"You want her to jump off a building before you'll take her seriously?"
- Janice, from a monologue I wrote called Room For Depression.
(Screengrab at 0:46 from Method Productions via YouTube.)
I've had the privilege of performing an original monologue Room For Depression during The Singapore Monologue Slam 2017 which placed me among the Top 16 Thespians, out of some 80 participants.
The first "solo" competition I've ever participated in. As in, the non-Choir SYF kind.
(Video from Method Productions via YouTube.)
Considering that I'd never had any formal training in the theatre - not even in a secondary school speech and drama club - winning the award shows how fast I can learn things that are unfamiliar to me.
Grasping science concepts that I haven't come across during my Life Sciences undergraduate years will definitely be much easier to do with online research tools, as compared to writing creatively about a topic as delicate as depression.
And putting it out there for the world to judge.
As part of a competition.
Amidst seasoned actors/playwrights.
Without passing out.
You can find my script below. And if you're looking to produce a short film or video, feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to write and/or act for you!
Room For Depression Script
Playwright: Shermin Ong
Synopsis: Janice discovers that her friend, Jacelyn, has been a b*@#$)@ to her sister with depression and reveals that she also has the mental condition.
JANICE: Stop trying to defend yourself.
When your sister tells you she wants to kill herself and you do nothing to help her - you even call it an empty threat - what does it say about you? You want her to jump off a building before you take her seriously?
And now you've caught her cutting you call her an attention whore. Well, guess what Jacelyn? Remember how I told you this was stretch marks? They're not. I am just like your sister.
That day you told me I was gold standard for depression. Yes, I can go for class, I can I can meet my friends, but that does not mean I am not permanently suicidal. It does not mean I don't hear that static in my head every day, hoping for some fucking car to hit me.
Worthy? I'm worthy and your sister is not? Jacelyn, we've been friends for 10 years and I want to remember you as the brave, strong and kind woman that you are, and if I'm lucky you’ll find some good left in me too.
It's been nice knowing you. Do me a favour, okay? Get out there and live life for me.
p.s. If you're keen on participating in the competition, keep your eyes peeled for the 2019 iteration.
It'll be great fun, and you don't need to have any experience. Kamil Haque, the acting coach and organiser of the competition, is a really warm and friendly guy who'd be guiding you.
We all start somewhere, and I know took away a lot more than I had expected - new friendships, writing capabilities and nerves of steel.
Give it a shot!