30 Acting Monologues for Teens to Try Out

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Photo Source: Courtesy Paramount/Disney

Whether you’re trying to be the next big thing on TikTok or land a part in your high school’s production of “Our Town,” choosing the right monologue as a teenager can be tough. Not only should a killer monologue be appropriate for your age, but it’s also important to find an audition monologue that’s compelling, emotionally relevant, and allows you to push against boundaries. The good news is that there are plenty of great monologues for teens to sink their teeth into—you just have to know where to look! Here are 30 monologues that are sure to slap at auditions and on social media.

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Dramatic monologues for teens

Acting coach Denise Simon agrees that finding dramatic monologue for teens can be challenging, but she recommends exploring “the classics and great writers of the past while also hunting down contemporary playwrights producing timely material.” Here are her picks for the best dramatic monologues for teen girls and boys, appropriate for both middle schoolers and high schoolers.

“A Bright New Boise” by Samuel D. Hunter: Alex

That’s your plan, not mine. And even if I do that, go to school and major in music, then what? You think I'm gonna, like, be the next fucking big thing? Okay, so I make a few albums, do some performances, probably wind up teaching, and that's like the best case scenario. I'll probably just fail completely, come back to Boise, and end up working at this fucking Hobby Lobbyworking at this fucking store, for the rest of my life. And what's the alternative? Believing in what my dad believes in, believing in some magical guy up in the clouds who created us for fun I guess, a guy who is going to come pretty soon to kill us all. These are my two options in life, and they are fucking meaningless.

“There are several monologues in the play that offer honest looks into Alex’s relationship with his dad.”

“Class Action” by Brad Slaight: Dennis

My name is Dennis Gandleman. Around this school I am the object of ridicule from most of the students, simply because I have an extremely high IQ. It’s 176. My father wanted me to enroll in a special school that deals with geniuses like myself, but Mother was firmly against that. She wanted me to have a normal education, and not be treated as some kind of freak…which is ironic, because that’s exactly what is happening to me here. The whole concept of education is a paradox: High school is supposed to celebrate education and knowledge, but what it really celebrates is social groups and popularity. In a perfect world, a kid like me would be worshiped because of my scholastic abilities, instead of someone who can throw a forty-yard touchdown pass. I suppose I could complain, and bemoan the unfairness of it all. But I am bright. I know something that the others don’t…that, once we leave high school and enter the real world, all the rules change. What matters is power. Financial power. Power that comes from making a fortune on cutting-edge computer software. Software that I am already developing. (Pause) Some call me a nerd. I call myself…ahead of my time. See you on the outside.

“This monologue doesn’t take itself too seriously and can even be funny at times, but underlying Dennis’ struggle is a universal desire to be accepted, and his frustration at a system that places the boy with the 176 IQ on the sidelines.”

“Fences” by August Wilson: Cory

I live here too! I ain’t scared of you. I was walking by you to go into the house cause you sitting on the steps drunk, singing to yourself. I ain’t got to say excuse me to you. You don’t count around here any more. Now why don’t you just get out my way. You talking about what you did for me… What’d you ever give me? You ain’t never gave me nothing. You ain’t never done nothing but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you. I used to tremble every time you called my name. Every time I heard your footsteps in the house. Wondering all the time… what’s Papa gonna say if I do this? What’s he gonna say if I do that? What’s he gonna say if I turn on the radio? And Mama, too…she tries…but she’s scared of you. I don’t know how she stand you…after what you did to her. What you gonna do…give me a whupping? You can’t whup me no more. You’re too old. You’re just an old man. You crazy. You know that? You just a crazy old man…talking about I got the devil in me. Come on…put me out. I ain’t scare of you. Come on! Come on, put me out. What’s the matter? You so bad… Put me out! Come on! Come on!

“I love the way this monologue builds to allow Cory his moment of triumph. The character’s growth and arc in this one-minute monologue is enough to give any young actor room to develop their own character and find their own moments of triumph.”

“Everything Will Be Different” by Marc Schultz: Charlotte

I am so resolved. I am so ready. There is a world and I will see it. And you won’t stop me. I will have adventures. I will be like an explorer. I will make new friends. I will fall in love. I will be like Christopher Colombus or Francis Drake or like Magellan or whatever. Because there is a world and I am determined. And when I come back? If I come back? No one will recognize me. I will be like a movie star or like a famous person and no one will recognize me and I will see through everyone. I will see through everyone. Even you. I will look right through you and you will look at me, and you’ll think to yourself who the hell is that and I will just smile at you. I’ll just smile and I’ll mumble something like profound or something really famous like a famous something like what someone famous would say because that’s who I’ll be because I’ll know a lot more, I’ll know a hell of a lot more when I come back. Or maybe I’ll just say “F*** you” because I can see through you. F*** you. Under my breath. To the wall. To the f***ing wall. I’ll see through you to the f***ing wall and you won’t even know that you’re nothing to me. And I’ll say f*** you and you’ll think Is she talking to me? And you won’t even know. You are a ghost to me. And I don’t care. Everyone a f***ing ghost. Everyone. And I’m the only one. I’m the only one who means more than you or anyone else.

