chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
email:; phone: 617.627.2057.
Tisch Library, Tufts University

Introduction to Acting: Finding Monologues/Plays

Research Sources & Tips







Finding Monologues

Finding Plays

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Finding Monologues



   Definitions and Overviews

1. Browse in the Bookstacks by these call numbers:


PN2266 for BEST PLAYS (U.S.)


**Not every play is published or translated; try contact playwrights directly.

2. Search the Tufts Library Catalog:

3. These are some pre-formatted searches you can click on:

Subject browses:


acting auditions
method acting.



Keyword search


Monologues and women

Visual materials on acting


DVDs and Videos



The Cambridge Guide to Theatre


The Oxford Dictionary of Plays

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance

In print:


Thematic Guide to Modern Drama
Stacks: PN1861 .A235 2003

The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama
PN1861 .C65 2007

II. Finding Plays

  (First, understand) WHERE a play is published.

a. In an anthology  (a collection of plays; collected works by a playwright.)

b. As a singular volume

c. In a magazine/journal


  A. Browse and Search Library Catalogs for Plays

  B. Search for plays with certain criteria

1. American Drama, 1714-1915   Containing more than 1,500 dramatic works from the early eighteenth century up to the beginning of the twentieth; plays in verse, farces, melodramas, minstrel shows, realist plays, frontier plays, temperance dialogues and a range of other genres are represented. Major dramatists include David Belasco, Rachel Crothers, Augustin Daly, Clyde Fitch, Edward Harrigan, James Herne, William Dean Howells and Joaquin Miller.


2. Twentieth Century North American Drama  
Full texts of 1,900 plays from the United States and Canada, of which 1,250 are in copyright and licensed from the authors or their estates.

3. Browse the Catalog for Collections of Plays at Tisch


Drama -- Collections.



4. Search library Catalogs to find a KNOWN play:


4A. Keyword or title search, “Death of a Salesman” in the Tufts Catalog

As a single volume:


Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005.


Death of a salesman: certain private conversations in two acts and a requiem / Arthur Miller; with an introduction by Christopher Bigsby.

Pub Info

New York: Penguin, 1998.


Or, in an anthology:


Thirteen plays: an introductory anthology edited by Otto Reinert.

Pub Info

Boston: Little, Brown, c1978.


Sophocles. Oedipus the King.--Shakespeare, W. The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark ...--Miller, A. Death of a salesman.--...


4B. Search by a playwright


Keyword  search: "Christopher Durang"

Or, Author search:  Durang, Christopher (enter last name, first)

2C. Search WorldCat:


Search by title and playwright; be sure to use quotation marks.


There will be four possible results:

1. Find the play in Tisch Library

2. Find the play in Boston Libraries Consortium (BLC) member libraries with the link,

                           blc request link


3. Find the play beyond BLC with the link,

                           ILL Link


(sign up for your interlibrary loan account, first)

4. Fail to find the play (not every play is published or translated into English from other languages).  Contact your research librarian,  Chao Chen ( and your teaching faculty.

3. Use Play Index (a database) to search for plays of certain criteria, e.g., modern Comedy with female characters

This is how Play Index traces where the play, Surprise, surprise by Michel Tremblay, is published.

Play Title:

Surprise, surprise

Play Author:

Tremblay, Michel


La Duchesse de Langeais & other plays

Play Abstract:

Telephone conversations of three women planning a surprise birthday party for a fourth called Madeleine, but the complication is they have the wrong Madeleine--and have let the secret out to the right one.


Women: 3

Play Subject(s):

Birthdays; Conversation; Telephone



Next, use the two catalogs mentioned above, Tufts University Catalog or WorldCat, find the book, La Duchesse de Langeais & other plays, in which your play is published.




4. Additional sources for finding plays

4A. The Best Plays (1899 – present). Stacks: PN2266.A2 B4

Contents of the annual volumes vary somewhat but include such sections as: 1. digests with critical comment on selected plays of the year; 2. title list of plays produced in New York during the year, giving for each: title, author, number of performances, theater, cast of characters, and brief outline of plot; 3. plays produced outside of New York; 4. Shakespeare festivals; 5. statistics of runs. 6. list of actors; 7. prizes and awards, and 8. index.

4B. Play Index. 1949-02. Ref. Z5781 .p53 (the index in print)

I. Author, title, and subject index; II. Cast analysis; III. List of collections indexed.


III. Journal Articles and Popular Press

  A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

  B. Popular Press:

  C. Finding Full Text

1. JSTOR and Project Muse

Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


2. Academic OneFile
All subjects; a convenient Quick Start.


3. MLA International Bibliography

The standard index to scholarship in literary studies -- articles, books, book chapters, and dissertations.



4. International Index to Performing Arts  


5. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.

1. Current:



Factiva (more international coverage)


2. Historical


Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)


New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)

American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)


British Periodicals (1680s - 1930s)




     Some of the oldest continuously published magazines in America, including American Spectator, Commentary, Commonweal, Dissent, Harpers Magazine, NACLA, The Nation, The National Review, The New Republic, New York Review, and The New Yorker.

1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


IV. Writing and Citing

  Writing Help

Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Literature by Sylvan Barnet. Ref: PE1479.C7 B3

Writing about Literature (handout from Writing Center at UNC.)


Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors


Chicago Style Manual

MLA Style