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Top Monologues For Theater Auditions

Updated on March 3, 2015
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Jules Corriere is a playwright and theater director, having written over 40 plays, one of them performing at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

Theatrical Sizzlers The Casting Agents Haven't Heard

Are you looking for fresh, original material for auditions? Do you find yourself performing the same monolgues as half of the other auditionees? This lens is full of crackling monologues from plays that have been produced around the country. After receiving monthly requests from actors to use monologues from my plays, I've decided to provide on this lens those most requested pieces. Be original and stand out to the casting agents. Whether you are looking for comedic or dramatic material, both are included. Break a leg!

Comic Monologues

Two Bens

From I AM HOME by Jules Corriere

Out in the country we had two gentlemen by the name of Ben on the Washington College mail route. One lived on the right side of the road and one lived to the left. Sometimes they got each other's mail. Not when I was on the job, mind you, but on my days off. I knew the two Bens and I knew the handwriting of the people who'd write to them, so even if the last name wasn't on the letter, or the address wasn't complete, I could always tell who's mail needed to go where. Can't do that, these days. Nobody writes letters. We get email, computer-generated mail, but writing letters is a lost art. People used to fall in love through hand-written notes. I have an old shoebox, full of my grandparents' handwritten notes written during the war. Whenever I miss them, I pull out the letters, and just seeing their handwriting again makes me feel like they're with me. But, I'm getting off the point.

As it happens, one Ben was having a courtship with a lady, far away from here. They were exchanging letters. This went on for three years, all in the mail, and this whole time, they hadn't ever seen each other. They were both friends of friends. The mail came one day, the day I took off, and by chance, the fill-in mailman put Ben's mail in the other Ben's mailbox. What happened was, the Ben that was courting this lady had mailed enough money for her to catch the train to Jonesborough, so the two of them could get married. The letter that was incorrectly delivered was from the lady, saying she was thrilled and would be on the train in the morning, and would like for Ben to pick her up. Well, Ben didn't get the letter. Ben did. Other Ben. So the first Ben had no idea that his bride-to-be was on her way.

The other Ben got that letter, and he thought it sounded like a good idea to get married and have a wife, especially since the hard part of the courtship had already been done. So other Ben got in his vehicle and picked the lady up at the Mail Depot, and they got married. The next morning, Ben, the first Ben, he's in town and hears a story at the barber shop, the hardware store and the feed and grain about Other Ben's marriage, and he got suspicious. So he went to call on Ben, and who should answer the door but his-wife-to-be-now-newlywed. And do you know what she tells him, she says,

"Well I guess I'll stay over here Ben, the damage has done been done."

So let this be a warning to you. Always remember to put last names on all postal correspondence, along with the proper postage. This has been a public service reminder from post office.

American Spirits

From THE LAST HARD TIMES by Jules Corriere

You know, if it wasn't for cotton and moonshine, there wouldn't be no Gumlog, Georgia.

It's been around for hundreds of years, it's been going on since the beginning. In Gumlog, moonshine's been around forever.

Some folks do it for the money, and they's the one's you gotta look out for. They cut corners. Run it in something cheaper than copper. Water it down so you don't get your money's worth. With me, you always know what you're getting. 100 percent--- make that100 proof-- pure moonshine.

Now I make money at it, I won't lie. A buck fifty a jar. Fifteen bucks a case. Cheaper than you can get gas today, and you can run your car on my stuff, too. It kept shoes on my kids feet when other youngun's ran barefoot. Kept us from pickin' cotton. But I did it for a bigger reason than money. Biggest reason of all. It's just plain fun.

There's nothing better than a moonshine run in a souped-up car, taking those curves, a revenuer on your tail, watching him fishtail all over and getting lost in your dust. '34 Ford coupe is about the best car ever for hauling liquor.

Course, we didn't always get away with it. But doing time was no trouble. You was in there with all your neighbors. Meanwhile, the feds go in and bust up your still. Take an axe to it or worse. Dynamiting, now that was an adventure when they'd dynamite my still. They did it so much, you could walk through Gumlog and see barrels and pipes up in the tree tops, blown away up there. Didn't matter though. I'd just find something else to make another one.

