Amaze and awe. Dabble and daze. Audition monologues are 50 to 90% of your next bid to be a star, so making them count is paramount. But while acting coaches might tell you to go for your type and stick with it until the end, in real life things are not that simple. In a world where fleeting acting jobs last less than a Game of Thrones character, the accent surely falls on versatility. To this extent, I gathered up the ten audition monologues which I think can be spiced up, twisted, and reimagined to fit any style.
Still, I’m not just talking Hamlet here, which has been overplayed, underplayed, gendered, asexualized, and transformed in every other possible way. Screen adaptations of stage adaptations of comic book adaptations of novels or plays are everywhere. So it’s clear as day that the source material doesn’t always need to be taken for granted.
The love is like a dream, the dream is like a nightmare, the nightmare is life, the life is a waste of years if not spent with him…
— Juliet (@julietcap16) May 11, 2010
A 2010 Twitter version of Romeo and Juliet, miles away from the original.
Like the overzealous tweeters above, you too can make any monologue to fit your type. Simply take it and make it your own – that’s how I would try the audition monologues below!
10 Audition Monologues to Help You Land Your Dream Role
10. Travis’ “Thank God for the Rain” Monologue from Taxi Driver
While it may not be the most recognizable moment from Scorsese’s masterpiece of film, the couple of minutes in which Robert De Niro narrates the backdrop to the ugly side of New York are generation-defining.
Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.
Darkness covers all. The unclean is dragged out to the surface. Travis wanders the rough neighborhoods of the dark big city and is disgusted by what he sees. If there’s a feeling that is hands down easy to emulate, disgust may be it – since we all have our quirks and our things that just drive us crazy.
9. Lavinia Mannon’s Monologue from Mourning Becomes Electra
Not a very lengthy monologue at that, but definitely a powerful one. In Eugene O’Neil’s lengthy play, Lavinia is overshadowed throughout by an image of her mother. After 3 parts filled with incredibly dense and intense acts, this drama ends with Lavinia draped in black, becoming a perfect double of her mother’s darkest portrait.
I’ll live alone with the dead, and keep their secrets, and let them hound me until the curse is paid out and the last Mannon is let die!
I know the theme of becoming our parents is too cliché or not appealing to some. Still, the theme of going full-on goth, enshrouded in a mantle of absolute darkness, like Cersei in the season 6 finale, may be enticing enough to pique one’s interest in choosing this Blackstar of audition monologues.
8. Will McAvoy’s America Monologue from The Newsroom
The tumbling down of the American utopia has never had a better soundtrack than Will McAvoy’s monologue from The Newsroom. Pestered by the audience, the interviewer, and a student in the back holding an “it’s not” sign (i.e. the greatest in the world), he decides to go for brutal honesty.
First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Enough?
Will starts with a rant against the attitude to hold the US as a model of perfection. He then wanders off into an oddly inspiring speech about how the US used to be these greatest. Economy, social rights, fighting poverty, improving people’s way of life – all elements of what once made the USA the best country on Earth. Needless to say, anyone that is the least bit interested in politics can work up a decent iteration of this monologue.
7. Trinculo’s Monologue from The Tempest
A stark spotlight shone upon the human condition, in one of Shakespeare’s finest, this monologue must stand out as universal. A few lines said by Trinculo don’t just illuminate the vileness human greed, but also our hesitance to jump at the chance of helping the less fortunate.
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
Not many may like Shakespeare’s language, but you don’t have to like it! As I’ve said earlier, there are many ways in which a line from the English playwright can be shaped into a friendlier form. A soliloquy can be transformed into musical lyrics in no time, and if you think you can get the art to work for you, you could even rap it out!
6. Captain Koons’s Monologue from Pulp Fiction
Sure, everyone cites Samuel L. Jackson’s monologue from the beginning of the movie, but I would argue that Cristopher Walken’s hilariously obscene rendition of a wartime story takes the spot. Not only for being funny, though.
So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something.
It’s racist, it’s offensive, and it’s incredibly funny – every sentence looking like that perfect combination from Cards against Humanity.
5. Colonel Kurtz’s Monologue from Apocalypse Now
One of the few instances where a scene from the extended version of a movie is actually more well-known than the original. In the first final cut, Kurtz, played flawlessly by a grayed Marlon Brando, only recites a few lines from The Hallow Men. The second cut features the full poem, followed by the iconic ending: the horror, the horror – taken directly from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
4. Vladimir’s 2nd Act Monologue from Waiting for Godot
No other playwright perfected the theater of the absurd the way Samuel Beckett did. His play brought substance to a stage dominated by off-shoots and many lines that made little to no sense. With an underlying theme of awaiting God-oh, the two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, shoot lines off each other in a hunt for meaning.
But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!
If you’re looking for the perfect audition monologues with which to impress the next casting director, this one surely needs to make the cut, if only for the artful interweaving of meaning and non-meaning.
3. Blanche DuBois’ Monologue from A Streetcar Named Desire
A play that somehow became famous for a single word, a name, Stella, has far more substance to it than that. Blanche DuBois is the aforementioned Stella’s sister. She is the spinster in this rollercoaster drama of family intrigue. Faced with justifying how she had lost their inheritance and house, Stella breaks down into a fabulous monologue.
I, I, I took the blows in my face and my body! All of those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard!
Tennessee Williams’ play is now world-famous, this monologue being uttered in so many different styles. However, Blanche’s anger still permeates the stages and screens on which it’s performed.
2. Orestes’ Ending Monologue from The Flies
Whatever your position on socialism may be, it’s undeniable that Jean-Paul Sartre was a genius. His play, The Flies, presents the essence of what collective guilt is. Orestes, faced with his people guilty through inaction, takes the flies upon himself in a perfect political metaphor of what happens when the people don’t take action against their oppressors.
So you welcomed the criminal as your kin, and that crime without an owner started prowling round the city, whimpering like a dog that has lost its master.
The play upon the collective conscience is fascinating, as is the way in which Sartre choose to frame the whole thing. A great and inspirational performance for any actor, any type.
1. Sean Maguire’s Imperfections Monologue from Good Will Hunting
Where would we be without Good Will Hunting and the wonderful Robin Williams? He managed there to play one of the best roles of his lifetime. He filled it with improvisational moments, all on the beautiful framework of the script written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. However, out of them all, this moment stands out.
Little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. Those made her my wife. And she had the goods on me too.
Robin Williams improvised half of the scene. Still, it should be taken as a whole, from the master himself. The fact that it’s funnier in the unscripted version only makes it far more difficult to pull off – since the moments of heartfelt honesty and utter comedy alternate in perfect sync. If you get it together, you won’t need any other spare audition monologues.
What We Got from This?
The magic ingredient is not the acting nor the audition monologues which you choose. It’s somewhere in the middle. If you get a piece of writing that’s exquisitely written and you spice it up a bit to fit your type, you can do wonders.
Any casting director will appreciate audition monologues done the right way. The only thing you’ll have to remember is to be natural in your performance.