We asked a few of the students involved in the first in-person and live-streamed Next Narrative Monologue Competition (NNMC) Seattle Regional Finals to share their favorite playwrights, what drew them to the competition, and more. Hear from Nicole Duong, Hana Hyde, Malia (Batman) Silva, and Jordan Talley.
Nicole Duong, Hana Hyde, Malia (Batman) Silva, and Jordan Talley. Photos by Shalonia Wonch.
What Drew You to the Next Narrative Monologue Competition (NNMC)?
Nicole Doung (ND): "I have never been in drama before starting my freshman year at Franklin High School, but I decided to join on a whim to meet new people and I really enjoyed it. I decided to branch out and try new things and the NNMC was the perfect opportunity to do it!"
Hana Hyde (HH): "I was encouraged to join by my teachers, and I'm so excited to be furthering my love of theater with Seattle Rep!"
Malia (Batman) Silva (MBS): "I competed in the August Wilson Monologue Competition last year and had such an amazing experience with it that I had to come back to Seattle Rep again this year. I was also thrilled (though a little hesitant) to dive into works that weren't August Wilson, but entirely new."
Jordan Talley (JT): "Just diving more into acting."
What has the experience of participating in-person and virtually been like?
ND: "Virtually it hasn’t been terrible. We still get the feedback we’re looking for and it’s easier to take notes. For in-person, I really appreciate how we get to see one another face-to-face."
HH: "I've loved participating in the competition. Being in-person and getting to watch everyone, and feel their energy has been super fun. Participating virtually was also an amazing experience because we could share online resources and watch each other perform in different spaces!"
MBS: "With last year and the beginning of this year being virtual, adapting to in-person has been a challenge. The acting styles and projection levels vary so much from in-person to virtual. However, I'm learning that it's a useful skill to understand what style to adopt and how it fits you as an actor."
JT: "Online was different because you only got to work on your piece, but in-person is great because you get to meet everybody and have that interaction with all the participants and help each other be better."
Favorite playwright and/or favorite play?
ND: "I honestly have no favorite, everything I have seen and heard so far are all lovely!"
HH: "My favorite plays are probably The Glass Menagerie and A Midsummer Night's Dream."
MBS: "My favorite play is Hookman by Lauren Yee."
JT: "I'm not really a play person but my all time favorite musical is probably Spring Awakening."
Why do you think it’s important for people your age to participate in theater and programs like NNMC?
ND: "We get to meet new people and try out things we would never think of doing. I never thought I was one to be in theater, but now I can’t get enough of it! The feelings, friendship, community, and everything surrounding theater are the best possible things I could ever hope to experience."
HH: "I think it's important for young people to participate in theater because it can be an amazing creative outlet for all types of people. Theater can be transformative and magical, whether you're taking it in or performing!"
MBS: "The theater provides an outlet for those who participate. This isn't only for people with emotional baggage (though it certainly helps with that too), but also people with lots of energy, which I believe many teens have (though they'll never admit it). It also gives you a chance to make new friends and have fun."
JT: "It's another way to express your voice and to be heard."
What’s one thing you’ve learned from competing in NNMC?
ND: "Theater is extremely hard work."
HH: "I've learned so many things on my monologue journey, but most of all I've learned how to pour real experiences and emotions into my acting and to distill them into my dramatic writing as well."
MBS: "I've learned that there's always something new to learn. These monologues are anything but comfortable and are constantly shifting, allowing your knowledge of yourself and your character to shift as well. This year taught me to embrace change in my character, and this practice has spread to other areas of my life too."
JT: "That you can always improve."
What three words would you use to describe your experience?
ND: "Stressful, exciting, and beautiful."
HH: "Educational, fun, and exciting."
MBS: "Friggin' life changing."
JT: "Awesome, amazing, and fun."
BONUS QUESTION #1: Favorite rehearsal snack?
ND: "My favorite rehearsal snack is definitely just water. I tend not to eat during rehearsals."
HH: "Chocolate and popcorn"
MBS: "Granola bar"
JT: "By far the best rehearsal snack is fruit snacks"
Bonus Question #2: Best piece of acting advice you’ve ever received?
ND: "'Don’t just act like your character. Be your character. Become them and they shall become you.'"
MBS: "Go through the storm to find the eye and then become it."
Watch these incredible young performers take to the Bagley Wright stage on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. PT. Reserve your in-person or livestream tickets to the NNMC Regional Finals today.