20 Of The Best Dramatic Monologues For Teenage Boys From Published Plays
1. L’APPEL DU VIDE
A monologue from the play by Molly Kirschner
Quentin, a college freshman, is speaking to his new roommate, Simon. He has spent the last several minutes trying to convince Simon that the whole room belongs to him,
Quentin, as he needs a medical single, and insisting on putting up a poster of Nietzsche, much to Simon’s horror.
After assuring Simon that Simon’s personality is “flaccid and women aren’t attracted to that,” Quentin continues to assert his dominance over Simon, describing his own great successes with women.
We’re roommates. We gotta help each other out. I’m just trying to show you as much of the ropes as I know. Which isn’t a whole lot, I’ll admit. But once I liked a girl.
Yeah. In high school. Elissa. She was on the model UN team. I think she was also a model. If she wasn’t she shoulda been. Anyway I used to pick white and purple violets for her.
I’d tape them to her locker. Sometimes dandelions. I think she liked it because after a while she caught on and started smiling at me in the hallways.
But then winter came and there weren’t any more flowers but I did find this dead baby snapping turtle so i taped that to her locker. And she acted all weird about it.
Like she stopped smiling and even looking at me in the hallway even though she obviously saw me. And one day I saw her and before she could breeze by me I said, “Hey, Elissa! What’s your problem?”
She didn’t say anything so I explained to her that the flowers were also dead they were just better smelling. I didn’t kill that baby snapping turtle, but I did kill those flowers.
Flowers don’t die when they dry they die as soon as you pick them. After that she didn’t act any different but I could tell she realized I was right. She went to the prom with a jock who was a jerk.
Anyway, I’d never go out with a girl who didn’t get Nietzsche. I met him first. And the thing you vegans don’t get or have an impossible time digesting is that plants are conscious and you have to kill to live.
2. DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
A monologue from the play by Stuart Carolan
Thomas’s family is under suspicion. The IRA thinks there might be an informer in their midst.
Here, Thomas talks with a farmhand, Barney, about the death of his brother Seamus.
All the time, Barney. All the time. I think about him all the time. Every day. Sure, it’s only been a year. There was only a year and a half between us. Barney. Fourteen months. . . .
But I thought of him I suppose like a child. . . . I know.
The worst thing is I can look at him in the picture but I can’t picture him in my head . . . And sometimes I have dreams where I see him getting shot in the dreams or somebody’s tellin’ me he’s dead.
Coming up to the backdoor of the house and saying your brother Shamey’s been shot. And I’m going sweet God no, please no, no, please God, let him be OK. You can get shot and survive.
He’ll be all right. He’s not dead. And the person’s saying, it’s too late, Shamey’s dead. He’s dead. And I’m saying no, no way, this is my worst nightmare.
Shamey’s dead and then just like that, Shamey walks in the door and says what’s all the fuss about boy, and I’m thinking thank you God, thank you God, Shamey’s all right. He’s not dead.
And then I’m happy like I’ve never been happy and then, and then, then I wake up. And for the first couple of minutes I’m happy. I’m still half asleep and I’m thinking Jasus, that was some nightmare that was.
Shamey dead. Jasus. I must tell Shamey I had this nightmare where I thought he was dead. . . . And then I wake up proper and I remember he is dead. He’s cold and he’s in the ground.
Shamey is dead and I can’t go and tell him about my dream. Shamey is dead.
3. IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
A monologue from the book by Jeff Kindley
The setting is a high school gymnasium and the plot revolves around the lives of people who are ten years older than they were in high school, but not so very much older at all in terms of their emotional lives.
I had a dream last night where someone found out I never took these courses that were necessary for graduation, and I had to go back to school to make up the work.
I sat down at a desk which was way too small for me, but nobody else in the classroom seemed to notice that I was any different from them.
Then Mrs. Delaney—my American Problems teacher—hands out these test booklets, and I look at the cover and someone has drawn obscene pictures all over it.
I don’t know what to do. Should I tell Mrs. Delaney, and call attention to myself, or should I just ignore the pictures?—in which case she’ll probably think I drew them.
