How to choose a monologue for the workshop

Monologues are used very frequently in actor training and workshops, it is often required to perform a monologue in auditions so each professional actor will have several monologues they practice and are ready to perform. However, since we do not aim to be trained as professional actors, we are just using short monologues as a tool for us to practice how to speak to audiences and deliver a good piece of speech, without the worries about what we should say as the script is already written for us.

How to choose a monologue

Since we are not auditioning, we do not need to worry too much about if the character suits us. You can choose any of the short monologues below or pick it from this website ( or even pick one from your favourite movie/ musical or play. But be careful to pick a short one, 1-minute monologue would be enough for our workshop. Avoid monologue that has too many stage directions and the Shakespeare ones - although they are beautiful unless you are preparing to give a talk in Shakespearean English we do not want to add an extra layer of complication in our practices.

‘500 Days of Summer’ (Summer): “You don’t believe a woman could enjoy being free and independent?”

SUMMER: You don’t believe a woman could enjoy being free and independent? No, I’m not a lesbian. I’m just not comfortable being somebody’s “girlfriend.” I don’t want to be anybody’s anything, you know? It sounds selfish, I know, but… I just like being on my own. Relationships are messy and feelings get hurt. Who needs all that? We’re young. We’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I say, let’s have as much fun as we can have and leave the serious stuff for later.

‘Easy A’ (Mr. Griffith): “I’m hearing things, Olive”

MR. GRIFFITH: I’m hearing things, Olive. You know what I’m talking about. Since everyone puts everything up on Facebook for the world to see. What’s with this need your generation has to document every single thought that ever enters your head? They’re not all gems, you know. “Roman is having an okay day and hopes the ice cream store still has rocky road.” Who gives a rat’s a—?

I guess it wouldn’t matter so much if I didn’t like you. You’re a great girl and I happen to think that all of… this is just an act. I’m just curious why you’re doing it. I just don’t want to see this… damage you. You’re one of the few who’ve actually read the book. If I get one more paper talking about how Hester always took baths and spoke with a terrible British accent… (smiles) I’m really sorry I had to send you to the principal. If you tell anybody, I’ll deny it, but I really wanted to cheer with the rest of the class.

‘The Shape of Water’ (Zelda): “I found a turtle sitting out in the middle of the road”

ZELDA: When I was a little girl- I found a turtle sitting out in the middle of the road. Crossing it slowly. Car could run it over any minute. So, I picked it up, took it to a pond way back behind my house… and I laid it down under a big camphor tree, and I thought… “Mmmh- It’s gonna be so happy here”. And I left it there. (beat) But that night I figured out I had no idea where it was going… Far as I know it was bringing food to its nest or- looking to procreate- or escaping an owl. And maybe the worst place to keep it- maybe the place it was running from was that pond under that camphor tree. (looks at the fish) I didn’t care. I just did what I wanted with it…

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (Pat Defends His Relationship)

PAT: It’s not at all like me and Nikki. What are you talking about? We’re in love and we’re married. It’s completely different. We have a very unconventional chemistry, it makes people feel awkward, but not me. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever been with. It’s electric between us, okay? Yeah, we wanna change each other, but that’s normal, couples wanna do that, I want her to stop dressing like she dresses, I want her to stop acting so superior to me, okay? And she wanted me to lose weight and stop my mood swings, both of which I’ve done. I mean, people fight. Couples fight. We would fight, we wouldn’t talk for a couple weeks. That’s normal. She always wanted the best for me. She wanted me to be passionate and compassionate. And that’s a good thing. You know? I just, look, I’m my best self today, and I think she’s her best self today, and our love’s gonna be f— amazing.

’42nd Street’ (Dorothy Brock): “So you’re going to take my place”

DOROTHY: So you’re going to take my place.

When I started for the theatre this afternoon, I wanted to tear your heart out. I wanted to hate you, I wanted to see you fail. You, singing my songs, wearing my costumes, playing my role! But sitting there in that theatre and watching you rehearse, I found I couldn’t hate you… Because you’re good. Maybe even better than I would have been. The public wants youth, freshness, beauty, and Peggy, that’s what you’ve got. Only I’m getting something too. For ten years the theatre has kept me away from the only thing I’ve ever wanted. And it was a broken ankle that finally made me realize it. Pat Denning and I were married this morning!

I have only one last wish for you, my dear. Get out there and be so swell you’ll make me hate you.

‘Network’ (Max): “Take me to the middle of the George Washington Bridge!”

MAX: Must’ve been 1950 then. I was at NBC. Morning News. Associate producer. I was a kid, twenty-six years old. Anyway, they were building the lower level on the George Washington Bridge, and we were doing a remote there. Except nobody told me! Ten after seven in the morning I get a call. “Where the hell are you? You’re supposed to be on the George Washington Bridge!” I jump out of bed, throw my raincoat over my pajamas, run down the stairs. I get out in the street. I flag a cab. I jump in. I say: “Take me to the middle of the George Washington Bridge!” (tears streaming down his cheeks) The driver turns around. He says, don’t do it, buddy. (so weak now he can barely talk) He says, you’re a young man. You got your whole life ahead of you.

‘The Dining Room’ (Ruth): “Lately I’ve been having this recurrent dream”

RUTH: Lately I’ve been having this recurrent dream. We’ve giving this perfect party. We have our dining room back, and Grandmother’s silver, before it was stolen, and Charley’s mother royal blue dinner plates, before the moves dropped them, and even the finger bowls, if I knew where they were. And I’ve invited all our favorite people. Oh, I don’t mean just our old friends. I mean everyone we’ve ever known and liked. We’d have the man who fixes our Toyota, and that intelligent young couple who bought the Payton house, and the receptionist at the doctor’s office, and the new teller at the bank. And our children would be invited too, and they’d all come back from wherever they are. And we’d have two cocktails, and hot hors d’oeuvre, and a first-rate cook in the kitchen, and two maids to serve, and everyone would get along famously! (The candles are lit by now) My husband laughs when I tell him this dream. “Do you realize,” he says, “what a party like that would cost? Do you realize what we’d have to pay these days for a party like that?” Well, I know, I know all that. But sometimes I think it might almost be worth it.

‘Fences’ (Lyons): “You don’t know nothing about how I was raised”

LYONS: You and me is two different people, Pop. You got your way of dealing with the world… I got mine. The only thing that matters to me is the music. I know I got to eat. But I got to live too. I need something that gonna help me to get out of the bed in the morning. Make me feel like I belong in the world. I don’t bother nobody. I just stay with my music cause that’s the only way I can find to live in the world. Otherwise there ain’t no telling what I might do. Now I don’t come criticizing you and how you live. I just come by to ask you for ten dollars. I don’t wanna hear all that about how I live. You can’t change me, Pop. I’m thirty-four years old. If you wanted to change me, you should have been there when I was growing up. I come by to see you and ask for ten dollars and you want to talk about how I was raised. You don’t know nothing about how I was raised.

How to prepare the monologue before the workshop

So, to make the best use of the monologue in the workshop, after choosing the one for you, it is good to prepare it before the day of the workshop. Again, we are not training you to be a professional actor, you do not have to memorise the whole monologue by heart. We will show you how we are going to “perform” the monologue in the workshop - we will remember 1 or 2 sentences and then read them with eye contact. This may sound a bit challenging and if you think you want to spend a bit more time to prepare it, feel free to memorise several sentences or the first half of the monologue, however, this is not required.