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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Nov 1, 2014

Monologues For Men

updated 10/31/19


See also
MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN
Adam Szymkowicz's website


From time to time, actors ask me for monologues. I thought it would be easiest to put them all in one place. Here are some monologues for men.

Mercy


1.

IAN
I feel like such a fucking idiot. You come over looking for a friend and I'm . . . I guess I thought . . . I've always had this problem. It's not just you. Sometimes you see the signals you want to see instead of the signals that are actually there. I used to ask. I used to say, “Can I kiss you now?” but it's so unromantic. So unspontaneous. I just thought . . . But yeah. Sorry about that. I guess I needed you to want that whether or not you did. I guess I just really need something right now. This whole thing has been really fucked up. Not just being sober, but . . . I was a whole different person. I never thought I'd be the kind of person who -- It's been really hard to get through the day. I stopped drinking because I had to. I couldn't keep going that way but now I'm trying to figure out how to keep living, you know? I'm running out of reasons to stay alive. Not that -- I'm sorry. This isn't your problem. You don't want to hear this. Right? Ted? Are you still there?


2.

(ORVILLE talking to the baby. It's late.)

ORVILLE
Are you awake? Hey, are you awake? Sorry. I know it's late. It's just -- I saw the guy who killed your mom. I mean I knew he was out on bail, but I didn't expect to just run into him like that. I don't think he recognized me but I knew it was him right away. Those photographs are burned into my mind.

He was just there all of a sudden. I came out of work and there he was, just walking down Twenty-Third Street, completely free. The nerve of him to be alive while Carrie -- So I followed him. I followed him into a grocery store and watched him buy orange juice and coffee. I followed him to his apartment building and I waited outside. Waited so long my legs were tired from standing.

It started to rain. I was about to leave, just forget the whole thing, and then he came out. I followed him into the subway onto the platform. I stood near him while we were waiting for the train. I could have pushed him right into the oncoming train. I could have done that then. Instead we both got on the train and when he got off, I got off. We went into this church, down in the basement. It was a meeting for people who were trying not to drink or take drugs anymore. I stood in the back. Am I supposed to feel better that the guy who hit your mother with a car is going to some meeting? Is that supposed to make everything okay somehow? Other people get up and tell their stories but I'm watching him and all I can think is murderer, murderer, murderer.

I'm going to take care of this. This is what I can do. It's his fault you have no mother. It's probably his fault you never cry. I'm going to make sure he's punished for it.


3. 

ORVILLE
It was my wife you hit with your fucking car. She just went out to get milk. It should have been me you hit instead. We had an argument. It was a long day and I had just come home and she was like, “Can you go to the store?” and I yelled at her like an asshole. She said, “Fine, I'll do it.” I should have stopped her. But I was a lazy piece of shit and I let her walk out the door with her big swollen belly. If it had been me, maybe I could have got out of the way when you ran the red light. She couldn't move as fast because she was carrying our child. Or maybe not. Maybe I'd be dead too. Either way, it should have been me. But it wasn't. So now I'm here with this gun. (beat) So what do you have to say for yourself?


ROBERT
(to Librarian)

I’m looking for books on marriage. How to have a good marriage. What to do. What not to do. How to be a good husband. How to love the right way. How to best make love. Not fiction, mind you. Or the things on the internet. More like old knowledge. The things our souls know that long ago were shared by word of mouth generation after generation and then recorded by hand and translated into a thousand languages but have been forgotten. Maybe some of the new science too. But not based on one small study and not pseudoscience and not a series of essays written on deadline by someone who doesn’t know enough, who knows how to write but doesn’t know how to think. Also. How to be a good father. Not the trends. Not the sexism. Or maybe some of the sexism but the kind in which it is easily recognized as such. How to be a good person. How to live life the right way. I feel like I’m trying to start my life finally with the right person and I want to try not to make too many mistakes and I want to be happy or if not happy, the other thing that we’re supposed to be. Of use? Worthwhile? Honest? I want to be vulnerable and love completely. Do you have a book like that?






ThreeCheerleaders Cheering for the Worst Team in the History of HighSchool Sports   (From Five Short Plays)

PETER

I just think, when you love someone, then maybe . . . that’s when you do things with them . . . like those things . . . I’m just waiting for that person to show up, but I just don’t know when that will happen. It seems like it never will. And I want it to so bad, but it’s like I don’t belong here. Everyone just stares at me as if to say “what are you doing here?” and I don’t know what I’m doing here. At all. I just hope someday there will be someone who will look at me and see my value and say “yeah, you and me, we’re the same.” Cause no one around here is like me. And I’m not even sure why. Sometimes I just feel like there’s no point in saying anything anymore because when I do, no one understands what I’m saying. We’re all speaking the same language but I’m on a different frequency or something. I don’t know.



EAST HADDAM


 


1.

