Female Playwrights, Playwrights of the Past, Unknown playwrights

Althea Thurston

This week we bring you an unknown playwright who was based in the weirdest state in America my home state and who attended the worst university in the whole goddamned world my alma mater.

Utah birthed this tool:

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The University of Utah flag, stained red by the blood of past memories…or by a horrible police department.

Not only was Althea Thurston prominent locally, but in 1921, her one-act play The Exchange was included in a book of contemporary one acts with such famous playwrights as Barrie, Gregory, Chekov and Strindberg. Not bad company at all. Let’s see what The Exchange is about.

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The Plot

Like many shorter works, The Exchange is based upon a simple, yet entertaining and dramatically/comically fruitful supposition: in some realm beyond, there is a judge and a judge’s helper, an imp.

People who are dissatisfied with their lot in life may approach the judge for an exchange. For example, a vain woman wants her developing wrinkles to stop. After being given several options, she decides to exchange an aging body for deafness.

A poor man wishes to be rich, but at what price? Indigestion, naturally. Let’s take a look at our cast of people who are unhappy with their lot in life and what they exchange it for. This sort of exchange goes on for several unhappy people.

Note: I’ll intersperse some photos of a 2014 reading at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan throughout the article. Thank you to Amani Durrani for the photos.

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You can totally see it listed 2nd on the poster in back.

Characterization

The characters are based upon archetypes (vain girl, poor man, rich idiot) but are broadly drawn with comedic flair.

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Poverty does indeed suck. At least the dude isn’t a criminal.

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Perhaps “poor” refers to his decision-making skills. Be prepared to enter the Twilight Zone, Poor Man.

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On a scale of 1-10, Vain Woman is about 1,000 on the Unlikeability Factor.

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Clearer.

The Judge tries to help:

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“You don’t want me to be unhappy, do you?”  (Actually, I do)

And thus, Vain Woman is cool with being deaf.

The Rich Citizen shows up.

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“Day and night.” Rough life, bro.

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Lack of introspection. Surprisingly, the Rich Citizen doesn’t want to be a bartender. I also like that apparently many bartenders have exchanged their occupations.

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He could have a whole show based on himself if he were a bartender.

Dramatic-Reading

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“By Jove.” Here’s what milk production looked like in British propoganda at that time.

 

Themes

This is where The Exchange really rises to the top (and I believe deserves a spot aalongside those other contemporary plays). The theme seems to be stated right at the beginning (just like they teach you in creative writing class).

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“misalliance” may be an allusion

I like the “defective heart” and “lazy liver” bit. But the true theme is people want to change their miseries, but not their vices. And people minimize their own shortcomings while maximizing others’.

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After the exchanges, The Former Poor Man and the Vain Woman have this exchange:

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Be careful what you wish for.

The fun part is, everyone returns to the exchange, trying to recover their former problems, but it isn’t so simple. The Judge is gone and has sent this letter:

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They’re stuck with their new problems and I can’t say that I feel sorry for them.

The singular drawback to this play would be the stereotypical portrayal of the Vain Woman.

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The Exchange was originally performed in 1919 and published in 1922 in Contemporary One-Act Playsedited by B. Roland Lewis, who just so happened to be Thurston’s playwriting instructor at the University of Utah.

The play later appeared in University of Utah Plays in 1928. It is head and shoulders above the other plays by University of Utah students. These other plays will be profiled in an upcoming post.

However, in the 1928 publication Thurston had a second one-act play, the allegorical And the Devil Laughs.

This play isn’t as good as The Exchange but it has its moments.

The Plot

In some bizarre allegory-land, several folks cross paths:

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The humans are all looking for the Safe Road, though invariably end up on the Forbidden Trail.

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Do you think Thurston knew that 90 years later people in Lahore would enjoy her play?
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The allegory is obvious: “Safe Road” = 9 to 5 job. “Forbidden Trail” = world of playwriting.
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Production in Utah from 1931.

