Her First Screen Test – Monologue (Girl)

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A monologue from the play by Dan O’ Brien

GIRL (twenties)

An actress is apparently being taped by an (unseen) cameraman for some sort of screen test. She is in her dressing room at a theater. She starts taking her clothes off and putting on different ones.

Note: This monologue was originally produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival.

We don’t have much time. I’m the next act on stage. I was the vixen librarian, and now I’ll be something new.
You’ll see. Just for you, first.
And then for them out there.
Are you shooting me already?
OK, here goes. (She starts to undress.)
Sorry, it’s stuck!
I said, the G*ddamned button —
—stuck on a G*ddamned —
I’ve got this mouth on me. I’m sorry.
It’s like a sewer, my father said. . . .
. . .
Of course it’s a silent film.
What other kind of film is there? I can say whatever I G*ddamn please!
(Her button comes undone.)
—Praise Jesus! (Taking off her blouse.)
I’m really a funny girl at heart.
A funny, religious girl.
A funny religious girl who happens to be burdened with a splendid body.
It’s not easy being splendid: (Taking off her skirt.)
You’ve got more to lose that way.
And no one wants a funny girl to be pretty, anyway, it’s an obstacle to ambition.
. . .
Oh: My ambition is to be a star, of course.
To become a star of the vode-veal stage, and then:
Go legit.
Hit the silver screen.
Which is where you come in, my new friend . . .
My shy new man friend . . .
Tell me something: Do you really think I stand a chance?
. . .
. . .
Thank you
. . .
Thanks so much for choosing me.
. . .
Can I turn around at least. (She does.)
. . . Don’t the Injuns —?
I said, the Indians have a theory that a person’s picture steals her soul.
But I don’t think that’s true.
It’s when I step out on stage that I feel that I’m dead . . .
It’s crazy, I just know that I’m dead . . .
I mean, it doesn’t mean anything if no one remembers you, after . . .
Sorry, yes, no I didn’t mean —.
Of course not —!
You’re an artist!
You’re just doing your job!
—What do I look like to you?
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
Does it sound like I’m crying?
I’m changing, that’s all.
—I’ve changed.
Let’s see if you recognize me now. . . .

Read the play here

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