SAM
How to be alone. It’s really not that hard. You just don’t date anyone. And that makes it easier to not accidentally get into a relationship which makes it easier to not move in with anyone or marry them. I eat a lot of soup. I recommend that. I mean really you can dress however you want. Shower or don’t. I used to go to the gym but I don’t do that any more. Some days I only eat cookies. I like to read a lot. And watch a lot of TV. And sometimes I drink tea. But you should do you. I mean that’s what it’s all about, really. Being the person you want to be without caring about what other people think. I have a job. I go to work. And I do my work and then I go home and then I do whatever I want. So, really I’ve got it made.

Loneliness? Yeah. I mean. Sure. That can happen sometimes. I recommend alcohol. I mean I guess I don’t recommend it, but I use it. What else? I have friends. I usually shower before seeing them but it’s optional.

Also what you can do is pine after someone completely unattainable. I do that. I have done that. I mean basically for years I’ve been doing that. What else? Did I mention reading? I like YA Science Fiction and Fantasy but again, you do you.

Now I’m going to do a dance with a unicorn.

(A UNICORN enters. Music. SAM and the UNICORN dance. Then the dance is over.

The UNICORN exits. SAM turns to the audience.)

SAM
Any questions?



2. 

SAM
This never should have happened. Sometimes I get lonely and I miss being touched and I make stupid choices and then I drink and I make stupid choices. This is stupider than usual. This is betrayal. I’m the worst. Literally. This never should have happened. Can we pretend this never happened? You’ll never speak of it. I’ll never speak of it. If anyone asks, I never saw your birthmark and I don’t know what your smell is like or what noises you make during sex. Okay? It never happened?



FAT CAT KILLERS




1.

STEVE
Thanks for seeing me. I know there’s some restructuring going on and I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know that if any managerial positions that come open –well I’d be interested in moving up, if um, there is a position you think I might be right for. So, anyway, hi. I’m Steve. Hi. I know you want to know if as Steve, I am being the best Steve I can be. The answer is yes. Sometimes. The answer is Yes, Sometimes. I don’t want to say it’s hard to be Steve. It’s easier than being some people I’m sure. But no, am I happy? I’m not so sure I’m happy. I’m not sure that Steve is as Steve can be. But I think with more responsibility and more . . . more money, I can be a better Steve, a more productive maybe Steve, but also a more well rounded Steve. I think in my new life I will be a Steve who perhaps learns to play the electric guitar or rides his bicycle everywhere. I will be maybe a Steve who paints large murals maybe on the side of buildings maybe with neighborhood children. I may not know how to do this right now but that does not mean that it is something I cannot do. I mean the jury is still out for what I am capable of. Which is why I think you need to give me a chance to show you how capable I am. I’m already someone who, you know packs his lunch at least two or three times a week. It’s true there are mornings when it’s harder to get up and sometimes I get a late start and there’s traffic or there was an accident or something and maybe I’m late, but remember how I was always fifteen minutes early when I first started working here? For like two years I was fifteen minutes early and it’s true I don’t actually do a lot at my desk these days. I kind of put off the work and no one seems to notice so I guess that’s an okay thing to do. Not that it should be, but, you know, it is.

There are days I go without doing anything. Weeks sometimes. Although I do answer emails. Sometimes the answer is no, but I’m always sure to type that before I hit send. But really, if given the chance, if given reason and money I guess I could be very good at a job that’s a little more important, a job that’s worthwhile. A job that’s not a waste of time like my current job. I mean when I’m actually doing it-- It’s a waste of time when I actually do it. But when I’m not doing it, it’s because it’s a waste of time. I do spend a lot of time writing letters. People like my letters. Many of them have been published in newspapers. And I put them all on my blog which is becoming more and more popular. And I read a lot now. Online. At my desk. And I watch a lot of short videos. It’s, I mean, it’s not ideal. I’m bored a lot and I feel the weight of the work I’m not doing. It’s piling up and no one realizes it but me. And I could do some of it maybe but then I would have to look at the whole big pile of it and that might be too overwhelming. Why doesn’t it stop? I mean does it ever stop actually, the work, or does it just keep coming forever? I could take my vacation but when I come back, there will be even more work to do. I mean, let me be clear, if I move on to this new job I will get all that work done. I’ll buckle down and do it. Or I’ll train someone else to do it. But I don’t want you to judge my work ethic on now, because now is a limbo time when I’m never given anything relevant or important or interesting. When I move up, well then that will be a different story.

I can look out the window and answer the phone and make decisions and then I could maybe even buy an apartment after a while, because of the money. So in closing, I am very skilled in very many things and I think you will find I have good management skills and I am competent and I’m becoming sort of a well known blogger and letter writer. Thank you for your time and for considering helping me to be a better version of Steve. I can shine if you let me shine. (STEVE starts to leave, then remembers something and returns.) Oh, also I do have a Bachelors in individualized study. That’s on my resume, right? Okay. Thanks. (This time he really leaves)




2. 

