Today I performed at Baruch College in their Baruch Voices IV staged monologue readings! The monologues were written by the incoming freshmen this year. All 800 freshmen wrote personal monologues, which were then narrowed down to the 90 that the freshmen felt best represented their class. Director, Yana Landowne, and the cast then chose around 30 monologues which would be included in the show.
I chose five very different monologues of varying subjects that I felt showcased a range of true stories from these students. One monologue was very close to my heart. This monologue was about identity and learning to embrace her two different ethnicities. I remember reading the monologue during a production meeting and was amazed that someone else had experienced the same struggles I had. She and I both struggled with our identities and desperately wanted to fit in with everyone else. She said she had always wanted to be named Michelle, while I, (for some reason), always wanted to be named Stacey. And after years of being bullied and misunderstood, we both learned that the only person we were looking for approval from, was ourselves. After this AH-HA moment, we both learned to embrace ourselves fully. We both learned to love ourselves for exactly who we were.
This was my first monologue in the show and as I began, I heard a girl gasp loudly, followed by girly giggles and thunderous applause. I knew then, that the student was present and was so happy she seemed excited.
Afterwards, we had a quick Q&A and I got to meet the author of the monologue. She was a very sweet girl. She said she was so excited that her monologue had been chosen (and yes that was her giggling) and we talked about how similar she and I were. I was so happy to hear that she was pleased with my interpretation. It was an incredibly special moment to meet her and I felt an instant bond.
I loved this experience. It was wonderfully challenging work, creatively stimulating, and most importantly, it meant something to these students. And to me, that’s the most important part. It’s why I perform. It’s what I believe. That the human connection can be felt through the performing arts.