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'Hear Me Out' New American Monologue Competition Announced

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All writers who consider themselves American are invited to submit one monologue on this year's festival theme 'Me & My Masks' to compete for $5,000 in prizes and a shot at being named one of the 12 Competition Finalists whose monologues will premiere in a special Labor Day event open to the public and held entirely online via Zoom. The top cash prizes will be selected and awarded by an elite panel of judges including playwrights Kia Corthron, Gary Garrison, Julie Jensen, Kate Snodgrass and Doug Wright.

Following the August 15th submission deadline, a Judges Circle consisting of writers, directors and actors working in theatre and film will choose the 12 Competition Finalists to be premiered at the Labor Day Festival Event, conducted entirely online via Zoom and co-hosted by Festival Founder Roland Tec and Bishop Arts Theater Center Executive Artistic Director Teresa Coleman Wash.

Roland Tec first conceived of a monologue competition as a means of celebrating, showcasing and elevating the art of monologue for American Playwrights and filmmakers whose interest in the form he saw as in dire need of a reboot. But then, as a new reality set in under the rise of CoViD19, Tec understood that the time to launch his vision of a national monologue initiative was now.

"As I watched theatre-makers all over the world struggling to adapt their vision to the four walls of Zoom, I began to see an urgent need for something akin to an American Renaissance of the art of the monologue. Because the online medium does not allow for actual eye contact between actors, the videoconference is best suited to monologue. If we're going to be looking for the most plausible and compelling live performances possible, our writers must forge a new relationship to the form."

It is a founding principle of the competition that the best monologues reveal character by introducing the audience to a fully-fleshed-out human being who is speaking in service of a clear intention, usually directed at another person or group of people. In this essential way monologue differs from simple storytelling in which the person speaking is more akin to a narrator. In monologue, the craft lies in the audience not being able to perceive where the writer ends and where her character begins.

Audiences will have an opportunity to catch a first glimpse of the best of the best when the 12 Competition Finalists pieces are premiered at the Labor Day festival event.

The theme for this year's competition and festival, 'Me & My Masks' allows for the possibility of writers addressing the CoViD19 pandemic but does not require it. "The word 'masks' is open to as wide a range of interpretations as the best writers can imagine," says Tec. Pinkplot Productions, a New York-based indie film & theatre producer and Bishop Arts Theatre Center, in Dallas, have joined in a partnership to expand the reach to writers working in all media throughout the country.

"CoViD19 has provided an opportunity for us to test the waters and experiment with technology in ways we never imagined. We have never considered ourselves to be a traditional theatre company, and in this moment, that feels like a strength. The 'Me and My Masks' Monologue Competition allows us to expand our territory and work with artists from all over the country," observes Coleman Wash.

In addition to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes, a special prize for Most Daring Monologue is supported by a grant from the August van der Becq Family Foundation.

Reservations for the Labor Day 'Me & My Masks' Festival of Monologues can be made here. Tickets $5.

There is no submission fee for entry in the competition. Deadline: August 15th. Full guidelines here.

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