STEVE
Sorry about that. It’s just you were scaring me a little. And you’re not supposed to do that. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I thought maybe we would just knock on your door and be like, “Hey we got laid off from your company and can’t find jobs but you got a lot of money, right?” And you would feel bad and you would say “hold on a minute boys” and “come in boys” and “would you like a drink?” And you would go into your safe and fill a couple bags full of cash, one for each of us and we would hang out and watch TV and then we would say thank you when we left. I really wished it could work out that way. But Michael thinks and I guess I agree that people only give away money under duress. Or at least people like you anyway. And you definitely wouldn’t give it to two former employees who showed up at your door. Even though your company was built on our backs. We worked all that time for not much money and now you cut us loose anyway. Just thinking about it makes me want to hit you. I guess that would be okay, right? I mean is there a reason not to hit you?

(DAVE tries to say something.)

STEVE
Yeah, I can’t understand you with the gag on. Maybe I should break something like a finger or something. Or I could cut something off. Like your ear or your nose. I wonder if there’s a knife around here somewhere. You didn’t see a knife, did you? Never mind. I can’t understand anything you say. Tell you what? I’ll hit you and see how it feels. If it makes me feel better, I’ll hit you some more and maybe find a knife. But if it makes me feel worse, I’ll stop. Deal?

(DAVE fervently disagrees with this plan. STEVE hits him. He hits him again and again. He’s
laughing, having a good time hitting him.)

STEVE
I don’t know what I was thinking. This is a lot of fun. My hands hurt but I could go a little more. What do you say?


3. 

STEVE
To Whom It may Concern: This is a Manifesto for a Better America. And a confession for the killing of Dave Russell. But not an apology. Let it be known that we killed Dave Russell and we are not sorry for it, even though he was charismatic. We are not signing the letter or anything because we don’t want to go to jail and we don’t think we really should anyway. Because he built his empire on our backs and then threw us away, so in return, we put a bullet in his head.

And here is where the manifesto part comes in. Dave died because he was the CEO of a company that treated his workers badly. Dave is just the beginning. We will not stop there and we hope that we will inspire others to likewise kill the CEOs of their companies. The only way that companies will start to treat their workers well is if they are all individually afraid for their lives. So I urge you to kidnap and kill your local CEO and continue to kill them off one by one until the pay begins to be reasonable. Something like a major corporation may seem impossible to defeat. “They’ll never pay us more,” you may say. “They will never treat us right.” Well, you may be right but then again, you may never know unless you kill the key people in your corporation. Just remember, corporations are made up of people who make decisions that affect your lives. Once you knock out a few of them, I think you’ll be surprised how things start to turn to your favor. They should all be terrified of us. There are so many more of us. But we’ve allowed ourselves to be beaten down. We go to their schools where the public school teachers tells us to sit down and shut up to memorize and behave and show up on time and do our work and never ask for more than whatever whoever is in power is willing to give. And then that is what we do the rest of our lives. In France, they beheaded their royalty when they lost touch with the common people. Well our royalty are the heads of companies, the heads of the media, the people who own our grocery stores and sell us gas and electricity, who take our money to hold in their banks and spend all their time thinking up ways to take advantage of us with hidden fees and additional charges. And it’s time to fucking chop their heads off one at a time, guillotine or no guillotine, until they start to treat us like human beings.

Now I know killing even one CEO can be a major undertaking. You have to get a van. You have to put newspaper down. You have to get rid of the body after. But if you really want it, and if you really believe in what you’re doing, you can make it happen. And afterwards you will feel a sense of accomplishment. It will be good for everyone. Sure it may not be popular with everyone afterwards, but a lot of people will be secretly happy. Especially if the asshole you killed mismanaged funds or got a huge bonus or stole from the company. I mean everyone steals paper and pens and paper clips, but when you steal lots of money, well, someone should kill you for it.

In conclusion, in solidarity, I hope you will seriously consider joining us on our venture to wipe out the money grubbing rich people and I hope you will continue until we are all treated fairly and equitably. Then and only then can the revolution end.

Sincerely, The Fat Cat Killers


4. 

STEVE
I would like to call on the leniency of the jury. Not because I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew what I was doing. Although please keep in mind that it wasn’t actually me who killed Dave. I didn’t shoot at anyone or anything. I just helped with the kidnapping. I may be an accessory to murder, but a minor accessory like . . . what’s a minor accessory? Like a barrette. It’s true I helped keep him hostage, but I had a good reason for all my actions. Revenge. Revenge is, I believe, a good reason to do things. It may get you arrested but my hope is that you, my peers, understand and appreciate the importance of revenge and will be lenient on me. Because when it comes down to it, all of my actions were motivated by revenge. When you take away a man’s ability to support himself, don’t you expect him to fight back? And so I did. Murder might have been too strong a way to fight back, but I hope you will understand my impulses, if not the severity of my actions.

Thank you.

