From the Inside Flap
Upon learning of today’s typical cattle-call audition process, Dustin Hoffman—who hasn’t had to audition in a long, long time—once declared that if he had only a minute to make an impression, he’d take off his clothes. For those of us who would rather think inside the box, here are two hundred and twenty-one monologues, all one minute or under in performance length.
For those auditions or class assignments where brevity is crucial, you need a monologue that gets to the point. You need a defined character, strong emotional content, and a resonant ending. Just as important, you need a lot of monologues from which to choose. This book offers you that, and more.
In our continuing effort to offer you new sources of monologues, we’ve drawn from plays, novels, short stories, poems, original monologues, essays, comics, novellas, radio plays, film scripts, and personal narratives.
How to Use This Book. At the back of this volume, you’ll find all 221 monologues indexed according to age, tone, and voice, to help identify those most suited to your needs:
Age is noted exactly only when specified by the author. More often, we’ve indicated an age range (20s, 20s-30s). In some instances, we’ve used a plus sign to show the character could be older than indicated, as in 40+.
Classic/Contemporary refers to when the monologue was written, not necessarily when the character is speaking. "Classic" texts are those that were written prior to the early 1920s.
Voice refers to indications of class, geography, ethnicity, nationality, sexual identity, or physicality that may help performers gain entry into an individual character, or closely "match" themselves to a monologue. The language of any text will reveal a certain level of education, class, or knowledge. Sometimes, however, a monologue arises out of specific cultural experience, demonstrated either through content or language. Those are the selections you’ll find listed in the "Voice" index.
Whenever possible, we’ve attempted to excerpt monologues with a minimum of editing. Where editing was necessary, omissions are indicated by parenthetical ellipses ( . . . ). All other ellipses were part of the original text.
We offer appropriately brief contexts to help you gain some entry into the monologues. But, of course, in order to fully understand and ultimately embody the characters, you are strongly advised to read the play, novel, poem, etc. from which the monologue was drawn. The greater context must be fully explored in order to answer the all-important questions: who, what, when, where, why.
So—go forth and be brief. Just keep your shirt on.
About the Author
Irene Ziegler is an actor, teacher, playwright, and novelist. Most recently, she played Maggie Runyon in The Contender (nominated for two academy awards) and can currently be seen as Mrs. Laughlin in Showtime's series, Going to California. She has taught speech, oral interpretation, and acting at Eastern Michigan University, Old Dominion University, and the University of Richmond, where she was an Artist in Residence.
John Capecci holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication and has nearly twenty years experience coaching, teaching, and presenting public performances. John has taught communication techniques and performance theory and practice to high school, undergraduate, graduate, and adult learners. He is an editor, along with Irene Ziegler, of The Ultimate Audition Book II: 222 Monologues from Literature, Two Minutes and Under,The Ultimate Audition Book III: 222 Monologues, Two Minutes and Under from the Movies, The Ultimate Audition Book IV: 222 Comedy Monologues, Two Minutes and Under. He also has published essays on the performance of literature.