This I Believe: The Playwright’s Process Checklist

the playwright zone

→ I believe a theatre class should offer students more than just lessons on how to act.

→ I believe technology is an excellent tool to harness in the theatre classroom.

→ I believe that gardening enriches the soul.

Hello North High students!

The rest of you: welcome to our This I Believe Monologue project whereby students will write a 3 – 5 minute monologue about something that illustrates their credo for life. The monologue must be backed up with a true, personal story. Because it’s a high school theatre class, students will perform their work with a small group of 4 other other students. Think cool performance art piece with lights, movement and sound.

You are ready! It’s time to get this bad boy down on paper as you continue to channel your inner playwright to write that monologue. Here is the sequence of what you will be doing:

  • Decide upon your credo.  Remember a true credo is an enduring belief—it’s more than just a thumbs-up “like” on your Facebook page.
  • While you may begin your monologue in a variety of ways, [i.e., quote, anecdote, statistic, question, metaphor or description], you must have the statement, “I believe…” somewhere towards the end of your opening paragraph.
  • You must tell the story of how you came to your belief, or why you believe the way you do. Your story must include sequence words/transitions [first of all, and then, finally] that place the events in order from beginning to end. Tell us only of the events that relate directly to your credo.
  • You must use the language of reflection and include @ least three of the following sentence frames or words in your monologue:
    • I learned________
    • From this/these event[s] I began to________
    • From this I gained________
    • The lesson I learned________
    • I gained insight from________
    • ________ is a defining part of who I am because________
    • Finding meaning from this experience has ________
    • This made a difference because/when________
  • You will be writing as many paragraphs as necessary to tell your story. Rather than counting how many paragraphs, translate it into amount of minutes it takes to perform your monologue onstage. Shoot for three to five minutes.

Hints on writing a stellar monologue

  • Tell a story: Be specific. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your monologue ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs. By now, you should have your credo selected!
  • Name your credo: If you can’t name your credo in a sentence or two, your monologue might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
  • Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
  • Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. I recommend you read your monologue aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.

Remember, being playwright is only 1/2 of this project; you will be performing it in just a couple of weeks! Can we do it? Yes we can!

Commit to your credo! Write your “I believe” statement below.

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Categories: Teachables

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11 replies

  1. make sure its organize and write it as a story so it can be easier to read and it makes more sense that way

  2. I have to agree with john! the website helps you alot with projects in class, especially with the one we have coming up it’s really important so this is really helpful!

  3. Kylie Castaneda
    I know you will be fine. I hope to fet to see your creto sometime during class. Just remember always have fun

  4. I found this quite helpful because it breaks down everything step by step, which made it easier to create my credo because i actually knew what i was doing:).

  5. I’ve never been on this website before, but I think this page is really useful for those of us who needed a second explanation about the monologue project as well as for those few who were absent 🙂

  6. I was really nervous about this project but now that I have my monologue done I’m really excited. And I think the incorporation of tableaux is really fun!!!! I’m excited (:

  7. Personally, I think that this project really opened me up in so many ways. For one, if I didn’t take theatre then I’d probably never learn what a credo even is. Another thing is that this unit forced me to look within myself and bring out something that I really believe in. Sure, some essays could do the trick, but not on a level this deep. This is going to be fun. Kudos to NSHS Theatre!

    • Wow I couldn’t agree more! Before Rillingale drilled the meaning of a Credo in our minds I had no idea what it was. Plus I feel like everyone was scared to speak their minds and so no one was looking forward to doing this project but the more we talked about it the more we got into it, well at least that’s how it was for me.

      • I agree with Martha, she explained the meaning of a credo really well. At first I thought it was just kind of fairy tale that you beloved in but when she explained more about it, it gave me a really good idea of what she expected to see and hear when we performed out monologues

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