What Is A Monologue?
(by AM Staff)
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd…”
This long speech by the
character Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet
is an example of a monologue. A monologue is a long
speech made by a character in a play or film.
The speech can be made to other characters in a film.
However, there are times when the speech is not made to
other characters but, rather, the speech is made to the
character by the character. In other words, it is a speech
a character makes to himself as part of the character’s
self-reflection. This kind of monologue is known as a
Actor’s use monologues for
performance and for auditioning purposes. They perform
monologues during live performances before audiences.
But, more commonly, actors use monologues when
auditioning for roles in plays and films. Performing a
monologue well can peak the interest of a talent agent,
producer, or director and secure a role in a film, play
or television program.
The Comedic Monologue
“Hello Blanche, how are you?...Err, yes I have a pretty
good idea why you're calling...I'm a week behind with
check, right?...Four weeks? That's not
it's not possible...Blanche I keep a record of every
and I know I'm only three weeks behind!...Blanche, I'm
trying the best I can...Blanche, don't threaten me with
because it's not a threat, with my expenses and my
a prisoner takes home more pay than I do...Very nice in
front of the kids...Blanche, don't tell me you're going
have my salary attached, just say goodbye...Goodbye!
(hangs up, to the others) I'm eight hundred dollars
in alimony, so let's up the stakes.”.
From Neil Simon’s
The Odd Couple
If an actor is auditioning for a
comedic role in a film, he or she might want to perform
a monologue like this. This is an example of a comedic
monologue. It is the type of monologue that actors can
perform to showcase their comedic talents. Good comedic
monologues allow actors to show their ability to do
character impressions, facial expressions, funny sounds,
movements and demonstrate comedic timing.
The Dramatic Monologue
afraid you can't budge me. Goodness, yes, you can!
I'm trying! I know but I'm - Am I? Oh, my! Oh, my
Table. Yes. Yes. Now it is just like all the other
It doesn't matter. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. I
have favourites much. It's no tragedy. Glass breaks so
No matter how careful you are. The traffic jars the
things fall off them. I'll just imagine he had an
horn was removed to make him feel less - freakish! Now
feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that
Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie
If an actor is auditioning for a dramatic role in a
film, he or she might want to perform a monologue like
this. This is an example of a dramatic monologue. It is
the type of monologue that actors can perform to
showcase their dramatic talents. Good dramatic
monologues allow the actor to demonstrate an ability to
go through a range of emotions, such as fear, sadness,
anger or joy.
The Shakespearean Monologue
Actors should always have both a comedic
and dramatic monologue memorized. This allows an actor
to be able to perform an audition at a moment’s notice.
But, in addition to comedic and
dramatic monologues, it is also helpful for an actor to
memorize a monologue from one of Shakespeare’s plays,
like the one feature above. Memorizing a Shakespearean
monologue can showcase the actor’s range and demonstrate
his ability to perform in a variety of settings and