The pictures are in pencil, see, so I start to erase them. All of these little breasts and penises and stick people doing horrible things to each other. But as soon as I get one part erased, I notice another one—and another.
Finally the bell rings and Mrs. Delaney starts collecting the book lets, and I realize I never even opened mine. I don’t even know what the test was about. And what’s worse, all the pictures are still there.
I start tearing up the booklet like crazy and sticking pieces of it in my mouth, trying to chew it all up and swallow it before she gets to me. Then she’s standing over me and she says, “Where’s your booklet, James?
What have you done with it?” That’s as far as it went. I woke up in a cold sweat. I’d wanted to say, “I ate it, you b*tch! I ate it!”—but I never talked back to Mrs. Delaney in my life.
4. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
A monologue from the play by Simon Stephens (based on the novel by Mark Haddon)
Father said, “Christopher, do you understand that I love you?” And I said “Yes,” because loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth,
and Father looks after me when I get into trouble, like coming to the police station, and he looks after me by cooking meals for me, and he always tells the truth, which means that he loves me.
Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this. I tried really hard to think if there was any other explanation but I couldn’t think of one.
And then I couldn’t think of anything at all because my brain wasn’t working properly. I felt giddy.
It was like the room was swinging from side to side, as if it was at the top of a really tall building and the building was swinging backward and forward in a strong wind (this is a simile, too).
But I knew that the room couldn’t be swinging backward and forward, so it must have been something which was happening inside my head.I rolled onto the bed and curled up in a ball.
My stomach hurt.
5. Neet Teen
A monologue from the play by Lindsay Price
The future for me is… I don’t know. Uncertain. Unclear. A lot of un words. Un-talked about, oh that’s not a word. Wait, unspoken! Ha! This week we had heat.
And I was able to cook dinner for my sister. Spaghetti. I’m getting good at that. Afterwards we did the dishes. I wash. She dries. We… we laugh.
Like we’re doing something normal, like we do it all the time. “I can’t do the dishes, I have a date tonight…” you know. Normal. We had food. And we didn’t have to wear seven sweaters inside.
We washed and dried the dishes like normal people do. And we talked about our day. Normal. We did not talk about Mom. Why would we? Nothing has changed.
Where is she? Don’t know. Did she give you any money? No. The rent is due. (beat) The rent is due. I have no energy to think about the future. The present takes everything I got.
Doing the dishes isn’t normal. It’s fake but we do it because that’s what a brother and a sister are supposed to do. “You dry, why do I have to dry, I always dry…” (beat)
The rent is due.
6. PU**Y BOY (Ballad Of The Lost Dogs)
A monologue from the play by Christine Evans
Algy is a dreamy young boy who has run away from his violent father, Bill. He has taken shelter with the Dog Lady, who hoards dogs and takes Algy in as a pet.
Here, Algy justifies his dad’s actions to the Dog Lady, who only intermittently listens.
What begins as a straightforward explanation moves toward Algy’s own need to untangle for himself the complex knot of love and abuse that ties him to his father — and to work out what to do next.
He just wants me to be strong like him. It’s training. It’s for my own good. He doesn’t want me to get soft. (Beat.) It’s not so bad. I can sleep on my stomach after.
I count to a hundred when he does it, it stops hurting after about thirty. That’s a good trick I learned. It’s best not to hold your breath.
You can breathe out when the belt comes down, and if you breathe really fast you can sometimes get dizzy and faint, and he stops then. Once I fainted when I was up to forty, he was really worried about me.
Are you all right Son, he said and he put his arms all round me, Jesus Son, wake up, come on Son, I’m just trying to help you, please please Jesus. . . .
I held my breath and everything was perfect, so perfect like on a seesaw and you balance exactly, your feet are off the ground and you feel like you never ever have to come down.
But it always tips and you get heavy again. And you wish and wish you could stay in the air with the sky under your legs and everything . . . but the more you wish the heavier you get —
I think if I was a unicorn I could balance there forever. I wouldn’t wish ’cause that makes you heavy. I would be white as amnesia and when people saw me I would just look at them, not angry or happy but just . . . looking
. . . And they would slow down — like they were walking through water — And they’d feel all sweet inside and when they blinked I’d disappear. That’s what unicorns do.
