NOTE PAD | Choosing The Right Monologue | By Hungani M Ndlovu (Sans Group)
What is a monologue?
1) a long speech by one actor in a play or film, or as part of a theatrical or broadcast programme.
i.e. “he was reciting some of the great monologues of Shakespeare”
synonyms: soliloquy, speech, address
2) a long, tedious speech by one person during a conversation.
The best way to choose a monologue is to find one in a play or film that really speaks to you, in other words, a monologue that you like. Using google and just picking a monologue from the millions of websites that have monologues isn’t the best of strategies to finding a monologue and I wouldn’t recommend it because you don’t have the full understanding of the character like you would if you read a whole play/screenplay and chose a monologue from that play/screenplay.
It’s very important to understand why the character is saying what he/she is saying in that moment (the monologue) in order for you to be able to portray the character as truthfully as you can. And for that to happen, you need to know the characters background, relationships, situations, likes and dislikes etc. All of which can be found when reading a full play. Sometimes you may have to use your imagination and fill in the blanks about the character where the play wasn’t detailed enough. It is crucial to know who the character is speaking to because that will affect the way one would speak, as you can check in your own life, the way you speak to your parents is different to how you speak to your teachers, your friends or to a complete stranger.
Be very careful in your selection. Make sure it is a monologue that will help reveal your best attributes as an actor/actress as you’ll be using for auditions. Don’t pick a monologue spoken by a 45 year old if you’re only 20 years old and vice versa. I like to pick monologues that I can relate to as an audience member. But not all monologues that I can relate to are suited for me, so be aware of that. What also helps me is to perform the monologue to a few people you trust in the acting industry, who will give you an honest opinion if it works or not.
The most important things are to make sure that you understand the character, you know why he/she is saying what their saying, you know who they’re speaking to, where they are (geographically), what happened before the scene and where they’re going afterwards.
BREAK A LEG!