JJ talks his way to the top

• Jay Jay Jegathesan performing an adaptation of Pete Malicki’s A Psychopath.

A 10-MINUTE continuous-take confession of a fictional serial killer has landed local performer Jay Jay Jegathesan in the global finals of the World Monologue Games.

Before Covid, competitive monologuing was usually held live on stage, but in 2020 when performers were languishing amid lockdowns Australian producer and writer Pete Malicki started up the online-based World Monologue Games allowing competitors to film remotely and send in submissions. 

“At the time performers around the world couldn’t perform, couldn’t film,” Jegathesan tells us. “[Malicki] came up with the concept of trying to engage the world acting community to be able 

to perform without the things you’d normally need to make a short film – the crew, the equipment, the location – all of which couldn’t be done because of Covid.”

It’s the third time Joondanna actor and filmmaker Jegathesan has entered the WMG, and this year his sinister performance as psychopath Mark Theo Carter scored him a top three spot in the Australian regionals. 

“I had done some acting 20 years ago at the UWA Dramatic Society, and I thought all my acting [skills] had gone once the real world came along,” he said. 

But his son Radheya Jegatheva has become a filmmaker in recent years and Jegathesan started doing some voice-over work for them, rekindling his dormant acting passion.

Jegathesan says he’s gravitated towards malevolent characters in part because they’re so different from the roles he might otherwise get typecast into: “The look I have isn’t one that typically gets the normal hero roles: This Indian-looking guy, born in Malaysia, wears glasses,” the type of look that could get him typecast as “a husband or father who gives some advice on life”.

“So I’m quite happy to be given these evil, sinister roles. I feel there’s much more depth in those roles. And they’re completely different from how I am in real life.”

Preparation is gruelling. Jegathesan’s entry was in the ‘endurance’ category for monologues between 5 – 10 minutes, and it all has to be filmed in one take. 

At the 2022 Australian regional finals last month judges awarded Jegathesan six points, just one point behind the equal-first performers Louise Chapman of Newcastle and Sydney’s Eveline Benedict who both got 7.

But the popular vote heavily favoured Jegathesan: Audiences gave his performance 31.7 per cent, with the next most popular sitting at 14.4 per cent.

“The judges are told you’re only supposed to judge the performance alone,” Jegathesan says. “Not the language, not the script. So I could have performed in German or Klingon, as technically speaking you’re supposed to judge it on the performance alone.

“But I think the audience, they’re caught up in the whole thing.”

At the global finals on November 19 he’ll be up against the best monologuers from around the world, livestreaming at 5pm Perth time and with stream links via www. worldmonologuegames.com/2022-global-finals

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