They disappear. And they wouldn’t remember me but they would keep that sweet feeling inside them. (Beat.) He put his arms around me you know. I can still feel his arms all round me like water.
He’s really strong. I can’t feel him belting me, only breathing and counting but I can feel his arms round me. Is that amnesia?
But I did have to breathe in the end, and so he knew I was awake, just pretending — and then he was so angry, more angry than before. (Beat. Quietly.) He’s really angry now.
7. Tigers Be Still
A monologue from the play by Kim Rosenstock
Zach has been very disturbed since his mother died. He has decided to leave home and here,
in direct address to the audience, he tells us what he was thinking when he made that decision.
Zach (late teens)
This is how it happens . I wait until my dad has gone into his room for the night and then I grab the suitcase that’s been sitting under my bed, packed, for months.
Then I go to the kitchen to grab a box of cookies and leaning up against the leg of the table I see the rifle. And for the first time it hits me: My dad has a rifle. And that’s not ok.
He needs someone to take it away. So I do that. I walk out of the house I’ve lived in my whole life with a rifle, most of my belongings and a box of cookies and I have no idea if I have the courage to go any further than the town pond,
which is where I’m standing, looking at the ducks when I hear it: a soft rumbling, a growling. And I turn around. And there it is . The tiger. At the town pond.
And I’m, like, armed, you know. And I think—I can be the guy who defended the town from the tiger. And I’m about to pull the trigger when everything just becomes really, really still.
I stare into the tiger’s big, yellow eyes and I swear it’s like he wants me to shoot him. He’s tired . And alone . And lost . And I think: yeah, sure this tiger’s dangerous—but like if you really think about it, who isn’t?
And he squints and stares at me in this sad, broken way and in that moment, for him, I choose life. I slowly lower the gun and as I do the tiger glares at me like “Oh great. Thanks for nothing, a**hole.”
And he just turns around and walks away. So then I’m just standing there, thinking to myself, “Now what?” When suddenly I drop the rifle and it goes off at my feet and at the sound of the gunshot I run—I run as fast I can, suitcase and everything.
I run until I’m at the bus station and then I get on a bus and then I get on another bus. And that’s how I escape.
8. SECOND CLASS
A monologue from the play by Bradley Slaight
Marvin speaks of the violent world he hopes to escape.
I spend a lot of time just hangin’ in the halls, checkin’ out some of the kids in the school. I start thinkin’ about what it would be like to be them, to live their lives.
And I wonder what it must be like to live in a house that has plenty of room. In a neighborhood where helicopters don’t fly overhead all night long.
I wonder what it would be like to have both a mom and a dad. To not worry about my little sister gettin’ hit with a stray bullet because somebody’s fightin’ over a street they don’t even own.
To have my own bedroom where I have my own things that no one will mess with. To not have to watch my brother racing to the grave with a never-ending need for twenty dollar pieces of rock.
And I wonder what it’s like to go places— like the beach, another state, another country. To go somewhere . . . anywhere. To buy a pair of hundred dollar Nike basketball shoes instead of stealin’ them.
To not worry about the electricity bein’ turned off, or the car bein’ repo’ed. I wonder what it’s like to have dreams instead of nightmares and to know that those dreams someday may actually come true.
To look through brochures of colleges and universities and know that I have a choice. To see myself living long enough to become an adult. (He watches several more students as they walk past him.)
And as I watch the lucky ones, I wonder most of all, what it would be like to have hope. To have just a little bit of hope. (Marvin exits.)
9. THE PERFECT SAMENESS OF OUR DAYS
A monologue from the play by Michael Tooher
In the grip of PTSD, the Soldier has taken a Gardener prisoner in the mistaken belief that he is an enemy from a forgotten battle.
After being repeatedly asked by the Gardener why he wants to hurt him, this is the Soldier’s reply.
Soldier (nineteen – twenty six)
You want an answer? Here’s your f***ing answer. We’ve lost lots of people, Ali. Men and women. Good people. People with futures.
People who joined up because they just wanted to do their time and get a little money so they could get an education or start businesses. Or just chase their dreams.
