________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 1 . . . . September 1, 2006


Acting Alone: A Drama Teacher’s Monologue Survival Kit.

Demetra Hajidiacos.
Winnipeg, MB: J. Gordon Shillingford, 2006.
124 pp., pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 1-897289-00-6.

Subject Headings:
Drama-Study and teaching (Secondary).
Theatre-Study and teaching (Secondary).


Review by Joanne Peters & Jenn Cuddy.

**** /4


I’ve had countless conversations with colleagues over the years in regards to the lack of monologue material “out there” for young actors. Sure there are books and websites that offer monologue selections for young people, but they are few and far between and most are a compilation of monologues from plays that students have not even read. . . . It wasn’t until my fourth year of teaching that I decided to conquer this monologue deficit by teaching my students how to write their own monologues! When I began my after school “monologue club”, I had 9 students interested in writing and performing their own pieces in an evening presentation for family and friends. From that time forward, teaching monologues became an indispensable component of my curriculum and our once tiny evenings of monologue presentations grew into packed house events featuring drama students from all four grade levels of high school performing in an evening entitled Acting Alone.



As a teacher-librarian, I can attest to the lack of monologue materials for young actors. And, quite honestly, there’s also a lack of really good instructional handbooks “out there,” both for drama students and drama teachers. So, when I received a copy of Acting Alone: A Drama Teacher’s Monologue Survival Kit, I was excited to see how it might fill this gap.

     Demetra Hajidiacos brings plenty of “street cred” to this book; she has acted, written, directed, and taught, both in the professional drama community of Manitoba, as well as in the public school system. Writing professional materials takes talent, and she does an admirable job of providing drama teachers with the supports and skills which will teach students how to write and act monologues. I’m impressed with the book, and although I typically “act alone” when I review a book, I have little background experience in the teaching of drama. So, I asked Jenn Cuddy, drama teacher at Kelvin High School to read, respond to, and co-review the book with me. Jenn’s response follows:

     What sets Acting Alone apart from other monologue resources is that it not only allows students to create their ‘own’ monologues, but it has an entire chapter filled with monologues written by Hajidiacos. This resource offers 124 pages packed full of useful tips for any classroom! English, History, and Drama teachers could use these ideas to create useful units to explore fictional characters or historical figures. Students would be able to take a character from a novel, play, or history lesson and create a monologue that the character/historical figure never gets to recite. An excellent resource for grades 9-12, but it could also be used at the middle years level.

     Each chapter has a ‘Survival Kit’ or summary to use as a quick reference. The book is well laid out and is as accessible for first-year teachers as it would be for a 20-year veteran. Drama teachers should definitely have a copy of this book in their collection, and it should be available in a school’s library for cross-curricular teaching.

     Hajidiacos takes you on a step-by-step journey from the basics of acting to an evening of monologues. As a drama teacher, I find it very difficult to find decent monologues for high school students, but this resource will arm you with an arsenal of tools to make your job easier and will assist you in creating an enjoyable, yet extremely practical unit for your students.

     As monologues are excellent for confidence building and oratorical skills, Acting Alone is a must in any drama classroom. I would give this a 4 star rating and a big “thank you” to Hajidiacos for being inspired to create this much needed resource.

     Well, there’s not much that I can add to Jenn’s endorsement, except to encourage teacher-librarians to acquire at least one copy for their school’s collections! It will be used!

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian and Jenn Cuddy is a teacher of Drama and English. Both can be found at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.