“This particular monologue makes great use of its contrasting characters as Charlotte, the ‘ugly duckling’ whose mother recently died, expresses her frustrations to Heather, the most popular girl in school. The monologue is easily relatable to teenage girls, who themselves are constantly bombarded with demands to mirror society’s standards of beauty.”

“Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project: Zubaida

We went to the candle vigil. And it was so good to be with people who felt like shit. I kept feeling like I don’t deserve to feel this bad, you know? And someone got up there and said, “C’mon, guys, let’s show the world that Laramie is not this kind of a town.” But it is that kind of town. If it wasn’t this kind of town, why did it happen here? I mean, you know what I mean, like—that’s a lie. Because it happened here. So how could it not be a town where this kind of thing happens? Like, that’s just totally—like, looking at an Escher painting and getting all confused, like, it’s just totally like circular logic, like how can you even say that? And we have to mourn this and we have to be sad that we live in a town, a state, a country where shit like this happens. And I’m not going to step away from that and say, “We need to show the world  this didn’t happen.” I mean, these are people trying to distance themselves from this crime. And we need to own this crime. I feel. Everyone needs to own it. We are like this. We ARE like this. WE are LIKE this.

“Zubaida Ula’s monologue, in particular, stands out as a rallying cry against ignorance while she herself struggles to comprehend the tragedy that she sees unfolding around her.”

Disney monologues for teens

Actor Robert Peterpaul believes that “the Disney movie catalog is a prime source to mine for monologues you can put your own spin on.” Want to give one a try? Here are some Disney monologues for teenagers that Peterpaul suggests.

“Aladdin” (2019): Jasmine

You were just a boy, when your father came to work the grounds. But you have risen up to become our most trusted soldier. As a man, I know you to be both loyal and just. But now you have to choose. Duty isn't always honor. Our greatest challenge isn't speaking up against our enemies, but defying those whose approval we seek the most. Jafar is not worthy of your admiration, nor your sacrifice.

No. You seek glory for yourself. And you would win it off the backs of MY PEOPLE! Hakim, these men…they will follow where you lead, but it's up to you. Will you stand silent while Jafar destroys our beloved kingdom or will you do what is right? And stand with the people of Agrabah?

“She won’t go speechless! Show your power in this mini monologue where Jasmine stands up to Hakim. She shows that tears can be a sign of strength.”

“Stargirl” (2020): Stargirl

I don’t know why I do a lot of things lately. I bet you find that too, right? And it’s because we don’t think. We just do. We don’t take a step back and process. Everything’s so instant these days. How can we? Dinner in minutes. A thousand photographs in one burst. You have to “like” something this second. You have to know how you feel about everything. You can’t be unsure or confused or change your mind. There’s no time to figure out who you are. You have to know right now.

Have you ever seen a flower grow? I mean, of course not. It’s nearly impossible to wait for anything that takes that long. But if you did, it would change you. It would slow you down. It would remind you that real things take time. And it’s magic, too, isn’t it? I mean so are 1,000 photographs in one burst. But a flower. You plant a seed in the ground and a whole world develops and stretches out and opens up. It’s easy to get confused when we’re moving so fast and to think we’re doing the right thing when really we’re not. But if we’re lucky we could find a balance. We could take a step back. We could take a breath. The next time that you see a flower sticking up out of the ground or in a vase, just remember that part of what makes it beautiful is how long it took to grow.

“The title character’s big speech in this Disney+ film is a nice lengthy option if you’re looking for a contemporary dramatic piece.”

“Maleficent” (2014): Maleficent

Well, well….quite a glittering assemblage, King Stefan. Royalty, nobility, the gentry, and how quaint, even the rebel. I must say, I really felt quite distressed not receiving an invitation.

Not wha… ? Oh dear, what an awkward situation. 

Why, no. And to show I bear no ill will, I too shall bestow a gift on the child.

Listen well, all of you! The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty beloved by all who meet her. But before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a sleep-like death, a sleep from which she will never awaken!

I like you begging, do it again.

All right, the princess can be woken from her death sleep, but only by true love’s kiss. This curse will last till the end of time, no power on earth can change it.

