The universal archive of monologues available is so vast that it can become overwhelming when searching for the perfect monologue. There are so many different sources to look into, and so many different types of monologues to search through. To help you find the perfect monologue that will work to your advantage, here is a helpful checklist to take with you next time you need to get your hands on a monologue.
- CONSIDER THE STYLE OF THE PIECE YOU ARE AUDITIONING FOR. If you are hoping for the role of Juliet in the renown Romeo and Juliet, start your monologue search in the realm of Shakespeare. If you have your heart set on the role of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire, focus looking in the style of American realism plays.
- SHOW YOUR VARIETY. You usually have 1-4 minutes to show off all the acting skills you’ve acquired throughout your training. Find a monologue that will show off the different emotions you can portray! Show the director that you can play the Wicked Witch of the West, but you also have the capability to play Dorothy if that is what you are called for. Don’t let your monologue choice box you into only one character type; your audition choice should work for you, not against you.
- KEEP IN MIND THAT THE STORYLINE SHOULD HAVE AN ARC. A great actor is able to tell a story, and a great monologue follows what can be described as a storyline arc. There should be a clear beginning, and then the monologue should start to build until it comes to the top of the arc, or the climax, and then slowly lead back down to the conclusion of the story.
- UNLESS THE CHARACTER CALLS FOR IT, PLAY IT SAFE WHEN IT COMES TO FOUL LANGUAGE OR SEXUAL REFERENCES. If you want a role in the next Grown-Ups movie, that’s fine. But sometimes actors cannot pull off these references and such language as well as they think they can, and then it just becomes awkward. Double check yourself before you choose an R-rated monologue.
- KNOW WHO YOU ARE. If you are an 18-year-old male applying for a college audition, stay away from monologues that are meant for a character who is 10 years old. If you are a rather petite young girl, don’t choose a monologue that centers around a larger character. This can become distracting to the director and cause the monologue to work against you rather than for you.
- KEEP IT FRESH. As you go through the professional world of acting and audition for more and more shows, commercials, etc, you will soon pick up on the most overdone, repetitive monologues out there. Steer clear of those! The best way to avoid overdone monologues is to avoid looking in places like monologue books or monologue websites. Try skimming through scripts instead, ask around, go to the library, or even take note of a monologue you noticed the last time you saw a show.
- DON’T JUST RECITE A STORY. Show a real character! A warning sign that this a monologue does not have the best character to portray is when the monologue is written in past-tense. Try to choose one whose story is focused on the present, so you can actually play the character in the moment. Reciting an interesting story isn’t good enough, you want to be able to get wrapped up in the story, and to get the director wrapped up in the story with you.
Written by Caroline Meisner for The Talent Notes