Author: Stephen Weir | Date: 17 April 2020
Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to the current virus shutdown; that is if you are a budding actress or actor looking to be discovered! Toronto’s Monologue Slam has moved from the stage to the computer screen and organizers are finding that all of a sudden acting careers are getting launched!
For the past 9-years Andre Newell and his cousin actress Oluniké Adeliyi have been staging Monologue Slams in clubs and halls in Toronto, Montreal and in Vancouver. In March, with the virus shutdown in full force, the Monologue Slam had to make big changes in how it is run; lucky those adjustments are proving to be popular.
“ Up until now our Monologue Slam has been an acting competition where actors perform on stage in front of a panel of experts and a live audience ” explained Newell. “ The essence of the event is to give actors a space to play, let them work on their material and build a stronger entertainment industry.”
In each club competition, the hottest up and coming actors get up on stage to deliver 3 minutes performances using scripts of their choice. Some choose scenes from movies, others from plays and TV shows.
“So, we had an event planned for March, but it was obvious we couldn’t do it with the distancing rules now in place,” he told the Camera. “ So we thought, let’s try doing it on-line. As actors signed up to take part we had them tape their monologue where ever they were, wearing whatever they wanted. Normally we get 12 people to sign up to perform live on stage each Slam competition. With the first virtual slam we got 350 people sending in tapes!
The Slam is billed as North America's largest acting showcase. It is run American Idol-style event where the actors are right in front of a panel of judges.
Now, on-line there isn’t that direct contact between the people on stage, the jury and the people in the cheap seats. With so many tapes to review Adeliyi and Newell reached out to Canadian acting coaches act as the judges and whittle down the first round numbers to the top 25 monologue submissions.
“From there we had six casting directors review the tapes and come back and give us the top four!” explained Newell. “We announced the winners on Instagram. We knew right away from the online response that we have a winning formula.
The first on-line winner was actress, comedian and writer Michelle McLeod who submitted monologue about what makes vampires so special. You can see her submission Instagram.