Practice Monologues For Actors | Copyright Free Original Monlogues

Practice Monologues For Actors

Written by on | Monologues For Actors

Monologues are an invaluable part of an actor’s toolkit. They’re the things you’ll use to audition for drama school or for your next big part, and they’ll likely make up the bulk of your first demo reel. For this reason, choosing the right monologue is an art—and you’d be shocked by how many actors don’t bother to invest in this process. If you’ve ever found yourself searching for your monologue, and being bored by the same tired selections over and over and over, then this page is for you. Why not find something new? Something you can really put your own, personal stamp on?

This article contains a selection of copyright-free short monologues for actors. These monologues were developed by us, right here at StageMilk, in order to give you material you can use for auditions, demo reels, a showcase or even to perform in a drama class.

Along with the scripts themselves, we’ve included a few tips and tricks on performing monologues, a few reminders about script analysis and some other resources available on the StageMilk site. Whatever you need, we’ve got you covered!

Updated 23rd November, 2023.

Why Perform Copyright-Free Scripts?

It’s not something we tend to think about, but most scripts that you’ll encounter as an actor are protected by copyright. This means that you should technically be paying a writer for its use if you intend to record or perform it. However, as most actors aren’t using monologues or scenes for direct financial gain, there is a bit of legal wiggle room when it comes to using such material. It’s also extremely difficult to enforce copyright laws on every actor with a stack of photocopied monologues from their local library.

Our advice, however, is to have a think about where your scripts come from. If you can, find ways to support and respect the artists who wrote them. Can you buy their work in another form, or support them via a Patreon or the like? At the very least, can you try tagging them via social media or reaching out to them directly for permission? If you’ve found their work in a book you always use, consider getting it as a gift for an actor friend! Do your best to pay it forward when you can.

The good news is that this page is written with this conundrum directly in mind! These scripts are fair game, so you can work on them and perform them guilt free!

A Quick Note from a Writer

Hello! My name is Alexander Lee-Rekers; I’m a professional playwright and screenwriter, as well as the author of most of the scripts on this page. I hereby give you permission to use the scenes on this page for personal practice, as well as showreels and auditions. All I ask is that you credit my work—especially if you post it on social media. (If you’re feeling brave, you can tag me via @alexnobodyfamous so I can see what you do with it!) None of these scenes are to be recorded, filmed, staged, re-written, developed or adapted for professional purposes. Additionally, no learning institutions may use these materials in classes, for showreel/demo reel filming or any context wherein participants pay for their use (except for the good folk here at StageMilk). Legal stuff aside: go for it! 

Free Short Monologues For Actors

The following scenes have been purpose-written for actors to use in auditions, demo reels and showcases. The format of the scripts is the in-house formatting we use in our online Scene Club, which is actually where these scripts originated. If you like what you read, consider joining up for coaching sessions each month and the chance to read some fresh original material. You’ll hear it there, first!

We’ve included a few details on casting and performance on each script below, but feel free to take these more as guidelines than hard-and-fast rules. You’ll be the best judge of whether or not a script is right for you. And an age/gender swap/total disregard can be an excellent challenge!


CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Gayle tells her friend Diana about a strange encounter with her future husband.

Performance Notes: The challenge with this piece is to find the warmth and keep it fun. On the page, this story can sound quite threatening at times; how does the tone and delivery of Gayle’s storytelling comfort her listener Diana (and, by extension, the audience)? It’s worth mapping out the relationship between these characters to find the nuance in how they interact and feel around each other. The writing suggests a friendship, or at least a closeness, but can you be more specific? What changes when the dynamic between them changes?


BIRD’S EYE VIEW

Genre: Drama
Length: 3 mins
Synopsis: A detective tries to coax a confession out of a silent suspect.

Performance Notes: Sandy’s a good detective. More than that, she’s a natural performer. Ask yourself what her tactic is before she goes into this room with this young offender. What’s the game plan? Does she expect him to be a certain way: angry? Apologetic? Nervous? Spend time looking at the given circumstances of this scene, as well as map out what has come before. Without the writer’s express say-so, it’s up to you to fill in the gaps as best you can.


PORCELAIN FROGS

Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 – 2 mins
Synopsis: Emma makes a bold move, asking out the sales clerk at the porcelain frog shop.

Performance Notes: The action of this scene is pretty low stakes on the page. For the protagonist Emma, it’s a pretty major turning point. Not only do they finally ask out the person they’ve fallen for, they summon the courage to do so. In some ways, this second point is more impactful than the first! In this scene, remember to ‘check in’ with your scene partner. How are they taking this declaration? Are they amused? Horrified? Happy? Use their reactions to navigate your way through the scene.


