How to Perform a Monologue

Let’s be honest: performing a monologue is terrifying. We’re actors and we love to be in relationship with another actor on stage. We love scenes, we love conflict, we love drama. Usually you are only ever performing monologues for auditions. They are actually quite rare in plays. And whether that is for a theatre production or a drama school there will typically be a similar set up: empty room, chair and a panel of one or more people.

Always think of any audition as an opportunity to act. It is a chance to do what you love. We put so much pressure on auditions that we often forget that we are doing something we enjoy. When you start to think about auditions as simply acting it takes some of the pressure off the audition. 

Be confident as you walk into the audition room and be genuine with the people you are auditioning for. Go up and introduce yourself with a hand shake and feel self-assured in knowing that they wanted to see you!

Theatre, unlike film and TV, has a long and intimate rehearsal process  Creating a positive and supportive atmosphere in the rehearsal room is a theatre director chief aim. At an audition, the director wants to see that you are open and great to work with. Showing passion for the project, offering unique ideas and sharing opinions about the play are great ways to show this.

The best way to perform a monologue is to make a bold choice and commit to it. Show that you want to put your stamp on the character. The director will inevitably give you direction, so don’t worry about making the “wrong decision”. There is no right way to play a character and directors will always be impressed by strong choices. You will almost certainly be asked to do the monologue a second time with some new direction. I recommend preparing your monologue a number of ways before you come into the audition to prepare for this. Never fight with the director, be open and always try to take on their direction as best you can. If you don’t understand something get them to clarify.

In some circumstances it can really work to be very physical, but for most monologues you are better off keeping movement to a minimum. If you can stand (or sit) still and deliver a monologue that is very powerful and impressive.

Finally, ss a general rule I recommend placing your eye line just above their heads at about eye level. This is a classic rule. It makes the people you are auditioning for feel uncomfortable and it can also make you uncomfortable and throw your performance.

And give it your best!