What comic monologues for women--either from your plays or others--would you recommend?

Ken,

First of all, I absolutely adore your plays! You have some awesome work out there! I have been looking for a monologue that is either comedic or has good meaning and I thought of your plays immediately. I am a young girl, but I am currently cast as a young woman in her 30'sll_Meg-and-Leo.jpg (Meg in "Leading Ladies") and have often played older roles. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions as far as monologues either from your plays or others.

It is so cool that you have a website and email link set up like this! Sometimes it is difficult finding good monologues for performance, and who better to ask than a playwright? You have some great plays that I thought you may be able to suggest a monologue from one off the top of your head, but as part of being a good playwright I know you also have a wide range of play knowledge. Thank you again for the feedback!

Heather


Ken replies:

Dear Heather,

Thank you so much for your email. I’d be delighted to suggest some monologues. You’ll know which ones fit your needs best, so they’re not in any special order.

First, there are three monologues from my play Leading Ladies which might fit the bill.

1. One possibility begins on page 55 of the Samuel French edition, in which Meg first meets Leo starting with “Oh how do you do." To make it nice and full, you should put the two speeches together and ignore the interruption. You should play her utter astonishment at meeting her hero, which makes her tongue-tied -- but then everything she’s thinking just pours out of her anyway.

2. Towards the end of Act 2 when Leo as Maxine gives Meg a pep-talk. Because it’s for a man who’s playing a woman, that might be fun to do as a woman playing a man playing a woman.

3. A third possibility is Audrey’s speech on page 97 of the Sam French edition. It begins, “Oh my gosh!” It’s the moment in the play where Audrey has met the imposters at the party off stage and saves the day. She recounts the fact that the police arrested the imposters which clears the way for Leo and foils Duncan.

Olivia%20and%20Oberon%20Small.jpgThere is also a possibility from my play Shakespeare in Hollywood when Olivia first meets Oberon on page 31 of the Samuel French edition, beginning with, “Thank you for hiding me” and ending with the words, “do you see?” and eliminating the three interruptions from Oberon.
In addition, here are a few of my favorite comic monologues for women in Shakespeare:

1. The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mistress Page, Act 2 scene 1, the very beginning of the scene, when she reads the letter from John Falstaff. The monologue begins, "What, have I ‘scaped love letters in the holiday time of my beauty," and ends with "puddings".

2. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena, Act 1 Scene 1, beginning with, “How happy some o’er other some can be” on line 226, and ending on line 251.

3. Also from The Dream, Titania in Act II, Scene 1, beginning with the line, “These are forgeries of jealousy…” (It’s not really comic per se, but it stems from the great nature-changing argument at the center of the plot and it’s so gorgeous that it transcends categories. But it’s not one where you’ll get laughs. But you will from the others!)

4. Twelfth Night, Viola, Act 2, scene 2, beginning on line 18, when Viola says, "I left no ring with her. What means this lady?" and ends with, “it is too hard a knot for me to untie.” This is perhaps my favorite monologue in all of Shakespeare.

5. Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice, Act III, scene 4, the sonnet that beings, “What fire is in mine ears..." (Also short on laughs but long on beauty.)

I hope you find some of these suggestions useful.

Best of luck with your upcoming auditions!

Warm regards,

Ken

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