VENICE

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 min
Synopsis: Karen, a waitress in a middle-of-nowhere cafe, rehearses what she’s going to tell her boss in order to secure time off for a much-needed holiday.

Performance Notes: Consider the given circumstances of this scene: where Karen is, what time it is, where she’s come from and where she’s going. There’s plenty of context that can be suggested to the audience by how she delivers this speech. It’s also worth putting some consideration into her scene partner. Who is Cal? Are Karen and Cal close? Finally, play with the fact that Karen is ‘performing’ what she’s going to say. How does this differ from her usual way of speaking with somebody?


RED PATTERN

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Tyson returns home with a present for his wife and a story about a strange ordeal at a department store.

Performance Notes: There is a lot to be done in determining character relationships in this monologue. Are they close, or have they been having problems for a while now. More importantly: is Tyson’s admission a shock to his wife, or something she suspected? Think about how Tyson’s wife is receiving this information and reacting—and remind yourself that a monologue is still a scene between two people, even if only one character gets to speak.


MR. JENKINS AND MY MOTHER

Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 – 2 mins
Synopsis: Gus relays a painful childhood memory to his therapist about a beloved talking teddy bear.

Performance Notes: Spend time on the moment before this monologue. What has the therapist said to prompt this discussion about Mr. Jenkins? Why hasn’t Gus brought this painful memory up before? When playing Gus, be sure to play with imagery: help us see what you do when you relay this memory, and help us experience not only the story, but how you feel when recounting it.


BRITTLE

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 – 2 mins
Synopsis: Gemma talks about her life working in a shop after an unspecified personal ordeal.

Performance Notes: The writer has left plenty of room in this monologue for you to really build the character and world of Gemma as you see fit. Work out the facts you have to play with in the scene by studying the text, and ask questions around those to fill in the gaps and make this speech feel real. Who is Gemma speaking to? Where do they work? What’s happened in their life that got them to this moment?


THE MONEY DANCE

Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 min
Synopsis: Greta justifies quitting their job to a horrified housemate.

Performance Notes: Comedy is often about the clash between the mundane and extraordinary: a ridiculous character in a normal world, or the only sane person in a land of madness. Greta considers herself firmly as the latter. Work to making her piece feel grounded, play to the urgency of the situation and her objective of convincing her housemate. The funny will come naturally.


GUTTING FISH

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Out on a fishing trip, Ian tries to connect with his step-son on the troubled topic of fatherhood.

Performance Notes: Take your time with this one. Ian’s approach might not be perfect, but it’s the best he could possibly come up with given the problem he’s facing. Imagery is going to help with this piece, not just in the telling of Ian’s memories about his own father, but in conveying how these memories make him feel. Finally, don’t forget Zack in all of this. While the story is about Ian’s father, it’s far more about his present, and what this could mean for his future with his son. Don’t get lost in the past.


FERRIS WHEEL

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Hank tells a loved one about an occurrence in their childhood, and how that has since affected their outlook on living.

Performance Notes: Weird piece, huh? Just as the audience might be thrown by that first line, it’s up to you to think about who the person you’re speaking to in the scene might take it. Are they surprised? Did they already know? Is this a speech you give them a lot? As with any monologue, remember that your job is to communicate ideas to your scene partner, so have an objective in mind with this piece. Why are you telling them these things? To amuse them? To comfort them? To apologise?


FESS UP

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 – 2 mins
Synopsis: Gripe talks to Olly in an alley behind a bar … full of questions and thoughts about a recent police interview.

Performance Notes: What’s happened before this scene? What incident is Gripe talking about? It’s up to you to answer this (using clues from the writer via script analysis) and keep it in mind throughout the scene. It’s also worth thinking about how truthful Gripe is being: about their involvement in the crime, what really happened at the police station. Finally, what is their objective in this moment? What do they want from Olly?


FRIENDSHIP by Andrew Hearle

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Sam talks to an old friend, Mary, at the grave of their mutual friend Essie.

Performance Notes: Despite this being a monologue, there are actually three characters to consider in this piece: Sam, Mary and Essie. Consider mapping out their relationships, plotting out their personal histories and working out what might have happened to bring them to this place. How did Essie die? Did Sam and Mary have anything to do with it? Had Sam and Mary planned to run into each other in this scene? Also, take note of the line breaks in this scene: why has the writer broken the dialogue into the chunks they have? Can they denote different ideas, attitudes or actions?


BORING SEX DREAM

Genre: Comedy
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Althea relays an interesting dream to her ex-partner Chris at a pub.