People like me. And a lot of them are no longer here. They are dead, Ali. Dead. And those of us who are still here are really angry about that. Really angry.
We’re angry about what your raghead brothers have done to us. We’re sick of saying goodnight to our buddies and discovering them dead in the morning, slit open ear to ear.
Put yourself in our place, Ali. Thousands of miles from home with an enemy that can appear and disappear at will. Once, you’ve seen the sh*t come down, it makes you hard, man.
Sh*t that would have made you blow chunks before you got here becomes standard operating procedure. People can become used to anything. I know I have.
And when you’ve had a friend, a buddy, someone you care about, someone who was very much alive a second ago,
suddenly stone dead at your feet, well, you’ll do anything to anybody to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Anything.
10. FOURTEEN HUNDRED AND SIXTY SKETCHES OF YOUR LEFT HAND
A monologue from the play by Duncan Pflaster
Alonso is a young painter with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. He is speaking to his art school friend Paul, on whom he’s had a huge crush.
Paul has come to stay for the summer with Alonso and his sister Blanca, who has enlisted Paul to keep Alonso taking his medication.
Alonso (Twenty, Latino)
Look, taking the pills dampens everything down for me. It’s like wearing a blindfold made of a black and white movie. I can’t do it. There’s that Leonard Cohen line: “There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”The broken part is where the art comes from. I can’t paint, I can’t do it, I can’t do anything right when I’m on these f***ing pills. People didn’t have these pills in olden times.
Like they didn’t have dentists. And they were fine. All my life I’ve been told I had a special gift. That my art was something magical. I liked it, I wanted to be special.
A brilliant tortured artist. Right? We all fall for that image. But then I went to college and met you and bunch of other tortured artists, and we were all special.
I mean, you remember Lenny, with his fauvist style? All those bright colors just exploding everywhere.
And Sarah’s intricate line work, so tight and controlled. How could I compete with Monti, who made me cry once with a painting of Dominick’s elbow? And god: and you.
We were all the gifted children wherever we came from, and I had no idea how to cope once I got in with everyone who was just as talented and special and stressed just like me.
I had to up my game. And then I realized that this talent, this weirdness I have of seeing things a different way, that’s what really makes me special.
I don’t see things like anyone else, so I don’t paint like anyone else. I am unique. Without my f***ed up brain, what am I? We’re shooting stars, that’s all we are. Burn brightly, then fade away.
Wouldn’t you give your life up if it meant that you could be the genius you always knew you were? And you are a genius, my friend; don’t be bashful, you know that.
If someone was going to take that away, but let you live forever, would you take that bargain?
11. Chalk Farm
A monologue from the play by Kieran Hurley and AJ Taudevin
Jamie lives with his mother in an apartment complex near Chalk Farm in West London, the recent scene of rioting and looting, which he describes.
I’ve got my headphones on and it’s on shuffle and it’s playing this well slow song. This slow cheesy song that my mum likes but turned up well loud. And I’m standing there, in the middle of the street.
Just watching it all. Watching it all play out. And the music is slow and everything looks slow too you know? I know it sounds f***ing corny but it’s true. It’s real.
It’s like playing out like slow motion, and out the corner of my eye I can see the tube sign like a title caption at the start of a film yeah. Like the start or maybe more like at the end.
Just hovering there above everything big bright white letters: Chalk Farm. And I can see a smashed window. And I watch kids cycling away from the bike shop on their new wheels.
And I watch more police arriving. Lines and lines of them. And I’m thinking: It’s not about just wanting a new bike. It’s not about history like what Junior says.
It’s not about all anger at politicians or bankers or any of that sh*t its f*** all to do with any of them cause they’re nowhere to be seen. They’re not even f***ing there.
And it’s not about supermarkets on our streets and overpriced f***ing ham. And it’s not about saying listen to me. It’s not about saying this is what I think. And it’s not about just smashing stuff up for fun.
And it’s not about school and it’s not about parents and it’s not about just grabbing a bottle of something quickly cause it’ll make a nice present for your mum.
And it’s not about black or white. And it’s not about the police being d*ckheads. And it’s not about that boy that was shot. And it’s not about revenge. And it’s not a cry for help.
