Final acting lesson 12, monologues

The monologue performance is one of the most important assignments in a drama class. It involves much more than simply reciting lines. To make it into a believable performance you need to research the play, to develop a unique character, and to perform with confidence and control.

Choosing the right monologue

First ask yourself: What kind of monologue do want you to perform? Comedic? Dramatic? Classic? Contemporary?

Monologues can be found in many forms:

Complete Play: Whether it’s a full length or a one-act, most plays have at least one monologue worth performing.

Movie Monologues: you can find some good movie monologues but bare in mind that some drama teachers won’t allow students to select a speech from a film.

Monologue Books: There are hundreds of books filled with nothing but monologues. Some are marketed to professional actors, while others cater to high school and middle grade performers. Some books are collections of original, “stand alone” monologues.

A "stand alone" monologue is not part of a complete play. It tells its own brief story. The same rule applies as for movie monologues: some drama teachers allow them, but some instructors prefer students to select monologues from published plays so that the performer can learn more about the character’s background.

Research the Play

Once you have selected a monologue, read the lines out loud. Make certain you are comfortable with the language, pronunciation, and the definition of each word. Become familiar with the complete play. This can be accomplished by simply reading or watching the play. You can further enhance your understanding by reading a critical analysis and/or a review of the play.

Learning the context of the play will give you an insight into your character. You should learn about the life of the playwright and the historical era in order to understand why your lines are what they are.

Create a Unique Character

As tempting as it might be to mimic the performance of your favorite actor, you should strive for originality. Find your own voice, your own style.

Great characters can be perceived and performed in countless ways. To create a unique interpretation of your subject, study the arc of your character.

What is your character’s background? How does your character change throughout the play? What is your character’s biggest disappointment? Happiest moment? Deepest fear?

Learn to think, speak, and react the way your character would in a variety of situations.

So far still no practical tips about learning your lines? No, because once you know and understand your character, the circomstances he is in, at that time in the play the only thing he can do is say the words that are written. The words will come natural and that is the best way to learn. By understanding and feeling the situation. Not by head.


In the last 12 lessons we gave you some tools to use. There is a lot more! You can learn from the books we tip, but most important is to study with others. Enrole in an actingschool or play with others in a theatre,keep on practicing. An actor NEVER STOPS LEARNING.

If you like and keep your subscription, we will start sending our series of actingtips during the next 15 weeks. We hope you stay with us!

Or book tip is about learning your lines: The working actors guide to how to memorize the lines fast using SMT.


A book that must be read!!

One of the great teachers in Method Acting. If you really want to learn from great teachers than here is a book we highly recommend.

"The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation." - Stella Adler