I happen to love performing monologues.
Whenever I’m not in a regular acting class or working on set for a project, I feel like its a great way to keep my acting chops sharp. Plus, its fun.
They can also be very educational. If you need practice on your timing, hitting the different emotions, or understanding your own movements and body, monologues are a great little exercise for you. They aren’t a substitution for professional training, but they can definitely help you overcome some of your own personal acting challenges.
Want an example? Maybe you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t, pretend I didn’t say anything) but I have pretty big eyes. While some people things its wonderful, and I’m quite fond of them nowadays too, they were actually a pretty big challenge for me when I first started modeling and then when I shifted into acting. I didn’t know what to do with them, how to focus them, and how to not look like an anime character.
Recording myself and acting at home really helped me get used to them and make them work for me instead of against me.
Now that you’re convinced, lets talk a little more about how to choose a monologue. I’ve performed all kinds, from the really zany to the incredibly deep. Though I do think finding the right monologue is a bit of a learning process, here are a few things that you should keep in mind if you are in the market for a new one:
- Keep in mind the characters you are hoping to play- If you need to perform a monologue for an agent or manager, keep in mind the sort of roles they may be sending you out for. If you are a character actor, you should pick a monologue that highlights your range and abilities. Keep the character’s age, look, and attitude in mind when choosing.
- Don’t be afraid to push your own limits- Just because you identify as a “comedic actor” does not mean you shouldn’t explore your more dramatic side. The fun part of acting sometimes is pushing your own limits and learning what you are truly capable of doing.
- Choose a monologue with range- You only get a limited amount of time to make your impression on the audience. Choose a monologue that lets you show a bit a range. Perhaps something that starts off more comedic and has your audience laughing, then flips the switch on them and gets a bit deeper in the end.
- Don’t be basic- I kind of think this one goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. You want to be memorable. Be that person who no one can stop talking about. So avoid using the same basic monologues that everyone else is using. Be unique. Pick something more original, and do it really well.
Those are my basic tips to get you going. But as a final thought, remember to honor the requests of the agent/manager you are meeting with. If they ask for a 2 minute contemporary monologue, you’d better pick something contemporary and definitely practice your tail off to keep it under 2 minutes.
Remember that the whole process is supposed to be fun. And you may have to try out a few different monologues before finding one that suits you.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to drop me a line.
Break bones 😉