Date(s) - Thu. Feb. 13, 2020
7:30 pm GMT - 10:00 pm GMT

Philosophical Research Society

Gillian Wallace Horvat, Steven Williams

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Expository monologues – the long speeches delivered by a character to provide backstory or motivation – can be the downfall or the showstopper of a horror film, and there’s at least one in a vast majority. The purpose of all these soliloquies is an extended, intense effort to overcome the unusually high threshold of disbelief concomitant with the horror genre, generally in an attempt to answer questions for the audience like: How is this possible? Why did she do this – and in such a convoluted and oblique way? Why is this not a plot hole?

For actors and directors in the genre space expository monologues are an occupational hazard that have the potential to be a moment of cinematic glory… if you have the right tools. In this presentation for both performers and filmmakers, we will study the four types of expository monologues and review instructive examples of each. They comprise:

  • Explaining an implausible/supernatural situation (Poltergeist) and possibly encouraging a risky solution
  • Tenuous justification for a character’s actions up to this point (usually involves a reveal or twist)
  • Providing backstory from previous film(s) to catch up the franchise fan or fully inform a viewer who hasn’t seen the earlier installments
  • Retrocontinuity – indispensable for franchises and reboots where the director maybe changing mythology (Scream 3, Jason Goes to Hell)

In analyzing clips we’ll explore the difference between a naturalistic approach and “excess” in performance, briefly digressing here into a discussion of the theories of genre scholars Linda Williams and Kristin Thompson.

Because a performance built around excess requires a lot of character work, in the second part of the class we will focus on more natural techniques when we study our text: Creighton Duke’s monologue from Jason Goes to Hell. Using detailed textual analysis – aided by Creighton Duke himself, Steven Williams, who will appear in person as a special guest – we’ll discover how to bring emotional authenticity to language dense with proper nouns and also examine patterns of inflection and breath in relating anecdotes in our own lives.

*Please note Steven Williams’ appearance is subject to change dependent on his professional schedule.