Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads – Her Big Chance 

This performance of a monologue, called Her Big Chance, is a part of Alan Bennett’s TV series, Talking Heads, which is available on BBC iPlayer. It tells the story of a professional actress and slowly leads into her describing experiences of playing a character who she seems to have strong emtoions about.

At the start of the episode, she talks about the previous parts she has performed and opinions of herself as an actress. Lesley shows admiration for herself as she talks about what she likes about acting and how she felt these roles didn’t portray her abilities and true character.

While doing this, she expresses emotions I feel I can relate to as an actress myself, who also struggles to meet the expections of directors and writers. Later, she details her experience of going to audition for the role and why she felt she was chosen to play this character. She describes how she expressed her feelings about how she thought the character should be portrayed and why she disagreed with the other people involved in the film.

Lesley appeared determined that she was right about this character and felt they didn't know enough about the type of person they were trying to represent. Her language, changes in tone of voice, and use of facial expressions help convince the audience to agree with her on these matters. However, her views on the character she's playing seem to change later in the monologue as she goes on to describe her experience of filming for this performance.

The camera shows her in different scenery and at various angles to help convey her emotions while describing what she now thinks of this film. Being an actress myself, I think this monogue gives a realistic insight into the life of a professional whose opinion isn’t always taken into account. I definitely recommend watching this episode while it is still available on iPlayer.

Amy McCombes

You can watch this episode of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads here:

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