by Kimberly Megna Yarnall
Preparation time: 5 hours
Yields: An exciting evening of new work sure to surprise, delight, and inspire audiences.
• One straight-backed wooden chair
• One small table
• One obscenely large chai latte
• One cookie, preferably oatmeal, larger than the latte
• One laptop
• 80 brand-spanking-new monologues
1. Arrange the first five ingredients to find the perfect balance of comfort and attention. You want to feel cozy and relaxed but alert and present before adding the last ingredient.
2. Turn on the laptop and open the Mother Of All Monologue Spreadsheets. Take a moment to bask in its color-coded organizational glory.
3. Open the Submissions folder. Using your cursor take a quick tour of the file names enjoying all the potential contained in the list of monologue titles.
4. Cross-reference the spreadsheet and monologue files making sure it’s all queued up correctly. Bask in the organization prowess of your colleagues (namely Karen Moeller).
5. Make a note of the title and open your first monologue file.
6. Stop here and take a breath. This is the moment: 100% potential energy at the cusp of becoming kinetic. It’s the very apex before the first downhill of the rollercoaster. What amazing ideas were sparked in the minds of these writers by the festival title we chose (Out of the Fire - Banned Books)? What historical perspectives, heartfelt pleas, hilarious tell-alls, tragic characters, and surprising glimpses of a fantastic future await? Who will charm you? Disarm you? Dismember and disgust you? Who will move you? To tears? To snorty laughter? Who will make you spill your latte or gorge on your cookie?
7. Read and evaluate.
8. Read and evaluate.
9. Read and evaluate.
10. Stop here and think about all of the writers across the country who sat down to write these words – maybe with a similar ingredient list. Think about the good energy created and sent out into the universe when people dig deep and find something they want to say and then say it and then send it and then you read it.
11. Consider getting another latte or cookie or both.
12. Make a trip to the restroom.
13. Read and evaluate.
14. Read and evaluate. (Rinse and repeat until every file is completed.)
15. Stop here and take a breath. You’ve done it. You’ve paid homage to the muse. You’ve done good work. You’ve been open and honest and ready to receive. You’ve been generous and critical and earnest. You’ve done your small part in creating an inspiring event for audiences. You’ve supported new work.
16. Review the Mother Of All Monologue Spreadsheets and bask in the completed column under your initials.
17. Wait with fidgety anticipation for opening night (and consider going decaf next year).