Richer prizes for the second edition of the Singapore Monologue Slam

Lifeguard and part-time actor Yamin Yusof will be writing an original piece for his second try at the slam.
Lifeguard and part-time actor Yamin Yusof will be writing an original piece for his second try at the slam. PHOTO: STRIKING PIXELS

The Singapore Monologue Slam is back and it has doubled the value of its prizes

Singapore's first monologue competition is returning for a second year with richer rewards and more open arms.

The Singapore Monologue Slam, in which participants perform short monologues before a panel of judges from the film and theatre industry, has more than doubled the value of its prizes - from $16,000 last year to $34,900.

The competition, which will be held from Sept 21 to 24 at *Scape, is open for entry until June 30.

It was started last year by acting coach Kamil Haque, artistic director of Method Productions and founder of acting studio Haque Centre of Acting & Creativity (HCAC).

Mr Haque, 34, feels many aspiring actors in Singapore face too many barriers of entry to performing if they are not acting full-time.

Although monologues tend to be pigeonholed as the stuff of auditions, he believes they are so much more. "In the monologue, the actor can't hide behind a costume, lights and scenery. Your body is your best prop. You strip everything away and you have the actor raw on stage, baring everything he has. Now that's an appropriate barometer for talent."

In the monologue, the actor can’t hide behind a costume, lights and scenery. Your body is your best prop.

ACTING COACH KAMIL HAQUE, who is also the artistic director of Method Productions

The competition will again feature 60 participants. In the first round, 20 will perform each day over three days.

  • BOOK IT / SINGAPORE MONOLOGUE SLAM REGISTRATION

  • WHEN: Until June 30, 11.59pm

    ADMISSION: $30. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 60 slots. Register online at bit.ly/joinsgmonoslam. No auditions required

    SINGAPORE MONOLOGUE SLAM 2017

    WHERE: *Scape Gallery, Level 5, 2 Orchard Link

    WHEN: Sept 21 to 23 (semi-finals); Sept 24 (grand slam), 8 to 10.30pm

    ADMISSION: $22 (before Aug 9), $25 (regular), $50 (Festival Pass to all three semi-finals). Go to buytickets.at/sms2017

    INFO: Go to sms.methodproductions.sg

The top five from each day will compete in the grand slam on the final day for titles such as Best Thespian, which is awarded to the performer with the highest score and comes with a $1,000 cash prize, a six-month HCAC scholarship and a Zoom Q2n video recorder sponsored by City Music.

A new prize, the Special Jury Recognition Award, will go to the judges' favourite performer besides the Best Thespian. The prize includes $750 in cash and a fourmonth HCAC scholarship.

Although the slam is open to only those aged between 13 and 35, a new social media competition will allow those above 35 to enter the grand slam.

Another addition is the SMS Gym, an initiative for non-performing writers to submit their monologues for a chance to see them performed by actors.

Lifeguard and part-time actor Yamin Yusof, 29, will be joining the slam for a second time. Last year, he performed a monologue based on the Guy Ritchie film Snatch (2000). This year, he will try his hand at writing an original piece.

"I want more of my community to join the slam," he says. "It's a good way to keep improving yourself and get out of your comfort zone."

Doctor Jaisilan Sathiasilan, 29, was too nervous to join last year's slam, but has worked up the courage this year. He is also writing his own monologue, which will be about a medical issue close to his heart - dementia, autism or mental illness.

"My work is really crazy and overwhelming at times," he says. "Acting is an outlet to release stress. It gives me the energy to go on."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Talking one's way to the top'. Print Edition | Subscribe