It started with a simple request made out of frustration. When Tall Tale Theatre Co. held its online monologue contest in the spring of 2020, one actress found most monologues for women were, well, boring, and old, and there weren’t many to choose from compared with what was available for men.
The actress contacted award-wining Windsor-based playwright Edele Winnie (Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands) for help. Could Winnie write a monologue for her? Intrigued, Winnie began investigating the monologues available for women as well. She discovered the actress was right.
“There aren’t many good monologues for women,” Winnie explains. “I was looking for unusual, vibrant, challenging monologues” and didn’t find much. So she wrote one for the actress. Then she wrote 99 more.
Big Mouth, Winnie’s new collection of 100 monologues for women, is now available from Amazon. It’s a wild collection that not only showcases Winnie’s trademark brand of dark and twisted whimsy – it also shows off her range, and by doing so provides actresses with opportunities to show off their range as well. The collection runs the gamut of genres and emotions.
There’s sly and playful comedy, sometimes goofy and sometimes barbed. There’s romantic yearning and sci-fi horror. There’s joy, sorrow, fear, rage. There are gentle reflections on questions large and small. There are even some beautiful, poignant selections that would tug at anyone’s heartstrings.
What all the monologues share is a deep understanding of our shared humanity, with the concerns that shape and preoccupy us – many of them clearly absurd if you just tilt your head slightly.
Publishing the collection wasn’t the end of Edele Winnie’s mission. She approached Post Productions with a pitch: how about a monologue contest for women (along with non-binary and gender fluid people), in which each contestant performed one of her monologues?
Post Productions wasted no time in saying “yes”. We’d been fans of Winnie’s work even before she won the Windsor-Essex Playwriting Contest in 2019. Since her victory, we were interested in finding other ways to work with her.
Thus was born the Edele Winnie Women’s Monologue Competition, which will be held for the first time in January 2022 – and hopefully every year to come.
The basics of the competition are simple. Contestants have until 10 January 2022 to register. Each contestant will rehearse a monologue from Big Mouth of their own choosing. Contestants will also be assigned to one of three acting coaches, each from a different Windsor-Essex theatre company: Joey Ouellette (Purple Theatre Company), Eric Branget (Tall Tale Theatre Co.), or Michael K. Potter (Post Productions). Between the 11th and 26th of January 2022, each contestant will get two private sessions with their coach, who will provide feedback and guidance while serving as a practice audience.
The developmental approach being used to help contestants put their best foot forward at the competition combines many of the things Post Productions cares about most: supporting, encouraging, and collaborating with local artists; providing opportunities for local artists to take centre stage and show people just how great they are; and working co-operatively with other theatre companies.
The competition itself will take place over two nights: 28th and 29th of January 2022, at The Shadowbox Theatre.
Each night, contestants will perform their monologue to a different audience, and the audiences will be able to score the performances. Also present each night will be a four-member panel of judges, each of whom is a woman from a different Windsor-Essex theatre company: Moya McAlister (Arts Collective Theatre), Kristen Siapas (University Players), Shana Thibert (Revolution Youth Theatre), and Fay Lynn (Post Productions). Final scores – 50% audience and 50% judges – will be tallied across both nights.
After the 29th of January performance, winners will be announced, each of whom will receive a cash prize: gold ($250), silver ($150), and bronze ($50).
Post Productions and Edele Winnie are excited to see what’s sure to be a diverse and entertaining suite of performances by sole of the many talented actresses in our region who’ve been poorly served for too long by the paucity of monologues available to them.
We hope you’ll join us – either on stage, or in the audience cheering on the contestants.
For more information about the 2022 Edele Winnie Women’s Monologue Competition, see: https://fb.me/e/1vmK9G8gG.
To purchase a copy of Edele Winnie’s Big Mouth, visit her at Amazon.ca.