A different audition monologue…

Monday, I posted some female audition monologues. Today, I’m going to do something a little different.

Last year, I was prepping to audition for two Shakespearean plays, and for each they wanted a monologue that displayed both comedic and dramatic skills, all within two minutes.

What to do?

I figured that I couldn’t find a single monologue in which I could do both, so I figured I’d create a Franken-speech, one that would incorporate two plays (which was allowed) and thus the two different objectives.

But I wanted them to be linked thematically, so that they’d fit together. But what theme? I thought of valor, maybe Falstaff from 1 Henry IV and then Henry in Henry V. That might work. But the more I thought about it, my mind turned to sex (big surprise, I know).

I thought about some of the more bawdy plays, figuring I could find some comic stuff there, and maybe a problem play for the dramatic angle. And sure enough, I found two interesting takes on virginity.

First is from the opening scene of All’s Well That Ends Well: Parolles’ appeal (if it can be called that) to Helena to cast aside her virgin state–not necessarily to him, though he’d be glad to take it off her hands if need be. He’s a buffoon (and a cowardly one, we learn later), and though his argument is laughable, his logic does run consistently through the piece.

It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. … Virginity by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever lost: … ’tis against the rule of nature. To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. …
Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese; consumes itself to the very paring, and so dies with feeding his own stomach.
Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon.
Keep it not… out with ‘t!


The second comes from Act Two, Scene Four of Measure for Measure, after Angelo has made his demand of Isabella’s virginity. She refuses then threatens to expose him and his hypocrisy, and his response is brutal.

Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil’d name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report
And smell of calumny. I have begun,
And now I give my sensual race the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Lay by all nicety and prolix-ous blushes,
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance. Answer me tomorrow,
Or, by the-affection that now guides me most,
I’ll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true.


I thought they worked together pretty well, especially as the end of the Parolles piece had be walking away from the director, but when I turned back I was a different character, the more despicable Angelo.

Maybe Friday, I’ll dive into the vocab and scansion of each just for giggles. If I do, I’ll probably show how I cut both from their respective plays (Angelo was a straightforward lift, Parolles comes actually from a dialogue).

Regardless, like I said the other day, just thought I’d share…

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