How do you go about choosing a monologue for an audition?

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Answered by: Katie, An Expert in the Acting Basics Category
When preparing for an audition an actor must choose a monologue. Choosing a monologue is not as simple as picking up a monologue book and finding the right monologue for your age range. Many casting directors will tell you that they would prefer to have a monologue from a published work. A monologue book is a great place to start, however it should not be your stopping point. Monologues from books do not offer all the depth of character that a full play will give you. However, monologue books may be a way to get introduced to writers you have never heard of.



Other than books, when first choosing a monologue, you should begin by reading some of the great playwrights. William Shakespeare, David Mamet, Anton Chekhov and Edward Albee all have wonderful monologues contained in their works. As an actor starting out the characters of Hamlet and Willy Loman may draw you in. As you become more well read you will begin to find monologues from some of the great, but lesser known works. For example, while reading Shakespeare "Romeo and Juliet" may tug on your heartstrings, "Henry V" will have some deeper and lesser known monologues in it. Remember, choosing a monologue is not only about showing your skill with the words but making you stand out from others auditioning for your role. You may be able to recite the words of Juliet but so may fifteen other girls who are auditioning with you.

Once you have found a writer that you enjoy you can find a character that suits you. For women go with a women character, for men go with a man. As a woman you may be tempted to show off your skill by reciting the "To be or not to be" monologue from "Hamlet" however it can come across that you are poorly read. You want to show the casting director that you have taken the time to look for great material. You also want to show that you know who you are. Show off your witty, sensitive or manipulative side by who you choose to play. Staying in your age range is just as important as staying in your gender. Not all guys can play Romeo. Not all women are ready to play Martha from "Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf". If you are not a teenager do not play a teenager.



Finally, when choosing a monologue make sure it is one that has some depth to it. You want to have a monologue that allows you the chance to show off your ability to make choices. A great monologue will let you choose an emotion, will let that emotion build and will let the casting director see you think. A great monologue not only tells a story, it takes the audience on a ride. If you have chosen a monologue that suits your age, is your gender, is not overdone and has an emotion to it you are on your way to having a great audition.

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