This post is yet again bringing up topic of which Shakespeare monologues you can do at your drama school auditions. This is a popular topic of conversation and blog post but I believe it is still needed because we are still seeing the same monologues and there is still some fear of searching for different monologues. Please remember this is just from my experiences and research so you may have different thoughts, if you do then comment or something and then people can see this and take it into account.
What I have done is gone through my wonderful book ‘Alternative Shakespeare Auditions for Women’ from Simon Dunmore and done some research of my own and come up with a few lists. I do love a list! I hope that some of this helps but you will still need to do a lot of work of your own, you need to find one that you really like and is appropriate for you while also contrasting your modern monologue.
Here I have gone through the lists from Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Italia Conti to give you an idea of the most overused speeches and the lesser used ones.
- ‘The Winters Tale’ is not used very much and Paulina has a speech which is on both LIPAs list and Centrals.
- Cressida is sadly used A LOT and by that I mean there will usually be at least 3 people that you talk to who have learnt it as their speech or a back up. I learnt this one this year as I really like it but I kind of regret that now because it is used so much 😦 It is on all three lists.
- At LIPA I didn’t speak to anyone who did Isabella from ‘Measure for Measure’ but I did see/meet a couple of Queen Katherines from ‘Henry VIII’ and Queen Margarets from ‘Henry VI Part II’.
- As well as what I mentioned before at Central I haven’t seen much of Portia from ‘Julius Caesar’, Ophelia from ‘Hamlet’.
- From Italia Contis list the least used one would be Queen from ‘Richard II’ but then do remember playing age and other bits and bobs.
- The plays that are used a lot on the lists are ‘As You Like It’, ‘King Lear’, ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Henry VI Parts I, II and III’ ( along with other history plays), ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Troilus and Cressida’.
FROM SIMON DUNMORES BOOK
In the book there are many less used or constructed speeches and some of them are very good, however the book was published in 1997 so some things have changed. Cressida is listed in this book as a barely used speech where as now it is one of the most popular choices and some of the pieces on the list of speeches too often used are now less used. This is where opinions may differ, if you feel a speech is used a lot or that it isn’t used that much and I haven’t included it then do tell me.
The Often Used Speeches- These are the ones I haven’t heard spoken about.
- Imogen from ‘Cymbeline’
- Constance from ‘King John’
- The Jailers Daughter from ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’
- Hermione from ‘The Winter’s Tale’
Less Used Speeches From the Book- These are the ones Dunmore suggests are less used.
- Diana from ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’
- Doll Tearsheet from ‘Henry IV Part II’
- The Princess of France from ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’
- Rosaline from ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’
- Dionyza from ‘Pericles’
- Silvia from ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’
In conclusion… what I have written here is not the be all and end all, I would again encourage you to go further and do more research on these pieces and other ones. There is a lot of criteria these pieces need to tick and it is different for everyone so what may work for you won’t work for someone else. A blog post I recommend you read is linked here and has some good advice about Shakespeare monologues and will be helpful if you are a bloke looking at monologues as most, if not all, of what I have just written is pretty useless to you.
I hope this has been helpful to you.
P.S. I have posted about Shakespeare in general before. The link below is the post if you are interested at all.