Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Iphigenia/Effie in Iphigenia in Splott (Gary Owen)

Hello everyone! This week’s monologue comes to us from the play Iphigenia in Splott. For those who don’t know, the play’s title is an allusion to the Greek play we covered last week, Iphigenia in Aulis, which concerns a king’s plan to sacrifice his daughter to placate a deity.

The play is a solo show, thus making it ripe for….monologues! Actually, the show is a 75 minute monologue. It takes place in Splott, a suburbs of Cardiff, Wales.

Here is the synopsis/review from Google books.

“Stumbling down Clifton Street at 11:30am drunk, Effie is the kind of girl you’d avoid eye contact with, silently passing judgement. We think we know her, but we don’t know the half of it.

Effie’s life spirals through a mess of drink, drugs and drama every night, and a hangover worse than death the next day – till one night gives her the chance to be something more.

Inspired by the enduring Greek myth, Iphigenia in Splott drives home the high price people pay for society’s shortcomings. Effie will break your heart.”

That sounds thoroughly depressing, but could make some excellent theatre.

The writer is Gary Owen, a Welsh playwright whose website hasn’t been updated since 2010.

The play has received very positive reviews. For those wanting to delve into this as a possible monologue, here’s a piece from theatremania.com.

“Granted, the story of Effie’s eventual sacrifice feels like an excuse to make a heavy-handed statement about the deleterious effects of austerity on Britain’s social welfare. Owen doesn’t shy away from this contrivance, which makes his work more admirable than that of certain writers who have trod this territory before: The British have a long tradition of poverty-exploitation theater, from Edward Bond’s Saved to Anna Jordan’s Yen. While those two plays dress up shock as social consciousness, the equation is reversed for Iphigenia in Splott. Effie’s behavior becomes less shocking and more sympathetic as the play progresses. By the end, we even come to see her as noble in certain ways, an impressive feat for the kind of character most of us would cross the street to avoid.”

Naturally, this being set in Wales with a Welsh character, whoever performs it should at least try some sort of Welsh accent.

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A version that will play this July in DC.

Welsh-born Sophie Melville was nominated for a Drama Desk award for her performance Off-Broadway in this play.

Before moving on to the monologues, I found this bit hilarious from the same theatremania article:

“Her thick Welsh accent is seasoned with Valley Girl inflections, California’s most ubiquitous export.”

Umm, theatremania, please give Melville more credit. She’s Welsh, playing a Welsh character. Oh, and she’s a trained actress. Maybe those “Valley Girl inflections” are actually part of a Cardiff accent?

Here’s a video covering the play when it was at the Edinburgh Fringe:

Here’s Ms. Melville discussing the character:

Now on to the monologues. These all seem to be different monologues.

A

B

The play was adapted into Italian:

Join us next Monday as we profile yet another monologue from the depths of drama.

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