In this article, we will be gearing all our suggestions from plays towards monologues for queer actors. Until the last century, LQBTQ+ artists and stories were by-and-large hidden, silenced and outlawed within the wider theatre community. Considering many great writers from Tennessee Williams to Lorraine Hansberry to Oscar Wilde to even Shakespeare would today characterize themselves as a part of the queer community, the influence LGTBQ+ voices have had on the history of storytelling is clear and vital. The early 20th century in America saw the beginning of inclusion with works like The Drag by Mae West, though opposed by authorities, playing to great success among NY audiences. Since that time, many plays centering around queer narratives have cemented themselves as pillars of the American Theatre.
We’ve selected some monologues for queer actors from some of these plays, in the hopes that you can use them in an audition room. They are strong, beautiful and complicated pieces and we recommend preparing them in detail before using them. So start today, and when you nail one of these pieces, you’ll be sure that the audition room won’t forget you.
MONOLOGUES FOR QUEER ACTORS
ANGELS IN AMERICA
In this monologue, Joe begs his wife, Harper, to stay with him even though she knows he is attracted to men. They are both Mormons. Age Range: 25-35
JOE: Stay. We can fix it. I pray for that. I pray for God to crush me, break me up into little pieces and start all over again…I had a book of Bible stories when I was a kid. There was a picture I’d look at twenty times every day: Jacob wrestles with the angel. I don’t really remember the story, or why the wrestling—just the picture. Jacob is young and very strong. The angel is . . . a beautiful man, with golden hair and wings, of course. I still dream about it. Many nights. I’m . . . It’s me. In that struggle. Fierce, and unfair. The angel is not human, and it holds nothing back, so how could anyone human win, what kind of a fight is that? It’s not just. Losing means your soul thrown down in the dust, your heart torn out from God’s. But you can’t not lose.
ANGELS IN AMERICA
In this monologue, Louis refuses to believe that his lover, Joe, works for nefarious Lawyer, Roy Cohn. His friend, Belize, has shared this info. He also confides his regret over leaving his sick partner, Prior. Age Range: 25-35
LOUIS: You have always hated me. Because you are in love with Prior and you were when I met him and he fell in love with me, and so now you cook up this . . . I mean how do you know this? That Joe and Roy Cohn are— I don’t believe you. Not . . . Roy Cohn. Joe wouldn’t—Not Roy Cohn. He’s, he’s like the polestar of human evil, he’s like the worst human being who ever lived, the, the damage he’s done, the years and years of, of . . . criminality, that whole era, that— Give me fucking credit for something, please, some little moral shred of, of, of something, OK sure I fucked up, I fucked up everything, I didn’t want to, to face what I needed to face, what life was insisting I face but I don’t know, I’ve always, I’ve always felt you had to, to take action, not sit, not to be, to be trapped, um, stuck, paralyzed by— Even if it’s hard, or really terrifying, or even if it does damage, you have to keep moving, um, forward, instead of— I can’t just, you know, sit around feeling shit, or feeling like shit, I . . . cry way too easily, I fall apart, I’m no good unless I, I strike out at— Which is easy because I’m so fucking furious at my— So I fucked up spectacularly, totally, I’ve ruined my life, and his life, I’ve hurt him so badly but but still, even I, even I am not so utterly lost inside myself that I— I wouldn’t, um, ever, like, sleep with someone who . . . someone who’s Roy Cohn’s . . . Oh no.
