5 Factors to Consider for Your Next Audition Monologue

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Gearing up for an audition that requires a monologue? Before you choose what to perform, read some advice from our Backstage Experts and feel more confident about selecting the best one for both your talents and the project you’re interested in! For the full article, simply click the Expert’s name!

On timing.
“When preparing a monologue keep the piece at one minute unless otherwise instructed. This is important if you’re going to use it to audition for an agent or casting director. People in those professions are used to seeing auditions on reels in short bursts. This ‘clip mentality’ doesn’t lend itself to a long attention span. If you’re using it for stage or in a workshop one minute is still a good idea, as your monologue will have more immediacy and you’ll show that you have the skill and confidence to deliver in a shorter time frame.” —Craig Wallace

On the material’s larger context.
“Read the whole script. This goes without saying. Give yourself the best chance by understanding your role in its full context. Even if you find a piece in a book of monologues, go back and read the original script as you research your character.” —Lana Veenker

On age-appropriate selections.
“Keep the choice of material appropriate to your age range. A young teen should not choose a monologue about their day at work, their bad marriages, divorces, or lovers. Even if you play leading adult roles in your high school, you should choose roles close to your age. Contrasting pieces require a variety of situations, statuses, attitudes, and uses of irony and humor—not age span.” —Rita Litton

On understanding your audience.
“If you are talking with the audience, who is the audience? Are you breaking the convention and you are no longer the character, but the actor speaking? If not, and you are in the character, who are you talking to? The more precise is your answer, the better. The same monologue will look totally different if it’s said to the person you love, the old lady on the street who asked you for a dollar, or your mom who came to visit.” —Ana Mărgineanu

On tone.
“Choose one that is serio-comedic—not just comedic or dramatic. Show us some change in emotion but keep us laughing. Serio-comedic monologues are my favorite choices. Start with a piece that is funny, quirky, and gets people to laugh and then ‘turn the screw.’ Hit them with something that's heartbreaking or touching. They’re already in your corner and you’ve won them over! Be compelling to get them involved in liking you, loving you, and hiring you!” —Gwyn Gilliss

For more ideas on specific selections, check out The Monologuer search engine, which narrows monologues down by age-range, gender, play title, author, genre, and theme.

Want more tips? Check out Matt Newton’s advice below! And if you are ready to take that monologue for a spin, check out our theater audition listings!

Author Headshot
Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of the Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent, and casting consultant.
See full bio and articles here!
Author Headshot
Lana Veenker
Casting director Lana Veenker began her career in London and, upon returning to her Northwest roots, founded one of the top location casting companies in the country, Cast Iron Studios. Veenker is also a member of the Casting Society of America and the International Casting Directors Network
See full bio and articles here!
Author Headshot
Gwyn Gilliss
As the “Foremost Marketing Coach for Actors,” Gwyn was a successful actor herself working in all mediums. An Emmy Award nominee, she appeared on dozens of network daytime and primetime series. Her film scripts won awards from Beverly Hills to Cannes. She’s the premier role model with winning strategies and first-hand knowledge of the TV, film, and theater industries which she shares to help actors succeed. Request a complimentary 15-minute career session: gwyngilliss.com/contact.
See full bio and articles here!