“You got me monologuing! I can’t believe it…”

September 2, 2010 § 9 Comments


A few nights ago I got an email from one of my critique group members about a local literary and poetry festival. The coordinators of the event asked writers and poets to read two minutes of their original work aloud on three different evenings before the actual festival for judging. If the pieces received winning scores, the writer and poety would be invited to read at the actual festival for some prestige and pocket change.

My friend said he’d entered a piece and that there were still openings if we wanted to email the coordinator to reserve a spot. After reading the guidelines it was clear the “tryouts” were as much about the performance of the piece as it was the writing.

I was a big drama geek in high school. My drama club in South Korea would put on a play in the spring, but the first half of the year we prepared for a big competition against all the other high school drama clubs in the Far East. We’d perform monologues and duos in class rooms filled with students from the school that hosted the competition.

We also performed a longer ensemble piece on stage in front of all the other competing schools. For several years the competition was held on an Air Force base in Japan. Planes would fly over the auditorium during the performances and block out moments of dialogue. I always wanted someone on stage to yell, “HOLD BROTHERS,” and all the actors pause until the noise stopped. Sadly, this only happened in my head.

Anyway, this reading in a local coffee shop appealed to me. It’s been years since I’ve done any kind of monologue and the thought of doing it again both excited and terrified me.

I signed up.

One of my WIP’s is a quiet literary thing. I picked a two minute section that worked well as a monologue. It was thrilling to speak my character’s voice. She (and too many others) are in my head all day and night and to be able to speak the way I thought she’d speak, or move the way I thought she’d move…I loved it.

There were some great readings and the majority of them were poetry. Poetry. I love it, but wouldn’t try to write it. I’d fail. The poets that stood up and performed spoke with a musicality that left me speechless. Three teenage boys performed a kind of rap poetry slam. Incredible. A young man wrote a monologue about the Iraq war. Fantastic. Two of my critique partners read some of their work. One about competitive weeding and the other wore a Santa Hat apropos of the piece.

I didn’t win anything. I really didn’t expect to but walked away euphoric from the evening. The energy of the people and their different passions stirred my heart and my mind. It was great and I’d do it again.

And a cookie goes to the first person who can tell me what movie I quoted in the title of this post! Go.

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