Performance Notes: Althea’s dream gives us direct access to her subconscious; for this reason the monologue is great for letting you tap directly into a character and get a sense of them unfiltered. At the same time, you’ll need to make a call on whether or not this encounter has a hidden motive. Is Althea really over Chris? And if not, is she even aware of this fact? This monologue grants plenty of opportunities for you to ‘check in’ with the character of Chris. How does he take this information? What’s he doing: laughing, frowning, squirming, checking his phone? And how do his reactions make Althea change the tack of her words so that she still gets what she wants?


ROPE CAMP

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Mack confronts a childhood acquaintance at a book signing.

Performance Notes: Before you tackle with anything else in this scene, consider the given circumstances. Where is it set? Who else is around? How might the setting make Mack feel? Let these modifiers play into how this scene is spoken—it’s very important that a monologue such as this feels informed by the world of the story, and doesn’t simply play out in a vacuum. Also worth consideration is the veracity of Mack’s claims. Is he remembering things correctly? Or has he buried some uncomfortable truths that are just now bubbling up to the surface… Don’t be afraid for this piece to feel menacing.


END OF A CHAPTER

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 min
Synopsis: “Entrepreneur” Murray is mid-break-up with his partner, and is trying to convince her to stay.

Performance Notes: In a fairly fun reversal of “The Money Dance” (above) Murray is a ridiculous character in a normal world. The key to playing this successfully, however, is for him to believe the exact opposite is true. He is certain he’s got this right, he’s going to be taken seriously and be vindicated! So play the truth in this scene. Murray is engaging in some high stakes relationship work, here. The more natural and normal you can make it sound, the more hilarious the end result will be!


THE FACE AT THE WINDOW

Genre: Drama/Horror
Length: 2 – 3 mins
Synopsis: When paranormal investigators visit Megan at her place of work, they bring up a traumatic memory of a ghostly encounter.

Performance Notes: Try t0 track the shift in Megan during this scene as she finds herself thinking back to her childhood. What starts out as simply telling a story ends up with her back there—in the memory—which clearly still has its claws in her. Also worth consideration are her scene partners. She says a lot of people come in asking her about the face at the window. What makes these two different? Of all the times the writer could have chosen to show her telling this story to people coming in, why is today different?


OVERDRAWN

Genre: Comedy
Length:
2 mins
Synopsis:
Hal relays a stressful encounter at the local bank, that may just end in a robbery.

Performance Notes: To truly play the comedy of Hal’s predicament, look for the tragedy. While the monologue is amusing, it’s also the story of the worst day of their life. As they retell what happened, keep them in that moment that has them feeling helpless, breathless and looking forward to the future. What are the stakes of this scene? What do they stand to win or lose having experienced this ordeal?

Tips for Performing Monologues

Once you’ve selected a piece that resonates with you, it’s worth considering a few of the below points before diving in. Most importantly: these monologues do not come from larger works. Whatever you can learn about these stories is all you have to work with. And hey, this might be scary for you to consider. You can’t look at the end of the script or watch the movie to answer a question about the scene or the character. Context be damned!

But what this actually means is that you have the chance to put a personal spin on the piece. Anything you can extrapolate from the text is fair game to build your performance on. So engage in some script analysis and ask questions that will give some depth to the world.

Know who you’re speaking to in the scene. Just because a monologue is one character talking doesn’t mean you don’t want something from the person you’re talking to. Who is that? And what about their identity modifies the words? We talk differently to an enemy than we do a friend, or a lover, or a police officer, or an auntie. Work out who you’re speaking to and communicate with them. Connect!

Consider your actions and objective. Your objective is what you want from your scene partner: it’s the reason your character shows up in the first place. Your actions are the tactics you play to get what you want. Plot them out and play them until you’ve exhausted that particular tactic, then pivot to something else. Threatening somebody not working? Try flirting, or bargaining, or distracting…

Additional Monologue Resources

There you have it: custom-written, original monologues for you to bring to life! If you’re still looking for other options, or would love to do some further reading on the subject, take a look at the additional resources below.

For additional monologue material:

Finally, we have some additional copyright-free original scenes available at: Practice Scripts for Actors. Both of these pages are updated regularly, so be sure to keep checking in for any fresh material.

Good luck!

 

About the Author

Alexander Lee-Rekers

Alexander Lee-Rekers is a Sydney-based writer, director and educator. He graduated from NIDA in 2017 with a Masters in Writing for Performance, and his career across theatre and television has seen him tackling projects as diverse as musical theatre, Shakespeare and Disney. He is the co-founder of theatre company Ratcatch (The Van De Maar Papers, The Linden Solution) and co-director of Bondi Kids Drama, a boutique drama school offering classes to young people in the Eastern Suburbs. Alexander is drawn to themes of family, ambition, failure and legacy: how human nature can flit with ease between compassion and cruelty. He also likes Celtic fiddle, mac & cheese and cats.

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