Characterization

The characterization is much thinner in this piece.  The most interesting character seems to be The Girl, though the protagonist and catalyst for everything is The Youth.

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He said “Hell” –

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If all it takes to impress women is taking the Forbidden Trail, I’m there.

Doesn’t Forbidden Trail sound like an oater from the 1930s?

There was another one from the ’20s.

The Youth is supposed to be some kind of punk, but The Girl is the one doing her own bit of rebelling – or trying to.

The Manshows up:

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I’m just gonna point out that even The Youth – whom The Girl seems to have an interest in, simply treats her like any man in a 1920s Utah-written allegory would: “You go do girl stuff. Now!” He doesn’t deserve The Forbidden Trail.

I like how The Man acts like a pastor who just got caught reading a pornographic magazine “for the articles.” The temptation of The Forbidden Trail is too much.

The kids notice this:

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I appreciat the fact he can say “That will do, young smarty” whilst being angry.

“I have read of its wickedness…”

 

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The Young Men’s Advice League sounds exciting.

And they’re not sexist: there’s one for the women, too!

But here’s where the Girl’s character really shines through:

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Hehe.

Next a Husband and a Wife enter. They are looking for The Safe Road.

And of course they strive to protect the Youth and Girl from the horrors of the Forbidden Trail.

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Great, The Girl has a savior complex. She’s exchanged her love of forbidden adventure to a love of socially acceptable daring-do.

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Yes, I know this page comes earlier, but the Husband and Wife are just annoying here as anywhere.

“I wasn’t married…” Excuses, excuses.

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Commadnly. Bristling. Indignantly.

The play gets a serious case of the weirds and it simply ends with everyone slowly being sucked into the Forbidden Trail by a laughing devil. The Girl is the last to submit:

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I want to thank The Book Garden for actually having a copy of this.

About the other plays in the anthology, we’ll cover them fairly soon.

About Ms. Thurston, she seems to have been a college student a bit later in life. And she married a rich dude.

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And for permission back then, we learn Ms. Thurston’s address:

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She lived in the Avenues, which is still very upper-middle class artsy in Salt Lake City.

Thanks to the magic that is Google maps…

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It’s a very shy house, built in 1901.

Here’s a newer video trailer for The Exchange:

 

I haven’t been able to find her other plays. However, I did find a spring “pageant” of hers which I will put here in its entirety.

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Here is a poem she published in 1921:

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For more playwrights, click here.

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For more about Althea Thurston, here is The Exchange in its entirety.

Here is that reading in Lahore.

A production from 1950.

The premiere of The Exchange in 1919.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Crazy by Mindy Jones

What is it with mental illness and monologues? So  many seem to be about “crazy” people. We’ve even featured at least one explicitly about mental illness. And there have been others that hint at it, as well.

Whatever the reason, this one entitled Crazy by Mindy Jones. I can’t find much information about the author. It’s about a woman who [maybe] set fire to her home, killing her two kids. Or she just neglected to “hide” all the matches. Fun stuff.

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Meh.

Here’s a link to the monologue in that bastion of knowledge known as Yahoo Answers.

Someone is asking what play it’s from and someone else gave this hilarious answer:

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Mr. Z seems cool.

The monologue was written for “Woman” but that didn’t stop a few fellas from trying.

AND HOLY MACARONI!!! There are 67 monologues!!!

What do you think? Is it a good monologue? Which actor is most arson-y?

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Congratulations!!!! You made it to the end. Join us next week for another Monologue Monday and on Thursdays, we always feature some unusual playwrights.

For a full list of monologues, click here.

Cheers!

Female Playwrights, Playwrights of the Past, Unknown playwrights

Geographical Plays by Jane Andrews

[Full disclosure: I had a 4,000 word post ready about a living playwright but at the last minute said living playwright had second thoughts. Thus, I am up at 2 a.m. writing about a dead playwright and feeling like one, too]

Geography!!! I have a long history with the topic. So imagine my pure joy and horror when I discovered this gem from 1896:

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Much like a Talking Heads song, it could be really terrible and amazing at the same time.

