Virtual Goodbye

May 28, 2020

Last month, I lost a good friend back in Manila.

It hurt so much and even though I had a good support system of friends to process this with, it took a huge emotional toll in my already-stressed headspace due to the pandemic. It so happened that I was taking the Monologue Masterclass online workshop at the Haque Centre of Acting and Creativity and the first assignment, coincidentally on the same day when Onin passed away, was to write our own monologue script. I ended up choosing to write about the gruelling 24 hours from finding out that my friend was found unconscious until the time I was told he was gone.

In a previous post, I posted the first draft of my self-written script. It has since then evolved into a different structure after coaching sessions and after performing the piece in class, but the sentiment remains the same.

Most are based on facts but few fictional details were added for storytelling cohesiveness and clarity. 

This piece premiered at HCAC's Online Monologue Showcase on May 23, 2020, which at its peak was attended by over 120 people in the Zoom meeting room.

I learned a lot from this experience.

I'm not an actor by trade so performing and recording the piece again and again really became a frustrating chore for me. I had problems memorising the script (which I wrote!) and would often find myself rambling on camera. I also had a difficult time channeling emotions. At the end of about 50 unsuccessful takes, I finally sought my instructor Kamil Haque's help.

The advice I got was pretty straightforward.

"Don't chase after the emotion, Jen. You'll stress yourself out and it won't come. Play the truth of the moment." 
- Kamil Haque

Reading this and really internalising what it means got me the video above which I eventually submitted as my final take. It's not perfect, but I'm happy and contented with it. Apart from the unintended consequence of becoming an early bird to attend this Singapore-led class while in NYC, this workshop was very much like therapy for me. Not until I got to write down and say out loud what I felt, did I start to accept what just happened.

I'm glad that Onin lived a good life filled with adventure and kindness. I'm extremely grateful to have had him in my life. Wherever he is, I know he will watch this and smile.

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