Great English Monologues for Actors
A list of some great English monologues for auditions and acting class. These are some of our favourite English monologues. All the monologues are taken from reputable plays and are great for theatre auditions and for workshopping in class or on your own.
Make sure you always read the play, understand the words and find the motivation behind what you character is saying.
English Monologues for Women
Yes, they told me you were fools and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor
trust to your charity. You promised me my life but you lied. You think that life is nothing but
not being stone dead. It is not the bread and water I fear: bread has no sorrow for me, and
water no affliction. But to shut me from the light of the sky, and the sight of the fields and
flowers, to chain my feet so that I can never again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills;
to make me breathe foul damp darkness, and keep me from everything that brings me back
to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness tempt me to hate Him. All this is
worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times. I could do without my
warhorse, I could drag about in a skirt. I could let the banners and the trumpets and the
knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I
could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying
through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices
floating to me on the wind. But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to
take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the
devil, and that mine is of God.
We come to hell through a big mouth. Hell’s black and red. It’s like the village where I come from. There’s a river and a bridge and houses. There’s places on fire like when the soldiers come. There’s a big devil sat on a roof with a big hole in his arse and he’s scooping stuff out of it with a big ladle and it’s falling down on us, and it’s money, so a lot of the women stop and get some. But most of us is fighting the devils. There’s lots of little devils our size, and we get them down all right and give them a beating. There’s lots of funny creatures round your feet, you don’t like to look, like rats and lizards, and nasty things, a bum with a face, and fish with legs, and faces on things that don’t have faces on. But they don’t hurt, you just keep going. Well we’d had worse, you see, we’d had the Spanish. We’d all had family killed. My big son die on a wheel. Birds eat him. My baby, a soldier run her through with a sword. I’d had enough, I was mad, I hate the bastards. I come out of my front door that morning and shout till my neighbours come out and I said, “Come on, we’re going where the evil come from and pay the bastards out.”And they all come out just as they was from baking or from washing in their aprons, and we push down the street and the ground opens up and we go through a big mouth into a street just like ours but in Hell. I’ve got a sword in my hand from somewhere and I fill a basket with gold cups they drink out of down there. You just keep running on and fighting, you didn’t stop for nothing. Oh we give them devils such a beating.
But I don’t wanna be charming and delightful: funny. What’s funny? I don’t wanna be funny. I wanna talk seriously with the rest of you, I don’t wanna spend the night takin’ the piss, comin’ on with the funnies because that’s the only way I can get into the conversation. I didn’t want to come to your house just to play the court jester.
But I don’t want to be myself. Me? What’s me? Some stupid woman who gives us all a laugh because she thinks she can learn, because she thinks one day she’ll be like the rest of them, talking seriously, confidently, with knowledge, livin’ a civilised life. Well, she can’t be like that really but bring her in because she’s good for a laugh!
I’m all right with you, here in this room; but when I saw those people you were with I couldn’t come in. I would have seized up. Because I’m a freak. I can’t talk to the people I live with anymore. An’ I can’t talk to the likes of them on Saturday, or them out there, because I can’t learn the language. I’m a half- caste. I went back to the pub where Denny was, an’ me mother, an’ our Sandra, an’ her mates. I’d decided I was n’t comin’ here again. I went into the pub an’ they were singin’, all of them singin’ some song they’d learnt from the juke- box. An’ I stood in that pub an’ thought, just what the frig am I trying to do? Why don’t I just pack it in an’ stay with them, an’ join in the singin’?
(Angrily) You think I can, don’t you? Just because you pass a pub doorway an’ hear the singin’ you think we’re all O.K., that we’re all survivin’, with the spirit intact. Well I did join in with the singin’, I didn’t ask any questions, I just went along with it. But when I looked round me mother had stopped singin’, an’ she was cryin’, but no one could get it out of her why she was cryin’. Everyone just said she was pissed an’ we should get her home. So we did, an’ on the way home I asked her why. I said, ‘Why are y’ cryin’, Mother?’ She said, ‘Because- because we could sing better songs than those.’ Ten minutes later Denny had her laughing and singing again, pretending she hadn’t said it. But she had. And that’s why I came back. And that’s why I’m staying.
