Whether you are auditioning for a school play, a post-secondary program, or a professional theatre production, every actor at one time or another must master the art of performing monologues. This page provides you with a few helpful hints to illuminate the creative process of monologue exploration, rehearsal, and performance…
DO select a monologue that:
- fits your age range
- excites and challenges you
- showcases you and your abilities
- allows for transformation; the character’s journey should include dynamic shifts in thought, emotion and intention
- allows you to move and gives auditioners a sense of your physicality
- is fresh! (Try not to do a piece that has been “done to death”)
DON’T select a monologue that:
- does not come from a full play
- is overdone (If auditioners are tired of the piece, it may be harder for you to draw them in to your brilliance!)
- is passively narrated and doesn’t allow for present or active engagement with the text
- requires props (they’re distracting)
- is too long or too stylistic
- requires an accent (Auditioners want to see your own unique expression and discover who YOU are.)
Questions to ask when you’re preparing a monologue:
- What is your character’s objective throughout the piece? What do they want that drives their need to tell this story?
- What are the stakes of the character’s situation?
- What is their journey through the piece? Do they grow or change? How are they different at the end of the monologue compared to the beginning?
- What and where are the turning points of the piece? (those that establish character or advance the action)
- What has happened to your character prior to this moment in the play?
- What are the character’s basic traits?
- How is your character unique?
- What is the playwright trying to show us or tell us with this moment in the play?
Consider the following when developing your character:
- education, family, social class, etc.
- psychological background e.g. dreams, fears, goals, jealousies, curiosities, secrets, pastimes, work, etc.
- personality flaws, strengths, dominant and hidden traits, sense of humour, etc.
- physicality e.g. speech patterns, quality of movement, pace, etc.
Try to think of other questions and images that will help you relate to the character’s journey and allow for a completely committed, honest, and believable performance.
When exploring the piece, investigate all the imaginative options, impulses, and possibilities that occur to you and that lie in the piece. You can always eliminate certain choices if they are not useful in the end.
Your own unique qualities, impulses, and reactions are usually the most real and therefore the most captivating to an audience. Be honest in your work and let the character’s journey take you on a path to sharing YOURSELF through the character.
Theatre Alberta’s Library is a treasure trove for those in search of the perfect monologue or soliloquy. The library currently offers multiple monologue anthologies of various themes, selections and variations. If you are in search of a particular speech, simply call, email, or visit Theatre Alberta and we will do our best to help you.