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Choosing a Monologue

A monologue is very hard to pick. And when you finally do pick one, it might not be the right one for auditions. Monologue picking and performing is strenuous, tiring, and at first it doesn’t feel very rewarding.

    Step one is to search high and low for monologues. Try to steer away from websites and books because those are likely written as monologues on their own and will lack character development or helpful insight, or they will be good and overused. The best way to find monologues is to write your own, ask acting teachers for some, as someone to write one for you, or watch a lot of TV and movies. You want a monologue that’s not overdone but still has a variety of emotions and a good back story. Note that this search should give you multiple monologues to choose from or to use later.

    I kind of jumped the gun. The first thing you should really do is decide whether you want a dramatic or a comedic monologue. Dramatic doesn’t mean it’s sad or has high tension, it just means that it has a lot of raw emotion. And comedic monologues can still have that emotional reaction, but you also want people to laugh from it. If you’re auditioning in front of people or to multiple people you shouldn’t go with something that has a lot of anger or sadness because it sets the next person up for failure. With an angry or sad monologue, you leave a little bit of that emotion with the audience.

    Next you want to determine which monologue best fits you right now. Play off of the emotion that you already have. So, if your cat just died you should find a monologue about something/someone dying and draw from how you felt about your cat. If you life is super plain and there’s absolutely nothing different from you and the drama-free soccer moms in Honda commercials, then you’re going to need to do a little more acting. You should think about doing a comedic monologue because it takes less emotion and more improvisation during the performance to make it funny.

    Now is the time to think about if it fits your type cast. This might not be super important, but there are some details that will help you succeed in auditions. First of all, you don’t want a monologue about someone who isn’t your age. If you’re eight years old but your monologue is about buying a house, you’re way off. A common mistake with this is that if you’re under sixteen, it’s generally a bad idea to use monologues that discuss driving. This is because you always want to seem younger than you are and because adults don’t like the idea of teenagers driving. You also don’t want to have a monologue that’s too young for you. It’s harder to do, but you still have to watch out for it.

    Swearing. It’s hard to say whether or not you shouldn’t have it in a monologue, and it really depends on who you’re performing it for. If you’re performing in front of kids you don’t want to mention religion, swearing, or sex. It’s a general acting no-no in auditions to not make the parents of people thirteen and younger mad. You also have to weigh how much swearing is important to the monologue and what it says about your character.

    Religion. Never use a god or the god’s name in vain. You never know what religion someone may belong to and I’ve seen people get really offended over someone’s monologue. A good way to use religion is a monologue about the struggles of going to an all-girls or all-boys school or a private religious school.

    Romance. If you’re under thirteen and you want a romantic monologue then you should stick to kid stuff like you have a crush on someone and you’re confused because you’ve been told to pick on them but you don’t want to because that’s mean. If you’re between thirteen and sixteen you should stick to talking about crushes, dances, and drama. Do not mention anything about sex, your romantic interest sleeping over, or any physical contact beyond hugging/hand holding. People can be very sensitive or put off by the personal relations of teenagers. And if you’re an adult you can go nuts! The last thing you have to think about is your type cast beyond your age. A type cast is the kind of casting you’re more likely to get because of how you look. If you look like a wealthy person, regardless of your actual class, then you should look for monologues about wealthy people. I’m short with dark hair and pale skin so people expect me to be the outcast, maybe a geek, and be tough. Think about the assumptions that people typically make of you. But you don’t necessarily have to follow your typecast.
To recap, you want a monologue that’s not too popular but is still good, that’s either funny or dramatic, it fits your age, you can apply it to where you are now emotionally, think about if it’s appropriate or not, and decide whether or not it fits your typecast. And again, do not let any of these things stop you for choosing a monologue that you love!
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