MONOLOGUES FOR MEN
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 from my published plays for women.
7 Ways To Say I Love You (Smashing Eyes And Little Folded Hands)
Ask your parents. They’ll tell you. When I was one and you were two we built sand castles on the beach in Hawaii. And then after we built them, we smashed them with our little folded hands. Then we said to our mothers and fathers, “Mother, Father, we’re going swimming,” and we jumped into the water head first. You thought the water was awfully cold and said so, breaking the surface, gasping for breath. I dove deeper, trying to see what I could. The water was clear and I could see for miles and miles. It was then I decided I would live there underwater in a bed of coral. The crabs would be my friends. But alas, my one-year-old lungs would not hold out so back up I went, but right before I broke the surface I saw something at the very bottom. Something very far, very dark, out of the corner of my very young awareness. I came up top but didn’t stop to watch you doggie paddle but instead soared to the bottom past fishes and dolphins and sea lions and sharks. And I was inches from the bottom when my lungs again started to wail at me. But by then I could see them—two dark circles—darker than dark. Blacker than anything. And I reached out my toddler hand and gave one tremendous kick and grabbed them tightly. And that’s where I found these amazing eyes of mine that I’ve been wearing ever since. (Pause.) When I came to the surface you were gone. Up and left with your mother and father. And inexplicably, my mother and father were gone too. But I had my eyes. And they made me strong.
I’ve been careful, always very careful. Sure there are people who leave the house more than I do. They take strolls, they cross streets in the midst of traffic. They get on airplanes and fly halfway across the world. And I say good for them. If they want to risk their lives daily, let em. But don’t ask me to. I’m fine how I am. It is true I have not left my apartment in three years. Everyone delivers in New York. Everyone. My mother says I would meet more people if I left my apartment—but I have my college friends I still call and email and of course there is a large online community waiting to hear my every word. Anyway, people die when they take risks. I’ve seen it happen.
THE WHY OVERHEAD
(to her DOG)
I see you looking at me. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I should get dressed and go to work. “Get going,” your eyes say. But I am moving. You might not see it, but I’m moving. It’s slow sure, but I’m faster than erosion. Faster than continental drift. But wait a minute. Let me rest. What’s the hurry? Live in the moment here with me. I’m here right now and I aim to stay here for another few minutes, an hour, a day. Everything will go on without me. I didn’t go to work yesterday or the day before and yet the world continues to revolve. New York does not need me. People go about their lives. No one calls to ask where I am. It’s like I don’t exist at all. But I do exist don’t I?
Please stop judging me. I don’t need to go to work, not today. It won’t affect the food in your dish. You’ll get fed. And you won’t be lonely.
Please don’t say anything. I know you disapprove and I hear you but it’s really not what I want right now and I know you subscribe to a sort of tough love viewpoint, but sometimes that’s not very helpful and furthermore, not appreciated. Don’t look at me like that. I do appreciate you, just not the hard line you try to draw sometimes. The world is not black and white. And colors can be confusing, so let me sit and rest and figure out a few things, okay? It’ll be fun. I can stay here all day with you. We can watch bad romantic comedies and you can jump up on the bed and curl up with me and we can eat crackers if we want. I won’t kick you out. And tomorrow? (beat) Who knows? Let’s just think of today. Everything is so uncertain these days.
Because I can’t handle things falling on my head. My older brother when I was a kid, used to drop things on me. He would pin me to the ground and then drop things on my face. Gummi Bears, ping pong balls, chocolate chips, our goldfish.
Legos, Barbie heads, pens, popsicles, water balloons, eggs, tin foil, socks, shoes, magnets, pieces of paper, jello, cereal, the cat.
Marshmallows, a slinky, legos. Flowers, ice, a recorder, matches, unlit. Matches, lit. matchbox cars, cellophane, statue of the virgin Mary, chapstick, butter, and then liquids. Juice, milk, water of course. Salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bacon bits, tongue depressors, spit, oregano, pancakes, stuffed animals, marbles, lettuce, sticks, forks, spoons, wood chips, chopsticks, erasers. Legos. Did I say legos? Toast, rubber balls, hackey sacks, Frisbees, action figures, dirt, spare change, mints, catfish.
It is my dream to someday lock him in a room, handcuff him to a chair and spend all day and night dumping things over his head.
