When Emmy-nominated screenwriter Leigh Fondakowski asked why there wasn’t an online database of audition materials for transgender performers, K. Woodzick jumped at the opportunity to create such a resource for people who do not identify as male or female. Woodzick, a genderqueer writer, actor, director and CU Boulder graduate student, founded the Non-Binary Monologues Project in 2017.
Fondakowski serves as MFA thesis mentor to Woodzick, who is in the Theatre and Performance Studies PhD program at CU Boulder. Woodzick, who uses the pronoun “they,” has posted more than 100 monologues by over 50 playwrights to the website, featuring monologues for non-binary, transgender and gender non-conforming actors.
“Representation is revolutionary,” said Woodzick, who has a master’s degree in contemporary performance from Naropa University. “It is vital that non-binary and transgender actors see that there is an ever-growing canon of queer theater written specifically for them.
After creating the website, Woodzick started posting monologues as quickly as possible. Soon, people started sending their own monologues to Woodzick. There are monologues from living playwrights, including MJ Kaufman (CU Boulder student in acting), Ayla Sullivan and Maybe Burke; and classical monologues from such literary luminaries as William Shakespeare and Russian writer Anton Chekhov.
The project received a grant from the theater department for the Non-Binary Monologues Project, which, as far as Woodzick knows, is the first and only monologue databank of its kind.
Representation is revolutionary.”
The website is listed as a resource in numerous educational theater settings. Nearly 10,000 visitors have viewed the site.
“Each week I have educators and playwrights reaching out in gratitude,” Woodzick said. “When a playwright reaches out to me with a submission, their message is often accompanied by a personal note explaining this resource makes them feel less alone in the world. My hope is that this resource finds its way into every theater training program in the country.”
In the theater industry, if a role is not designated as non-binary or transgender, it is by default considered cisgender (people who are assigned at birth male or female), Woodzick said. Most of the monologues on the website are written by queer, trans or nonbinary people. That infuses the work with their personal experience, the stories that matter to them.
While much of the content looks at identity and relationships with a unique lens and voice, monologues are accepted from everyone. No one is required to reveal more of their identity than they want to when sharing their work on the site.
“We need to see ourselves in the art that we consume in order to believe that we are possible, specifically as it pertains to the theater industry,” Woodzick said. “We need to hold a space for gender nonconforming students.”
In the future, Woodzick would like to continue growing the monologue repository, including adding more classical works and scenes, and musical theater selections and songs. Plans are underway to form a partnership with Headlong, an arts organization in Philadelphia, to serve as the fiscal sponsor for the Non-Binary Monologues Project. Donors will be able to make tax-deductible donations to the Monologues Project through the sponsorship, and Headlong will provide other support as well.”
“We’re all humans, and we have more in common with each other than we have differences,” Woodzick said. “Hop on the website and read works by trans and nonbinary artists. We’re cool. Get to know us.”
For more information go to the Non-Binary Monologues Project.