Part of a continuing series of Monday Monologues.
Most Christians believe that there are three separate persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — that make up the Godhead. Eric Bogosian thinks otherwise. His “Godhead” was included in the solo “Drinking in America” at the American Place Theater directed by Wynn Handman in 1986. This selection is #33 of Eric Bogosians astonishing series of 100 Monologues. It is part of a collection that make up the writer’s commentary on contemporary life.
As Eric Bogosian writes in his introduction to the book of 100 Monologues, “I did not set out to write monologues, but the more involved with the form I got, the more interesting it became to me. I liked the energy and excitement of speaking directly to an audience. I liked arranging the portraits of characters to create a larger whole. I liked the difficulty of writing and performing such complex stuff. Performing and writing these monologues took me to the limit of my abilities.”
MICHAEL SHANNON has been a huge admirer of Mr. Bogosian’s ever since he started out acting in the Chicago storefront theatre scene in the early 90’s. At much too young an age, full of piss and vinegar, he decided to perform Drinking In America in its entirety at a little theatre called A Red Orchid, which he is a founding member of and just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Eventually, Mike made his way to the Big Apple and started working with the LAB. Most notably, he appeared in The Little Flower of East Orange, directed by the late great Phil Hoffman (RIP). That is when he started getting his mind blown by actually seeing Mr. Bogosian in the flesh from time to time. And oddly enough, the monologue “Godhead” is part of Drinking In America. “Says Michael, “If you had told me 20 years ago that I would have been performing that monologue in front of Eric while he videotaped me doing it, I would not have believed you at all. What a wonderful world. Please come see The Killer this spring at Theatre For A New Audience.”
Born in Kentucky in 1974, Michael Shannon began his acting career as a teenager. He found a mentor in playwright Tracy Letts, and it was through his work in the Letts plays Killer Joe and Bug that he began earning more opportunities in Hollywood. Shannon first garnered widespread attention with his Oscar-nominated performance in Revolutionary Road (2008), and he followed with a recurring role on the acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire. The actor later was tapped for the part of Superman nemesis General Zod in The Man of Steel (2013) and its sequel.
In his first review, a 16-year-old, 6’3″ Shannon, bursting with passion but no technique, was accused of overacting—specifically, of “flapping” his arms and frequently rubbing his eyebrows. Following this first critique, he began taping his arms to his sides. Luckily, Shannon found a mentor early on in actor/award-winning playwright Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), with whom he began doing a lot of stage work. Shannon has since advised aspiring actors to hook up with a great writer and respect the craft.
In January 2016, the 100 Monologues project successfully launched a crowd funding campaign to continue its work, and raised $25,531 from 122 backers a month later. What Bogosian and his supporters have been creating over the past two years is an amazing archive of great theatre snippets, a resource for not only audiences, but for the actors who perform them on demand in your home or on electronic devices. The search for dramatic and memorable monologue materials for use by performers at live auditions and guest appearances never ends.