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The only likeness I could find of her.

It seems earlier editions were printed in the 1880s.

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Boston, 1896.

Let’s take a gander. Here a stranger enquires about how to travel from Boston to San Francsico. Boston is home to several of our playwrights, including Greg Hovanesian, Martha Patterson and the late, great Angelina Weld Grimké.

 

The kids answer:

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That’s pretty cool. And it shows exactly the route the train would’ve taken. Hint: I was born in one of these towns (not the suspension bridge).

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Train and engineer at Niagara Suspension Bridge before 1886.

But then it comes to Europe boasting about their colonies:

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Go F yourself, Holland. There’s a reason why Indonesia changed the town’s name from Batavia to Jakarta (because Batavia is just another word for Holland).

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Entrance to the zoo in Batavia, 1896.

In the play entitled “World Commerce” Cuba mentions how fun it is to be a Spanish colony with Chinese laborers:

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“Strangely enough.” Sigh.

Manila must boast as well and then Java gets its turn:

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Now for grade school kids, this is actually a decent description of Dutch economic policy in the Dutch East Indies. The play forgot to mention the forced labor aspect of it, but selling cash crops to the Dutch overlords at a fixed price, which the Dutch government then exported overseas for a profit. They then supposedly gave a surplus back to the native Indonesians. Somehow I don’t think it worked as prettily as described, but it is neat that the play goes into so much detail regarding the economics on Java in the 1890s.

[it is now 9:41 a.m. I did sleep a little bit  (30 mins?) and had a dream my friend lost an insane amount of weight and my other friend’s wife kept trying to talk to me alone. It was kinda weird]

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Calle Palacio in Manila in the 1910s.

The book of plays begins with….

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“Perhaps we are not so old nor so wise as some other countries…”

Understatement of the year right there.

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Massachusetts is right about the cities on the Merrimac: textiles, textiles, textiles.

And Lawrence would later have a very famous, very violent strike. But for now…

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Whoa!!! Hold on there, southern states

Massachusetts is all like “Let’s not have another war, please.”

Then the “western” states get in on the action.

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I just hope New York doesn’t think Philadelphia is a western city.

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Not another city-measuring contest. Sigh.

A couple of things here.

  1. The playwright goofed. California delivers this line over a hundred pages before Washington Territory ever shows up. And that’s in the Commerce of the World play.

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BTW, Maulmain is now Mawlamyine in Myanmar.

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Mawlamyine has a neat pagoda. This photo is from 1895. I doubt Seattle had a better one.

 

But PiL never made a song about Mawlamyine:

Maybe that’s a good thing?

The common theme among the American states is that they’re a bunch of whiny braggarts:

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Insecure Texas, always trying to show off. I think it’s fun the Alaskan gold rush hadn’t happened yet. The Wikipedia page claims the “legacy” of this is North to Alaska, but I don’t know if they mean the song or the movie. If you watch the movie, you can see John Wayne’s wig fall off. It’s pretty funny.

As entertaining as an insecure, yet severely dysfunctional family like the United States can be, it’s time for us to move on to Europe, that one place in the 1890s where everything was going fine…

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Yours for only 75 clams.

Oh, more colony-measuring here…

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Holland owns half of St. Martin. Don’t you forget it.

And Denmark calls St. Croix by its Spanish name.

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“Venice of Northern Europe” Broooo.

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Amsterdam in 1899.. I guess they’re doing Dutch stuff.

If anyone is up for alcohol, there’s this:

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Meanwhile, poor Spain gets nostalgic for its empire…might wanna lock up the sherry.

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Ah yes, Spanish Guinea, where I set my thriller play that’s never been produced (English here, Spanish here).

