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Personal Project 2019-2020

Anela Rei Tan

Good-Bi: the Musical Monologue

Advisor: Michael Bender

Mira Loma High School

School Code: 000518

Word Count:

1 February 2020
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Table of Contents
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Choosing the Topic

The topic/project I decided to tackle was to write my own monologue for a jukebox

musical I hope to write someday called ​Good-Bi​. The idea started the summer before my

freshman year. At the time, I had gotten very interested in the music of a British singer and

YouTuber named Dorothy Clark (widely known as Dodie Clark/doddleoddle). Her music had

gotten me through hard times and it was a comfort to have another artist whose music resonated

with me. Her music and my massive passion for musical theatre are what birthed the idea for

this project. Ever since I was seven, my goal has been to become a famous Broadway actress, so

naturally, it felt appropriate to do my Personal Project around something theatre-related.

My Supervisor

My MYP Coordinator, Mrs. Rachel Volzer, had graciously allowed me to pick a teacher

that I wanted to advise my project after I had chosen my topic. After I had expressed some

concerns about who may or may not supervise my project, she gave me the comfort and privilege

to pick a supervisor, as long as they agreed to supervise me. I had chosen Mr. Michael Bender,

who had been my English teacher at the time. Mr. Bender and I had been close ever since we

met, which was one of the reasons why I asked him to supervise me. He knew me the best out of

all of my teachers so I felt very comfortable to have meetings with him and ask him questions if I

ever needed help. Mr. Bender is someone I not only trust but know is a great person to talk to

about theatre, making him a great source if needed. He constantly keeps me in check and has

been one of the only teachers, both in high school and in my entire life, that I’ve trusted so much.
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He is someone I look up to and basically consider family, which is why is role in my project is so

important to me.

My Global Context and Guiding Question

When choosing my Global Context, I didn’t put much thought into it. Writing and acting

have always been my way of expressing my feelings and thoughts. It’s been a coping

mechanism through all of my hardships in life, whether I finish writing the piece or not. Since

writing and acting have always acted as an escape to reality and a glance into my imagination, I

picked Personal and Cultural Expression as my Global Context. The Guiding Question, unlike

my Global Context, was something I struggled with. When I first chose my personal project

topic, I didn’t have any questions in mind. The reason I had picked it was simply out of interest

and no curiosity whatsoever. But when I decided to focus on a monologue, rather than an entire

play, I started to think why monologues are so important in theatre. When you go to an audition,

why do you have to read a monologue? At theatre competitions, such as the Lenaea Festival,

why are you only allowed to read monologues and not duo scenes? None of it made sense to me

until I did this project.

My Research

When I had first created my calendar and list of what I wanted to research, I took a very

logical approach to it. I felt like I needed to confine myself to a certain set of theatre rules in

order for the monologue to be “correct.” I eventually came to realize that as long as only one

person was talking, it would technically be a monologue no matter what. I let myself play

around with the creation of my characters and let them control the monologue rather than let the

monologue try to control them. My biggest research piece was my interview with my dear friend
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Grace Everett. She had given me some great advice, part of which was about the creation of

characters. I knew that if this monologue was going to be of great quality, that I just needed to

study the people who act the way I imagine the characters to act. That research was mostly

subconscious. Poppy, the character that says the monologue, is based on me and a lot of the pain

I was feeling when I first created the idea of writing a musical. I placed myself in her shoes and

the words just came naturally for the most part. Tommy, her boyfriend that speaks to her in the

dialogue, is based on a cluster of people that I know. He is based on people who I felt were toxic

within my life, so I essentially thought “What would be the worse thing for me to hear in this

very moment?” when I wrote all of his lines.



My criteria was confusing to create at first. It seemed weird to categorize parts of my

monologue into a rubric since the whole point of it is to express my feelings. It felt like I was

grading myself on my feelings but I eventually overcame it and decided on a rubric that seemed

to work from a logical and creative standpoint. For the User/Audience portion of the rubric, I’d

give myself a 7 or 8. I think I made it very clear what kind of people are fit to act out the piece

and there are many lines in the piece that showcase that. For the Function portion, I’d grade

myself a 6 or a 7. I think I did a fantastic job of portraying the dynamic between Poppy and

Tommy but I think I can do some future revising to show a more in-depth exploration of Poppy’s

emotions and thoughts. For the Size/Content, I’d give myself a 6 or 7. The monologue is very

lengthy compared to the dialogue portions but I don’t think I’m happy with the overall length. I

considered that in the actual musical, the scene will be longer since the other scenes will flow
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together with it. Finally, for the Impact portion, I’d give myself a 5 or 6. The amount of

emotions is a great general scale but can translate as a very bland and one-note performance

when acting it out. The blocking isn’t set in stone so it allows the actors to move freely for most

of the piece.

Time Management

Time management has been the biggest struggle for me in this project. I have never been

good at time management in my entire life. Even when I was younger, I was never good at

organizing and setting up a healthy work schedule for myself. As I’ve grown older, I’ve suffered

through one-nighters, burnouts, stress-induced panic attacks, and so much more because of

school. I’ve always tried to break this habit and I was hoping to break it with this project but it’s

been a struggle. This project mixed with a schedule that consists of all IB classes and

extracurriculars ranging from water polo to the school play, everything has felt rushed a/o

stressful. This project has taken so much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears. I know I’m not

the only one who struggles with this and I’m fully aware that it isn’t healthy to not be good at

time management but I did my absolute best to stay on track and be flexible when things change.

Taking Action

Problem Solving

The biggest problem I faced was time management but besides that, there were many

mini obstacles to work through. This was the first play I was committed to writing so I was very

nit-picky with myself. Choosing certain words and lengths of lines played a big role in how the

final product looked as well as how I acted during the entire project. I also had scheduling issues

with my interview with Ms. Everett due to some conflicting schedules on both ends and I had to
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cancel my interview with Mr. Nino due to a lack of communication and responses between the

two of us. As previously stated, I had to be really flexible with all of these errors while still

meeting the due dates of the project.

The Final Product

My final product is something I’m very proud of. The actual writing process only took a

few days and was such a nice outlet to let out any anger, stress, sadness, etc. that I had. The

wording is something I want to revise in the future because I feel like some of the lines feel

childish for a character who is a teenager, whereas other lines just sound really weird and

unnatural to me when said allowed. My friends have told me that the wording is fine but I’m not

100% satisfied with it. The portrayal of the dynamic between Poppy and Tommy is something

I’m very proud of. The way they act towards each other and the way it’s implied within the

writing exactly how I imagined for the most part. It was heavily based on Dodie Clark’s song

Monster​ and I think that they have similar vibes to each other which also something I’m very

pleased with.

The Report

My report is something I haven’t liked to do throughout this project. It feels very tedious

to have to reword and summarize everything that I wrote in my process journal. I think this

would’ve been great to do as a PowerPoint presentation in front of my advisor, but it just feels

unnecessary to type out. As fun as it is to revisit all the memories that I’ve had throughout this

project, I just feel as if the report is busy work for the students to turn in to IB as if the process

journal, showcase, and final product won’t be enough. Many of my friends at school and I were
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stressed and confused about how to do this report and we all just want to get decent scores on