And. At the same time. It is. It so massively f***ing is. It’s about all that stuff at once. It’s about everything. Everything and nothing. Right there. A smashed window.
Just everything, and nothing, all at once.
12. Wild Animals You Should Know
A monologue from the play by Thomas Higgins
Jacob is a gay kid in love with Matthew, who is straight. Here he tells Matthew’s father about how the two became friends.
Some of the older boys at school, they used to, um . . . they used to tie me to this tree. Hey that’s the bargain. You wanna do certain stuff, you wanna stay in the boy scouts?
You gotta endure other stuff too. (beat) But this tree, it’s, um, it’s actually how Matthew and I became friends again.
There was kind of a massive, collective turning on me that took place when we all started middle school and everyone sort of dropped me.
And because your son, at the time, didn’t know any better . . . he did too. Hey: builds character, right? Can’t wait to find out! (beat) You never noticed that I, like, suddenly wasn’t around?
Anyway, it just sort of became this ritual, this . . . thing. Like once a week or so: I’d get tied up. And it wasn’t all that bad, actually. I mean, there were a few times when they’d put lipstick on my face, or something like that, but—I know, right?
Some a**hole’s bringing cosmetics to school and I’m the f*g that gets tied to a tree? But one day, Matthew—who’d sort of always been there, but, like, in the back of the crowd, sort of unsure at first of what to do,
you could see it, on his face—Matthew, one day, he walks to the front of this little . . . gaggle of boys, and he says: I’ll tie him up today! Let me do it! (beat)
And at first I’m sort of horrified, because, you know, this feels like it will kind of complete the, um . . . the total hiatus our friendship had taken from like 5th to 7th grade, but I stay still, and he walks over,
and then he leans into me, and he says: over the fence, around the tree, and into the rabbit hole, three times. (beat) And after a moment of being kind of like, um: what?
I look down and he’s saying it again, as he’s tying me to the tree: over the fence, around the tree, and into the rabbit hole, three times. (beat) He’d invented this knot, see?
It’s a variation on a ‘sheet knot’ and another kind of . . . um . . . well, it’s a messy looking thing, is what it is. Which is probably why the boys always wondered how I ever managed to get out.
But it was this thing, this knot, that only he and I knew how to undo. (beat) And so every time after that, Matthew would tie the knots, and I’d know how to get out of them, and . . . and it was our thing.
Which was, like, this gift. This weird kind of . . . I don’t know, compassion? And . . . we became friends again. (beat) But I guess I’m sort of wondering, now: what kind of person comes up with stuff like that, you know?
And what happens when it’s, I don’t know . . . used for something else?
13. BLOOD AT THE ROOT
A monologue from the play by Dominique Morisseau
Some white kids have pulled a racist prank at Justin’s high school, and the black kids have staged a demonstration protesting it.
Here, Justin explains why he won’t take sides.
Justin (late teens, African-American)
Things at Cedar High can be real divided. Lots of lines get drawn and everybody wanna know what side you standin’ on. Now me? I get by like I always done. Be studious.
Be focused. Be attentive. That’s never done me much for popularity. Doesn’t give me the most friends. Keeps me… well… I don’t like Toria callin’ it invisible.
I mean what does she… who does she… she doesn’t know me. Nobody knows me. That’s the point. But at this stage in the game, I’m not askin’ for that anymore. Sure, it might’ve bothered me when I was a kid.
What kid likes to be the outcast? Sure, it might’ve made me sad or like some story from a after school special. But that’s not the case anymore. Folks like me … there’s no space where we really fit, y’know?
No side we really make sense on. I’ve always just existed in the cracks. So when they come askin’ me where I stand, what do I say? Whose side am I supposed to take?
Black kids protestin’. White kids prankin’. What side am I supposed to be on when don’t none of them ever … when ain’t none of ‘em really … when I just seem to belong to myself.
And that’s it. That’s the side I’m on. But here at Cedar High, everybody want you on a side. Wanna know where your loyalties lie. And what I got to say about it?
Who’s been loyal to me? Find me one person that can answer that question, and I’ll tell you what side I’m on. Til’ then, it’s all about bein’ objective. That’s the only way I know to survive.