You have no understanding, do you? You have comprehended – just – that I am tired of being your mistress and your solution is to conscript me into becoming your wife. It is not being a mistress I am tired of, John. I am tired of you. I do not wish to be your wife. I do not wish to be anyone’s wife. I wish to continue being the creature I am. I am no Nell Gwyn, I will not give up the stage as soon as a King or a Lord has seen me on it and, wishing me to be his and his alone, will then pay a fortune to keep me off it. I am not the sparrow you picked up in the roadside, my love. London walks into this theatre to see me – not George’s play nor Mr. Betterton. They want me and they want me over and over again. And when people desire you in such a manner, then you can envisage a steady river of gold lapping at your doorstep, not five pound here or there for pity or bed favours, not a noble’s ransom for holding you hostage from the thing you love, but a lifetime of money amassed through your own endeavours. That is riches. ‘Leave this gaudy, gilded stage’. You’re right, this stage is gilded. It is gilded with my future earnings. And I will not trade those for a dependency on you. I will not swap my certain glory for your undependable love.
English Monologues for Men
Do you wanna dance / I took her on the floor / the crystal ball smashed the light into a million pieces / a shattered lake at sunrise / the music welled up / and the lead guitarist / plugged into ten thousand watts zonging in our ears / callused thumb whipping chords / down the floor we skate / I push her thigh with mine / and backwards she goes to the gentle signal / no horse moved better / and I move my left leg which for a second leaves me hanging on her thigh / then she moves hers / swish / then she’s hanging on mine / like I am striding through the sea / our thighs clashing and slicing past each other like huge cathedral bells / whispering past flesh-encased nylon / feeling / all the time knees / pelvis / stomach / hands / fingertips / grip smell / moving interlocking fingers / ice floes melting / skin silk weft and warp / blood-red lips gleaming / pouting / stretching over her hard sharp and wicked-looking Hampsteads / words dripping out her red mouth gush like honey / I lap it up / odours rising from the planet of the flesh / gardens after light showers / hawthorn and wild mimosa / Woolie’s best / crushed fag ends / lipstick / powder / gin and tonic / all swarming together on one heavenly nerve-numbing swill / meanwhile huge mountains of aching fleshy worlds are drifting past each other holding their moons / colliding and drifting apart again / the light stings / the journey is over / the guitarist splattered in acne as the rude knife of light stabs him crushes his final shattering chord / the ball of fire stops / and I say thank you very much.
She abandoned them under a delusion, picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting on the false impressions she cherished. But, at last, I think she begins to know me: I don’t perceive the silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me at first; and the senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation and herself. It was a marvelous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her. I believed, at one time, no lessons could teach her that! And yet it is poorly learnt; for this morning she announced, as a piece of appalling intelligence, that I had actually succeeded in making her hate me! A positive labour of Hercules, I assure you! If it be achieved, I have cause to return thanks. Can I trust your assertion, Isabella? Are you sure you hate me? If I let you alone for half a day, won’t you come sighing and wheedling to me again? I daresay she would rather I had seemed all tenderness before you: it wounds her vanity to have the truth exposed. But I don’t care who knows that the passion was wholly on one side: and I never told her a lie about it. She cannot accuse me of showing one bit of deceitful softness. The first thing she saw me do, on coming out of the Grange, was to hang up her little dog; and when she pleaded for it, the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her, except one: possibly she took that exception for herself. But no brutality disgusted her: I suppose she has an innate admiration of it, if only her precious person were secure from injury! Now, was it not the depth of absurdity — of genuine idiocy, for that pitiful, slavish, mean-minded brach to dream that I could love her? Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life, met with such an abject thing as she is. She even disgraces the name of Linton; and I’ve sometimes relented, from pure lack of invention, in my experiments on what she could endure, and still creep shamefully cringing back! But tell him, also, to set his fraternal and magisterial heart at ease: that I keep strictly within the limits of the law. I have avoided, up to this period, giving her the slightest right to claim a separation; and, what’s more, she’d thank nobody for dividing us. If she desired to go, she might: the nuisance of her presence outweighs the gratification to be derived from tormenting her!
