I know from experience that many of the young people I have worked with have often grappled with this question. If you are a kid who is involved in acting, at one time or another you will be called upon to perform a teen monologue. When might this performance be requested of you? Well, perhaps you would like a part in the next school or community play. You might also be thinking about trying to get a manager or agent to represent you.
Perhaps you've decided that you would like to study musical theater or drama in college. These are all times when you may be required to audition and in doing so, will most probably be performing one.
So How Do You Choose?
There is a fairly surefire process of choosing a teen monologue that I would like to pass on to you. I learned about this a few years ago through my son, who is studying musical theater in college.
First, begin by being honest with yourself and accessing what "types" of roles you will most likely be cast in. For example an "All American" type may not be suitable to play an "Introverted Bookworm" and vice versa. Keep in mind your physical characteristics, any training you've received, and what, if any, roles you've had or characters you've portrayed.
Next, choose five or six pieces that you think might be suitable for you to perform. Do this by reading through not only teen monologue books but plays as well. Go to your school or local public library. Many times you can find copies of full plays available to you.
Now that you have your initial selection in hand, read through each one and then read it out loud. Do this to not only get a feel for what the character is saying but also, to get an idea if you would be comfortable speaking his words. If you can't convince yourself that you can portray this character, you're not going to be able to convince those for whom you are auditioning.
Cast out any piece that you find does not suit you. Try to narrow it down to two or three. If you are auditioning
for a Performing Arts College, you may want to include one modern and one classic, as many times this is the requirement. Always check with each individual college theater department first, however, as I've found that they differ as to what they consider modern and what they consider classic. Usually, you can find this in the audition requirements. Length is also a very important consideration, as you may have a time limit, so keep that in mind.
Once you have narrowed it down to three, you can begin the process of memorization and perfecting what you perform. If you have someone who can work with you, all the better. Maybe you have a school drama teacher who may be able to help, or an adult friend who is an actor. If you have the luxury of employing a monologue coach, that works, too. Just keep in mind that your goal is to memorize the script and perfect your presentation so that all goes smoothly.
Whatever you choose to perform, please make up your mind to read the entire play from which your chosen piece is taken. This will not only help you to understand your character's function in the plot, but should you be asked to explain why your character does what he does, you will know. It is common at Performing Arts College auditions to be asked these questions.
Work on your pieces until you feel comfortable with the characters and confident in your delivery. You must be confident in your portrayal of the characters you've chosen. Convince yourself and you will convince others, too. A sure way to do well at any audition!
There is a dynamic Monologue Book for Teens that was published in 2007. It is my personal recommendation for those of you who don't want to present a piece that's been done over and over again. The book is called; Echo Booming: 100 Monologues for Teens.
You can take a peek at it here. Let me know if you agree.