Let’s take a look at something I find relatively foolish, to say the least and that is this question, “How many monologues should you really know?”
Okay, the idea of having 10, 20 or even 30 monologues good and ready to go is absolutely preposterous. Honestly, who has time for that? By the time you learn 10 monologues, let’s say, you would have spent God knows how long missing out on auditions and getting yourself out there! =)
Let’s keep it real here for a second. Why can’t you learn one damn good monologue? Why not start there? Just a single monologue folks. That’s all. Better yet, why not have the monologue be a serio-comedy piece? You have more flexibility and can reveal light and dark elements of character inside of one monologue audition.
Now, you can certainly make time to learn a classical piece for either comedy or drama or a contemporary piece which can also be a comedy or a drama. That’s a grand total of four monologues, which in my view, works out just fine. Keep each one between 1-2 minutes in length and you are good to go. You may not care about doing classical theatre, so, that knocks you back down to having two monologues, unless of course, you want to develop more and that’s fine as well. BTW, you should do classical theatre. =)
If your monologue gets stale, drop it and learn a new one. It’s that simple. You do not need to keep an entire catalogue of monologues in your personal audition repertoire. Have a few and hustle, that’s what gets the job done and will book you work.
All this other ridiculousness about learning 20+ monologues is what you call, wasting your actor time. The point I’m steering on here is that you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with the burden of learning so many damn monologues. Why do you need that pressure? Doesn’t learning one monologue demand much of your time, let alone one or two DOZEN?? Let go of the excessiveness and zero in on the accuracy.
Actors need to come out of the gate, you can’t be cooped up for twenty years trying to master monologues. Learn a few and get going…really.