Our List of the Best Monologues from America
Are you looking for American monologues? Well you’ve come to the right place. We have put together a list of American monologues for men and women that we absolutely love. All the monologues listed here are from reputable plays and would work really well for auditions or acting practice. Make sure you always read the play before you perform any monologue. It’s useful to pick a monologue that is close to your age and not too far removed from who you are. It’s great to challenge yourself as an actor, but in an early audition stage it’s preferable to do something simple.
American Monologues for Women
Honey, I don’t want to hurt you. I want to change you. I want to make you see that there is some value in life, that there is some beauty, some tenderness, some things worth reacting to. Some things worth feeling. But you’ve got to take some chances some time! What do you want out of life? Just survival? It’s not enough! Its not, not, not enough! I am not going to have a surviving marriage. I’m going to have a flourishing marriage! I’m a woman! Or, by Jesus, it’s about time I became one. I want a family! Oh, Christ, Alfred, this is my wedding day. I want – want to be married to a big, strong, protective, vital, virile, self-assured man. Who I can protect and take care of. Alfred, honey, you’re the first man I’ve ever gone to bed with where I didn’t feel he was a lot more likely to get pregnant than I was. You owe me something! I’ve invested everything I believe in you. You’ve got to let me mould you. Please let me mould you. You’ve got me whining, begging and crying. I’ve never behaved like this in my life. Will you look at this? That’s a tear. I never cried in my life.
Professor, I came here as a favour. At your personal request. Perhaps I
should not have done so. But I did. On my behalf, and on behalf of my
group. And you speak of the tenure committee, one of whose members is a
woman, as you know. And though you might call it Good Fun, or An
Historical Phrase, or An Oversight, or All of the Above, to refer to the
committee as Good Men and True, it is a demeaning remark. It is a sexist
remark, and to overlook it is to countenance continuation of that method of
thought. You love the Power. I’m sorry. You feel yourself empowered …
you say so yourself. To strut. To posture. To “perform.” To call me in
here…” Eh? You say that higher education is a joke. And treat it as such,
you treat it as such. And confess to a taste to play the Patriarch in your
class. To grant this. To deny that. To embrace your students. And you
think it’s charming to “question” in yourself this taste to mock and destroy.
But you should question it. Professor. And you pick those things which you
feel advance you: publication, tenure, and the steps to get them you call
“harmless rituals.” And you perform those steps. Although you say it is
hypocrisy. But to the aspirations of your students. Of hardworking
students, who come here, who slave to come here – you have no idea what
it cost me to come to this school – you mock us. You call education
“hazing” and from your so-protected, so-elitist seat you hold our confusion
as a joke, and hopes and efforts with it. Then you sit there and say “what
have I done?” And ask me to understand that you have aspirations too. But
I tell you. I tell you. That you are vile. And that you are exploitative. And if
you possess one ounce of that inner honesty you describe in your book, you
can look in yourself and see those things that I see. And you can find
revulsion equal to my own. Good Day.
(she prepares to leave the room)
I will! I will dream on. Because that is exactly what I am talking about. My
dreams. Which you do not know. And which you don’t think are important
enough to know. Do you think this body is something? What a joke! Any great
poet the last three thousand years will tell you what a joke that is! This stuff,
this flesh, this heavy breathing … We have this aptitude in our hearts and
brains and souls to arrive at something so rich and inflamed and unspeakable
and sacred and New! Not this tired shit you want to foist on me. That’s not
what I want. I won’t give up my standards! I know what I know. If I tried to live
on the kind of things you’re offering me, I’d starve to death. You’ve got to dig
for treasure, Duke! Not settle for the stuff just lying out on the ground. You
could sleep with me if you weren’t so god damn lazy and narcissistic and were
willing to exert yourself a little and show some interest in the actual core of
another human being! But you will not sleep with me because I will not
perform a stupid mechanical pantomime, like I was trying and failing to
remember something fine, something from a better world, something alien
and beautiful and lost! What, you look vacant, don’t you get it? I’ll give it to
you in a nutshell. I’ll give it to you in basic modern American: I’m not
interested in the hardware without the software. Look, let’s just let this fall
apart, okay? Don’t hang around for the sake of neatness. I’ll get the check. It
was worth that much to me to have my say
American Monologues for Men
I’m weak. That’s what I basically learned from our time together. I am a weak person,
and I don’t know if I can overcome that. No, maybe I do know. Yeah. I do know that I
am, and I can’t… overcome it, I mean. I think you are an amazing woman, I honestly do.
And I really love what we’ve had here. Our time together… But I think that we’re very
different people. Not just who we are- jobs or that kind of thing- but it does play into it
as well. Factors in. We probably should’ve realized this earlier, but I’ve been so happy
being near you that I just sorta overlooked it and went on. I did. But I feel it coming up
now, more and more, and I just think- No, that’s bullshit, actually, the whole work thing.