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Spanish Guinea in 1890.

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Someone calls out Austria on its BS regarding Poland, only to get mansplained by Prussia and their king (who doubled as German Emperor). We all know how that turned out.

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Did you know you can wear an emoji?

Love that burn on Russia…because Russia totally had a thing for Turkey.

As we prepare to leave Europe, we have a positive message from Kazan:

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Let’s see where the plays are going to next:

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I bet they’re going to Asia. I like the descriptions of how one would’ve traveled back then.

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“To Bagdad, did you say?”

“And Bassora, too.”

Japan seems pretty happy about its relationship with America.

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Do you know what’s worse than Commodore Perry‘s gunboat diplomacy?

It led to another John Wayne movie.

Japan seems very eager to learn from its friends. The epitome of this knowledge-quest seems to be when someone discovered Tom Tom Club‘s Wordy Rappinghood.

This was the result:

And we learn about Japanese dental customs.

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I guess facelifts were in their infancy, so would could be the cause of the “surprised look”?

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Ouch. Except this was banned in 1870.

Now it gets a case of the weirds. The next play is South America and Africa, because of course it is.

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“My vanilla is bigger than your India rubber tree!”

“Yeah? I can touch the Mediterranean.”

They’re portrayed like children, similar to the US states.

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“I am here by the right of colonization.” You do you, Cape Town.

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Cape Town, 1896.

Africa is so proud of its European towns. Sadly proud.

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BURN!!!

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I LOVE Liberia calling the US out over slavery.

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To be fair, Ashmun Street looked like a long lawn back in 1890 Monrovia, Liberia.

 

Liberia, the West African country colonized by the US, with a really interesting history.

Check out that flag:

It also makes for an interesting play.

The next play is about islands and Australia. Because I’m kinda close to near-collapse, I just found the most pathetic island. Pathetic because it’s so lonely.

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The last play involves commerce. It’s quite funny:

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Vera Cruz and Naples, know thyselves.

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Vera Cruz around 1890.

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And really, opium is definitely the best companion drug for ginger.

In summation, theatre would be an excellent method to teach geography – but it would need to be cleansed of this “pro colonization” mumbo jumbo. And it should mention Utah. And Idaho.

[Note: this post was about 90% done before I collapsed from exhaustion around 530 pm. I had a dream about kids from high school. Kids I didn’t even like. It was like a foretaste of Hell. I woke up around 1030 and now will post the blog. Sorry for the delay.]

The author

Jane Andrews was born in 1833 and died in 1887, meaning this copy of the plays was published well after her death. She was the daughter of a minister and grew up in Massachsuetts. As a teenager, she taught night classes to the cotton mill workers where she lived. Her reference to these cotton towns is a bit more poignant.

She was the very first student at Antioch College when it opened, but had to withdraw due to a “spinal affliction.” She was an invalid for six years.

She opened a primary school where one of her future students was future feminist Alice Stone Blackwell. Poor health forced her to close the school after 25 years.

Her children’s books were very popular, being translated even into Japanese and Chinese. They were still used 50 years after her death.

For our other paywrights, please check here.

Some of her works can be found here, including our plays.

A sketch of her life by her sister.

A memorial sketch by someone who knew her.

Her Wikipedia page is here.

Her sister describes her school.

Join us Monday for more hot, hot monologues and next week for another dead playwright!

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Ferret Envy by Tara Meddaugh

Hi everyone and Monologue Monday is back…with ferrets!!!!

In case people aren’t familiar with ferrets, this is a ferret:

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For some reason, people keep them as pets:

 

And you know that ferrets are basically monologue gold, right? Well, that’s what prolifically talented author Tara Meddaugh did when she wrote Ferret Envy.

If you wanna check out another Meddaugh monologue (about a drum major leading a teddy bear army) check out March in Line.

Sometimes you see Ionesco‘s name thrown around with Theatre of the Absurd. Same deal with Albee. Nah, Meddaugh is where it’s at.