Also, I would like to say to those who try to copycat me and kidnap CEOs--I would not do that. I think it is a bad idea despite the manifesto I wrote saying it was a good idea. I no longer believe this manifesto. I am penitent and see the errors I have made in the past. But I was trapped. The system is against us. That much is clear. It is against you whether or not you break the law. It is just against you. I think this is bad for a system.

Thank you. Please be lenient. Cool. Thanks.
  Incendiary




1.

JAKE
The size of the balls on this bastard comes to my district lighting fires.  Causing chaos.  The streets full of screeching fire engines.  The danger of speeding traffic.  The heat of the fire itself.  Little old ladies crossing the street.  Fire hoses.  Dalmatians. Ladders.   The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  What kind of person causes such chaos?  It’s sick is what it is.  And not a clue to be found anywhere.  It’s days like this I rethink my career choice.  Maybe I could design rare vases or be a scuba instructor. I’d give it all up tomorrow but then the arsonist would just get away.

2.

JAKE
I should drink coffee and stare at the photos taken at the scene of those last fires and pound my fists on my head and swear I’ll catch that arsonist.  I should stare and stare at them for that one clue I’m missing and rail at God for only giving me an adequate brain and not making me a staggering genius.  I should make models of the fires, map out scenarios, I should smoke one cigarette after another and not sleep and not eat and drink large amounts of Jack Daniels.

But I’d rather stay in bed with you and hold you and breathe in the smoke from the nape of your neck.

3.

JAKE
I thought I loved a woman once.  We went on picnics in Central Park.  We took bicycle rides.  We picked out monogrammed towels.  We planned to go away on vacation together on a cruise ship to the Caribbean.  At the last minute they needed me at work.  Crime never sleeps.  And so she went alone on a cruise and met her fiery death.  I thought I loved her, but then I met you and I learned what love really is.

4.

JAKE
Oh, Elise.  I can’t come with you.  My blood is the blood of a detective.  I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from hauling you off to jail.  I can hold it at bay while you get on this boat.  I can let it leave without trying to find out where the boat is going, but that’s your only hope.  And it’s not that I don’t love you because I do, but I don’t know how long I can keep you from myself.  So I need to know you’ll not perish in a flaming boat.  I need to know you won’t burn yourself up.  You have to convince me because otherwise I’m taking you to the station right now.  Say it. 

Tell me you’ll never light a fire again.

You don’t have to mean it.  You just have to make me believe it.







1.

(PRINCE JOHN is tying a message to a pigeon’s leg.  He goes to a window to throw the carrier pigeon out.)

PRINCE JOHN
Go Florence.  Go!  Fly with all speed.  (Holding up to his ear as if she has spoken) What?  Yes, speed!  Find your way to my men straight and true like an arrow.  (Again.) Yes, my men.  The Sheriff.  Or someone who can read.  Be hit not with the arrows of my enemy.  Go, fly!  (Again.) Yes, that’s what I said.  Don’t stop to fraternize with other pigeons.  Fly as if your life depends on it.  Because mine surely does.  A pigeon.  A pigeon.  My kingdom for this pigeon!

(He throws the pigeon out the window.  Physically, this pigeon may drop to the ground, comically.  But he watches it fly into the distance.)





1.

(In EVAN’s room.  EVAN sits in front of his computer.  He is trying to tape a video for JENNY.  We see the video he’s making in real time projected behind him.)

EVAN
Hi Jenny.  Here’s a video just for you.   A sexy video.  I’m . . . not wearing any underwear.  No.  (He stops taping.  Starts over.)  Hi Jenny.  (Blows her a kiss.)  No.  (Stops tape, starts over.)  Let’s do this.  Hi Jenny.  (He takes off his shirt.)  There.  That’s better.  Nobody gets to see me like this except in the gym locker room.  No.  (Stops tape.  Takes off the rest of his clothes.  Starts over.  The video just shows him from the waist up.)  If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this.  This is me.  All of me.  I’m not holding anything back, Jenny.  I will show you my soul.  Because I feel like you have shown me yours and it’s beautiful.  You know, I like birds because they float above us without effort.  You’re like that too, Jenny.  I wrote you this poem.  Okay, yeah.  I’m just going to read it.  (Reads from paper)

Jenny Monroe
when you move
all the world stops
to watch you sail past
a vision in a tanktop and jeans
and where you stop
everyone fumbles with their hands
and their hearts and nervous systems go into shock
and when your eyes fall on us lucky few
we feel the blessing of your gaze
but it’s like we’re standing in front of the whole school
and everyone is waiting for us to fall over
You make me fall over
twenty times a day
I love you
Jenny



2.                                                            

 (EVAN gets to a bad place in his head.  EVAN goes to his laptop, films himself.  He is projected much larger on the back wall, like before.)

 EVAN
Okay.  So I guess this is it.  I always thought—well that doesn’t matter.  I always thought somehow someday I would figure out what I’m good for.  But . . . now . . . it’s clear I’m not good for anything.