“Angelina Jolie sinks her pearly whites into her first big speech of this Disney hit, penned by Disney-darling Linda Woolverton.”

“Brave” (2012): Merida

Some say our destiny is tied to the land, as much a part of us as we are of it. Others say fate is woven together like a cloth, so that one’s destiny intertwines with many others. It’s the one thing we search for, or fight to change. Some never find it. But there are some who are led.

The story of how my father lost his leg to the demon bear Mor’du became a legend. I became a sister with three new brothers, the princes Hamish, Hubert, and Harris. Wee devils, more like. They get away with murder. I can never get away with anything!

I’m the princess. I’m the example. I’ve got duties, responsibilities, expectations. My whole life is planned out, preparing for the day I become, well, my mother! She’s in charge of every single day of my life. 

“This is a good monologue to use to simply practice your Scottish accent, but you can also go accentless and make it your own!”

“Tangled” (2010): Rapunzel

I can’t believe I did this. I can’t believe I did this. I can’t believe I did this!!! Mother would be so furious. That’s OK though, I mean what she doesn’t know won’t kill her. Right? Oh my gosh. This would kill her. This is so fun! I am a horrible daughter. I’m going back. I am never going back again! I am a despicable human being. Woo-hoo! Best. Day. Ever!

“I mean, hopefully, we’re not all locked in towers, but who can’t relate to a little family tension?”

“Princess Diaries” (2001): Mia

Hi, um…hello. I'm Mia. I'm really no good at speech-making. Normally I get so nervous that I faint or run away, or sometimes I even get sick. But you really didn't need to know that.… But I'm not so afraid anymore. No, my father helped me. Earlier this evening, I had every intention of giving up my claim to the throne and my mother helped me by telling me that it was okay and by supporting me like she has for my entire life. But then I wondered how I'd feel after abdicating my role as Princess of Genovia. Would I feel relieved, or would I feel sad? And then I realized how many stupid times a day I use the word 'I.' And probably all I ever do is think about myself.… Sorry, I'm going too fast. But then I thought, if I cared about the other seven billion people out there, instead of just me, that's probably a much better use of my time. See, if I were Princess of Genovia, then my thoughts and the thoughts of people smarter than me would be much better heard, and just maybe those thoughts could be turned into actions. So this morning when I woke up, I was Mia Thermopolis. But now I choose to be forevermore, Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia.

“Who could forget Mia’s rain-drenched and ballgown-less final speech from this hit live-action film? Not casting directors if it suits you!”

“Freaky Friday” (2003): Anna

Mr. Bates, may I please speak with you? By what stretch of the imagination, I mean, like, how could I, like, get an F? I mean, what mistakes did I make? That was a college-level analysis. As a matter of fact I most certainly am. That’s Macbeth, you know-nothing twit. Bates. Elton Bates. Griffith High School. Well, you asked me, I mean, my mom to the prom, but she turned you down. And now you’re taking it out on her daughter, aren’t you? Aren’t you? Oh come on, it was a high school dance. I mean, you’ve got to let go and move on, man. And if you don’t, I’m sure the school board would love to hear about your pathetic vendetta against an innocent student. Oh, and by the way, Elton, she had a boyfriend. And you were weird.

“Not sure when you’d need to channel being a mother trapped inside her daughter’s body, but hey, we’ve all got demons (and hopefully lots of auditions down the road).”

Comedic monologues for teens

Teen actors

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When it comes to comedic monologues, acting coach Denise Simon says teen actors often fall into the trap of “choosing generic monologues or focusing on surface-level gags.” She says that a good monologue, even comedy, will be “active instead of passive.” Here are her picks for best teenage comedic monologues for girls and boys. 