Picture this: You are SO jealous of your friend’s ferret that you (probably) killed said ferret because…you want to be your friend’s ferret!!!!

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I can relate.

This is a fun, funny goofed-up piece of theatrical brilliance. Before we see the vids, you can order this monologue straight from the author. I hope she sells a million. And thanks to all the brave performers out there. It’s harder than it looks.

Who is the best ferret murderer?

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And there you have it: the A to Z of Ferret Envy.

For a complete list of monologues, click here.

Thanks!!!!

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Coffee Slave by Gabriel Davis & A Girl’s Guide to Coffee by Eric Coble

This week we continue with our coffee thing. First up, we have Coffee Slave – a monologue ostensibly about coffee and barista-ing but it has a deeper philosophy and serves as an idictment against retail/service industry culture in these United States. It’s a strong role for a female.

The play has echoes of Merchant of Venice….maybe we can call it Barista of Venice.

We’ve reviewed two other Gabriel Davis plays before (here and here). The monologue for Coffee Slave can be found right here.

After these clips, we’ll profile yet another coffee-themed monologue – A Girl’s Guide to Coffee – so please keep scrollin.’

Who was the most determined barista?

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Our next monologue comes from something called The Girl’s Guide to Coffee by Eric Coble. It’s gotten great reviews.

Here is the synopsis (from the author):

All of life’s mysteries will be revealed in the Steamed Bean Coffee House, at the hands of barista extraordinaire Alex. She is the master of her mellowing parents, tensing roommates, imploding bosses, and desperate regulars. But what no one but Alex seems to get is that our jobs, our world itself – nothing is constant. And if it’s all moving at the speed of espresso steam, what is there to commit to? The trick is to just touch perfection… and move on.
Except… there is this boy… silver artist Christopher… who may, just may, be worth a “yes” instead of a “maybe”… but what would that do to the delicate ecosystem of the coffee shop?
Not to mention Alex’s quest for the holy grail of dark roast… The Perfect Latte…

The monologue has one of the best images I’ve heard in recent dialogue: A portrait drawn in coffee of Che Guevara that winks at you.

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Yeah, I Googled it and I’m glad I did.

Another interesting female role.

You can find the monologue right here. The author’s New Play Exchange page is here. I suspect more and more actors will be using this soon.

 

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Thanks for checking out our coffee-soaked monologues. See you later this week for an Unknown Playwright and next week for more monologues!!

For a complete list of monologues, click here.

Thanks!!!

Current Playwrights, Dude Playwrights, Unknown playwrights

Ricardo Soltero-Brown

This week’s playwright is Orlando-based Ricardo Soltero-Brown. His work is vast, prolific and varied.

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The 9 faces of Ricardo Soltero-Brown.

For example, on the Facebook for playwrights New Play Exchange he has 55 plays available.

But choosing among 55 plays can be a challenge. It’s not Lope de Vega territory, but to use the Bard of Avon as an example, you could end up with A Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Two Noble Kinsmen.

[Note: because the scripts analyzed here haven’t been produced, no photos exist, so we’re using photos of the playwright’s produced work, FYI (smiley face)]

I’m happy to have chosen the plays I did. Let’s get started:

The Sun, the Moon & Stars is a fun parody of love stories with different settings.

The first is set in some faux-Olde English world, with a technique slightly reminiscent of the first story of Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask); the use of false archaic English for comedic effect.

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In the emphasis on “wit” it reminds one of George Farquhar’s work.

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Flashback to Farquhar’s work: She said he had an “infinite deal” of wit and I had “more wit than any body” – it must’ve been the greatest day of his life.

For the era, “wit” was a common subject and Soltero-Brown really plays with it.

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Sometimes we watch a play and it is so marvelous that it looks like fun to be a part of – like “I’d like to work on that” – reading this play, it looks like it was fun to write.

