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July 8, 2011 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Really good recent monologues/soliloquies in plays?

This is partly because I feel like I need a crash course in contemporary theatre, but what are some exceptionally good monologues/soliloquies? From, say, the last 50 years?

I don't really mind genre but I am very interested in the character building/revealing process that happens within a monologue so anything along those lines would be great.

One exception: there's a certain kind of one-man-show where it's more about giving a collection of stories loosely linked together like the Vagina monologues or any kind of stand-up. While this can be very smart and funny, I'm more interested in the 'theatrical' variety of monologue than the 'I'm just going to tell you a funny thing that happened to me' kind.
posted by litleozy to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The second act of The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh opens with Pato giving a wonderful monologe, reciting the letter he's writing to Maureen back in Ireland.
posted by essexjan at 5:34 AM on July 8, 2011

There are several great soliloquies in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. This one, from the movie adaptation, almost won Alec Baldwin an oscar.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:54 AM on July 8, 2011

It's on the hairy edge of your timeline, but there's a fairly well-known monologue in Edward Albee's The Zoo Story.
posted by jquinby at 5:55 AM on July 8, 2011

My mate got into NIDA doing a monologue from this.
posted by evil_esto at 6:20 AM on July 8, 2011

a few good men, it's a play now, and the monologue by Jessep is great...

heres a good DB of monologues http://notmyshoes.net/monologues/#omd

another good DB: http://www.playdatabase.com/mono_adv_search.asp
posted by fozzie33 at 6:49 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

David Hirson's La Bete opens with a half-hour monologue from the eponymous central protagonist. It is an awe-inspiring thing to witness.
posted by londonmark at 6:53 AM on July 8, 2011

Holy cow fozzie33 that is awesome! Thanks everyone for their answers so far: all good and keep 'em coming!
posted by litleozy at 7:08 AM on July 8, 2011

Gems to be found in Conor McPherson's "The Weir" and "The Seafarer"
posted by mizrachi at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2011

This is more just a long bit of talking within a dialogue, but there's a great little speech delivered by Al Pacino starting around 4:10 here, from Tony Kushner's Angels in America. This HBO version is almost identical to Kushner's original text for the stage.
posted by skwt at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2011

Are you looking to use it as an audition piece? Because that would require me to ask age/gender/etc. Just because a monologue is a great monologue doesn't mean it's a great monologue for you.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 10:15 AM on July 8, 2011

a few good men, it's a play now,

Just to be clear, it was a play first - produced on Broadway in 1989.

Violet Weston has a couple of great monologues in Tracy Lett's August: Osage County.

Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine is a one woman play, so it's all monologue - but there's a particularly good one about her meeting Costas, a Greek Fisherman.
posted by crossoverman at 5:12 AM on July 10, 2011

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