I guess I should say don’t blame yourself.  This isn’t your fault.  No, fuck it.  If you feel a little bit sorry for me at all, it is your fault.  It’s everyone’s fault.  It’s my father’s fault.  Mom, this is your fault.  Everyone at school, all the students, all the teachers, the principal, this is all your fault.  I want the guilt to eat you up.  I want you to wonder what you should have done for the rest of your life.  (pause)  What am I talking about?  No one will miss me. No one will care.  No one will feel bad.  You will all be happier.

I could never fit in.  I’m too weird.  And that’s not going to change.  I can’t not be who I am.  I wouldn’t know how.

So, I guess I’ll never get to kiss a girl.  I will never see a Red-Crowned Crane in the wild.  But what’s the point of that anyway?  It’s just a fucking bird, right?  No one cares about fucking birds. 

I’m sorry for being in your lives, for wasting your time.

Okay.  This is it.  Goodbye.  In my next life, I would like to be a bird.  If requests are allowed.  So long.

(EVAN raises the gun to his head.  A beat.  Another beat.  A tap on the window.  He looks up.  JENNY is outside.)

EVAN
(to the screen.)
Okay.  Hold on a second.  I may be hallucinating.








SNOW   (From Five Short Plays)


1.

ED

I’ve been careful, always very careful. Before touching a woman I put on rubber gloves. Some women are taken aback sure, when you pull out rubber gloves and dental dams but what kinds of women are those?—women that know they have diseases. And those are not the type of women I want to know in any case. So when people ask me if I’m upset at being a virgin at my age, I say no way.

I’m just looking for a clean woman. I am not against kissing—I just want to make sure her mouth is well cleaned first. If she would brush her teeth and then gargle with mouthwash for a minimum of sixty seconds. I, of course would also brush and mouthwash. I like cleanliness, that’s all. We are all dirty. God knows I scrub my hands before putting those rubber gloves on.

THE WHY OVERHEAD



1.

NIGEL
You better run. You better be afraid of me. I am a man. I am a big man and I won’t take this kind of insanity from a girl like you! I have scaled mountains. I have forged rivers. I have run in races. I built snow caves and spent the night in them. You hear me?! I jumped out of airplanes. I drove a motorcycle. I am very hairy. I work out two or three times a week. With free weights. I eat lots of vegetables. I am a fairly good pool player. Also pinochle. I could catch a tiger if I had the right equipment and enough time on my hands and if I was in the vicinity of tigers. I have a charming personality. I can make up jokes that people repeat later and don’t even realize they’re mine. I can make intricate cages out of popsicle sticks. My chest is enormous! I am a wealth of knowledge about music and musicians, especially in the years nineteen fifty nine to nineteen ninety-four. I write poetry. I won an award once for punctuality. My smile is terrific. I used to be a choir boy. I can peel oranges with great speed and dexterity. I am good at choosing shoes. I once played tennis for three hours. I am omnipotent! Okay, well maybe that last one isn’t true. But I am a man and I will crush you. You hear me?! YOU HEAR ME?!!

2.

DONALD
(to CAT)
“Manifesto to leave behind after everything has happened to explain why in case it is less than obvious.”

(DONALD clears his throat, reads.) “There are certain times in history when certain actions become necessary. Right now it is a time when there are great inequalities. I have taken on the responsibility to right wrongs to stop injustice and to use the pen here and later the sword so that the words from my pen will be read. Anyone can write anything, but you also have to get people to read what you write. That’s what the sword is for. I stand before you a man ready to take drastic actions. There are men that take actions and men that do nothing but complain. We are all angry but only the brave few who stand up and fight back will be able to accomplish anything of note. History will show that my actions were the right actions at the right time. History will record today as the turning point for America when a wave of citizens led by me took back their country.”

“I ask that in my absence, one of my future followers take care of my cat Mittens. She needs neither food nor water. She has evolved beyond life. She only requires company and for someone to talk to her and listen to her. I know that Mittens and I will see each other in the next life and I wouldn’t be surprised if she became a conduit for my messages from beyond the grave. In the past, I have spoken to many great leaders through her. Like Marie Antoinette, John Adams, Martin Van Buren, Henry Ford, and a spirit guide dog named Hamish. So when you need to reach me, ask Mittens nicely and I’m sure she will oblige. And through her I will give you future guidance on how to overthrow the government and corporations and create a civilization for the people by the people. The right people, that is.”

“In conclusion, when statues of me are built, I ask that Mittens be portrayed as well in bronze or gold or whatever. Her guidance has been incredibly helpful and without her I couldn’t have accomplished what my actions accomplished. Like the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the small deeds of today will reverberate for generations.”

“I sign this with my left hand though I am right handed.” And then I signed it. Do you like it?

3.