In the cracks.
14. Hello Herman
A monologue from the play by John Buffalo Mailer
Herman is speaking to a journalist who is interviewing him on death row three days before he will be executed for the mass murder of 39 students and 4 adults.
Herman Howards (sixteen)
I shot her at an angle, so the bullet would go through her skull and blood would splatter all over Marsha. That b*tch walked around those halls like she owned the place, And why?
Because she was a nice-looking piece of a**? You think that’s gonna fly in the new order?! Sh*t’s going down, Lax. Being some sweet piece of a** or some hotshot reporter don’t cut it anymore.
It’s the ones like me are going to run the show . Do you know what the largest generation is? Mine. We have more than the baby boomers.
So, you can believe me when I tell you we’re going to do a hell of a lot more than “Rock the Vote”. More and more kids are going to realize that this is the only way to make you a**holes finally pay attention to us.
And when they do, watch out. I made damn sure to kill more people than that wackjob Cho. You know why? Because you have to reset the precedent.
When Harris and Klebold lit up Columbine, the nation freaked out, But people didn’t freak our when that kid brought a gun into his school in Georgia, back in June ‘99.
TJ . Solomon was his name. You know why people didn’t freak out? ‘Cause he only wounded six students. He didn’t even kill anybody . People looked at that incident and all they said was ‘’At least it’s not as bad as Columbine ”.
Not with me, Lax, I wasn’t about to settle for some rinky-dink sh*t. Oh, no. I blew that dumb b*tch’s head off and made sure a little got on James Hankley as well.
But I was never going to kill him, I wanted him to live, so he could write about the day in his precious paper. Marsha on the other hand, she didn’t have a chance.
15. TELL HECTOR I MISS HIM
A monologue from the play by Paola Lázaro
Toño has been kicked out of school for sexually harassing a teacher. then he has been beaten by his mother.
Now, he tells Mostro, the owner of the corner store, and his wife Samira what happened.
TOÑO (fifteen, Puerto Rican)
Missis Vargas. English teacher. I thought she loved me Samira. I mean, El Catcher in the Rye. She showed me El Catcher in the Rye. I thought she loved me. I thought she loved me.
She taught me so much. She taught me so much. Like, I think, when I think about it. I think, that nobody understood me, but her. Ella na’ más. And now not even her.
But, I really thought she loved me. That’s why I tried what I tried. I knew she had to grade papers and she usually does it in our classroom after all the kids leave.
She’s not like the other teachers that go home after the day is done. She stays until she’s done correcting cause I guess she doesn’t want to bring the work over to home.
You know? Keeping it separate? So she was gonna grade papers in our classroom after she got her café cortadito in the faculty room. I hid under her desk and then when she came back into the classroom after all the kids had left.
I had a (he points to his pants) cause I usually have one all throughout her class and I sit in the front and I can smell her and this time she was even closer and I was under her so I could really smell her so I had a…
And I went to touch her and I may have fallen on her- I fell on her with the… and. And she thought—- I think she thought– I know she thought— I was gonna you know sexually do something to her, but that’s not it!
That’s not it! That’s not what I was trying to do! I just wanted to read her a poem. She didn’t wanna hear me.
She didn’t wanna hear it. She didn’t wanna hear me. I just have a lot of energy, you know?
16. Peter And The Starcatcher
A monologue from the play by Rick Elice (based on the book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson)
(Act 2, Scene 1)
(PETER is alone with the trunk and blinded by the glare of the sun after waking up washed ashore.) So…bright. Holy – Know what that is? That must be the sun!
I am feeling you, sun! (realizing how much he can see) And check-it-out!! Space. Light. Air. I’m finally FREE! (echo of FREE, FREE, FREE. This delights him.) And I’m gonna have..freedoms! Whatever I want.
(A yellow bird enters suddenly and alights on his shoulder!) Whoa. Hey bird, wassup? Me? Well, let’s see…Saved the world. Got a name. Not too shabby.