I figured it this way. Georgia's gonna have her drink. In that, you're gonna be one of two kinds of people. You're gonna be the one drinking the liquor. Or you're gonna be the one making it. And I reckon I'm just a little bit of both.

community performance international
community performance international

The Great Turkey Toss

From I AM HOME by Jules Corriere

About 50 years ago, the Jonesborough Merchants Association was formed in response to the new mall in Johnson City. There was an exodus from the downtown businesses, so the Association worked to keep Main Street alive. The Holiday season was coming, so the Merchants planned a series of promotions to bring people downtown. They started the week before Thanksgiving with a Turkey Toss. Hundreds of Jonesborough folks showed up and gathered around the Courthouse.

The idea was to toss the turkeys from the top of the courthouse. The turkeys would fly to the ground below, and the lucky people who were fast enough to catch the turkeys after they landed would have their Thanksgiving dinner all squared away. The Merchants were not stingy. They weren’t tossing one or two turkeys. No, they really wanted to show the Jonesborough folks their appreciation. Dozens of turkeys were brought up there. When the big clock struck one, they began tossing the turkeys to the crowd below…

Wait! Stop! STOP!!!!!

Now, that’s what should have happened. But it didn’t. Nobody stopped them. Nobody, say, from the country or the farms had thought to let these city merchants know that turkeys don’t fly. And so began the debacle.

Now these were prized turkeys. 25, 30, 40 pounders. And they were falling, dead weight, to the ground below. Onlookers screamed. And as the screams of horror filled the air, the merchants, who could not see the carnage below them, thought the crowd was erupting with gleeful excitement, and so they began tossing more and more turkeys off the top of the courthouse.

Brave citizens went out into the foray and tried to save the falling fowl, without considering the laws of physics.

Gravity.

40 pound objects falling from the sky at 32 feet per second squared is a lot of force coming down. The lawn was littered with the bodies of dead turkeys and their wounded, would-be rescuers. Husbands grabbed their wives, mothers grabbed their children. Babies grabbed their binkys. Everyone ran for cover until the torrent of turkeys falling from above came to an end.

When it was over, a hush fell across the field. The Merchants looked down from their perch, anticipating a grateful crowd. And instead, witnessed the destruction they had wrought. Police on the scene suspected fowl play. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Across the gizzard-laden grounds, families called to one another, and in their feather covered clothes and hair, they quietly got in their cars, showered the entrails and memories from their bodies, and drove to the Johnson City Mall.

Tragedy or Comedy?

community performance international
community performance international

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Dramatic Monologues

Burning Ginsberg

My mother died when I was very young, and my father was left to raise four girls. Of course, he had a lot of help from my grandparents, but my father was always fully in charge of our upbringing. He showed his care through his rules. He cared for us by restricting us from things he saw might bring harm. This held true for keeping us from playing outside a lot, and especially playing things like baseball with the other kids, but it also held true for books and movies. While all my friends would run down to the theater on Saturdays, my sisters and I did our chores, and for fun, we did the approved activities for young ladies. This would include knitting, and for me, reading, because I loved to read, but my father would find the books for me to read. I was not allowed to look for a book on my own. I loved poetry the best, so my father would bring me Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning, Wordsworth. My teacher saw me with these books at school. I'd read them during lunch hour, or between lessons, so she knew how much I enjoyed poetry. I'd often write poetry in class. One day she asked me if I'd read any of the newer poets. I told her I hadn't. She put a poem in my hands that would change my life in many ways. It was the most remarkable kind of writing I'd ever seen, and the language- it didn't tell me what to think, I asked me TO think. To this point I was only familiar with the beauty of language, and how words can create a picture. But this poem she put in my hands, it was by a poet named Allen Ginsberg--I saw how words could be used to-- I don't know, to create a revolution, maybe. It certainly set me on fire. I studied it, as it begged me to understand it, I had never thought in these ways before. I left it on my desk, and my father found it. He was furious. He wanted to know how such trash would end up in my hands, and in his home. He took it, and me downstairs. And he stood behind me as he made me set up logs in the fireplace to start a fire, and I was to use the poem as the spark to light the flame. I held it, glancing at the words one more time, and he told me to ball it up. I did, but the words were still there. “Now burn it” he told me. And so I placed it under the kindling, struck a match, and watched it until it was nothing but ashes. So did my father, and once the job was finished, he walked away. I understood why my father had done this. I understood, because I had read that poem, and while I had not committed it to memory, I know that I didn't lose all of it in the fire. The idea-- it stayed with me, I could burn the paper, but you can't burn away an idea. I got a glimpse of a world much different and much more complex than I'd been allowed to discover. And on that day, I became an explorer of that world. I understood why my father wanted to protect me from it, but that world exists, and that poem let me see that I had a mind enough of my own to face it.

community performance international
community performance international

Generations

From TOUCH AND GO by Jules Corriere

My line stretches back farther than there is room to show, and my story goes back longer than modern English has been recorded. There have been attempts to erase the history of my line from memory. First by forbidding our old language to be spoken. Then, by forbidding our new language to be written. But memory wants to live on, doesn’t it? It is tenacious like that, memory will find a way if there is a willing partner, and my family is just as tenacious.

