44 Dramatic Monologues For Teens

44-dramatic-monologues-for-teens

24 Dramatic Monologues For Teenage Females

1. Child Soldier

A monologue from the play by J. Thalia Cunningham

Destiny (early twenties, Liberian)

Destiny, a former child soldier in Liberia, has come to the United States as an undocumented refugee, where she struggles to navigate the battlefield of an inner-city high school while keeping her past a secret and striving for an education.

She has learned that her that her friend, Martina, a gang member, is HIV+. She refuses to take Martina’s baby, Sofia, should Martina die, because she prefers to remain focused on her education. This refusal of the child catalyzes her recollection of what happened to her own baby when she was a child soldier.

You were only a few months old. But already such a bright little girl! Laughing and chattering such pretty sounds. How I loved you!

I would have gladly given my life for you, but it wouldn’t have helped. It was time to go out fighting again. They gave us drugs, slitting our foreheads with razors so cocaine would go directly into the bloodstream.

Then they performed the ritual to make us brave. There you were, the next one to be sacrificed. He picked you up. I screamed and cried, but he held his knife to my throat and said he’d kill me, too, if I made one more sound.

He slit your throat, a flash of unbearable pain, while a soldier about my age held a cup to collect your blood. My own flesh was on fire.

The cup was passed around for all of us to drink. I drank without thinking. My eyes were only on you, as you slowly stopped crying and wiggling and breathing, the last drops of blood dripping out your chubby little neck like water from a leaky tap.

Then you were still, so still. Your blood ringed my lips as I rushed forth to gather you in my arms, but they wouldn’t even let me hold you once more.

His knife was in my back as we carried our guns out into the bush. I turned back to look at your little body, a naked scrap of promise lying in the dust.

He prodded me, forcing me to turn around, mixing your blood with mine. The scar is all I have left of you. How I long to hug you, kiss you. It hurts.

It hurts so much.

2. Sarah, Sarah

A monologue from the play by Daniel Goldfarb

Rochelle is speaking to her future mother-in-law, who doesn’t think Rochelle is good enough for her son, Arthur.

Rochelle (eighteen)

For Godsakes, the buns cost ten cents each, Mrs. Grosberg. I am sorry. I am sorry I am not as rich as you want me to be. I am sorry that my father didn’t leave us with more.

We’ve thought of selling the house, many times. We think about it all the time. Don’t think we haven’t. But it’s complicated.

All our memories of my dad are tied up in it. And it’s hard to just walk away from that. Even if it seems sensible! . . . Look, I want you to like me, Mrs. Grosberg. I do.

Because I’m not going anywhere, and life’ll be a lot easier if we can be friends. I love Arthur. I love him. I love your son. And he loves me.

I know I’m not perfect. I know my family seems pretty lousy on paper, and I don’t have the know-how to prove otherwise. I know rich is better than poor.

But I’m just eighteen, Mrs. Grosberg . . . . . . I can do a lot of things, Mrs. Grosberg. But I can’t make myself rich. I can’t make my daddy alive.

And I can’t make him more responsible with his money when he was alive. I can tell you he was great. And I loved him a lot. And I miss him a lot.

I can tell you, that, even though he maybe spent too much, he did it out of love. And that he had enormous respect for the right things; for education, for culture.

He came over from the Old Country when he was nine, by himself Mrs. Grosberg, and worked. He worked hard. And I promise you, I work hard too.

I don’t need big rings and cashmere sweaters. If Arthur likes to buy them, if he’s proud, as you say, fine. But my needs and desires aren’t that fancy.

I believe in Arthur. I’m going to put school on hold and work to support him while he’s finishing his philosophy degree.

And I know, there aren’t a lot of rich philosophers, Mrs. Grosberg, and that’s OK by me —

3. Bug Study

A monologue from the play by Emma Goldman-Sherman

Jane’s father, an entomologist, spends years away from home working in a rain forest. Here, he has come home for a while, and she tells him what she thinks of his being an absentee father.

Jane (twenty)

Are you getting a divorce? Cause if you’re getting a divorce, you haven’t changed a bit. Do you still spend your nights dozing over a textbook in that leather chair as if you’re really there?