“All This Intimacy” by Rajiv Joseph: Jen

Ty… I wasn’t going to bring this up today, but seeing as you have laryngitis, I figured this might be the best time to have this conversation. Because any inclination you might have to interrupt me, well, that just won’t be possible because you can’t speak. Ha. Oh well. OK, OK… Just sit still for a second and let me speak before you start scribbling away like a madman, jeez! I knew you’d do this or something, just sit and let me say my peace! (Jen reads what he wrote.) Look, I know it is, but I kind of have to seize the moment here. Whenever we talk you always talk me out, you put words in my mouth. (Ty writes again and shows the page. Jen reads.) No! That’s NOT what I mean! Listen OK. (Ty: Beat.) So. As you know. As we both well know... There has never been a time in my life, really ever, when I haven’t been, you know... in school. And I know I’m always saying this, OK? Let me finish! (Jen reads the notebook. Ty scrawls something brief. She reads.) You know I don’t like that word, and it’s rude. (He scrawls another word, seemingly profane.) Nice. Thank you. Shut up. OK! God! I can’t believe you have laryngitis and you’re still interrupting me! Constantly! Look, I’m going to talk and you can listen or you can not listen, but here it is. When it comes to figuring out what to do with my life, I’ve been seriously claustrophobic. Because choosing things narrows down your life, it limits you and it freaks me out. I’m not kidding. Every time you make a decision, you narrow your life more and more... I mean that’s what you’re supposed to do! It’s about carving out an identity before you get old and die! (Ty scrawls.) No. NO! I don’t want sushi! I’m not staying for dinner! (Ty scrawls.) BREAK UP, OK? BREAK. UP. Me. Break up. With you. How about that! Oh, but this has never happened to Ty Greene before because he’s too smooth a talker and no one can ever get two words in—(Ty scrawls.) I’m not going to read your shit! (Ty writes. Shows her earnestly. She reads it in spite of herself. She looks at him and then away.) We’ve talked about this! And don’t look at me like that! You know. You have your book and your job and you’re hot shit and all that, so you don’t know what I’m talking about. (Ty scrawls “So?!” and shows her.) So that’s it. And by the way, a year ago you broke up with me. Out of the blue! So don’t act all heartbroken. (Ty looks at her, heartbroken.) Yeah yeah yeah. (Ty scrawls something and shows her.) Very funny. No! I don’t want that. That’s what we’ve been doing. No more fooling around. No more hooking up. No more having your cake and eating it too. (Ty scrawls.) That’s what I meant by cake. (Ty scrawls one word.) It’s not you. I just never feel that we’re on the same page. This is what I’m talking about, Ty. I’m trying to pull things together. I love you, but when I’m around you, things come apart. They come apart.

“The character Jen’s hilarious attempts to wring some emotion out of her boyfriend are foiled by her own ineptitude in her monologue here. While we laugh at her seriousness as she spars with the laryngitis-stricken boy, we can also appreciate her genuine attempts to understand her place in the world.”

“Dags” by Debra Oswald: Gillian 

All right. I’m going to admit something I never thought I’d admit to anyone ever. I’ve got a crush on Adam. Head over heels. Uncontrollable passion, et cetera. Unrequited passion, of course. Now I know this sounds like I’m throwing away everything I’ve said so far. And I guess I am. I know every girl at school except Monica is in love with him. I know he’d never go for a dag like me. I know it’s hopeless. I know all that. But I can’t help it. Just thinking he might look at me, my heart starts pounding like mad. And then I worry about whether he can tell my heart’s going crazy, and I have to act really cool. This crush—it’s like a disease. Do you know—oh, I’m almost too embarrassed to admit this—Adam misses the bus sometimes. ’Cos he’s chatting up some girl or something. And do you know what I do? I get off the bus after one stop and walk back to school, so I can hang round the bus stop hoping he’ll turn up. Just so I can ride on the same bus with him. Isn’t that the most pathetic thing you’ve ever heard? I’m crazy. I can lie here for hours thinking about him. Writing these movies in my head where Adam and me are the stars. I try to imagine how he’d notice me and fall hopelessly in love with me and all that. Like, one of my favorites is that the bus breaks down one day in this remote place and there we are stranded together. He discovers that I was this really fascinating woman all along. Far more interesting than all those silly girls at school. But—I say that I can’t bear to be just another notch on his belt. So Adam has to beg me to go out with him. Grovel, almost. That’s a pretty over-the-top version.

This piece really does call out the oxymoron of adolescence. Teen girls will relate with not fitting in, attempts to be popular, and waking up with pimples that will ruin your day.”