Something like this makes you think about what you know about yourself, your likes and dislikes, your way in the world. I feel like all this time the things I disliked were really the things I liked and possibly vice versa. I’m not sure what that means except I might be in love.
Everything is not about the two of you, and your bets and side bets, your tantrums, your proposals, your lust and your desires. I can have desires and you don’t have to enter into them in any way. I can have sex dreams and sex day dreams and they can be about someone else. I’m tired of being tied down or covered up. I am not a statue on a pedestal or a flower in a vase. I am not just a beautiful thing, although I am that for sure. But I want to be recognized for who I am, not only how I look. I don’t want to always be protected from the world by other people. You don’t have to build a ceiling over me. I don’t need it. I don’t know. Treat me like a normal person, not the freak in the room who happens to be incredibly incredibly beautiful.
Well thank you all. I don’t know that that will help me catch the perp per se but I do feel like we’re getting somewhere. Everyday, we try to get somewhere new. That’s the way I try to live my life and it’s working out so far. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s not perfect. My life is not ideal.
I used to be an addict. It burned down a lot of bridges behind me. There are a lot of people who won’t talk to me anymore though I wish they would. I’m not telling you this because I want your sympathy. Or pity. I’m just a person. I went through something and came out the other side, scarred but intact. And there is temptation of course everyday but I tell myself, that was a bad life I led. And I embraced the law and what is good and right because it seemed like the opposite way was the way to go, you know?
People can change.
Most people don’t. But they can. You can go to God. That works for some people. Or shrinks or I don’t know. We all have our own paths. But I think it’s important to make sure you’re on the right path for you, you know? Look at where you’re going. Get out of the car, examine the map, make plans if you can. But don’t just put your foot down on the gas and shoot down the highway in the fast lane without proper consideration of where the fuck you’re going.
But really I guess what I want to say is would you like to go out sometime?
FOOD FOR FISH
What you speak of, I think, Fred is a coldness I have managed to cultivate towards the majority of men. Because I give off the air of not caring about you and because I speak to you and others brusquely, because I am short and dismissive with you, you think there must be something about me. I get many dates because of this. Perhaps you think I am like this all the time, but I am not. It disappears when I go home. It is not anything true. Because when I go home I am under a different spell. Not unlike the way you are under mine. Do you understand?
I think I love you.
All right, well, add your name to the chalkboard and leave me a sample of your genetic material and we’ll see what comes of it. I promise not to erase your name prematurely.
Oh, Father, what am I doing? I don’t know who I am anymore. I go to work in a fog. Is this what I’m supposed to be doing with my days and nights? Look at me, ready for another date, a date I don’t want to go on but why sit at home when another cold soup man is willing to buy me a another hot meal. So I put on the date lipstick and the date perfume, because who knows, maybe this time, this man, but no, he too will sit in a shadow and I will stop listening in the first minute.
Why is my life not like yours and mother’s? Why is my bank account empty at the end of every month and my bed empty at the end of every night? This was not the way you lived, even when you were digging and burying. I am unable to bury a damned thing. Help me. Help me, Father. What am I supposed to be doing? How can I get through this night? Or tomorrow?
Go ahead and stop me then. (Silence) What you can’t? No, you can’t stop me now, can you? The night is blank and the streets are empty. I pick a direction at random and begin running. I feel like I am running through water. My legs don’t move like I tell them. My brain is mush holding on to a single thought—that I must find him. I run and I run and the air is water and my brain is melting. I am about to give up. I can’t see anything, anyone, anywhere. And then he is there.
(BOBBIE caught in streetlamp.)
Where were you?
(BOBBIE tries to kiss her. She turns away again. He begins to walk away again, hurt.)
No, I’m sorry. Don’t go. Shit! I’m so stupid. Wait for me.
(BOBBIE and SYLVIA walk.)
He walks more slowly this time. As if he’s waiting for me. But he still doesn’t look in my direction or seem to see me in his periphery. I stare at him as we walk along, oblivious to the night, the neighborhood, to everything. Then we are standing in front of a brownstone. Then we are in the hall. Then we are in his apartment or what I assume is his apartment.
(BOBBIE goes to his desk, opens the drawer, takes out his handgun. He looks down the barrel for a while. They are both completely still. Then BOBBIE slowly turns his head and looks at SYLVIA.)