At least when you are gone, you are gone. Now you’re supposed to be here, but you’re gone at the same time, sort of like . . . I know! I know!

You’re Virtual Dad! Plug him in and pretend he loves you! Am I bothering you? Making you want to leave again? Go on. You’re good at it.

It will be just like all the other times you’ve left, only this time, you’re already packed. I can hardly look at you standing by your bags.

I can’t tell if you’re coming or going. Do you know the difference, or is there only one way for you? It’s away, right?

This is the moment when you swing by to tell me you’re leaving again, on a longer trip with a bigger grant to study something even stranger than before, before I’m even used to having you around?

I’m sorry. I guess I’m feeling cold and unwelcoming. Are you lonely for your long lost family, the one you never really wanted, or do people want families before they’re formed and then freak out that they can’t manage them once they get them?

I don’t know. I’m just a kid. How would I know? All I know is that my adults, the ones assigned to me, they don’t seem to want me around, or I can put it differently, they don’t want to be around me.

Ah, you say that isn’t true. You say you love me, but doesn’t love mean being available to a person? Most of my life I haven’t even been able to call you, and forget visiting. A person needs shots and a state department visa just to get to you.

But you have a great excuse, because the rainforest isn’t wired for cell service. I have this thing about not seeing people in the flesh. My therapist, are you in therapy?

You really should be in therapy, you know. So Mary Beth, my therapist, says I flunked Peek-A-Boo. It’s that stage in development when a kid starts to trust her primary caretaker, to believe that he or she is there even if she can’t see him.

I flunked that part, and if a person isn’t right before my eyes, I don’t necessarily believe they exist. So if you really are here, and you’re really not just stopping in to say you’re leaving again, you’re going to have to do better than this.

Silence, your silence, isn’t working for me.

4. Boy On Black Top Road

A monologue from the play by Dale Wasserman

Donna is talking to a boy, who may be an imaginary remembrance of her brother.

Donna (eighteen)

All my life I’ve been a coward. There’s reason, I guess . . . plenty reason to be scared. What’s bad is that it makes you cruel.

You turn cruel when somebody probes that little nest of fear you hide inside. You lash out with your claws, and you wound and you hurt whoever sees inside you.

You can’t bear that anyone should see that you’re not cocky, you’re afraid. But you are — of so many things. Of being hated . . . or loved.

Of failure . . . and maybe of success. Of growing old. We’re afraid of the dark before the lights come on. Then we’re afraid of the light, what it might show.

Afraid to die. Maybe more afraid of living. But of all the stuff there is to fear, I guess the worst is loneliness. (A pause.) . . . Sure as hell, company doesn’t help.

If you want to find real Grade-A blue ribbon loneliness, try a crowd. Even a crowd of one. I have . . . oh, God, so many times.

I’d be alone for a while, until the ache was right up in my throat and I’d be hollering without a sound, saying, “Know me. Discover me.

I’m here, inside — somebody, please.” But they couldn’t hear my silent voice, so after a while I’d be saying, “Make love to me.”

They didn’t ask much. They didn’t get much. (She giggles.) You wouldn’t know about that. The big bad sex-express. “Love me, love me — well, if you can’t love me, OK, f*** me.”

It’s like a dance . . . all the moves have been rehearsed, you just follow the music. (Singing, raucously.) “Circle round and dosey do, All change partners, off we go!” (Quietly again.)

And that’s how it goes. Time after time after time. Reach out for love and find you’ve been stuck with sex. Booby-trapped by your own hormones!

5. Impenetrable

A monologue from the play by Mia McCullough

Cari is tagging along to the Starbucks and the spa with her mom. She’s geeky. She doesn’t have a lot of friends. She’s full of knowledge and excited which she doesn’t usually get to express.

She is talking to the audience, though this is probably more than she speaks to any of her classmates all day at school.

Cari (Ten)

I want to be a veterinarian at a zoo so that I can touch all the animals, even the large predators, well, ok, especially the large predators.

I mean, I’m pretty sure that when zoo veterinarians perform surgery on tigers and polar bears, they take a few minutes to rub their bellies, tickle their paws, maybe even kiss them on the nose while they’re sedated.

