Of nuances and narratives

Started by Medai founder B Charles in 2019, the idea had roots in expressing talent through monologues delving into personal experiences or incidents.
With a focus on women’s personal stories, Medai- The Stage, an arts organisation, is set to conduct the ‘Women’s Monologues’, following a series of men’s monologues.
With a focus on women’s personal stories, Medai- The Stage, an arts organisation, is set to conduct the ‘Women’s Monologues’, following a series of men’s monologues.

CHENNAI: Beyond costumes, mise-en- scene, and music, monologues are inseparable parts of theatre performances; as the spotlight focuses, the essence of a character takes shape and mere dialogues draw audiences into a world of emotions and inner thoughts. From Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Arthur Miller’s Death of The Salesman, now-famous complex heart-rending soliloquies and speeches have mostly been delivered by men. In this dearth of well-written female characters in cinema or theatre, we return to a monologue from Greta Gerwig’s Jo March in Little Women: “Women have minds and they have souls as well as hearts. They’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty...”

With a focus on women’s personal stories, Medai- The Stage, an arts organisation, is set to conduct the ‘Women’s Monologues’, following a series of men’s monologues. Started by Medai founder B Charles in 2019, the idea had roots in expressing talent through monologues delving into personal experiences or incidents.

“The objective of curating the monologue is to emphasise that every story should be heard. For years, we had been curating monologues exclusively for men. It occurred to me that “why not women?” This idea was adopted so that also women would be able to participate and express themselves through monologues,” says Shakira Mukthar, curator of the Women’s Monologue and programmme director of Medai.

In the world of women

According to Shakira, the men’s monologue was well-received by the audience and provided a glimpse into less-discussed feelings that men experience. Yet, over the years, she noticed that only around 40% of women participated previously in their other shows and plays. The curator believes that women’s monologue will nudge women to come forward, share their stories, and exhibit their talents in the performing arts.

Six applicants will be chosen keeping in mind various genres and aspects of social issues, emotional experiences, and comical scenarios. “We ensure that diverse female voices are showcased by providing the platform to share their talents and creativity. The six shortlisted monologues will be staged as solo performances for ten minutes each in different genres,” says Shakira.

Submissions can delve into original stories, real-life experiences, second-hand accounts of an incident applicants have heard about or witnessed, or an adapted version of fiction.

Behind the scenes, female professionals will orchestrate the stage setting, background music, and lights. Directors and scriptwriters for the monologue performances will include men and women. “If women out there wish to make an impact on the society, then they should not hesitate but rather use this opportunity to open up. The performances through the women’s monologue will empower and inspire many women in the society,” she signs off.

Women above the age of 16 may send in their monologues with their details to medaithestagechennai@gmail.com or WhatsApp 8754496394 before May 31. The shortlisted monologues will be performed on June 20 at Medai- The Stage in Alwarpet.

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