PORT ANGELES — Straight from the heart and onto the stage: This is the first-ever festival of monologues, written by and for the people of the North Olympic Peninsula.
The event name is officially the Find Your Voice Play Festival, and in the past, it’s been a showcase of short plays.
But this year, Peninsula College drama professor Lara Starcevich and creative director Karen Hogan wanted to change it up.
The new title: “I’ve Never Told Anyone (But I’m Going to Tell You).”
They’re accepting submissions now of monologues — dramatic, comic, fiction and non — of up to seven minutes in length.
And while the deadline is Jan. 15, Hogan encourages writers who’d like feedback on their works in progress to contact her by Jan. 1.
Hogan can be reached via email@example.com. Those ready to submit monologues can do so at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-monologues.
When asked if any subject is off-limits, both women shook their heads. They can’t think of anything taboo.
“It comes down to the quality of the monologue,” said Hogan, while Starcevich said she’s already impressed by the submissions she has received.
“Some are really powerful, even transformational,” she said.
About a dozen monologues will be selected by Jan. 31, and then Starcevich and Hogan will hold auditions for actors who want to bring them alive onstage. The performances, to be about 90 minutes in length, will take place March 6, 7 and 8 at a venue to be announced.
Hogan and Starcevich are casting their net across campus and into the wider community for both writers and performers.
Now to the writing prompts. These are just phrases to get you started:
• “I’ve never told anyone. But I’m going to tell you.”
• “When I was 10 …”
• “No one could believe how many marbles could fit into a coffin.”
Writers don’t have to use these exact words, Hogan noted. And they can submit as many as three monologues — or original poems that can be performed.
Hogan, 67, is a writer and actor who lives in Sequim; she came to the North Olympic Peninsula from the San Francisco Bay area, where she ran a literary salon for a decade. The participants published five anthologies.
She’s also a former bartender who still has a thirst for people’s stories. Hogan wants to hear from women and men across the age spectrum; she wants these writers to feel free.
“A monologue is a great way to tell your story,” Hogan said. “Even if it’s made up, it’s your story,” possibly imparting a larger truth.
If you’re considering writing a monologue but don’t feel terribly confident, Starcevich has advice.
“Tell it to somebody. Just the act of saying it makes it come out naturally,” she said. Record your telling; transcribe that and you’re off and running.
Once the monologues are selected, a creative team assembled by Hogan and Starcevich will get to work on directing them.
This team includes local theater artists Sarah Tucker, Pete Griffin and Ingrid Voorhies and Peninsula College professor and actor Janet Lucas. Peninsula College student Morrea Henderson is assistant creative director.
In the three performances, all of the actors will share the stage with a narrator, much like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”
The connecting device, Hogan said, will be that everybody has come together for an event; it’s a rite of passage, she said, though she doesn’t want to disclose exactly what this rite is yet.
“It’s very powerful for people to see that what they wrote can be produced,” Starcevich said.
She looks forward to seeing new faces among the writers and the actors.
And Hogan, for her part, doesn’t want the storytelling to end when the festival does.
For those whose work isn’t chosen for this first festival, she’ll be looking for another venue, another day and another performance, something like an open-mic night for monologists.
“My goal,” she said, “is to make sure every single one of these voices gets heard, somehow.”
Diane Urbani de la Paz, a former features editor for the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Angeles.