Last week I shared with you how to improve your child’s chances of making a great impression when choosing a monologue. Are you curious where to find some good material for that next big audition? Read on.
1. The bookstore. If you haven’t visited the Drama Book Shop in New York, you are really missing out. I just spent hours there last week and found all sorts of new and exciting material. Ask one of the staff members what they recommend. In fact, ask all the staff. They each read different plays and are more than happy to share their picks with you. When you have a few hours, bring your coffee cup, pull up a chair, and read, read, read. In addition to monologue books, you will find almost any play ever produced as well as librettos from musicals and even some screenplays. If you live out of town, check your local bookstore or library. They may have a limited supply of plays, but you might be surprised with what they do have.
2. An acting coach. I have seen all too many stock monologues that begin with, “I hate my sister. She always steals my clothes....” Want something a bit more interesting and playable? I have been coaching young actors for more than twenty years. I have a huge library with hundreds of plays and monologues that have worked for my students over the years. It is my job to read plays, see theater, and replenish my library regularly. Acting teachers have a pretty good idea of what is overdone, what to avoid, and what may be the perfect piece.
3. Attend classes and workshops. See it. Steal it! What I love about group acting classes is all of the unique and wonderful material students bring. When I hear a brilliant piece I am so excited to know where the actor found it. Trade secret! They may not tell, but you can ask nicely or search for it on the Internet. I taught a workshop at a local high school recently and was pleasantly surprised to hear a few pieces that were new to me. Guess what I did? I added them to my library.
4. See plays and films. Go to the theater. And I’m not just talking Broadway or Off-Broadway. What about the little local theatre in your town that is doing that play you never heard of? Or the high school that is producing a series of one acts? Watch movies on Netflix or Hulu. Check out reviews of quirky, independent films with interesting characters. You can also read film scripts online from these sites:
5. Write your own. A 13-year-old boy came to see me last month for some coaching. He came prepared with a monologue that had me laughing so hard I nearly fell off my chair. When I asked him where it was from, he said, “I wrote it. It’s a true story.” He happened to not only be a talented young actor but also a gifted writer. Everyone may not share his talent in writing, so make sure you get some feedback from your acting teacher first.
The next time you are in need of a new monologue, make sure it fits like a glove. Using the suggestions in my last article and the resources I have offered you here should give you a great place to begin.
Master your craft, empower yourself and enjoy the journey.
Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as an actor, teacher, director, and personal talent manager. For 10 years, she was an associate with Fox Albert Management, one of the leading talent management companies in New York, where she managed such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”), and Judy Reyes (NBC’s “Scrubs”). Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults appearing regularly on Broadway and in television and film, as well as educating parents on the business of show business.
Find great monologues: Visit The Monologuer, Backstage's monologue database.