DONALD
At the end of the day, when the shit goes down, it turns out I’m not who I thought I was. And that makes me sad. I mean it’s important to know, but I want to be the kind of person that starts a revolution not the kind of person that doesn’t. I don’t know. I’m going to need to go home and talk to my cat. If she’s still there, that is.


FOOD FOR FISH




1.

BOBBIE
When you have visions that beat at your brains while other people are talking. When you hear non-stop streams of screams. When synapses pop or won’t stop crackling, and when blood pumps, and the pounding don’t stop pounding. Then you look for an exit to start the ending or search sideways in vain to extract a distraction, but even then, what will curls of hair give to you, hips and breasts, lips sip out of you, in a moment, distract what abstraction pounds-pounds ‘til you steal . . . a kiss.

I dress in haste, pull the hood on my head and I take to the street, boot in front of boot to find her. Who will she be tonight?

Last night she was brunette, blue-lipped and serious, mouth curled around a tiny white smokestack, long leopard-fur coat collecting snowflakes on its tips. When she stopped in the streetlamp, I was there. I was a boy and she was not afraid. She took a drag and I took her lips and all her smoke and sadness drained into me. She gasped in the kiss and the snow fell on her lashes. When she opened her eyes, I was gone.

That night I took my silver pen knife from the drawer of my desk—the only furniture I own. I opened the blade, splayed my left hand on the desk and stabbed myself with the right.

(BOBBIE stops typing.)

BOBBIE
No! No! NO! That’s not right. No one would do that. It’s so fucking stupid. It’s so fucking . . .

(BOBBIE stops himself, takes out a knife, and stabs himself in the hand. He yells out in pain.)

BOBBIE
Ahhhhh!

2.

(A coffin sits prominently in the sister’s apartment. BARBARA –played as a woman by a man in drag--sits beside it. ALICE is reading a scientific journal and making notes. SYLVIA is reading a newspaper.)

BARBARA
It’s been a year since Father died. When Mother died, I was only seven and three quarters but I had to become the mother to you both as well as your older sister. Did I do right by you? I tried, you know.

I had to learn how to be a woman from television. “One Life to Live,” “Days of Our Lives,” “All My Children,” “General Hospital,” “Daylight Menagerie,” “Passionate Embrace,” “Dallas” and the magazines of course. I skipped Seventeen and went straight to Mademoiselle, Ms., Playgirl, Good Housekeeping, Home and Garden, House and Kitchen, Modern Woman, Lady of Leisure. I stayed home like a mother would and studied, catalogued every gesture and practiced-practiced to be an adult so that you didn’t have to. Then when you came home I would show you what I had learned and you would smile. Because I had kept you from the pain and from the responsibility of being a woman.

Now that Poppa is dead I must learn to be a father to you as well. I watch my husband carefully to see if he is the right model. He must be firm yet flexible, strong yet not afraid to show weakness, quiet and reserved, yet emotional and expressive. He must be bold. He must be vulnerable. He must not be afraid to show fear or to cry in front of others. He must not be a sissy. He must work all day and then come home and then he must take out the trash. He must give orders and take suggestions. He must do as I say but never be influenced by exterior forces. The leader of the house, and of course, my servant. In short he must be a man, the new man--like Father was and like Father would be still if only . . .

Do you remember a year ago today? Father fell asleep watching Fox news and didn’t wake up. There was a panic of course and the shock and the sorrow eventually.

3.

(BOBBIE paces, he looks at the letter again. He crumples it up and throws it. He pounds the desk in anger, then puts a new sheet of paper in the typewriter. He types.)

BOBBIE
Dear Sir, Did you even read my masterpiece? If you had, you would not be sending me this form letter of rejection. Not unless you are indeed a complete and worthless moron. I do not accept you as an arbiter of real talent. I have more talent than all of you put together if it comes to that! You with your hackneyed conventions, have usurped the foremost places in art and consider nothing genuine and legitimate except what you yourselves do. Everything else you stifle and suppress. I do not accept you. I do not. It was optimistic of me to think that you were not an undiscerning fool.

Are you all conspiring against me, you with your form letters on separate letterheads that converge into one voice? As punishment for this, your highest crime, know that you have pushed me to eschew publication altogether. Know that you and the others and the world at large will miss out on the rest of my work which I shall never again let you touch with your dirty and destructive hands. My work belongs to eternity now. To the universe of ephemera. But never to you. May you find your just punishment knowing you have kept another genius from the hungry world who aches to hear him. Sincerely, The Author Who Would Have Made You Famous.

4.

BOBBIE
I know the tricks of being a boy. I know how to act like I’m not interested. I know how to feign disinterest. I know how to walk away, how to not call, how to ignore her insinuations that she likes me. In short, I know how to play dumb. I know all this not from being taught but because I am a smart boy and that’s what smart boys know.

But I can no longer use my tricks of being a boy. Because suddenly I am in love and all the crafty tricks I’d collected are useless against her laughter, her dimples, her eyes. In short, I am no longer a smart boy. She has made me dumb.

5.