And there is even more wit:

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I’m not sure how one unwits oneself, but it sounds fun.

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Okay, so there is a plot here in which one character coaxes a love confession out of the other [a love for a third, unseen character]. The topic turns to sex.

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“A liar as an actor” – I love it.

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The story ends like a play from 1700, too.

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Neat poster for Jealousy, another Soltero-Brown work.

The next third of this play takes place in a drawl-drenched, Southern Gothic hotbed of hotbed-dedness.

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Did you know there’s a site called study.com? Not a dating site.

Famous authors in the Southern Gothic genre include Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner and in drama, Tennessee Williams. Though my personal favorite is Carson McCullersReflections in a Golden Eye.

Anyways, let’s see what debauched Southern cooking Soltero-Brown has deep-fried for us today:

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The Southern Patriarch – typified by Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – becomes “Father” here…and he knows better than anyone else.

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The great Cameron Gagne in the aforementioned Jealousy. Photo by AA Gardner.

But Rebecca is rebelling against the ideal of Southern womanhood – she (GASP!) smokes and is friendly with the maid.

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There’s a huge plot point right there.

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Huh. A controlling boyfriend or girlfriend? NO WAY.

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She makes a cameo!

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It’s never too late. Just ask Grandma Moses. But Denise does have good advice to wait things out.

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The Jacket, 2012. Photo by Candace Kaw.

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“Visit his house” sounds fair enough. But there’s a catch…

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That does complicate things. I imagine it kinda looked like this:

Sucks to be Omar. Unless Omar is his friend. The case was solved.

So Sean shows up at Rebecca’s place…

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Father’s dream come true. Wonder if he knows she’s a firebug? So Rebecca had a plan for Sean – naturally. If his house burnt down, then he would need another house. I admire her practical nature.

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Yay, Sean!!!!

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The Jacket, 2012. Photo by Candace Kaw.

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Rebecca sure seems determined.

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Oh. Somehow Sean and Denise have a conversation about Rebecca and it comes with a twist.

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OMG Denise is in love with Rebecca!!!! 

Here are some stills from a 2018 production of Jealousy. Photos by AA Gardner.

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The final story in the trilogy is set in space. A couple of stars are jealous of the sun:

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What a douche.

It gets worse. The Sun’s positive attitude grates on them, too.

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Moon shows up.

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No, not that moonshine.

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But Moon is more on the ball.

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The First Star admits it.

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He’s doing yoga now. Reminds me of I, Claudius –

Oh, by Jove! Which is always to say “by myself

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The Jacket, 2012. Photo by Candace Kaw.

The stars and moon get all existential:

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Great theatre always questions our raison d’être – and this is great theatre.

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Well, there goes Elon Musk and his Space X thing.

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[insert joke about how he’s just trying to get higher here]
The two stars then see a third star being born, which wraps up the play.

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That was fun. But there were still 54 more plays to choose from. I chose a longer one-act entitled Match Made in Hell. 

Basically…it’s the ol’ “sell-yer-soul-to-Beelzebub” story…except our hero Sherman’s got a plan: He likes a woman and thinks selling his soul will somehow result in said woman falling in love with him because women respond really well to Satan making them do stuff.

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Satan’s name is Lucy. Because of course it is. And Lucy’s got a bit of a ‘tude.

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If you ever need to ask someone “What’s wrong with me?” you may get an honest answer.

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I have a feeling she’s using him as her own personal entertainment source.

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The whole “Women like jerks” theory has resulted in numerous self-help articles.

But of course nobody really realizes they’re dating a horrible person when they’re in love because…most people lack self-awareness, which also results in numerous self-help articles.

Here are some stills from Jealousy. Photos by playwright/photographer AA Gardner. From 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Satan/Lucy doesn’t do any wonders for one’s self-esteem. Lucy demands that Sherman describe this mystery/dream woman.

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And sex pops up.

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Enjoy.

