Choosing Your Monologue
The most important component is your skill set......
(By AM Staff)
Choosing a monologue can be a tricky trade. The monologue you choose
could make the difference between
getting the part and getting the door.
And, for actors who act as their
principal means of income, knowing
which monologue to pick could make the
difference between eating and not
eating. That’s why the monologue you
choose has got to be the right one.
Choosing a good
monologue and choosing the right
monologue are often two very
different things. A “good”
monologue may be full of drama and
emotion, but it may not
necessarily play to your skill
set. On the other hand, a
“bad” monologue may only be bad to
people who don’t have the skills
needed to pull it off. Believe it or
not, there is a method to the madness.
Behold the method.
Showcase your talents…
most important thing to remember when
choosing a monologue is that the
monologue is only for the sole purpose
of showcasing your talents. It serves
no other point. You have 1-2 minutes
to show the casting director what
you’ve got and how you are able to
connect with a character and “be” in
that moment. That’s all they are
looking for. Don’t make the same
mistake many actors make and choose a
monologue that only sounds good or one
that someone else performed well.
Remember, you want only to show the
director what you’ve got. Trying to do
something with a lot of sound and fury
may signify nothing. And might get you
What are my skills?
choosing a monologue, ask yourself,
“What are my skills?” In other words,
what do you do best? Do you have a
great speaking voice? Then why on
earth would you choose a monologue
with a lot of movement? Are you good
when it comes to movement and
physicality? Then why would you choose
a monologue that requires you to sit
down for its duration?
Whatever you do well is what you want
to highlight. Never mind whether or
not it is a Shakespearean play, or
whether or not it is challenging and
dramatic. All you want to do is show
the casting director that you have
Don’t sweat the statistics!
worry so much about the character’s
vital statistics when choosing a
monologue. Most people choose not to
do a monologue if it doesn’t fit their
age range or background. Of course,
that is nonsense.
Again, you are only there to showcase
your talents. Who cares if the
character you are playing is your age
or not. That character, no matter what
the age, may display the range of
emotion that will allow you to do what
you do best. So, if your character is
12 or 112, do it if you do it well!
doesn’t really matter when choosing a
monologue, unless of course the
monologue is about race. For example,
a white man should never do a
monologue about being black. It is
acceptable, however, for a white man
to do the monologue of a black
character, and vice versa.
types of monologues can be tricky,
however, because of stereotypes. You
certainly don’t want to “talk black”
or “act white” or behave like a
“northerner”. You may just leave a bad
taste in every one’s mouth at the end
of your performance. And it may
overshadow the good job you just did.
There are no small parts…
Remember, there are no small parts,
just small (minded) actors. IT IS OKAY
FOR YOUR MONOLOGUE TO BE SIMPLE! It is
always your job to make any part
interesting. Don’t follow the
misguided notion that your monologue
has to be forceful or require you to
yell or cry. Some of the best
monologues have very little emotion in
them at all. What is conveyed,
however, in those “simple” monologues
can be powerful, even explosive!
atom bombs come from atoms!
The monologue doesn’t
have to fit you perfectly. Casting directors are not
looking for a monologue that is you
with a different name. It’s not
important for you to look like your
character, behave like your character,
or share your character’s race,
religion, or background. What is
important is that the monologue you
choose to perform is the monologue
that best showcases you talents.