I also want to be a musician, probably the clarinet because you can play all kinds of music with the clarinet: classical, jazz, blues, folk.

It doesn’t have genre limitations like the saxophone or the harpsichord. I would like to go on record as saying that the harpsichord is my favorite instrument.

I think it’s what it would sound like if spiders played music on their webs. I also want to be an astronaut unless they start letting regular people go into space — for way less money, and a trapezist.

The circus performers on trapezes? But really, I should become an inventor because then I wouldn’t be limited to one field.

I could clone tigers so that they would never be extinct, and create musical instruments that you can hear in outer space, and invent an air freshener-type-device that emits a chemical that makes people nicer.

And then have it installed in every classroom in every school in the world. And the Senate. They already make something like that for dogs.

6. Really Really

A monologue from the play by Paul Downs Colaizzo

Leigh

Why now? Tell me you f***. Why now? Four years. Four years I was not good enough for you. And what makes me better than this?

I will tell you, Davis. What makes me better than this is my future. The life that I can have. With Jimmy. With a protector and a provider and a man who can offer me 4 walls and a roof forever. (BEAT)

I am choosing not to fall. It is a promise. What happened happened. It happened, Davis. But my life is waiting. And it is exactly what I want.

And you have actually helped me. This whole thing. This whole f***ed up thing – is a blessing. Jimmy can’t save something that doesn’t need to be saved.

Look at me. The poor girl who is almost beautiful. And look what I’m about to have.

7. Everything Will Be Different: A Brief History Of Troy

A monologue from the play by Mark Schultz

Charlotte

I am so resolved. I am so ready. There is a world and I will see it. And you won’t stop me. I will have adventures. I will be like an explorer.

I will make new friends. I will fall in love. I will be like Christopher Colombus or Francis Drake or like Magellan or whatever.

Because there is a world and I am determined. And when I come back? If I come back? No one will recognize me.

I will be like a movie star or like a famous person and no one will recognize me and I will see through everyone. I will see through everyone. Even you.

I will look right through you and you will look at me, and you’ll think to yourself who the hell is that and I will just smile at you.

I’ll just smile and I’ll mumble something like profound or something really famous like a famous something like what someone famous would say because that’s who I ‘ll be because I’ll know a lot more,

I’ll know a hell of a lot more when I come back. Or maybe I’ll just say, “F***k you” because I can see through you. F*** you. Under my breath.

To the wall. To the f***ing wall. I’ll see through you to the f***ing wall and you won’t even know that you’re nothing to me. And I’ll say f*** you and you’ll think Is she talking to me?

And you won’t even know. You are a ghost to me. And I don’t care. Everyone a f***ing ghost. Everyone. And I’m the only one.

I’m the only one who means more than you or anyone else.

8. Out of Water

A monologue from the play by Brooke Berman

Cat’s father, Graham, has begun a love affair with his step-sister, Polly, with whom he reconnected at their father’s funeral after not seeing her for many years. Cat is determined to do something about it.

Cat (seventeen)

I work very hard. I get A’s in all of my classes. I am on time for everything. For everything. I work harder than the boys but I don’t get rewarded.

I hear there was this thing a long time ago called “The Revolution” but my mom doesn’t seem to know about it. My mom is always exhausted.

Church doesn’t help. My mom is on a lot of committees and medication. I think my mom wants my dad to come home. My dad went to see his exstepsister in New York and he never came back.

I don’t know what he’s doing there. I mean, exstepsister? That’s not even a real relation. Plus, she’s like, she’s not, you know, she’s not a Christian.

I think she must lead a very scandalous and potentially exciting life even if it does not fall under the contract or rubric or whatever of the Church of God.

I went on the Internet this morning and looked up this Polly Freed. I know a lot about her. I am going to get my father back. I am going to bring him home.

Mom’s in the bedroom with the lights out again and everything’s quiet and sometimes, you just have to take matters into your own hands.

Do you know what I mean? The Amtrak is an amazing way to travel. All Aboard. You see the country, really you do. I don’t have my own car, and air travel is expensive and also, lately, uncomfortable and dangerous.