DEXTER
About us. We got married too quick. Your father was sick then already. And we leaped into the thing even though we didn’t know each other very well. You were my first love and then before we knew it we were married. You were taking care of your father every day and then the fear came for you and you stopped leaving the house and I trudged to work day after day and tried to become numb and not think about what was I doing. It was my life. Work and home and work and home. And at home, your father was coughing into his oxygen tank and your sisters were bickering. I was becoming smaller. In the office, I had a new boss every few months--they were interchangeable in their corporate slogans and brand name business attire and just as I would get used to one, he or she would be promoted and so I never knew any of them long enough for them to even know what I was supposed to be doing. Not that I could tell you that. And I still can’t. I’m not even sure who I am. I’ve become so insignificant.

HEARTS LIKE FISTS



1.

(Spotlight on DOCTOR X, a truly terrible creature with sunken eyes and deep scars all over. Disfigured, stethoscope round the neck, wearing a doctor’s lab coat, carrying a doctor bag.)

DOCTOR X
I have a face like a bowl of worms. Squirming around the ticks, the scars, the moles. It’s disgusting. A face like this. It’s absurd, without meaning or purpose. And I honestly can’t say if I’m an experiment gone awry or if I was just born this way. I have no origin. I have no memory. I can only remember you. The way you looked at me, the first time you saw me, it was like you saw the bowl underneath the worms. Your face was like a china plate. Perfect. Whole. Pristine. And you looked at me, the way you looked at me—

The patient had died. That much I remember. His wife was wailing but I couldn’t hear her. Because you were there and everything else melted away. “Let’s have a drink,” you said with your face like a plate. And we drank and we drank and we went to my place and we made love like normal people. And it continued that way for days, weeks, years. I can’t say for sure. Why can’t I remember? If I could only remember, maybe I could find you.

Or maybe I could figure out when how why you grew tired of me. Was it then I became what I am? Your body was like liquor and I couldn’t get enough, couldn’t spend a night without you, a minute, a second. I didn’t know you weren’t drunk on me. How could I have missed the diagnosis? How could I have avoided the bald shock, the morning discovery, to wake up and find your note?

And now I can’t remember anything except you. Your face everywhere I go. You will pay. Everyone will pay. You will all pay dearly.

2.

PETER
She will hurt you. She will break you over her knee. She will hurt you and she will tear you and she will rip you apart. Who are you that you think you can withstand her? You are just a man. You are a vulnerable man with tiny veins and blood rushing through you too fast. You have your career. You don’t need complications. Not now. Now when the heart is just about ready to be tested. You are no one. No one and the heart is everything and you can’t sacrifice these things for a tingling in your toes. For a pretty face. Such a pretty pretty face. Carries an electromagnetic field wherever she goes. Makes your heart beat faster than it has in years. She will break you. She will hurt you and tear you and break you and pull you until there will be nothing of you left. She will—


(PETER stands. He takes his coat and leaves the restaurant.)

3.

(DOCTOR X approaches a sleeping couple who have arrived surreptitiously. He prepares his needles.)

DOCTOR X
I don’t have to think when I’m working. I don’t have to feel. I don’t get angry about the things I can’t remember because all I need to know is the work in front of me. Everyone will pay! And the things I can remember don’t haunt me. Her face like a plate. Her disappearance. Or her laugh, always startling, but runs right through you. Or who I am. Who am I? I don’t have to think about that now. I have lovers to kill. I can concentrate on the damage I will inflict. You will all pay! There is something satisfying about an accomplished task. How can you be ever truly depressed if you accomplish all you set out to do? Someday it’s just enough to get out of bed. Or to kill a couple of people. No more. Yes the refrigerator is empty but as long as something was accomplished, well then, it’s back to bed. A sleep and maybe in the morning, a remembering. A thought about my mother. A vision of a room. And her, always her, with a face you want to eat off. (He injects them both.) Well that’s done.

4.

(PETER in his workshop in the hospital, takes an artificial heart out of a box. It beats.)

PETER
Here you are, my spare heart. Mother said, always have a spare. You never know, she said. Do everything twice. Just in case. Always have an extra pencil. Always bring an extra sandwich. And give it away if you can. To the kid with the torn jacket who smells like pee. And if they say thank you, say “you’re welcome,” or “think nothing of it,” or “no thanks is necessary.” Tell them “I can see you’re a human being who needs something. We all need something sometimes and if I can be the one to help, well that is good, but next time it could be you that helps and that will be good too.” Always do what you can to help. And if you think someone is laughing at you, look away. Look away. You’ll save them all some day, she said.

And now I will. I look to you, artificial heart. I look to you and I hope you know how to beat endlessly like I taught you. Because I’m going to make a million of you, and then another million, and another. Anyone who wants you, can have you. Anyone who feels weak will be made strong by your comforting weight and your life-saving pumping. You will be the circulatory saver of this world. But right now, I’m the one in need of your help. I’m the weak one, the sick, the damaged, the other. I’m the kid with the torn jacket, except the jacket is a heart.

