WASHINGTON — A different kind of March Madness is taking over the local theater community, as actors prepare to compete in a battle royale this weekend.
Monologue Madness, now in its fourth year, brings more than 200 actors to the stage for a bracket-style tournament. The 200 contestants are whittled down to 32 actors who compete in rounds throughout the day. The winner takes home a $1,000 cash prize.
Each actor must present monologues in three different categories: drama, comedy and classical. Those who reach the final four are handed a monologue they have never seen before. While some of the work in previous years has been original, most of the performances use published works.
“D.C. has a huge, huge theater scene that is often overshadowed by the government and corporate America,” says Monologue Madness founder Edward Daniels.
“This is a very unique way to showcase the acting talent in D.C. and give audiences a behind- the-scenes look at what we use, on a daily basis, in landing our jobs.”
The competition draws both seasoned and amateur actors, but the panel of judges sports some heavy hitters. Among them is Kimberly Skyrme, the casting director from “House of Cards.”
Winners from previous years also will return for a chance to win again.
Karina Hilleard, the 2013 champion, is sitting on the judges panel this year.
“The audience was sitting on the edge of their seats watching” her last year, Daniels says. “She is an amazing talent.”
For actors thinking about joining the challenge, Daniels has a little advice: “The most difficult round is the classical round. It’s up to [actors] to find monologues that showcase themselves as an actor best.”
In the last three years, contestants have actually bowed out during that round, Daniels say. But don’t give up, he urges.
“The challenge is presenting a very real character and presenting something spectacular that’s going to wow,” he says.
Monologue Madness will be held April 6 at the Miracle Theatre in Southeast D.C.
Get a sneak of Monologue Madness in the video below:
WTOP.com readers can get 30 percent off tickets online using promo code “wtop.”