Forget it. (Beat.) I’m just, I feel that we should maybe stop before we get too far. It’s
weird to say this, because in many ways I’m already in so deep. Care about you a lot,
and that makes it superhard. But- I guess I do care what my peers think about me. Or
how they view my choices and, yes, maybe that makes me not very deep, or petty, or
some other word, hell, I don’t know! It’s my Achilles flaw or something. It doesn’t
matter. What I’m sure of is this- we need to stop. Stop seeing each other or going out or
anything like that. Because I know now how weak I am and that I’m not really deserving
of you, of all you have to offer me. I can see that now. Helen… things are so tricky, life is.
I want to be better… to do good and better things and to make a proper sort of decision
here, but I… I can’t.
Now hear this, Willy, this is me. You know why I had no address for three months? I stole a suit in Kansas City and I was jailed. I stole myself out of every good job since high school. And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is! It’s goddamn time you heard that! I had to be boss big shot in two weeks, and I’m through with it! Willy! I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today. And suddenly I stopped, you hear me? And in the middle of that office building, do you hear this? I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw – the sky. I saw the things that I love in the world. The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! Why can’t I say that, Willy? Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you! I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash-can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy! I tried seven states and couldn’t raise it! A buck an hour! Do you gather my meaning? I’m not bringing home any prizes any more, and you’re going to stop waiting for me to bring them home! Pop, I’m nothing! I’m nothing, Pop. Can’t you understand that? There’s no spite in it any more. I’m just what I am, that’s all. Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phoney dream and burn it before something happens?
I was gonna run last night. I was gonna run and keep right on running. Clear to the Iowa border. I drove all night with the windows open. The old man’s two bucks flapping right on the seat beside me. It never stopped raining the whole time. Never stopped once. I could see myself in the windshield. My face. My eyes. I studied my face. Studied everything about it as though I was looking at another man. As though I could see his whole race behind him. Like a mummy’s face. I saw him dead and alive at the same time. In the same breath. In the windshield I watched him breathe as though he was frozen in time and every breath marked him. Marked him forever without him knowing. And then his face changes. His face became his father’s face. Same bones. Same eyes. Same nose. Same breath. And his father’s face changes to his grandfather’s face. And it went on like that. changing. Clear on back to faces I’d never seen before but still recognized. Still recognized the bones underneath. Same eyes. Same mouth. Same breath. I followed my family clear into Iowa. Every last one. Straight into the corn belt and further. Straight back as far as they’d take me. Then it all dissolved. Everything dissolved. Just like that. And that two bucks kept right on flapping on the seat beside me.
And we walked right through town. Past the donut shop, past the miniature golf course, past the Chevron station. And he opened the bottle up and offered it to me. Before he even took a drink, he offered it to me first. And I took it and drank it and handed it back to him. And we just kept passing it back and forth like that as we walked until we drank the whole thing dry. And we never said a word the whole time. Then, finally, we reached this little white house with a red awning, on the far side of town. I’ll never forget the red awning because it flapped in the night breeze and the porch light made it glow. It was a hot, desert breeze and the air smelt like new-cut alfalfa. We walked right up to the front porch and he rang the bell and I remember getting real nervous because I wasn’t expecting to visit anybody. I though we were just out for a walk. And then this woman comes to the door. This real pretty woman with red hair. And she throws herself into his arms. And he starts crying. He just breaks down right there in front of me. And she’s kissing him all over the face and holding him real tight and he’s just crying like a baby. And then through the doorway, behind them both, I see this girl. She just appears. She’s just standing there, staring at me and I’m staring back at her and we can’t take our eyes off each other. It was like we knew each other from somewhere but we couldn’t place where. But the second we saw each other, that very second, we knew we’d never stop being in love.
Isn’t the world full of wonderful things. There we sit cooped up in Yonkers for years and years and all the time wonderful people like Mrs Molloy are walking around in New York and we don’t know them at all. I don’t know whether – from where you’re sitting – you can see – well, for instance, the way (pointing to the edge of his right eye) her eye and forehead and cheek come together, up here. Can you? And the kind of fireworks that shoot out of her eyes all the time. I tell you right now: a fine woman is the greatest work of God. You can talk all you like about Niagara Falls and the Pyramids; they aren’t in it at all. Of course, up there at Yonkers they came into the store all the time, and bought this and that, and I said “Yes, ma’am”, and “That’ll be seventy-five cents, ma’am”; and I watched them. But today I’ve talked to one, equal to equal, equal to equal, and to the finest one that ever existed, in my opinion. They’re so different from men! Everything that they say and do is so different that you feel like laughing all the time. (he laughs) Golly, they’re different from men. And they’re awfully mysterious, too. You never can be really sure what’s going on in their heads. They have a kind of wall around them all the time – of pride and a sort of play-acting: I bet you could know a woman a hundred years without ever being really sure whether she liked you or not. This minute I’m in danger. I’m in danger of losing my job and my future and everything that people think is important; but I don’t care. Even if I have to dig ditches for the rest of my life, I’ll be a ditch-digger who once had a wonderful day.
Once you have chosen a monologue you will need a hand rehearsing the speech. We discuss some audition tips in how to rehearse a monologue. If you have any other suggestions for great American monologues let us know in a comment below.
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is made up of young professional actors and writers from around the world. This team includes Andrew Hearle, Luke McMahon, Indiana Kwong, Patrick Cullen and many more. We all work together to contribute useful articles and resources for actors at all stages in their careers.