Tomorrow, they will crack my chest open and put you inside, and then I will never need to be afraid again.

5.

DOCTOR X
They say it’s like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to perform surgery. But I’m not sure they were talking about those of us with brain damage. We’ll have to see, just have to see. My hand seems to know what to do. Sometimes the hand knows things the brain doesn’t and we should just trust the hand. Now we make the incision. How about there? That seems to be a good place for a heart.

I don’t have to think when I’m working. I can just slide into the moment, escape into the process. Surgery is a kind of escapism. You can leave your self behind and cut cut cut. It makes me wonder if my self is still here. Maybe I was never lost. Maybe I was always here, just waiting to pick up a scalpel. It feels good. I’ll say that. It feels good. Sleep, now, sleep. I owe you that.


CLOWN BAR




1.

DUSTY
My cat died last week. Thirty seven years old and died falling off the counter. She was dead before she hit the ground I suspect. I still haven’t buried her. I’m too sad about it. I just stuffed her in the freezer and now whenever I want a popsicle, I see her and I start crying again. On top of that, yesterday, I was sitting on my couch and I noticed a tear in it. I should probably get some thread and stitch it up. It’ll just get bigger if you don’t do something about it. You know what they say, a stitch in time . . . something something. Something about stitches. But it applies universally. To all ways of fastening things. Like pull up your zipper now or you’ll be cold later. Or take the antibiotics now before you giveit to other people. Or like, go to rehab before you OD on cough syrup or PCP or whatever. Or like, take care of your mama. My mama’s doing okay. In fact, I was having a pretty good day if I wasn’t thinking about the cat or my couch. But then Shotgun shot me in the foot. I’ll probably get gangrene. I’m hoping the burlesque show might cheer me up. Hey what are you guys doing?

NERVE




1.

ELLIOT
Thanks. I just don’t want to come off as fragile or something. Just because I don’t like roller coasters. I mean to say, I function in this world. No, I guess, not all the time, like there was a while when I just wanted to crawl under my bed and spend the day there but I was really unhappy and I just got out of a bad relationship and had a terrible job and I just

hated my life. And yes I guess I still do have panic attacks sometimes and suddenly am afraid my hand is going to fall off or that I’m going to stop breathing and I freak out but then I realize I’m still breathing and I’m probably not going to suddenly die and I’m OK. I suppose I thought for a long time I would be dead by now like in some horrible plane crash or car crash or like a stray bullet and I would be dead by like twenty but here I am and I’m not dead. So what I’m saying is that I’m, you know, pretty healthy now, not depressed or anything and I’m not like a daredevil. No, I don’t have tattoos or piercings and I’m not going to drive a steel rod through my head, but I’m not going to curl up on your couch and cry or anything.


PRETTY THEFT



1.

MARCO
I learned early that if something is pretty it must be wrong. Or it made me do things that were wrong which was the same thing. It’s not my fault there is beauty everywhere.

Because when you look at something beautiful, it takes a little piece of your soul away. But you can’t just let that happen. You have to do something. So you take the beautiful thing and run, because you think that will make you feel better but it doesn’t help. It makes it worse somehow but what else can you do? You have to try to grasp it. You have to hold something like that in your hands. And when it takes from you, you have to take back. You can try to stop, but . . .Why aren’t you drinking?

2.

JOE
Some people get locked up and some people never do. If you try to kiss the staff they will lock you up. It is illegal. Many men in suits never go to jail. That’s because that’s because that’s because they aren’t me. They aren’t broken. They walk on the surface of the water while everyone else is stuck in traffic or your car breaks down. Their cars never break down. They are super untouchable. They get married they have wives and children because they are men that are not born broken. They are the people who are up on the big screens. They are on the TV on the radio in the newspaper because they are the chosen the good, the other people. They can kiss whoever they want or kill even. Even kill. Because they are uncatchable or they are forgivable or they are perfect. They have people lying to help them. Their mothers loved them and told them so. Their mothers helped them up the stairs. Their mothers had a lot of money and a lot of good things in their bodies that they passed on while they lived in their good homes. They were beautiful and rich and were friends with all the people you are supposed to be friends with. Like doctors who can lie for you. Like doctors who can fix you. Except they don’t need fixing. Not the super untouchable. They have legs like razors and eyes that magnetize. They are pretty. They are everything. Like Allegra. I wonder if Allegra is super untouchable.


See also
MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN



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1 comment:

احمد عبد العزيز said...

نقدم لكم شركه الحمد للنظافه العامه بالرياض حيث لدي عمالنا العديد من الخيرات في هذا المجال ليس عليك سوي الاتصال بنا
شركة نظافة عامة بالرياض
شركة الحمد للتنظيف نعد افضل شركه في مجال االتنظيف في المملكة العربيه
شركة تنظيف بجازان