Finding the Perfect Monologue

Looking for the perfect monologue?

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Key Features of the Perfect Monologue

Perhaps you’ve been tasked to prepare a short monologue for a class, an audition, or an interview with a potential agent. The internet is full of all types of material to choose from, but the challenge to find the perfect piece can be quite intimidating and time consuming.

Trust me, I know the struggle of scouring websites and books for great monologues. Ideally, it is from a published piece of work such as a musical, play, or screenplay. However, some classes prefer you have a piece that is self-written or something that isn’t from a recognizable performance. Depending on the requirements of your monologue, choosing the piece that best suits you comes down to a number of factors.

First, it’s important to identify what your type cast is. In other words, consider what kind of characters you want to play. There’s no point in performing a monologue that showcases a character you have little desire in being cast as. For instance, if you see yourself as the lead character in a romantic comedy, the villain in a horror film, or the class-clown on a Disney Channel show, base your selection with that specific goal in mind.

Secondly, make sure the monologue portrays a character that needs something from the person they are talking to. When you can identify what your character is working towards in the scene (whether they’re seeking permission, advice, security etc.) it will become a much more interesting performance for you, the actor, to play and for the audience to watch.

Thirdly, you want to find a monologue that isn’t terribly long or too short. The right amount of time depends on time constraints that may have been given to you in the criteria of your class or audition. Always pay attention to those details! If you know you have a time restriction, it is imperative that you respect that. If you aren’t limited to any specific amount of time, that does not mean you don’t need to memorize more than a sentence or that you get to be the center of attention with a ten minute monologue.

It’s true, you always want to leave them wanting more, unless you don’t care to give them a sample that’s worth their time and attention. The best length of time for a monologue, in my humble opinion, is between ninety seconds to three minutes long.

Remember why you want to be an actor! Performing in front of people can be nerve-wracking if you aren’t used to it, but as an actor you need to choose a monologue that is the right amount of time for your audience (whether it’s your teacher or a talent scout) to see you as the character. If the monologue is over within seconds or it’s so long you’re droning on and on, it won’t be a winning performance.

In order to leave a positive impression with your monologue, always keep your industry goals in mind, your character’s needs in mind and your audience in mind.

Hannah Kat Jones
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