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What is an acting monologue and how to do well in it?

An acting monologue is like a speech by the actor without a co-actor responding to him/her. Generally, when actors are looking for a part in a play, they will be provided with a script. On the other hand, if they are looking to land a role in a commercial, they will be proferred a copy. Occasionally though, they will be asked to do a monologue; especially when they are meeting with an agent.

But actors usually feel comfortable when they audition alongside a partner, reader or another actor. This helps them perform the acting monologue better because, in the rare instance of them stuttering, they can get the help of the co-actor to fill in for them. A co-actor also furnishes the actor with the opportunity to build a rapport. So, the monologues are always the trickiest aspects of any audition, and they must be meticulously approached. Here are some tips to ace the acting monologues:

  1. Choose an entertaining monologue: A monologue requires you to grab the eyeballs and the ears of the audience without any other interventions from other actors. Instead of getting overwhelmed with trepidation, you can become act like a revolutionary demagogue. A rousing speech that deals with pertinent, contemporary issues could be the perfect fit for you.
  2. Choose an acting monologue that has a storyline: A one-note monologue could either put people to sleep or can make them yawn at the pretentious nature of the speech. So, instead of making it predictable and linear, try to mix some emotions in the monologue. You shouldn’t rant or cry throughout the speech. Give the audience a few surprises.
  3. Don’t do one that has already been done by a famous star in a popular movie: In this case, you will always be compared to the star and you won’t be able to surpass their quality. Some of the common monologues that are chosen by actors for auditions are Matt Damon’s monologue for “Good Will Hunting” and Charlie Chaplin’s speech from “The Great Dictator”. The stars performed them with a flavour of originality and spontaneity that just can’t be replicated. So, avoid the popular monologues that are already in vogue. Craft your own monologue from scratch, and you will be able to ace it.

Always keep the monologue short: Almost all casting directors and agents have wavering attention spans. Their emotions vacillate from one extreme to the other frequently. What this implies is that you always run the risk of disappointing the casting director if you stretch your monologue for long periods. A positive feeling about you might turn into a predominantly negative one if you make a mistake at any point in time. So, strictly restrict your monologue within the time range of 2 to 5 minutes. Don’t transgress this limit if you want to fire the casting director or the agent with enthusiasm. Attention spans are dwindling in today’s technological age, and it’s best to not exasperate the person you are trying to impress.


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