The monologue is much, much older than the Internet, going all the way back to the Greeks. (If you couldn’t guess, the word “monologue” itself is Greek, meaning “speaking alone.”) Yet it’s little surprise that as online video has evolved, it’s made heavy use of monologues as a narrative device. A monologue done well is intimate, character-oriented, voice-driven and short — which is also a recipe for quality web content.
Today’s example: The independently produced Missed Connections Live, in many ways a mashup of Texts from Last Night and Project Rant. While many actors looking for material to perform might turn to the classics or write their own, Melissa Center, a New York-based actress with extensive theatrical credits and an As the World Turns appearance under her belt, mines Craigslist for inspiration, not just reading out loud postings from the Missed Connections section, but using them as a jumping-off point for character studies.
As an actress, Center demonstrates some real range, though she tends to lean toward stereotypes in her portrayals; her Lower East Side hipster chick, for example, is almost a parody of that particular subspecies, and Joe NY is a pretty broad interpretation of the kind of guy who says “broads.” More could be done with action, location and cinematography to draw out the characters — 50 in 50, Brent Rose’s similarly themed project, should offer Center and her team some inspiration. But the core concept has merit, and with a little additional burst of creativity it could become a quirky web favorite.
However, one key ingredient currently missing is the show’s web presence, which is so far pretty lackluster, and doesn’t include a link or screengrab of the original Missed Connections that inspired each episode, an element which seems like a necessary one to include. After all, the very nature of writing a note to someone on the off chance they might check Craigslist later and discover it has a note of futility to it that’s almost romantic. If Center is going to exploit these postings for her own gain, she might as well give those who posted them slightly more of a shot at connecting with the object of their affections.