Teens in high school are often asked by their instructors to perform monologues, either to audition for a drama performance or to practice their public speaking skills. Instructors usually want to see how students can handle someone else's material, making it a good idea to choose a monologue from a play rather than create original material. With so many plays to choose from, it can be hard for your teen to decide on a monologue. The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts recommends keeping it simple and choosing a monologue that will play up the actor's strengths.
Romeo from 'Romeo and Juliet'
William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most popular plays performed in high school. With romance, high drama and teenage characters, it is a good choice from which to pick a monologue. For a teenage boy, Romeo's speech about his beloved Juliet is hard to beat.
"But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid, since she is envious.
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.
It is my lady; O, it is my love!
O that she knew she were!
She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold; 'tis not to me she speaks.
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes.
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!"
Juliet from 'Romeo and Juliet'
Just as Romeo's speech about Juliet's beauty is a popular monologue for teenage boys, Juliet's speech about Romeo is a good choice for teenage girls.
"Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face;
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou has heard me speak to-night.
Fain would I dwell on form -- fain, fain deny
What I have spoke; but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay';
And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false. At lover's perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love me, pronounce it faithfully.
Or if thou thinkest I am too quickly won,
I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my havior light;
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true-love passion. Therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered."
Girl Part From 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'
A much more light-hearded, comedic monologue can be found in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." This monologue was performed by Sally.
"A 'C'? A 'C'? I got a 'C' on my coathanger sculpture? How could anyone get a 'C' in coathanger sculpture? May I ask a question? Was I judged on the piece of sculpture itself? If so, is it not true that time alone can judge a work of art? Or was I judged on my talent? If so, is it fair that I be judged on a part of my life over which I have no control? If I was judged on my effort, then I was judged unfairly, for I tried as hard as I could! Was I judged on what I had learned about this project? If so, then were not you, my teacher, also being judged on your ability to transmit your knowledge to me? Are you willing to share my 'C'? Perhaps I was being judged on the quality of coathanger itself out of which my creation was made ... now is this not also unfair? Am I to be judged by the quality of coathangers that are used by the dry cleaning establishment that returns our garments? Is that not the responsibility of my parents? Should they not share my 'C'?"
Boy Part From 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'
A monologue for a boy also comes from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and was performed by Charlie Brown himself. This monologue requires the actor to move around -- always a good thing to do when auditioning and performing -- and he can use a lunch bag as a stage prop.
"I think lunchtime is about the worst time of day for me. Always having to sit here alone. Of course, sometimes, mornings aren't so pleasant either. Waking up and wondering if anyone would really miss me if I never got out of bed. Then there's the night, too. Lying there and thinking about all the stupid things I've done during the day. And all those hours in between when I do all those stupid things. Well, lunchtime is among the worst times of the day for me. Well, I guess I'd better see what I've got. Peanut butter. Some psychiatrists say that people who eat peanut butter sandwiches are lonely ... I guess they're right. And when you're really lonely, the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth. There's that cute little red-headed girl eating her lunch over there. I wonder what she would do if I went over and asked her if I could sit and have lunch with her? ... She'd probably laugh right in my face ... it's hard on a face when it gets laughed in. There's an empty place next to her on the bench. There's no reason why I couldn't just go over and sit there. I could do that right now. All I have to do is stand up ... I'm standing up! ... I'm sitting down. I'm a coward. I'm so much of a coward, she wouldn't even think of looking at me. She hardly ever does look at me. In fact, I can't remember her ever looking at me. Why shouldn't she look at me? Is there any reason in the world why she shouldn't look at me? Is she so great, and I'm so small, that she can't spare one little moment? ... SHE'S LOOKING AT ME!! SHE'S LOOKING AT ME!! (he puts his lunch bag over his head.) ... Lunchtime is among the worst times of the day for me. If that little red-headed girl is looking at me with this stupid bag over my head she must think I'm the biggest fool alive. But, if she isn't looking at me, then maybe I could take it off quickly and she'd never notice it. On the other hand ... I can't tell if she's looking, until I take it off! Then again, if I never take it off I'll never have to know if she was looking or not. On the other hand ... it's very hard to breathe in here. (he removes his sack) Whew! She's not looking at me! I wonder why she never looks at me? Oh well, another lunch hour over with ... only 2,863 to go."
Where to Find Monologues
Several websites offer free monologues, many of them specifically recommended for teenagers. StageAgent.com has a section devoted to teen choices and lists out the recommended age range for the actor performing each part. Actorama.com allows the user to use a drop-down menu to choose a monologue for a boy or girl, from a film, play, TV show or book, and from a period of time from ancient Greece to today. At the site YouthPlays.com, your teenager must sign up but then is granted access to free monologues chosen for teens.
- The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts: Industry Tips: Monologues
- Stage Agent: "But Soft" from Romeo and Juliet
- Stage Agent: "Love" from Romeo and Juliet
- Stage Agent: "Coathanger Sculpture" from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
- Stage Agent: "Lunchtime" from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
- Actorama: Search for Monologues
- Youth Plays: Monologues