While the impacts of the ongoing pandemic have been many, performing artists have had to find unique methods to adapt their craft to allow for socially distanced and virtual performance spaces. As they say: the show must go on. TMCC’s Performing Arts department has done exactly that, and this semester, they continue their innovation with a monologue contest that will not only engage student-actors but help to develop skills they will need to continue their work in the performing arts on local, regional or national stages.
Performing Arts Faculty and Director Stacey Spain explains that monologue competitions are nothing new, but now more than ever productions are requesting that actors send taped monologues instead of attending live auditions. “This is becoming a practice for how local and regional theaters find actors,” she said. “During the pandemic, we had to find a way to be able to see actors and to assess what they do while keeping everyone safe.”
The monologue contest is a production of TMCC’s Theater Honor Society, Delta Phi Omega, and is open to all TMCC students. To audition, students need to sign up for a 15-minute audition spot on the sign-up sheet that is posted outside of the Performance Lab, Red Mountain 240 on the Dandini Campus. The dates for recording your submissions are Nov. 16, 17 and 18 from 6–8 p.m.
“It’s a fun way to keep students engaged in theater activity while we are between performance spaces,” said Spain. “We still have to use our muscles, and still have to practice and hone our craft even while we are not producing Shakespeare.” Students will record their 60-90 second submissions in the Performance Lab, which ensures all audition recordings will have the same backdrop and lighting.
Crafting Your Monologue
While creativity and innovation are definitely encouraged, students must enter their monologue in one of five categories: Contemporary Comedic, Classical Comedic, Contemporary Dramatic, Classical Dramatic and a Wildcard Category. “A one-minute monologue takes some time to put together, but any actor should have five or six in their pocket, so they can pull it out when auditions happen so you don’t miss an opportunity,” explained Spain. “This contest is helping to prepare our student-actors to be ready to audition as other opportunities surface in the community.”
Spain explained that industry standards prefer that actors present monologues that are pieces from plays—not Hollywood film scripts—nor are they creations of the actors themselves. “They have to state, at the beginning of their recorded monologue, the name of the character and the name of the play and that helps directors and auditors understand what the actor is trying to achieve.” For students with their own original ideas, the Wildcard Category is there to accommodate anything original or even “wacky.”
A panel of judges, which will include other TMCC Performing Arts Faculty and members of local theater companies, will judge the submissions and determine a winning monologue in each category. Those who win their category can expect to receive a prize. “The prizes will have low monetary, but high humor value,” said Spain, who said that winning the monologue is something students should include on their professional resumes.
Watch the Biggest Little One Minute Monologue Contest
The monologues will be showcased at the Delta Psi Omega’s in-person screening in Red Mountain 240 on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 6–8 p.m. The event is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the public.
While showcasing student talent is always a goal of a TMCC performance, this year Spain also sees another goal: letting students showcase their talents to each other. “The students who are in my acting class right now… they’ve been in class together all semester long, but they have never seen each other’s faces because they wear masks. But, these monologues will be filmed without masks and so these students will be seeing each other for the very first time,” she said.
Whether students participate in the monologue contest for fun or develop their professional portfolio and auditioning skills, the contest is sure to offer a bit of lighthearted fun, and something we haven’t seen in a while: a smile.
For more information about the Biggest Little One Minute Monologue Contest, contact the Performing Arts department at 775-674-7610.