“I Ought To Be in Pictures” by Neil Simon: Libby 

I was wondering if I could discuss something with you. It’s about sex. Don't get nervous. If you get nervous, I'll get nervous. I’m in trouble…I mean…I don't know how to do anything sexual. Most of the people left the party. And Gordon and I were sitting at the bottom of the hill in a car. And he wanted to fool around. He's not gorgeous but he's kinda cute. And I felt very grateful to him, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. And I wanted to fool around too. Only I didn't know what was right. I didn't want to be one of those girls they call ‘‘easy,'' but I didn't want to be impossible either. So I just kissed him and got out of the car and decided not to deal with it. But this Saturday night I think I'm going to have to deal with it. I never talked about these things with my mother because she doesn't trust men too much. You can guess why. And Grandma… Well, sex isn't her best subject. I brought it up a couple of times but she pretended she was dead. I know how sex works. I don't have any mechanical problems. I've seen five X-rated movies. I could pass a test on it. I just don't know what to expect—emotionally. And I need to discuss it and you're my father. And what you think means a lot to me. If it's a major trauma for you, I understand. I mean, I could always take a couple of glasses of wine and just plunge in. I’ve got to have my first time sometime. If it's not Gordon, I could always use the information. Should I ask you some questions? Well… Emotionally, is it different for the man than it is for the girl? It is? How old were you the first time? FIFTEEN? Who was the girl? Okay, never mind. So, what was it like with Mom? That's a very personal question, isn't it? Did you do it with her before or after you were married? She said after. I knew she lied. She just couldn't talk to me about those things. That's why I'm talking to you. I wanted to know how she felt. If she was scared or excited. Was it fun? Was it painful? I didn't think it was an unreasonable question. I mean, if she could teach me how to walk, why couldn't she teach me how to love? So what was she like? Making love. Because she was so angry when you left. So bitter. I don't think she ever slept with another man after you were gone. It's like when you left, you took her with you. That's why I was so angry with you. It was bad enough you were gone, but you could have left my mother there for me. She used to hug me so hard sometimes. Like she was trying to squeeze all the love out of me that she wasn't getting anywhere else. So instead of growing up to be me, I grew up to be a substitute—I know Grandma's dead. I know she probably can't hear me. But I speak to her every day anyway because I'm not so sure anyone else is listening. If I have to go for an interview, my heart pounds so much you can see it coming through my blouse. If you want the God's honest truth, I don't even want to be an actress. I don't know the first thing about acting. I don't know what I want to be.… (Beginning to break down) I just wanted to come out here and see you. I just wanted to know what you were like. I wanted to know why I was so frightened every time a boy wanted to reach out and touch me.… I just wanted somebody in the family to hold me because it was me, Libby, and not somebody who wasn't there. (Crying) I love Mom so much. I didn't mean to say anything against her. It's just that she won't let me inside. When she holds me, all I can feel is her arms…but I never feel what's inside. (Crying openly now; turns away) Boy oh boy… Really opened up the old waterworks. I never expected to do that. I hope you have flood insurance.

This cut is more of a dramatic comedy as Libby transitions from her initial nervous ramblings about her crush into the pain she feels over her strained relationship with her mother, and the lyricism is impressive throughout.”

“Serendipity and Serenity” by Jonathan Marc Sherman: Lionel

Bathrooms are my favorite places. I mean, they’re so organic. Just the real essentials of life. Hell, if you just put in a refrigerator, bring a pillow and a few good books, you’d never have to leave, pretty much. They’re also really depressing. I mean, how many ways can you kill yourself in a bathroom. Let’s see—there’s the incredibly obvious and overdone slicing of the wrists with a razor blade, and the less common but more colorful slicing of the jugular vein. I suppose people stick to their wrists most of the time because it’s easier to cover up if you mess up and live. I mean, all you need to do is wear a watch, or long sleeved shirts, or a sweatband on your wrist. With the jugular you have to wear turtlenecks even on the hottest day of the summer. Then, you can always get some rope, make a noose and hang yourself on the shower rod. And, if you don’t know how to make a noose, don’t despair—it’s in the Cub Scout manual. I think it’s listed under “suicide,” but I can’t be sure of that. Those Cub Scouts can be very tricky sometimes. You can drown yourself in the tub, or, if you have a flair for symbolism, in the toilet. Or, I imagine, you could probably figure out a way to do it in the sink. You could always just lock the door and starve to death, but that probably takes patience. Then, of course, there’s always pills—any kind will probably do the trick. I heard that Tylenol’s one of the deadliest—of course, you have to take, like, a whole bottle, but what the hell, why would you want to save any, right?

Lionel’s monologue from this play, which takes place in a bathroom, can be performed by both boys and girls and is always a winner.”

“Everything Will Be Different” by Mark Schultz: Freddie

Um. Hi. Charlotte. Um. OK I know this is awkward and everything. Me just coming here and all. Like this. I mean I know I just really met you and everything. But I’ve seen you. Really. And I just gotta. I had to come and tell you. You know. And. This is embarrassing. I know. And I don’t mean it to be. It’s not supposed to be. I mean. But. Jesus, it’s cold out, right? Anyway there’s like a million things I wanna tell you right now, Charlotte. And I just. I don’t know. Like. You have such a cool room. I really like your bedspread. Um. This is usually the other way around. OK I’ve seen you. And. You are so. Pretty. I think. I mean. I think you’re pretty. Right. Um. So I’ll just come out and say it. OK. I think I love you. Charlotte. I really do. And. It’s not like this happens every day. You know. For me. I don’t just like fall in love with people. It’s hard. And I’ve really fallen for you. And I know it’s stupid and like. Stupid and everything. But. I wanna know if maybe we can go out and be like boyfriend girlfriend or something I don’t know. ’Cause I’m really. I’m. In love. With you. And it’s hard. Keeping it inside. All the time. And I came here to say that. And ask you. You know. If we can maybe. Go out sometime. And. Eat something. Or. Watch a movie. Or I don’t know. I got a great entertainment system at home. I could show you. DVD. Surround sound and everything. It’s really cool. But. You know. We could go out and. Maybe I could touch you. And. Maybe you’d let me kiss you. I mean if that’s OK. Is that OK? ’Cause I really love you. I really wanna be with you. It’s so important to me right now. I really. Just had to come and tell you. I couldn’t wait. Um. Shit I gotta get back to practice. Um. OK. I love you. Please love me. Oh. And. I’m really sorry. About your mom. Being dead and all. That sucks. I gotta go.