From the time I was a child, they have appeared before me, my lineage. My mother and my father remembered them to me, almost conjured them for me so I could see them, if not in the flesh, then in my mind’s eye. My line is so long, reaching so far back, it seems such a distance between us, between Sanford and Cameroon, between now and then. I will shorten it, and begin in America.

The first member of my family to live in America was brought to Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He was on a ship that first made port in Barbados, after having been taken from Cameroon in 1632. We were a First Family of Virginia, but instead of appearing on a gilded plaque with other noble founders, the only register our name appears on is that of goods traded. But he remembered his name and his family in Cameroon.

After homesteading in Isle of Wight for two generations, his grandchildren were sold to Greensboro, North Carolina. And they remembered Cameroon, and Barbados and Isle of Wight. They remained in Greensboro, continuing the line, until the Civil War and emancipation. There was a splintering of the family at this point, to Florida. But they remained in touch, because even though it was forbidden on the plantation, they learned to write. They wrote letters and found each other over time. And they remembered. Cameroon, Barbados, Isle of Wight, Greensboro, Fernandino Beach.

My great-grandfather was born in Fernandina Beach, Florida in 1860. My grandmother was born there in 1893. In 1913, she took a steamer to Sanford for a visit, and met my grandfather. They married in 1914 and lived on Hickory Avenue until1987, when my grandfather passed away. He’d been the only tailor in Sanford, and made suits for well to do white men who were judges, lawyers, doctors and bank presidents. My father, though from a poor family, wore tailor made suits when he attended FAMU.

Education was the tool my generations kept sharp and passed on, and that tool was passed on through the generations, to me. I was not the first in my family to graduate from college. I was the first to receive a PhD. I settled here, retired, never married. And I remember. Cameroon, Barbados, Isle of Wight, Greensboro, Fernandina Beach, Sanford. I look back at my line, and I know them, every one: Who they were, where they came from. I remember. And I am the last of my line, carrying our blood, and I have no one to remember me, in Sanford, from Cameroon. I look to the future and there is no one there looking back at me. How long should a memory last? How long will I? What happens to them, to all of us, at the end of the line? Will anyone remember them? Remember me? Will you?

community performance international
community performance international

Lot 17

From THE LAST HARD TIMES by Jules Corriere

If you think about it--The mule-- Well, see, the mule is a cultural artifact. You dig up any old civilization and find mule bones around the area, you know they had agriculture and a steady way of life- just as sure as if you found a piece of a hoe or rake. The mule has been a part of a civilized society up 'til about recently. And they always had names. Every animal had a name. Dot, Old John, Maude, Jerry, Kate. You never knew anyone who didn't at some point have a mule named Kate.

And the land you worked had names. Joby Terrace, because it was next to where Job Cheek lived, even though he'd been dead a decade. Tom Adams Terrace, the Round Terrace, because it was on a hill. You always had a New Ground Terrace. That would be the place where you cut fresh forest. But sometime ago, we stopped naming, and started numbering. I went to an estate sale on the old New Ground Terrace. They were selling boxes in lot numbers, and lot number 17 had dozens of pictures of old people from the 1800's. None of them are named. They're all tossed together in there as lot number 17.

Something happened when we stopped naming our animals, and started numbering them, like so many gallons of oil. When we numbered our fields, like we had enough of them to go around. Might not sound like much. But when we stop being so personal to the people and land and animals we work with, it changes how we live. We haven't been doing it all that long, so it's hard to say yet whether that change is a good thing or a bad thing. But all I know is this. Somebody's grandmother's picture is hanging on the bathroom wall of a bar in Atlanta. She was part of lot number 17.

community performance international
community performance international

Boom!

