The Explorers Club – Monologue (Phyllida)

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A monologue from the play by Nell Benjamin


Phyllida is a female explorer which is unheard of in Victorian England. She has recently returned from the Lost City Of Pahatlabong and brought back with her a naive she calls Luigi.

She has been invited to the Explorer’s Club where some members want to propose her for membership. Here, she makes her case.

Gentlemen of the Explorers Club, I thank you. I shall endeavor to prove worthy of the honor
you do me. May I present to you all: a genuine warrior of the NaKong tribe of the Lost City of Pahatlabong!

Luigi, na’I haa’ru. His name is not actually Luigi, but Loo-ah-JA-mweno weptanefesmat- naa’ru-sengway. Which translates roughly to “Strikes Without Warning And Waters the Ground With Your Blood.”

I have shortened it to “Luigi” for simplicity’s sake. Of my full journey to Pahatlabong, I will say little. It was grueling.

Although we had set out well-provided with canned meats, tea, cheap alcohol for the local guides and better quality alcohol for the stove, by the time we reached the island chain of Suk’haaru, we had exhausted everything.

Deserted by those guides who had not died of alcohol poisoning, I crawled delirious through the
swamps, and when I was found by Luigi, I was in possession of nothing more than the clothes on my back and a spoon. . . .

Luckily for me, the NaKong god, Mogweet, is spoon-shaped. So they greeted me as a messenger from their god. Luigi is a fierce fighter, like all NaKong. They have to be because Pahatlabong is the worst place on earth.

The rocky soil cannot be farmed. All the trees have been cut down. They have hunted nearly all the animals to extinction and are forced to subsist on a jerky made of toad.

The toad is poisonous. But most of the poison boils off when the toad is poached in urine. But the NaKong will not move from their homeland. They say that long ago their god,

Mogweet, commanded them to live there, saying it would make them strong, and when one of them asked why they could not be strong elsewhere, Mogweet grabbed him by the nostrils, flung him to the ground, and jumped up and down on his spine until he was dead.

The NaKong celebrate this event every year, like Christmas. Only instead of singing carols and exchanging presents they cower silently in their huts for two days.

I will end this lecture here, as tomorrow I will be presenting Luigi to the Queen, and he must rest after his journey, but I would be happy to continue my lecture series on this proud people, if invited back by this esteemed club. Thank you all.

Read the play here

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