“After he stumbles through history’s most awkward pick-up monologue, the audience will be rolling at his final, darkly random apology over the death of Charlotte’s mother.”

“From Up Here” by Liz Flahive: Charlie

I wrote you that song. I wrote it because when I see you, normally, it’s just, it’s just a mess. When I think about you I can’t breathe and I look at you and I’m not sure you’re real. You just look like…

Like if someone were to say, Hey can you draw a girl and I drew you they’d be like, hey, that’s a perfect drawing of a girl, you’re a real good artist. 

And my hands get all shaky when I want to touch you and you know that great hollow feeling you get in your stomach when you see someone you’ve been thinking about for days and then you turn the corner and there they are. 

And it’s like… (He exhales all the air in his lungs until the breath just stops.) And the bottom drops out and I feel like I have no actual mass or dimension and it’s like maybe I’m seeing you at that moment after having thought about you because you were, at the same time, thinking about me. And that’s how we ended up at the exact same place in the exact same moment. By thinking about it that much. Do you need a ride?

This piece is a more mature version of “Everything Will Be Different.” It has all of the awkward, stumbling romance that Schultz writes, but the character Charlie is slightly older and more in control of what he says. It’s a dynamic monologue, with beats of contemplation juxtaposed with Charlie’s anxious ramblings. It is an easy monologue for lovesick teenage boys to understand.

Shakespeare monologues for teens

Acting coach Denise Simon says that for teens especially, working on Shakespeare can encourage the actor to “dig deep” because of the “nuanced characters.” Here are her choices for the best Shakespeare monologues for teens.

“King John”: Blanch

Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.

The sun’s o’ercast with blood: fair day, adieu!
Which is the side that I must go withal?
I am with both: each army hath a hand;
And in their rage, I having hold of both,
They swirl asunder and dismember me.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win;
Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose;
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine;
Grandam, I will not wish thy fortunes thrive:
Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose
Assured loss before the match be play’d.

There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

“The strong conflict gives young actors the freedom to play heightened emotions, which, coupled with the complex relationship between Blanch and her husband, makes this monologue a great challenge for any girl looking to expand her acting horizons.”

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Helena

How happy some o’er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look’d on Hermia’s eyne,
He hail’d down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia’s flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

“The monologue found in Act 1, Scene 1 begins with the line, ‘How happy some o’er other some can be’ and provides a fun exploration into a misunderstood character that can work with a number of different choices.”

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Lysander

I am, my lord, as well derived as he,
As well possess’d; my love is more than his;
My fortunes every way as fairly rank’d,
If not with vantage, as Demetrius’;
And, which is more than all these boasts can be,
I am beloved of beauteous Hermia:
Why should not I then prosecute my right?
Demetrius, I’ll avouch it to his head,
Made love to Nedar’s daughter, Helena,
And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes,
Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry,
Upon this spotted and inconstant man.

“Aside from the hilarity of calling Demetrius ‘spotted and inconstant’ to his face, Lysander showcases unexpected bravery in this scene, essentially standing up to the adults in the room—a dream that many teens share. It’s an excellent scene for timid teens who want to expand their range.”

“Henry VI, Part 1”: Joan of Arc

First, let me tell you whom you have condemn’d:
Not me begotten of a shepherd swain,
But issued from the progeny of kings;
Virtuous and holy; chosen from above,
By inspiration of celestial grace,
To work exceeding miracles on earth.
I never had to do with wicked spirits:
But you, that are polluted with your lusts,
Stain’d with the guiltless blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it straight a thing impossible
To compass wonders but by help of devils.
No, misconceived! Joan of Arc hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,
Chaste and immaculate in very thought;
Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effused,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.

“The language in [this monologue] can be challenging, so it may require a dictionary nearby for the first read-through. But if you’re a headstrong, independent actor and looking for a character to showcase that, you may be the perfect witch to play her.”

