

In "Doubt", monologues are used inbetween scenes to fuel the
important meta-level discussion of what relationsships are all
about, etc. The monologues are sort of held in a grey area where
the character and player bleeds. In the stage play part of
"Doubt", players are encouraged to use what we call "insides and
outsides", which is basically very short monologues, often one
sentance or just a single word, that put perspective on the
character's action.

Example:

Me pointing at you: "Oh what a pretty dress!", then, immediately
taking a step to the side -- a move that people rarely take
naturally -- looking at the place where I where just standing, and
say "lier" or pointing at you and laughing uncontrollably.

Monologues don't require related scene content and generally give
us insight into the mind of the character in a deeper way than in
my inside example above.

In Seth's "A Flower for Mara", I pulled a cheap stunt when I was
doing my first monologue. I wanted to quickly paint the picture of
a mother trying to keep up appearances but really falling apart on
the inside, so I started putting food on peoples' plates and stuff
like that, and when it was turn for me to do a monologue, I just
went up there and screamed, which took the rest of the players by
surprise I think. This was not so much of a monologue, more an
inside/outside, but did get the message across.

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When I played in the Upgrade, I really enjoyed how Past and Future scenes could inform and direct the Present scene, often giving the players a little more to work with and respond to. It seems that monologues might do exactly that as well.

Exactly! That's why we say "Expose the inner play", i.e., explore
and make obvious what is going on in the mind of your character.
Originally, we designed "The Upgrade!" to be showcase for our
techniques toolbox -- how can we very smoothly integrate
everything and facilitate complex play and complex story telling
without compromising the flow.

Quote
There were a few times in our Under My Skin game that I was having trouble reading my fellow player's intentions - and I'm sure the reverse was true for them. It's a little frustrating to want to say "yes" to them but not know what the "yes" is. And, of course, you don't want to interrupt the flow of the scene, if possible, to have a meta-game discussion. Monologues might interrupt slightly, but they would avoid some of the above problems and I'd imagine they would ultimately make the scene more intense and compelling.

I totally agree. Monologues are not really different from scenes
where not all players are on stage, which I think is a good thing
generally. ("Watching is playing", sorry for throwing slogans
around.) Also, I think monologues are pretty stylish generally and
they don't really pause the game, but helps to keep focus
again. Sure, that can be done by saying "let's focus on X", but
you don't feel that in your heart or in your stomach.

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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1157

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2008, 12:27:33 PM »


The only real pressure I feel when doing monologues is "clinging
on to the taking pillow", i.e., avoid any pauses being interpreted
as the end of the spiel. Experiments with "stop words" really
don't work well, and people are reluctant to use them as they can
break the mood of the monologue. Sometimes, a good end marker is
the "repeat twice" pattern, which I fee is often overly
dramatical, "I just don't know. (sigh) I just don't know..."

To keep claiming space on the stage while quiet, raising the index
finger again to signal that "I'm not done", or have the breaks in
unfinished sentences, pressing slightly on the last spoken word to
stress that I'm doing something here generally works well.

Yeah, we ran into this issue during our run of A Flower for Mara, where I thought that Tobias might have wrapped a monologue (well, I think that it was a conversation with Mara, but it was within a monologue). After a pause, I piped up and asked if he was done. He wasn't, and the scene went on, but it was a little bumpy there. The index finger technique seems like it would work well, especially in a game that didn't have formally delineated monologues, like A Flower for Mara.

Quote
In Seth's "A Flower for Mara", I pulled a cheap stunt when I was
doing my first monologue. I wanted to quickly paint the picture of
a mother trying to keep up appearances but really falling apart on
the inside, so I started putting food on peoples' plates and stuff
like that, and when it was turn for me to do a monologue, I just
went up there and screamed, which took the rest of the players by
surprise I think. This was not so much of a monologue, more an
inside/outside, but did get the message across.

This was really effective and one of my favorite parts of that game. After the initial adrenaline spike, that is. My heart almost leaped out of my chest. (grin)

In my experience with my game, I've found that the sort of monologue that Tobias is talking about is really helpful in guiding play. Working with the disconnect between what is thought and what is actually said can be very powerful.

"Expose the inner play". I like that.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
EarthenForge
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2008, 06:33:38 PM »

Thanks so much, Tobias!

I think I have a much better grasp on monologues now. I like the index finger thing too. Can't wait to try some out!

::looks around expectantly:: Ahh...might be a while before some more Jeepform goes down. Oh well. :/
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Tobias Wrigstad
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2008, 08:23:01 PM »

Seth, I now realise that the reason why my character turned around in the
end was because I didn't go up and scream again.

As I said then and there, I felt like screaming, which would have connected
back to the first monologue to say "nothing has changed". But since I didn't,
(as I saw you guys' reaction the first time, and it was late and people were
sleeping in the next room) I ended up having a conversation with Emily/Mara,
and eventually let go of my grief, albeit in a very bad way.

Cool. I didn't realise this until now.
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1157

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2008, 08:40:24 AM »

For posterity's sake, here's a link to the other discussion that's going on:

[Flowers for Mara] Family schisms at Gen Con

These have both been really useful conversations, I think.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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