ANGELS IN AMERICA
In this monologue, Prior defends the future of humanity and his own life against the proposition of the angels that the world is coming to an inevitably depressing end. Age Range: 25-35
We can’t just stop. We’re not rocks. Progress, migration, motion is . . . modernity. It’s animate, it’s what living things do. We desire. Even if all we desire is stillness, it’s still desire for. (On “for” he makes a motion with his hand: starting one place, moving forward) Even if we go faster than we should. We can’t wait. And wait for what? God— God—He isn’t coming back. And even if He did . . .If He ever did come back, if He ever dared to show His face, or his Glyph or whatever in the Garden again. If after all this destruction, if after all the terrible days of this terrible century He returned to see . . . how much suffering His abandonment had created, if all He has to offer is death . . .You should sue the bastard. That’s my only contribution to all this Theology. Sue the bastard for walking out. How dare He. He oughta pay…I want more life. I can’t help myself. I do. I’ve lived through such terrible times, and there are people who live through much much worse, but . . .You see them living anyway. When they’re more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they’re burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children, they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don’t know if that’s just the animal. I don’t know if it’s not braver to die. But I recognize the habit. The addiction to being alive. We live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that’s it, that’s the best I can do. It’s so much not enough, so inadequate but . . . Bless me anyway. I want more life.
ANGELS IN AMERICA
In this monologue, Belize responds to Louis’ fanatic breakdown and picks apart his thin ideology. Age Range: 25-35
You know what your problem is, Louis? Your problem is that you are so full of piping hot crap that the mention of your name draws flies. You don’t even know Thing One about this guy, do you? Uh-huh. Well ain’t that pathetic. Just so the record’s straight: I love Prior but I was never in love with him. I have a man, uptown, and I have since long before I first laid my eyes on the sorry-ass sight of you—No ’cause you never bothered to ask. Up in the air, just like that angel, too far off the earth to pick out the details. Louis and his Big Ideas. Big Ideas are all you love. “America” is what Louis loves. Well I hate America, Louis. I hate this country. It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the National Anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word “free” to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I’ll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean. I live in America, Louis, that’s hard enough, I don’t have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s got to love something.
THE NORMAL HEART
In this monologue, Tommy memorializes his friend Nick after he dies of AIDS. Age Range: 30s-40s
TOMMY: I have this tradition. It’s something I do now when a friend dies. I save his Rolodex card. What am I supposed to do, throw it away in the trash can? I won’t do that. No, I won’t. It’s too final. Last year I had five cards. Now I have fifty. A collection of cardboard tombstones bound together with a rubber band. I hate these fucking funerals, I really do.
And you know what else I hate? I hate the memorials. That’s our social life now, going to these things. Nick was a choreographer; not many of you knew that. He was just starting out, he didn’t tell a lot of people. He was waiting to invite you to his big debut at Carnegie Hall or some shit so we could all be proud of him. But he was so good. He had such promise.
We’re losing an entire generation. Young men, at the beginning, just gone. Choreographers, playwrights, dancers, actors. All those plays that won’t get written now. All those dances, never to be danced. In closing, I’m just gonna say I’m mad. I’m fucking mad. I keep screaming inside, “why are they letting us die? Why is no one helping us?” And here’s the truth, here’s the answer: They just don’t like us.
In this monologue, Eric bemoans the transactional and thinning support of the modern gay community. Age Range: Late 20s – Early 30s
ERIC: Our culture is being co-opted. I mean, sure it’s great Sean Penn won an Oscar for playing Harvey Milk but American students are still taught nothing about queer history. It feels like we’re getting stripped for parts and the inside is hollowing out. It feels like the community that I came up in is slowly fading away. When was the last time any of us actually hung out at a gay bar? (Pause) My point exactly! Gay bars used to be safe spaces for people like us to be ourselves and to find others like us. Now everyone just goes on to Grindr. But what about thr twenty-year-old kid who’s not looking for sex, but rather for community, for a connection with something that helps him understand himself? Or the sixty-year-old man who’s looking for the same? What happens to that shared culture? If being gay only describes who we love and who we fuck but not also how we encounter the world, then gay culture and gay community would start to disappear. And we still need that community. Because this country is still filled with people who hate us with vengeful, murderous fanaticism.