How can I explain that I’m not afraid? Yes, it is dangerous, but not any more dangerous than falling in love. When it comes down to it what it really does is make a piece of metal move very quickly. It doesn’t ever get to the root of things. It just takes care of the surface problem—if that’s what it’s for, that is. I don’t ask what it’s there for. But let me be clear I’m not afraid.
(BOBBIE puts the gun back. Sits down and begins to type.)
I am more afraid of what he is writing. I am afraid of his command of language, his diction, the way the verbs might rub up against my palate or jam themselves, get stuck in my throat. I am afraid I might like it too much, get used to it. Or maybe instead it’s the opposite: I am afraid of disappointment. I am afraid of who I think he is and more afraid he isn’t.
(BOBBIE stops typing, slips the sheet into a bottle and corks it.)
Then he speaks to me for the first time, although he looks away from me as if anyone in the room might catch his voice and latch onto it and find meaning in it and, if it happened to be me, well so be it. He says:
"If you stay here, I will hold you all night long."
So I do.
HEARTS LIKE FISTS
What is this feeling, so unpleasant, like my insides rotting or my outside melting? There is a bad taste in my mouth that won’t go away. I feel itchy and oversized and everything is crawling. Is this what rejection is? Isn’t there usually a heaviness to it? An unbearable weight? (beat) Oh, there it is. A big boat of depression sailing over my chest.
It hurts. It hurts so much. It’s not—is it me? No one has ever rejected me before. He must be a lunatic. He must be some sort of nutcase. Someone not all there, because why else--? Ohhh. Or he can see everything wrong with me, all the things I’m afraid are there but can forget about. He knows I’m no good. I could have fought Doctor X harder. I could have climbed the fire escape faster maybe. Or I could have tried harder to love them back. If I had made myself maybe or—
What do people do after they get rejected? Do they curl into a ball and die? Do they tear out their hair? Drink themselves into oblivion? I want to do all of these things at once.
There must be something outstanding about him if he’s too good for me. Now I will never want anyone besides him. All other men are fools and idiots who could never measure up. No, there is nothing to do now except commit to a life of celibacy. A life with meaning. (She takes out her cell phone and dials the number on the card the Crimefighters gave her.) Hello, Crimefighters? (A huge crash.)
Doctor X is just so exciting. And wrong. So exciting and wrong. I think the other girls have an inkling. Because I—I let him get away. I paused. If you know me, you know I’m not someone who ever pauses. I run into any situation, burning building, shark infested pool, without a thought. But I saw Doctor X and I paused, to the point of stopping even. And it was not revulsion I was feeling. Well, it was, but it was mixed with something else, something potent. I’m not sure what. They should bottle it if they could ever find a way to collect it. They’d make millions.
He just stood there, looking at me, with his doctor’s bag and syringe. He showed no remorse. Remorseless. Soulless maybe. And it took my breath away. I’m terrified of what might happen the next time I run into him. You have to be ready at all times to kill if necessary. But when I think—I’m not sure I could do it in this case. I dread our next meeting and at the same time I look forward to it more than anything in my entire life. You know what I mean?
I think you’re the one who’s never had a really good kiss. A good kiss is like a knife. The best kiss I ever had hurt more than anything. It couldn’t help it. A really good kiss can’t help but hurt you ‘cause you give part of yourself away. Make yourself vulnerable to it. A kiss, a real kiss severs nerves and cuts through you and that’s an injury you’ll never recover from.
Sometimes it’s like you can’t feel anything because the conversations in your head are too loud. You have no connection to your body and you’re numb and depressed. The dancers in your head are twisted into knots. And there are voices, these hurtful voices and the only way to shut them up is to take a knife and cut yourself. Then, the numbness drains out, the dancers are free, and you can feel again for a while.
Well I wouldn’t shut up, would I? When you don’t shut up, the boys notice you. Course, eventually you realize no one was really listening. And you stop speaking up in class—realize maybe you weren’t saying anything anyway—not something someone else couldn’t say better--usually a boy. And the boys who seemed to be listening to you weren’t quite the right boys.
(Stuffing her pockets.)
So you stopped talking. But then you realize if you lift up your shirt there are boys that like that too. But maybe those aren’t quite the right boys either because then later those boys want to see what’s in your pants. And want to put themselves in you even if you’re not ready and maybe those aren’t the right boys either but at least they need you for a few minutes.
