A few nights ago I had a brainstorming session with two lovely ladies of Toronto theatre, Adrianna and Jess–both brilliant women, you should probably know them. We drank tea and ate pie and, most of all, talked shop: you know, future production plans, current insanity, arts admin internships, audition woes, and fond memories of theatre school. And in the midst of all this, Jess came up with one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a while. “I think every theatre school should have a monthly get together where everyone gets up and does a monologue,” she told us. Intriguing, please tell us more, Jess!
All actors need monologues. The vast majority of auditions require monologues. Most of us hate finding them. Because it is deceptively difficult to find a good monologue. Every now and then you stumble upon one. But most of the ones we keep in our back pockets are overdone. We always need new material. And, even more importantly, once you’re out of school, it’s difficult to find a place to play with whatever you do find. Many of us can’t afford further acting classes right away. Some of us (me) wouldn’t even know where to find a good one if we were looking. And if you can afford one and you do find one, do you really want to spend your time working an audition monologue? The truth is, there is no need. This is why we have peers. To help us sort through these challenges that confront us all. Because, like it or not, we’re all in this together.
So Jess’s idea is simple. You get a group of actors together. Everyone brings a monologue to either read or perform, depending on how long you’ve been familiar with it and how comfortable you are. If you’re ready to put it out there, you can open yourself up to constructive criticism from your peers. If you aren’t, you can just get up and play with it. If you haven’t even memorized it because you just found it half an hour ago (this is likely to be me), you can just read it to see if it clicks. And the best part is, at the end of the session, you leave having had some fun (hopefully), having exercised your creative muscles, and holding a list of new monologues. Because, let’s face it, the best (and, I think, most common) way to find a new monologue is to borrow it from someone else. There are a lot of plays out there and a lot of monologues. This is an opportunity to relieve yourself of the pressure to read each and every one of them.
And then Adrianna had an even better idea. Forget theatre schools taking advantage of this idea (although they should, because then we would all move on with hundreds of monologues at our disposal). We’ve all graduated. We should do it ourselves. So we are. Adrianna, already a fantastic organizer with her Friday night Cirque for Jerks circus training, scheduled it on the spot and there is no backing out now. Everyone is welcome and the more of you that make it out, the more monologues we will all have.
Here are the exact details:
Who: Adrianna, Jess, me, and YOU!
What: Monologue JAM. The theme is contemporary. Bonus points if it’s also Canadian.
When: Friday, February 19, 2010 at 8PM
Where: Rapier Wit Studios, 575 Wellington St.
How much: $5 (to cover the cost of renting the space)
Questions? Feel free to post them on the event wall or in the comments section. And if you’re coming, it would be great if you gave me the heads up (but you don’t have to).