In this monologue, Toby takes down his boyfriend, Eric, for living a life of privilege.Age Range: Late 20s – Early 30s
That is bullshit, Eric. What you ‘gave’ me? You didn’t give me anything. I built my life from the ground up. I didn’t get to do it from the comfortable middle-class perch that you did. Oh fuck off! I am so sick of your holier-than-thou, thoughtful, sweet and kind fucking bullshit. You act like you’re above the fray, can’t be touched, fucking Yale, fucking Fieldston, fucking save the world by strongly worded Facebook post, when secretly you’re just as manipulative and as self-involved and as frightened as the rest of us. But you slap on this veneer of middle-class perfection and you think that protects you from having to be a real person. But real people are ugly, Eric. Real people are compromised. Real people disappoint each other. Because the world is ugly and compromised and disappointing. And I’m sorry I can’t be perfect like you. I was never given that option. I have no choice but to be a real person.
In this monologue, Eric picks apart his boyfriend, Toby, for hiding his personal truth behind art. Age Range: Late 20s – Early 30s
You’ve become so good at spinning people you think you can spin me, too. But I know that your book was a fraud from start to finish and your play was even worse. Not without talent, of course. God forbid anyone should accuse you of that. But worse: without truth. Toby, you are so afraid of actually being known – of really looking at yourself – that you have spent the last decade of your life constructing this elaborate narrative that has nothing to do with the truth. What happened to you as a child was unconscionable and it hurts me every single day to know that it did. But that was not the great tragedy of your life, Toby. No, the great tragedy of your life was denying that it was your life, and insisting on another at the expense of the truth. I know who you are, Toby. And I know who you aren’t. You aren’t Elan. And you aren’t Adam. It’s why you gave him the job and it’s why you want to fuck him so badly. Because he is everything you will never be. I couldn’t even look at you after I saw your play. Because it was a betrayal of the frightened little boy you once were. And soon all of New York is going to see it and I will be the only one who’ll remember who you really are. And that’s why you want to get as far away from me as possible: because I would remind you every day of what a fraud you are and what wasted potential your life has become. And that’s what you’re too much of a coward to say.
In this monologue, Toby leaves a scathing message for his cheating lover and lead actor in his play, Adam. Age Range: Late 20s – Early 30s
TOBY: You would be nothing without me, do you understand? You would be nothing without this part. I gave you this chance, I’m the one who made it happen. Me. It wasn’t Tom and his magical fifty-year-old Viagra dick, which by now I’m sure has given you herpes. I will never speak to you again, I don’t ever even want to look at you again. And when you win the Tony for this role, which you will, it will be because of me and the part that I’ve written. So if you don’t thank me in your acceptance speech – and I mean, like really lick my ass – I will make sure that everyone knows how you betrayed me and what a back-stabbing, malicious, cock-teasing little Eve Harrington you are. And just for the record: Timothée Chalamet, Ben Platt and Lucas Hedges all passed on this part before we offered it to you. So you should probably thank them in your Tony speech, too. So in conclusion: fuck you, Adam. I wish I’d never met you.
In this monologue, John speaks to his female and male lovers, uncertain of who is supposed to be when he is attracted to both. Age Range: 30 -35
JOHN: I’m sorry I’m not speaking, I’m sorry, I know it’s weird but I’m trying to work out how to handle this who to be because I’m two different people with the two of you when you’re separate and now I’m in the middle and no one.
I have absolutely no idea who I am. Everyone else seems to have a personality, a character but I’ve never, I’ve never – I used to do voices, I remember this, and I don’t think anyone can really understand it when I say it but I remember one moment when I couldn’t think what was my own voice, I’d been doing high voices and northern voices and men’s voices and impressions of the teachers and my dad, and people on the telly and everyone was laughing and I tried to go back to my own voice but I couldn’t remember what it is.
And I always stand in front of the mirror for ages, every day I never know what to wear, when I go shopping for clothes I bring him and he says it’s up to you, what do you like, and I think I don’t know I don’t have a fucking clue just choose something that isn’t too strange, that means I don’t look like a fucking idiot.