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A monologue from the play by Robert Pridham
Beth (ten to fourteen)
Auditioning for a part in the middle school play is a do-or-die matter for one group of girls. Here, Beth reveals her ongoing battle with stage fright.
I don’t know how any of this happened. My being here, I mean. I don’t want to be in the play. Actually, I’d rather do almost anything else you can think of than be in the play.
Standing out there on the stage? In front of all those people? (She shudders.) I think I’m just here because everyone else is here.
It’s like mass hysteria or something.
Everyone’s trying to be in the play, they’re all shouting and pushing so I just run right along with them because it seems like the right thing to do, right?
I mean, I don’t want to be left out or anything.
My mother says: “Beth honey, the play is coming up soon and I hope you’ll try out because you could really use a boost to your self-confidence!”
What’s wrong with my self-confidence? I don’t have anything wrong with my self-confidence. I’m just quiet, that’s all.
The only thing wrong with my self-confidence is that my mother keeps worrying that there’s something wrong with my self-confidence.
“I remember my first play,” she says, “and I remember how wonderful it was to be up there in front of all those people! Just wonderful!” Wonderful? Hah!
You’re standing up there in the dark worrying that you’ll forget your lines or sing the wrong note or fall off the edge of the stage.
And now here I am, standing up on the stage, and the director is saying: “Alright, I want big, big voices and lots of feeling!”
And my palms are all sweaty and my knees are shaking and I can’t get my mouth to open and my tongue won’t work
and I can’t breathe and I’m starting to see spots in front of my eyes and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be dead in about three seconds.
What’s so wonderful about that?
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