Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Maybe I'll Write A Monologue

So yesterday I watched a couple of short 20-minute plays at Revolution Stage. The first one was a monologue entitled "Menanti Datangnya Tuhan", and the second one was an ensemble piece called "Boneka Betina". I liked the latter more than the former, both because I felt like it was a more interesting performance both in content as well as in delivery.

Menanti Datangnya Tuhan was the second monologue I have watched this year. The first one was Every Brilliant Thing, staged by TheatreThreeSixty. It was an hour long and addressed how the protagonist dealt with depression (which was by keeping a list of the things that made him happy). As he developed his list, he grew up and we got an insight into this person's life story. It was funny at times, heart-breaking at other times. I liked it very much.

The other day, I had a conversation with Sharifah Amani, and the conversation got to a point where I told her that I wrote sometimes, but not scripts or stories or anything. Just blogposts. And she said that that's okay, you can turn those blogposts into monologues. All you need is to just recompose the entries for the stage and you've got some pieces on your hands. And that idea has stuck with me.

To the point where I keep going back to my experience of watching Every Brilliant Thing the other day and figuring out ways in which I could pull off something as interesting. It's been on the back of my mind for about a week now, but I still have no idea how to pull it off.

But after I watched Menanti Datangnya Tuhan, the thought of "hey, maybe it doesn't have to be gr8 m8 8/8 for me to start writing something for the stage?" Maybe I just have to start writing something, or at least pick a thing I have already written about and re-write it for the stage, as Sharifah Amani suggested. Can't be too hard, kan? Takkanlah among the 433 posts I have written so far, takdak satu pun yang worthy of rewriting?

Then I think about what kind of performance I would want to watch. It's not something like Menanti Datangnya Tuhan, where the protagonist would pretend to talk to themselves. I don't find that interesting to watch. I liked Every Brilliant Thing because the protagonist was addressing the audience. He was telling his story to the audience, who were very involved in the telling of the story (to the point where some members of the audience received some items on his list and were asked to say them out loud during the performance). I think that's a more interesting angle to approach a monologue.

I've also been watching a comedian named Mike Birbiglia on Netflix. I like him very much. He has two specials out, and I've watched them both. How he approaches his specials is very story-telly, very much like a monologue. Like, "here's a thing, at first this happened, then another thing happened, it reminded me of this other thing that happened, but getting back to the story, this thing happened as well, don't you think it's funny when you're in this kind of situation you think about xyz? Anyway, afterward, this other thing happened, and I guess that's that."

Wow, I've never actually tried to write a whole monologue in that form before. That was a weird experience. I think I've just made a monologue structure for myself to follow. And if I know me, I love having structures to follow. It's a pretty cursory structure, vague would be an understatement, but it has provided me with a vision of a skeleton of a monologue. Now that I've made a structure template for myself by trying to impersonate Mr Birbiglia, maybe I can start writing my own hour-long monologue? But what story would I want to tell? That's another thing I have to dwell on.

At this point I'm feeling like I just come up with these questions to answer before I get to writing just to procrastinate from actually writing something to perform. In my brain, it's equal parts "I have to solve this problem, or else how am I supposed to write?" and equal parts "Don't worry about it, just write, man." And it's tiring having to deal with these inner battles while still needing to worry about going to school and having your lesson observed by another teacher and having to write a minit mesyuarat for the PIBG and all these other things that I wouldn't mind not having to worry about. But there I go creating excuses for myself again. Sigh.

Here's to Mike Birbiglia. If you have Netflix, check him out. He's nice.

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