I just – I wonder if Teddy and Prentiss made it off the ship before it sank. I mean, how weird would it be if they – (a chill up his spine, looks up) Please let them be okay. (scared now, a lost boy)
Bird, we should make a pact. I don’t leave you, you don’t leave me. Deal? (The bird flies off.) No! Come back! I don’t wanna be alone! COME BACK! (Echo of BACK, BACK, BACK. This leaves him desolate, but he tries to rally.)
Hey, fine. No Molly, no Teddy, no Prentiss…so what? This is perfect. Nobody’s after me with a stick. Nothing between me and the sky. I can just be a boy for a while.
It’s all I want anyway. (giving in to the lost feeling) I gotta get outta here!
17. THE SNOW GEESE
A monologue from the play by Sharr White
Arnie has gone over his deceased father’s books and has learned that he has squandered the family fortune.
He is explaining to the family what has happened to them, and how it has all been some sort of elaborate ruse to pamper his older brother Duncan, his parents’ favorite.
Arnie (Late teens)
The real story is that from the get-go he’s betting his principle on stocks. The bank panic of ‘90. All zeroes. And then bang: here’s the big one, ought-seven. Pretty much cleans him out.
Which is when he brings in the accountant, who gobbles all the crumbs. For the last two years he was borrowing against this place to keep us in cash. But it’s tapped out, spigot’s turned off.
And we haven’t made a bank payment in . . . I don’t know. Months. I always wondered why they didn’t send me to join you at school. But now I realize they probably never had enough for both of us, even before the panic.
What’s funny is that I think in spite of father’s reputation we were probably living pretty modestly; with mother, father, O’Neil and just a cook or so, usually.
But about a week before you would come home on break, all these maids would appear. And they’d open the spare rooms, and the dust-covers would come off . . .
I mean I suppose it might’ve been fun for them to pull out all the stops a few times a year. They didn’t have to entertain. Just the spring and autumn shooting parties.
Much easier to keep this . . . little world alive for you. And when you’d leave? So would most of the staff. I honestly never thought anything of it, that’s just what happened.
The world . . . opened up . . . when you came home.
I remember one year, you arrive and everybody’s all lined up, and you step out of the car like you always do, like royalty, you know, and you . . . have this . . . new smile.
It’s true, you look up and give everyone this grin, and all these . . . teeth. Just . . . pop out of your face. And sort of light up the afternoon—speaking of the world opening up.
I mean you must’ve just learned that smile, because it wasn’t there when we’d seen you at Thanksgiving, you must’ve developed it for some new friend—or it was a girl,
I guess—but all I knew was, they sure weren’t teaching that smile to me at Syracuse Academy. And we went to some Christmas gala that night, and I, I . . . just . . . trailed behind you, watching you try that new smile out.
Teaching yourself how to cut a swath through the crowds with it, like some . . . glowing sword. And every head seemed to turn to you as you walked past.
And people put their faces together and admired you. But then a few days later? You left back to school, and the staff went away, and the world closed up again.
I remember thinking well wait a minute, did everybody just . . . forget about me? When do I get to learn that? I’d stand in front of the mirror at night and practice how to smile like that.
Try to make my muscles do what yours do. Say to myself . . . I can make the world open up. I can make love come to me. I can make the future . . . fall at my feet.
I really pretty much hate you. (Beat) Look, that’s not true, Dunc, I actually for the most part . . . this sounds odd, but . . . I mean I’m kind of in awe of you.
Of what you are. And that’s what I hate.
18. Feiffer’s People
A monologue from the play by Jules Feiffer
My trouble is, I’m named Bernard. Who made up my name? Did I make it my name? I don’t feel like a Bernard. I had hostile parents, and they named me Bernard.
Is that my fault? OK, Bernard is fine for other people, but all my life, when I was out on the street and people called me Bernard, I thought they were speaking to someone else.
I just can’t identify with the name. Inside I’m all different from a “Bernard.” If you knew me on the inside, you wouldn’t recognize me from knowing me on the outside.
You should see me when I’m by myself. The me on the inside begins to flower and come alive! And then somebody comes along and says “Bernard” and it remembers who I am and gets crushed.
I know I would be different if people would only call me by my outside name- “Spike”.
19. THE CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS
A monologue from the play by Sam Shepard
Wesley is cleaning up shards of wood from the door his father broke down the night before during a drunken outburst.