From STORYLINES by Jules Corriere

Daddy had just gotten back from his third tour in Vietnam. I was five. We were out shopping at the commissary on base, near the airfield, so there's lots of air traffic. We're walking to our station wagon and a jet overhead breaks the sound barrier, BOOM! Being near the airfields, mom and I are used to it. We jump a little and laugh. But this is Daddy's second day back from the war. He was carrying a bag of groceries. We'd gotten fixings for hamburgers and hot dogs. Well, my dad hears the boom, tosses the bag to the ground and dives across the parking lot under a truck. Everything in the bag splatters everywhere. My dad is laying on the ground, belly down, yelling "Who's hit! Who's hit!". My mom starts rocking him back and forth like a baby.

I just remember standing in the parking lot, looking at this. Other soldiers coming out of the commissary pass by while all of this is going on. The thing I remember most, is that I was the only one surprised.

It gave me nightmares. I knew the world had monsters. I knew something spooked my father, at least, and if it could scare him, it must be pretty awful. I drew pictures of what this boogeyman might look like: long-nosed demons; wolfmen with blood on their teeth; creatures with fire and smoke circling around them. Then one day I found a picture in the trashcan. From when my dad was in Vietnam. it was a soldier, his buddy, wearing a necklace made out of ears. I don't have to draw pictures anymore. I know what the boogeyman looks like.

The Farm

From DEEP ENOUGH TO SWALLOW ME WHOLE by Jules Corriere

Where I grew up in Texas, there was a farm with cows and every day, those cows got milked. Twice a day, just milking those cows for all they had. I wondered how long those cows would give milk. And what happened to 'em when they didn't produce anymore. I left Texas before I found out.

Chicago was a different world. Train whistles and traffic replaced the sounds of the farm I was used to. I looked around the neighborhood, and realized, there's a farm here, too. There is. Only they don't farm cows here. They farm children.

I'm trying to reach the kids, but we've got a problem. Our kids in Austin and Lawndale are being siphoned off in the foster program, as long as they have bounty attached to them. After they turn twenty one, the money disappears and they're turned out. But there ain't no green pasture they get turned out on. It's the pavement, the underpasses where these kids are ending up.

You say you got a problem with kids selling drugs, well, what else are you raising them for? You turn them out without education and hope, what do you expect? You think the job fairy gonna come down and give them a suit of clothes and a fancy office with a high school education or less? You think the house elf is gonna come and give them a two flat? It's true in the world, you can make it on peanut butter and jelly, but someone on the farm has to teach the kids they can make it, and give them hope that there's more than peanut butter and jelly.

I believe in the power of prayer. I think our every thought is a prayer. I pray for these children. How are you praying? You see a kid and think, he's gonna be a drug dealer, she's gonna be pregnant at fourteen, well, friend, what kind of prayer is that? I look at these kids and say, you can be a truck driver. You can be a teacher, a lawyer, a writer. You can work for the city and get a nice pension. Who's praying for these kids to be dealers?

Farm 'em out, milk 'em 'til they turn twenty one and dry up and then turn them out. Do that, and all you prayin' for is them with their little black bags, and their black jackets and nice shoes and BMW's, only they won't live long enough to get the pension. Twenty one years old and already marked, and if they decide to leave, they're dead. Doesn't even take bullets these days. One of my boys from Friendship was found by the el tracks last week. Hands tied behind his back, with a bag tied around his neck. Police officer who found him was another one of my boys from Friendship. There's nothing sadder, nothing more ironic that that. But that's the power of prayer. One of 'em lived home with his momma. The power of that prayer of hope from his momma passed on to him. But these farm kids. Who's praying for them? How are we praying for them? Who are we raising on these farms? And what are we raising them for?

Do You Find These Monologues Useful?

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    • rooshoo profile image

      rooshoo 5 years ago

      I did theater in high school and was in drama club, but that was it for me. It was so fun though. Maybe in the future. Cool lens!

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Some fascinating suggestions here!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

      I would if I ever had the guts to give live theater a try. I'm more appreciator than doer. Some amazing people out there doing great work. It takes something special inside.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Well, I don't have a use for monologues but I am sure many will find this page useful.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I had never thought about theatre monologues before. It was something new to learn...for when I get to Broadway!!! Thanks!

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 5 years ago

      Very detailed and carefully analyzed Lens. Great Tips.

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 5 years ago

      Brilliant idea and helpful lens which I shall bookmark for clients hoping for a career in acting.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Very cool. I've done some improv and totally love that. Angel blessed lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      liked this lens, you got a 'thumbs up' outta me!

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      What a fantastic resource for those in the acting business. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      This looks like afabulous resource for those auditions.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Really interesting info here.Have been in a few plays way back.Fantastic stuff.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am not in the acting business, but these are really fantastic! Thanks for sharing!