Allow me to be frank at the commencement: you will not like me. No, I say you will not. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Oh yes, I shall do things you will like. You will say ‘That was a noble impulse in him’ or ‘He played a brave part there,’ but DO NOT WARM TO ME, it will not serve. When I become a BIT OF A CHARMER that is your danger sign for it prefaces the change into THE FULL REPTILE a few seconds later. What I require is not your affection but your attention. I must not be ignored or you will find me a troublesome a package as ever pissed in the Thames. Now. Ladies. An announcement. (He looks around.) I am up for it. All the time. That’s not a boast. Or an opinion. It is bone hard medical fact. I put it around, d’y know? And you will watch me putting it around and sigh for it. Don’t. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse pointing up your petticoats. Gentlemen. (He looks around.) Do not despair, I am up for that as well. When the mood is on me. And the same warning applies. Now, gents: if there be vizards in the house, jades, harlots ( as how could there not be) leave them be for the moment. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag – and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down – I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. ‘Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shinning, livelong moment.’ That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, certainly no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I trust. I reiterate only for those who have arrived late or were buying oranges or were simply not listening: I am John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester and I do not want you to like me.
If you knew the algorithm and fed it back say ten thousand times, each time there’d be a dot somewhere on the screen. You’d never know where to expect the next dot. But gradually you’d start to see this shape, because every dot will be a mathematical object. But yes. The unpredictable and the predictable unfold together to make everything the way it is. it’s how nature creates itself, on every scale, the snowflake and the snowstorm. it makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing. People were talking about the end of physics. Relativity and quantum looked as if they were going to clean out the whole problem between them. A theory of everything. But they only explained the very big and the very small. The universe, the elementary particles. The ordinary-sizes stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about – clouds – daffodils – waterfall s- and what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in – these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks. We’re better at predicting events at the edge of the galaxy or inside the nucleus of an atom than whether it’ll rain on auntie’s garden party three Sundays from now. Because the problem turns out to be different. We can’t even predict the net drip from a dripping tap when it gets irregular. Each drip sets up the conditions for the next, the smallest variation blows prediction apart, and the weather is unpredictable the same way, will always be unpredictable. When you push the numbers through the computer you can see it on the screen. The future is disorder. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.
It’s to do with knowing and being known. I remember how it stopped seeming odd that in biblical Greek, knowing was used for making love. Whosit knew so-and-so. Carnal knowledge. It’s what lovers trust each other with. Knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of self, the real him, the real her, in extremis, the mask slipped from the face. Every other version of oneself is on offer to the public. We share our vivacity, grief, sulks, anger, joy . . . we hand it out to anybody who happens to be standing around, to friends and family with a momentary sense of indecency perhaps, to strangers without hesitation. Our lovers share us with the passing trade. But in pairs we insist that we give ourselves to each other. What selves? What’s left? What else is there that hasn’t been dealt out like a deck of cards? Carnal knowledge. Personal, final, uncompromised. Knowing, being known. I revere that. Having that is being rich, you can be generous about what’s shared – she walks, she talks, she laughs, she lends a sympathetic ear, she kicks off her shoes and dances on the tables, she’s everybody’s and it don’t mean a thing, let them eat cake; knowledge is something else, the undealt card, and while it’s held it makes you free-and-easy and nice to know, and when it’s gone everything is pain. Every single thing. Every object that meets the eye, a pencil, a tangerine, a travel poster. As if the physical world has been wired up to pass a current back to the part of your brain where imagination glows like a filament in a lobe no bigger than a toruch bulb. Pain.
If you have chosen a monologue and need a hand rehearsing the speech we discuss some audition tips in how to rehearse a monologue. If you have any other suggestions for Australian monologues let us know in a comment below.