If you don’t have a great audition piece of your own, feel free to use one or more of the monologues below!  

Contemporary Monologue for a Woman

LINDA:  What are you telling me? You’re telling me nothin’. I tell you what’s goin’ on, and you tell me it ain’t going on. It’s goin’ on. Anthony wants to see ugly girls ’cause I don’t know why, but that’s the frickin’ news and don’t tell me otherwise. Every Monday night I go to his place and we spend time together, and this night I go and he’s got this look in his eye. Like he knows somethin’, and like he never seen me before. I got a scared feeling right away. I touch him but he puts my hand away. He says he wants to talk. What’s he wanna talk about before we go to bed? What’s there to talk about? When a woman wants to talk to a man, it’s ’cause she wants the man to see her better. When it’s the other way, when the man stops you from touchin’ to talk . . . It’s gotta be bad. I tried to keep him from talkin’, but there was somethin’ in his mind. And now he don’t wanna see me ’cause he wants to see ugly women. I said I’d be ugly for him, but he said no. I’m so ashamed. Anthony don’t want me no more.

(Action: Linda is telling an old friend about a new problem with her boyfriend. Maybe she’s seeking consolation or advice?)

from Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley

Contemporary Monologue for a Man

NERVOUS BOY: I’ve . . . I mean . . . I just think you’re so funny, and smart, and . . . interesting . . . and beautiful. I just feel like I’m throwing myself at you, and . . . I’m sorry. I just . . . think you’re wonderful. I’ve had feelings for you since we first met, and . . . I ‘ve been trying to snap out of it for the longest time, but . . . no. I love you. That is . . . I’m falling in love with you. I care about you. And I worry about you. I worry about your career. I worry about your father, I care about what you want in life and I care about you getting it. It’s just so many times we talk and I’m listening but part of me is terrified that you see the hearts in my eyes and . . . I just . . . think you’re wonderful. And I love you. And . . . I’m sorry. (Pause) I haven’t been able to find a full time job since I got laid off two years ago. I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life and I’m kind of freaking out about it but I think I’m too lazy to really fix that problem and I get so sick of being lost in my thoughts and afraid to look anyone in the eye anymore and I love seeing you, Emily, and talking to you, because when I do I forget about all my anxieties and I feel like a real person. You know?

(Action: Nervous Boy awkwardly expresses his affection for Emily and is maybe revealing too much information? In his curious way, maybe he is trying to win her heart or speak a critical truth to a girl he loves.)

from The Adventures of Nervous Boy by James Comtois

Gender Neutral Contemporary Monologue

PERSON AT A PARTY: Well you see, I’ve worked my ass off, I mean I’ve really worked my ass off for the guy, I mean for three whole years, with no credit for myself, with no respect being paid to myself, and I’ve just sat there quietly and listened to people talk about him, and praise him, and say how great he is – “Oh yes, isn’t he great, what a marvelous man, he’s so extraordinary, he’s so remarkable.” And I’ve just been sitting there day after day just taking it all in – and that’s fine, that’s wonderful, but the problem happens to be that the guy is really driving me bananas – I mean the guy is insane, I mean he keeps coming into my office and poking at my desk and saying, “Well, how are things?” I mean the guy is insane, it’s just really impossible and I’ve done what I can for the guy, but he just can’t leave me alone, and it’s just really driving me bananas to the point where I really don’t know what to do. Do you see what I’m saying?

(Action: This person is overheard talking to some friends at a party. Maybe they are trying to convince the listeners that they are right to hate this guy, or warning them to stay away from him or seeking help in how to deal with him. Or all the above!)

from Marie & Bruce by Wallace Shawn

Shakespeare Monologues

GONERIL – from King Lear (Iiii)

By day and night he wrongs me; every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other, That sets us all at odds: I’ll not endure it: His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle. When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him; say I am sick: If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I’ll answer.

Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellows; I’ll have it come to question: If he dislike it, let him to our sister, Whose mind and mine, I know, in that are one, Not to be over-ruled. Idle old man, That still would manage those authorities That he hath given away! Now, by my life, Old fools are babes again; and must be used With cheques as flatteries,–when they are seen abused. Remember what I tell you.

Situation: Goneril is displeased with the king for having struck one of her servants. She wants to punish him for his behavior. She tells Oswald to be disrespectful to the old man while he is in her home.

LAERTES – from Hamlet (Iiii)

Perhaps he loves you now, And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch The virtue of his will: but you must fear, His greatness weigh’d, his will is not his own; For he himself is subject to his birth: He may not, as unvalued persons do, Carve for himself; for on his choice depends The safety and health of this whole state; And therefore must his choice be circumscribed Unto the voice and yielding of that body Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you, It fits your wisdom so far to believe it As he in his particular act and place May give his saying deed; which is no further Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal.

Situation: Laertes is advising his sister Ophelia against having anything to do with Hamlet. He warns that they could never be together; he’s out of her league.

PERICLES – from Pericles (Vi)

I am great with woe, and shall deliver weeping. My dearest wife was like this maid, and such A one my daughter might have been: my queen’s Square brows, her stature to an inch; As wandlike straight, as silver-voiced; her eyes As jewel-like, and cased as richly; in pace Another Juno; who starves the ears she feeds And makes them hungry the more she gives them speech.— Where do you live? Where were you bred? And how achieved you these Endowments which you make more rich to owe? Like lies disdained in the reporting. Prithee, speak. Falseness cannot come from thee, for thou lookest Modest as Justice, and thou seemest a palace For the crownèd Truth to dwell in.

Situation: Pericles is encountering Marina his long-lost daughter.

GRUMIO – from Taming of the Shrew – (IVi)

Tell thou the tale! But hadst thou not crossed me, thou shouldst have heard how her horse fell,

and she under her horse; thou shouldst have heard in how miry a place, how she was bemoiled, how he left her with the horse upon her, how he beat me because her horse stumbled, how she waded through the dirt to pluck him off me, how he swore, how she prayed that never prayed before, how I cried, how the horses ran away, how her bridle was burst, how I lost my crupper, with many things of worthy memory which now shall die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to thy grave. But what talk I of this?

Call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Phillip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the rest. Let their heads be slickly combed, their blue coats brushed, and their garters of an indifferent knit. Let them curtsy with their left legs, and not presume to touch a hair of my master’s horse-tail till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?

Situation: At Petruchio’s house in the country, Grumio tells his fellow servant Curtis about the wild journey home to Petruchio’s with Kate after the wedding.