How To Find Monologues

Before you sit down to find monologues, it is important to familiarize yourself with what kinds of characters and narratives resonate with you as well as identify character qualities you embody well onstage. Having an awareness of the types of work you resonate with is the first step to knowing yourself well as an artist. Be aware this may change over time and help you find new pieces to add to your toolbox! The second step is to write down a few character qualities of characters you feel capable of portraying. For instance, your range might extend from Ophelia in Hamlet to Diwata from Stephen Karam’sSpeech and Debate. You may say then that your character qualities onstage include characters who described as vulnerable, intelligent, flighty, energetic, confident, and colorful.

Method #1: The Actor Web

This is my favorite method for finding new monologues.
Step One: Identify an actor you feel similar to and/or who plays a role you also feel you could play. You may have multiple, and that only gives you more options to consider!

Step Two: Figure out what shows that actor has been in. Theatre and film databases such as IMDB, IBDB, Wikipedia, and BroadwayWorld are great references for this portion of the web. Another great resource is actors’ biographies in programs or their resumes on their websites. If you are seeing a show where you resonate with an actor, you can simply look down at your program and see what else they’ve been in! A quick Google search can locate an actor’s website if they don’t list it already. Once you’ve figured out what else they have been in, explore those works, works by similar creators, or even other actors who have played the same roles at another time. All of these branches of the web are useful information to discover!

Step Three: Familiarize yourself with those works and characters. After you’ve compiled a list of potential plays and characters from your actor web, make sure you read or see those productions!The only way to deeply know if a monologue is right for you is to know the character and the context in their full. Happy Reading!

Here’s an example of this exercise:

Let’s say you feel similar to Celia Keenan-Bolger after seeing her in To Kill a Mockingbird. Celia’s Scout exhibited character qualities of being kind, intelligent, and open-hearted, something you feel you do well. You go to, Wikipedia,, and BroadwayWorld The Cherry Orchard, Molly in Peter and the Starcatcher, Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Jenny Bridges in Adam Bock’s A Small Fire, and Katie in a play called Bachelorette. You click on the Peter and the StarcatcherOsage County. Now, you have a list of 6 new characters and plays to explore!

Method #2: Personal Network

The simplest way…. Ask around!

Sometimes, the people who know you most in the world can help you with your selection block. Reach out to former classmates, professors, directors, or even friends and ask if they see you playing any specific characters or types of characters.You can even ask them for help figuring out your essence words, a.k.a. character qualities that you embody onstage. Examples are kind, brooding, intellectual, empathetic, warm, sharp, etc. Their insight may lead you to a monologue or character you wouldn’t have gravitated toward before. They may even be able to send a monologue or two directly your way! Keep in mind, the decision is ultimately still up to you!

Method #3: The Playwright Path

Just as our reading taste often aligns with a certain genre, our acting can also resonate with specific tones and themes. The “Playwright Path” method of finding a monologue relies on finding a playwright whose words you resonate with. For instance, you may find yourself drawn to dark comedies over and over again, like Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, or discover your tone lines up with the light sarcasm of Bekah Brunstetter’s plays. When you identify a playwright you resonate with, you can access their body of work and see if one of the plays has a character that fits your range. For instance, you may have fallen in love with the comedic timing of Madhuri Shekar’s A Nice Indian Boy, but there wasn’t a character in that play for a late twenty-something female. Reading through her repertoire, you may have luck in another of her plays, Queen. Many online bookshops have a “You May Also Like” section. Search your favorite plays and see what comes up!

Happy Reading!

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