But this feels just fine. On the train. In the Club Car. Meeting people and listening to them talk. I could listen to people talk all day. Really, I could.

And they have these stories, and they are. Dying. To talk. To tell you things. Everyone. So this is good. I arrive tomorrow.

And in the meantime, big windows, strangers, the Oreos and seltzer I brought from home, and the way the land keeps changing. This is amazing.

The way it changes. Have you ever just watched it change? Next stop . . . next stop.. next stop . . . And he’ll be waiting for me. My dad.

He just needs someone to tell him where he lives.

9. She Kills Monsters

A monologue from the play by Qui Nguyen

Agnes

Do you want to know what my memories of Tilly are? They’re of this little nerdy girl who I never talked to, who I ignored, who I didn’t understand because she didn’t live in the same world as I did.

Her world was filled with evil jello molds and lesbian demon queens and slacker Gods while mine… had George Michaels and leg-warmers.

I didn’t get her. I assumed I would one day- that she’d grow out of all this- that I’d be able to sit around and ask her about normal things like clothes and TV shows and boys…

and as it turns out, I didn’t even know she didn’t even like boys until my DM told me. I didn’t know her, Vera. I remember her as a baby, I remember her as this little toddler I loved picking up and holding, but I don’t remember her as a teen at all.

I’ll never get the chance to know her as an adult. And now all I have left is this stupid piece of paper and this stupid made-up adventure about killing a stupid made-up dragon.

10. ELEEMOSYNARY

A monologue from the play by Lee Blessing

This play examines the delicate relationship of three women: a grandmother, Dorothea, who has sought to exert her independence through strong willed eccentric behavior,

Artie, her daughter, who has run from her overpowering mother, and Echo, Artie’s daughter, who is incredibly smart and equally sensitive.

After Dorothea (who has raised Echo into her teens) suffers a stroke, Echo is forced to reestablish contact with her mother through extended phone conversations,

during which real issues are skirted and the talk is mostly about the precocious Echo’s unparalleled success in a national spelling bee.

In the end, Artie and Echo come to accept their mutual need  and summon the courage to build a life together, despite the terror this holds after so many years of estrangement.

Echo

Uncle Bill hardly remembers you, you know that? I asked him what you were like as a little girl, and he couldn’t even say. He remembers Grandma even less.

He didn’t have one interesting thing to say about her – about Grandma. They don’t have a single picture or her, either. Not even in their minds.

To them, she’s just a woman who lived a big, embarrassing life. They all think they’ve saved me just in time. Not just from Grandma – from you, too. (A beat.)

So I started wondering if they weren’t right. Maybe the smartest thing would be to forget you completely. And Grandma. After all, what did I ever get from the two of you, except a good education?

You especially – what were you ever to me, except a voice on the phone now and then? And I looked around the new room where I was staying, and it was real nice and… blank, the way a thing is before you put any time into it.

I thought, I could live a whole new life here. I could invent a whole new me. I could be Barbara if I wanted to, not Echo. I could fit in.

I don’t mean I’d become like Whitney and Beth. I’m not that crazy. But I could become like Robinson Crusoe, and adapt myself to a strange and harsh environment.

I could live in a kind of desert. I could even flourish. Like you have. I could live without the one thing I wanted. But I kept hearing your voice.

That voice on the other end of the phone, hiding behind spelling words, making excuses – or so energetic sometimes, so… wishing.

I don’t even remember what you said, just the sound of it. Just a sound that said, “I love you, and I failed you.” I hate that sound.

And I will never settle for it, because no one failed me. No one ever failed me. Not Grandma and not you. I am a prize among women.

I’m your daughter. That’s what I choose to be. Someone who loves you. Someone who can make you love me. Nearly all the time.

I’m going to stay with you. I’m going to prepare you for me. I’m going to cultivate you. I’m going to tend you.

11. A RAISIN IN THE SUN

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20 Dramatic Monologues For Teenage Guys

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.

Quentin (eighteen)

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.

THOMAS (twenty)

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.

Jim Wanamaker

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)

Christopher

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

Toch

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. P***Y BOY

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.

Algy (eleven)

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, asshole.”

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.

MARVIN

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  SKECTHES 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

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