“Romeo and Juliet”: Romeo

Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?
Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O any thing, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire,
sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?

[Benvolio: No, coz, I rather weep.]

Good heart, at what?

[Benvolio: At thy good heart’s oppression.]

Why, such is love’s transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes;
Being vex’d a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz.

“His monologues tackle themes of love, fate, and grief, and use complex metaphors to paint a dynamic picture of what it means to grow up. This makes it an easy character for boys to understand and provides a vehicle for them to improve their craft with nuanced writing.”

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona”: Launce

Nay, ’twill be this hour ere I have done weeping;
all the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I
have received my proportion, like the prodigious
son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the Imperial’s
court. I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured
dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father
wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat
wringing her hands, and all our house in a great
perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed
one tear: he is a stone, a very pebble stone, and
has no more pity in him than a dog: a Jew would have
wept to have seen our parting; why, my grandam,
having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my
parting. Nay, I’ll show you the manner of it. This
shoe is my father: no, this left shoe is my father:
no, no, this left shoe is my mother: nay, that
cannot be so neither: yes, it is so, it is so, it
hath the worser sole. This shoe, with the hole in
it, is my mother, and this my father; a vengeance
on’t! there ’tis: now, sit, this staff is my
sister, for, look you, she is as white as a lily and
as small as a wand: this hat is Nan, our maid: I
am the dog: no, the dog is himself, and I am the
dog—Oh! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so.
Now come I to my father; Father, your blessing:
now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping:
now should I kiss my father; well, he weeps on. Now
come I to my mother: O, that she could speak now
like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her; why, there
’tis; here’s my mother’s breath up and down. Now
come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes. Now
the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor speaks a
word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.

“The language in this speech is definitely a challenge, even tripping up Launce, but it’s a hilarious, self-aware piece that an actor can really have fun with.… It really gives an actor the space to play with and become more acquainted with the Bard’s style.”

Contemporary monologues for teens by playwright Joseph Arnone

When it comes to contemporary monologues for teenagers, these selections from Joseph Arnone contain small moments packing big drama, says acting coach Todd Etelson. “If teens don’t get to borrow the car or go to the party, they’ll simply die. Bad for parents, great for monologues,” he says. Etelson’s picks below can be considered gender-neutral.

“Shadows of My Mind” by Joseph Arnone: Naomi

I torture myself and I don’t know how to stop it.… I try so hard to think positive and for the most part I do, I am; but, keeping myself that way is the hardest thing in the world. It creeps up on me out from the shadows of my mind. I hate to sound like some cheesy novel but it’s true. Whatever I have going on deep inside myself, I do my best to ignore and most days, everything is good but when it hits, when this sudden rush of negative energy comes by, it’s like a wave of depression.

I get so down about the direction of my life. Am I making the right decisions? Am I being who I am meant to be? (Beat) I get low about the things I do and I second guess my choices after I’ve already made them and then sometimes days later I change my mind again and go back to an earlier choice I made about the same damn thing.…

Back and forth, back and forth…like a circle of confusion. I feel like I’m going crazy when this happens, when I can’t seem to figure out a solution to my path…it’s like a disease in my brain…I get trapped inside myself and I get lost in this really lonely place; until finally I find some inner strength and I rip forward in a new light but I know that it’s only a matter of time before I go back to that, that way of being and it scares me. I don’t want to be that way…I just want to be happy and want to know that I am living my life with purpose. I don’t want to have any regrets when I get old and look back on the life I’ve lived; ’cause I won’t be able to go back and that would kill me in the end.

I may need help. I don’t know if this is something that I should see a doctor about…like a therapist or—I don’t believe in medication. Never have. Maybe I’m too emotional and take myself too damn seriously. I don’t know, I don’t—What do you think, huh? How do I put an end to these phases that I go through?

“This monologue will test you. Your focus should be on the person you’re speaking to, but as you wrestle with these thoughts, we’d like to see the inner struggle you’re experiencing, as you speak to yourself.”

“Those Days are Over” by Joseph Arnone: Marsha

The only difficult one is you. You have problems. I was in the living room, with the door closed, and I was deliberately talking quietly because I already knew you’d make a fuss.

Sure enough, you created a controversy over the fact that I was having a laugh with one of my friends. It bothers you. My happiness bothers you.

You’re the one who can go upstairs for your studies. Why should I? If you have work to do, you should go to your own bedroom, lock the door and do your work.

I shouldn’t be inconvenienced and neither should Mom and Dad.

That’s what you do, that’s how you function, you make trouble for everyone else over the slightest matter, when it’s you, you’re the one who is busy making a big stink about everything, when nobody cares.… I have news for you, Emily, NOBODY CARES about your drama.