As his mother fries him some bacon for breakfast, he recalls the images going through his mind as he lay in bed listening to the splintering of the door.
(As he throws wood into wheelbarrow.) I was lying there on my back. I could smell the avocado blossoms. I could hear the coyotes. I could hear stock cars squealing down the street.
I could feel myself in my bed in my room in this house in this town in this state in this country. I could feel this country close like it was part of my bones.
I could feel the presence of all the people outside, at night, in the dark. Even sleeping people I could feel. Even all the sleeping animals. Dogs. Peacocks. Bulls.
Even tractors sitting in the wetness, waiting for the sun to come up. I was looking straight up at the ceiling at all my model airplanes hanging by all their thin metal wires.
Floating. Swaying very quietly like they were being blown by someone’s breath. Cobwebs moving with them. Dust laying on their wings. Decals peeling off their wings. My P-39.
My Messerschmitt. My J*p Zero. I could feel myself lying far below them on my bed like I was on the ocean and overhead they were on reconnaissance.
Scouting me. Floating. Taking pictures of the enemy. Me, the enemy. I could feel the space around me like a big, black world. I listened like an animal. My listening was afraid.
Afraid of sound. Tense. Like any second something could invade me. Some foreigner. Something indescribable. Then I heard the Packard coming up the hill.
From a mile off I could tell it was the Packard by the sound of the valves. The lifters have a sound like nothing else. Then I could picture my dad driving it. Shifting unconsciously.
Downshifting into second for the last pull up the hill. I could feel the headlights closing in. Cutting through the orchard. I could see the trees being lit one after the other by the lights, then going back to black.
My heart was pounding. Just from my dad coming back. Then I heard him pull the brake. Lights go off. Key’s turned off. Then a long silence. Him just sitting in the car. Just sitting.
I picture him just sitting. What’s he doing? Just sitting. Waiting to get out. Why’s he waiting to get out? He’s plastered and can’t move. He’s plastered and doesn’t want to move.
He’s going to sleep there all night. He’s slept there before. He’s woken up with dew on the hood before. Freezing headache. Teeth covered with peanuts. Then I hear the door of the Packard open.
A pop of metal. Dogs barking down the road. Door slams. Feet. Paper bag being tucked under one arm. Paper bag covering “Tiger Rose.” Feet coming. Feet walking toward the door.
Feet stopping. Heart pounding. Sound of door not opening. Foot kicking door. Man’s voice. Dad’s voice. Dad calling Mom. No answer. Foot kicking. Foot kicking harder.
Wood splitting. Man’s voice. In the night. Foot kicking hard through door. One foot right through the door. Man cursing. Man going insane. Feet and hands tearing.
Head smashing. Man yelling. Shoulder smashing. Whole body crashing. Woman screaming. Mom screaming. Mom screaming for police. Man throwing wood.
Man throwing up. Mom calling cops. Dad crashing away. Back down driveway. Car door slamming. Ignition grinding. Wheels screaming. First gear grinding. Wheels screaming off down hill.
Packard disappearing. Sound disappearing. No sound. No sight. Planes still hanging. Heart still pounding. No sound. Mom crying soft. Soft crying. Then no sound. Then softly crying.
Then moving around through house. Then no moving. Then crying softly. Then stopping. Then, far off the freeway could be heard.
20. Our Town
A monologue from the play by Thornton Wilder
I’m celebrating because I’ve got a friend who tells me all the things that ought to be told me. I’m glad you spoke to me like you did. But you’ll see. I’m going to change.
And Emily, I want to ask you a favor. Emily, if I go away to State Agricultural College next year, will you write me a letter? The day wouldn’t come when I wouldn’t want to know everything about our town.
Y’ know, Emily, whenever I meet a farmer I ask him if he thinks it’s important to go to Agricultural School to be a good farmer. And some of them say it’s even a waste of time.
And like you say, being gone all that time – in other places, and meeting other people. I guess new people probably aren’t any better than old ones. Emily – I feel that you’re as good a friend as I’ve got.
I don’t need to go and meet the people in other towns. Emily, I’m going to make up my mind right now – I won’t go. I’ll tell Pa about it tonight.
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