Why Are Monologues Important for Actors

A women reading a monologue

Monologue comes from the Greek words monos, which means “alone,” and Logos, which means “speech.”

It is the speech or verbal presentation given by a single character in order to express his or her collection of thoughts and ideas aloud, or in other words, it is a storytelling technique that allows the audience to become emotionally connected with the protagonist.

It expresses feelings or thoughts out loud or in a play to address an audience or another character.

Monologues are found in dramatic mediums like films and plays, and also in non-dramatic mediums like poetry.

TYPES OF MONOLOGUE

Gray chain number "3" - orange background

1. Dramatic monologue

Is a type of monologue where a character speaks to the silent listener. 

It is frequently used in poetry. It can also be defined as a poem written in the form of a speech of an individual character.

These poems are dramatic, meaning they have a theatrical quality. 

Examples:

  • Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess,”
  • T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” 
  • Ai’s “Killing Floor.” 

 2. Soliloquy

Soliloquies are used to show a character’s thoughts or feelings aloud, either alone or with other actors keeping silent.

Usually, the character is trying to work out an argument or seek a solution to a problem.

 3. Interior monologue

Interior monologues are used to show a character externalizing his thoughts, so that the audience can experience his internal thoughts ( desires, frustrations, or points of view).

This is also known as “ The stream of consciousness”.

FEATURES OF INTERIOR MONOLOGUE

  • Immediate speech, without introductory expressions  
  • Lack of formal logical and chronological order 
  • The action takes place within the character’s mind 
  • The narrator may be present 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONOLOGUE AND A SOLILOQUY

A monologue is a speech delivered by one person, usually to an audience.

A soliloquy, on the other hand, is typically a speech that is delivered to the speaker’s own thoughts or feelings.

Stories matter - typed on a typewriter

Monologues are a powerful tool for actors. They are more than just a way to introduce a character in a scene.

Monologues are important because they allow for a more personal, intimate experience with the actor. The audience is able to get an inside look at what it would be like if that character were speaking directly to them, rather than through someone else’s perspective.

It allows actors to convey their emotions and feelings through words and body language.

A monologue also enables actors to share thoughts that are not always easily expressed in dialogue with other characters, or with the audience.

Monologues can also reveal historical, psychological, emotional, or aspirational aspects of a character that help to explain their previous behavior in a play, increase the dramatic tension, or set up the expectations of the audience for the scenes that follow.

AS AN ACTOR, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO PERFORM A MONOLOGUE?

As an actor performing a monologue is like running a marathon.

You are alone and focused. 

In a play, you can leverage your energy and emotions of your stage partners, but in a monologue, there are only 3 elements: the writing, the audience, and you (the actor).

You need to be confident and effective while reading your monologue.

Don’t forget this is one of the best things you can do.

TIPS FOR WRITING A GOOD MONOLOGUE

  • Keep it as short as possible
  • Be authentic
  • Don’t be afraid to tell a story
  • Find a monologue that fits you perfectly
  • Keep your audience at the edge of their seats 
  • Delete half of what you write
  • Find your character’s voice
  • Practice reading it out loud

Conclusion

Monologues are important for actors because they are a way to express the full range of emotions and thoughts that a character has.

They are the way that an actor can present and connect themselves to the audience.

Leave a comment with your opinion or any questions you may have below…