Monologues for Nobody, currently playing inside the Fringe Club at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is exactly as advertised: Participants have five minutes to perform a monologue of their choosing in the shed. Alone. As creator Jordan Mechano puts it in his description, “Like singing alone in the shower…No audience, no cameras, no pressure. Just play.” While it really was as simple as that, I didn’t expect to be so moved by the experience.
The premise may be simple but Mechano has obviously put a lot of thought into the execution. Instead of the usual Shakespeare or George F. Walker, the selection of monologues are written by Toronto Fringe regulars like Kat Sandler and Laura Anne Harris. I ended up choosing a monologue from Christina Wong, a playwright I was unfamiliar with but whose work I plan on reading more of now.
Mechano also encouraged me to relieve myself of any stress and to embrace the freedom of performing for nobody. Before I went in, he recommended that I just focus on the words and see what comes up. The shed was also organized very sparingly for maximum self-exploration. There was only a music stand to hold my script and a mirror in case I need a person to deliver the monologue to.
As a performer, it’s not often that I get to perform for myself. Even in rehearsals you are still performing for your fellow actors and/or your director and stage managers. It was a weird sensation, especially as I elected to deliver my monologue into the mirror.
Sometimes I was extremely critical of my performance and would repeat lines until my face moved in a particular way. Other times I was surprised by how this person in the mirror had my face but moved and spoke in a way that was distinctly not mine. Towards the end I began to think more deeply about the relationship between theatre and audience. What is performance, what is theatre without an audience? Does my reflection count as an audience?
The only complaint I had was that the 5 minutes passed much too quickly. I had barely finished my monologue before Mechano poked his head in. Monologues For Nobody may be packaged as merely a fun activity but it turned out to be a very thought-provoking exercise.
- Monologues For Nobody is a Shed Show and plays at the Fringe Club, located in Honest Ed’s parking lot (581 Bloor St. West).
- All Shed Shows are Pay What You Can (PWYC).
- This show is approximately 5 minutes long.
- Outdoor seating.
- Content Warnings: Audience participation.
- The venue is listed as not wheelchair accessible.
- July 2nd, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
- July 4th, 8:30 PM – 10:30 PM
- July 5th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
- July 7th, 8:30 – 10:30 PM
- July 8th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
- July 10th, 8:30 – 10:30 PM
Image provided by the company.