The tiredness is real. As I know it is for many people. I wrote for (what feels like) the gazillionth time, a monologue for a young actor not too long ago – because she had an audition and she couldn’t find anything suitable to use.
If I go back to the summer, I approached Tamasha Theatre’s artistic director, Fin Kennedy about an idea to produce audition monologues specifically for black and Asian minority ethnic actors. With Fin having a similar idea, what happened next was a collaboration with Tamasha’s Playwrights group and actors from the National Youth Theatre (NYT). 8 bespoke monologues were written to be used in auditions or for audition preparation. The NYT actors spoke candidly about the fact that as black and Asian actors – they were at times given material (as well as parts) that were sometimes culturally stereotypical and not at all progressives or dynamic.
I’ve written many monologues for young actors over the years and they are tired too. These 8 monologues will be showcased in a scratch night in December (details here.) It’s all about being able to produce more material that evokes aspiration for those actors who are not seeing enough culturally diverse work. This then leads into the bigger issue of BAME actors being given ‘the gang member,’ the single mother’ or even just ‘the friend.’ Thank God for the likes of Femi Martin, Charlene James, Inua Ellams, Ishy Din and many more. Again – lets promote aspiration. The young people I work with always come up with these types of characters when we’re thinking about story ideas. Because that’s all they see. The ethnic characters that are meant to represent ethnic society should also include doctors, businessmen and women, families, teachers, leaders. Because that’s also who we are.
So change has to start somewhere and in this case, I am part of trying to change how an actor feels when going into an audition, when going up for a part – and eventually, when actually playing a role. Knowing that there are stories and characters out there who they can relate to or who they can aspire to be.