(Stuffing her bag.)
Then you go after your friend’s boyfriend because it’s wrong and it’s fun and because your friend is pretty. And you get him but once you have him, you realize he’s no good. And your friend hates you. But you do it again anyway to another friend. And the girls all begin to hate you. They call you a skank and they call you a whore. But some of the boys like you some of the time. But they think you’re a slut. So you embrace it because what else can you do? You buy a t-shirt that says “Fuckdoll” and a series of short skirts and you try on provocative lipsticks.
ALLEGRA at a bed talking to her FATHER who faces away from us. He wears an oxygen mask and does not move.)
And I’m working at this like group home with Suzy Harris. We hang out a lot. You know who she is? I think you’d like her. She’s a lot of fun. She was supposed to come here with me today but . . . she couldn’t make it.
Bobby’s good. He works at the garden place in Salem sometimes on the weekends. He wishes he could be here too. He’s uh . . . a good boyfriend. I think it’ll last for us. One of the great . . . things.
Fuck! It’s just as hard to talk to you now that you can’t talk back. I can’t ever say the right thing to you. You’re just so . . . not there, aren’t you. You always ignore me. I know even if you can hear me right now, you’re not paying attention. You never . . . Why don’t I matter to you? What do you want from me?!! Maybe you just want to be left alone.
Well, that’s what I’ll do then. I’m sorry I disturbed your death bed you selfish fucking bastard! You self-centered egotistical, pompous fucking bastard! I don’t care what you want! I hope you die! I hope you fucking die real soon! You can fucking rot and be eaten by worms! I hope fucking worms eat you! Worms with big fucking teeth! And rats and flies and vultures! I hope vultures dig you up and take you out of the casket and fly away with you! You fuck!
I miss you.
I’ve always missed you. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to die. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Oh, Christ, I’m so sorry. Please don’t die. You’re so small. Please, Daddy.
(ALLEGRA kisses his forehead.)
(ALLEGRA’s house. ALLEGRA’S MOM sits, facing away from us, watching TV. ALLEGRA approaches her mother.)
I know you’re probably mad at me for leaving before the funeral, but I just can’t do it. My whole body itches and it won’t stop until I get in a car and can’t see this house or this town or this state from the rearview window.
This way is better. This way I’ll come back from my trip and go straight to school and you won’t have to look at me or think about me. You can tell people you have a daughter but you won’t have to talk to me on the phone or see me on the couch. I’ll be a no-maintenance daughter just like you always wanted.
I’m going to go now. I know someday you’ll want to talk to me again. Maybe after I graduate and get a job and get married and buy a house and have my own daughter. Then you can talk to her and be her favorite and then we can pretend you were a really great mother. She won’t know and I don’t have to tell her.
But now I’m going to get on the road and push you out of my mind and I probably won’t think of you until I get to the grand canyon or some other fairly good canyon and maybe I’ll cry in front of the mammoth orange hole in the ground or maybe I’ll smile because it’s so beautiful and I’m free and windswept.
But first I’m going to get into Suzy’s mom’s car and we’ll drive till there’s just drops left in the tank and as we cross the border into Massachusetts, we’ll roll into the first gas station where I’ll get some Ding Dongs and some orange soda and I’ll bite into the first one sitting on the hood, watching the car slurp up gas. Then I’ll get in the driver’s seat and put my foot on the accelerator until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. So I pull over and we both close our eyes and sleep until we’re awoken at three am by separate but equally terrible nightmares.
You have instincts and part of you knows things but the other part of you doesn’t want it to be so. So you say, “no, that’s not it.” A does not lead to B because hey that’s far fetched. Who would believe? The mind is being dramatic and should not be encouraged. Been letting it go too much. Too much time alone to consider too many possibilities.
But to answer your question Tom, sure there was two girls in here. Had some sandwiches. Left right before you came in. Don’t know where they went. Didn’t say.
Just paid and left. Young girls. Too cute for their own good. Are they in trouble or are they themselves trouble? It’s got to be one or the other. No, don’t tell me. I don’t need to know.
Can I offer you some ice cream. Sure, you can stay a minute. Or long enough for a bowl. Them girls is probably long gone by now. Down a back road never to be seen again. Now how ‘bout that? Never to be seen again. That would be something.
MONOLOGUES FOR MEN
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