Picking up a monologue and launching straight into it on stage; We took pieces from the writings of Vaclav Havel.
Without the crutch of preparation, each of us attempted, on a first reading, to throw ourselves utterly into the piece and to take our cue from the words on the page, without imposing preparation onto it.
Challenging for those of us who always like to know in advance what the next few minutes are to be !
As we got more into the exercise, an adrenalin, a raw energy actually increased our skills of stage and performance. We almost impossibly found things in the piece “in real time” as if we were able to speed-read and speed-learn.
When you give yourself to the writing, without the ego as a barrier to progress, the piece can be rougher yet richer, it can have an emotional edge to it, that too much planning can actually inhibited or dampen.
So the exercise: Get a colleague to pick a monologue (could also work with dialogue), then launch straight into a fully committed, performance level reading of it. Be prepared to adapt as you go along, be prepared for it “not to work”, be prepared to find character and accent in an emergent way.