We’re all going to go on living our lives, ignoring your stupid drama.

So shout, argue, do whatever you wish to do, but just know it won’t get you anywhere with me.

“This is an interesting dramatic monologue between rivaling sisters.… Here, Marsha defends herself against her sister’s outburst. This makes things erupt between them.”

“Nowhere Near Happy” by Joseph Arnone: Ava

I come from a family that never had any faith in me. They all had this poor man’s mentality and I knew as early as I could, that there was a different way, a better way. Nobody needs to settle for what they are born into, there’s always a possibility to grow. I don’t want to put my family down but the truth is in the facts. I grew up very poor. Everything was hands on. If I needed a sweater, my mother would knit me one, there was no word as ‘shopping.’ I looked like a boy up until a few years ago because I was always wearing my brother’s hand me downs. (Beat) Both my parents never strived for anything more than what they could see in front of their faces. My father, he’s a factory worker and my mother does seamstress work on the side, when it’s available. It was always go to school and get a job. It was never build your own business and follow what you want to do, especially if you are good at it. Even though I live on my own and have found success, I’m not one bit happy. Yeah, I could get my mother’s broken sink fixed or surprise my dad with a new set of tools, but I always get the feeling that I’m looked down upon, you know? Like they aren’t happy for me and it hurts. For once I’d like to get told I’m doing a good job, like I’m somewhat appreciated.…

“Here Ava is talking to the audience. She discusses issues with her parents in the face of her success and how her success has made her relationship with them more difficult. But the underlying issue here is feeling underappreciated by her parents.”

“Agree to Disagree” by Joseph Arnone: Harpa

Look, you don’t have to be… You don’t have to agree with me all the time, in order for me to like you more. I see what you’re doing and I just want you to know that you don’t need to try so hard for me to like you or for anyone else to like you. Be you. I already like and care about you as a friend and that’s why I’m telling you this, OK? We’re friends and if we are going to be good friends then I’d rather know the real you and not the you that you seem to put on.

You get what I’m saying? I used to do the same thing and then I realized I care more about being true to me, than having someone like me more.

There’s more to like when we all stop trying to front and just be true to ourselves. You may not agree with me but that is my whole point. And if someone doesn’t like you for you, well, then they weren’t worth having in your life to begin with.

“A face-to-face friendly smackdown, Harpa is hearing the eye-opening truth from a close friend about their fake relationship and her need to be more real.”

“One Way Conversation” by Joseph Arnone: Bella

You don’t understand, you don’t ever hear what I’m trying to say to you. It’s always a one-way conversation. First, you come at me and complain about all the things you think I’m not doing and you do this to get me angry because you think by getting me angry it’s going to somehow make me work harder for what I want in my life and you’re wrong. I’m sorry, but you’re so wrong. That’s not the way to help me move forward. It’s not. Can’t you ever just be my friend and support me by giving me encouragement? Do you have any idea how impossible what I’m going after already is? Do you? it’s so damn hard and I can use some kindness…just some; you’re my mother, you know, I—all I ask is that you stop trying to get so damn strategy-oriented with me and instead work with me, give me sound advice, if you have any, ’cause coming down on me doesn’t help. I’m not asking you to hand-feed me, but be there for me the way I need you to be…there.… You happy? Now you know what’s bothering me.

“Here Bella confronts her mother about a seeming lack of encouragement and support to follow her dreams. You don’t want to create distance between you and your mother, so you need to walk a tightrope.”

“Sly Statements” by Joseph Arnone: Melanie

When you speak to me sometimes—we can be talking as simple as we are talking to one another right now—you say things in such a way that is so insulting but yet you do it with such subtlety. It hurts me. To put me down makes me think about a certain someone and I really don’t want to tell you who because I’m not ready for that but when you say things on the sly, you are putting me down and I cannot be with someone in my life who does that to me, especially as frequently as you.

Leo, listen to me…listen to me, please. This is important and I don’t want you to defend yourself with excuses. What I’m saying you really need to listen to.… I don’t know if you have something against me or if you think I’m dumb or less educated than you are or whatever you have going on but I will not tolerate your indirect insults anymore.

You know what I’m referring to…ALL the times you say something real slick, instead of just coming out with it directly, which makes it even worse for me.…

I’m telling you now because I do love you and I do want us to be together.… If you can’t stop condescending me, I will walk. I do not want to be with someone who doesn’t love me for me.  I want to be treated with the love and respect I deserve.

“Here Melanie is having a discussion with her boyfriend. She says he makes her feel less than a person and she’s fed up with his condescension. They can’t be together anymore if he can’t change.”

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