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The movie they’re referring to can be found here.

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The Last Seduction, German poster.

It’s nice Satan and Sherman appreciate the same sex scenes in the same movie. They have much in common.

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So Lucy really has no filter…..

Lucy plans to turn Sherman into a philosopher. Because she has an agenda, too.

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They sign a contract and what happens next…will probably be in the sequel.

Here are some stills of another Soltero-Brown play, Jealousy, in a production from 2014. Photos by Kevin Abel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In addition to full-lengths and one-acts, Mr. Soltero-Brown writes quite a few monologues.

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Pictured: A few monologues.

We have special video of one of his monologues, if you can dig it. The monologue is entitled “Miss” and is in response to the shooting in Jonesboro.

Note to foreigners: America has such a strong addiction to high school shootings, that there are actually two Jonesboro shootings, one in Jonesboro, Arkansas in ’98 and one in Jonesboro, Georgia just last year. This is the Georgia one.

The text is here:

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And the video:

Cameron Gagne did a great job acting [recognize her from Jealousy?] and Dustin Burton did a great job filming.
One other noticeable trait in Ricardo’s plays is his use of experimentation. He wrote a play called Woman. I shall post the play in its entirety:
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One word, two letters of dialogue. I don’t know any other playwright doing that.
I know what you’re thinking: what if we translated the entire play into the awesomest languages on Earth? FYI the awesomest languages on Earth are Sesotho, Korean, Betawi and Javanese.
Sesotho, you say? Thank you to actress, activist, refugee, opera singer, Sesotho speaker and all-round wonderful human being Victoria Sethunya.
                                                                                       MOSALI
Emisa.
                    Lumela.
Khutsa.
Meanwhile, in Korean:
                                                                                       여자
중지한다.
                  안녕.
침묵시킨다.
And of course, Betawi (thanks to my Betawi friend Rafif) Hit him up if you’re eager to learn Betawi. He’s like a one-man army, spreading the love of Betawi culture all around the world.
                                                                                    PREMPUAN
Brenti.
              Tabé.
Ndekem.
And in the rich Javanese language (thanks to badass playwright and native Javanese speaker Dhianita Kusuma Pertiwi).
                                                                                    WADON
Meneng.
          Monggo.
Sirep.
“Wadon” can also be used in Betawi, but I thought it would be tedious to use it twice, so I went with “prempuan.”
If anyone is wondering, the worst language in the world is German. I could rewrite the play in German, but I don’t want to give German the satisfaction. Keine Zufriedenheit.
So far, we’ve only talked about Mr. Soltero-Brown’s plays…he’s actually been quite active in the Orlando Theatre scene.  The official bio:
“His plays have been performed and read at Valencia College, Rollins College, University of South Florida, Horizon Theatre Company, Dixon Place, Actor’s Express, by Pipsqueak Collective, RHCR Theatre Company, the Orlando International Fringe Festival and more. He won the Florida Playwrights Competition in 2014, and was a playwright apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company. He has been recommended by Caridad Svich and Gary Garrison. He was published in ‘The Louisville Review’ and ‘The Dionysian’, was interviewed by Performer Stuff, 50 Playwrights Project, Podspell, and Adam Szymkowicz;”
Here’s that Podspell interview.
Here is the video of a short he wrote, Beldam & Gaffer:

 

 

Here he is talking about acting a few years back:

 

 

More links and fun stuff at the end, but first, let’s hear what insights the man himself has about playwriting.
How did you start playwriting?

 

I was writing a screenplay at the time and was told of a play contest, I attempted to write an adaptation and realized I loved dialogue.

What are your influences?

Suzan-Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill, Harold Pinter, etc. I seem to be fascinated by the success and failure of communication.

What is your most memorable production and why?

Jealousy, it worked. I was grateful for it.

What is your least memorable production and why?

Jealousy, it didn’t work. I was grateful for it.

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Pictured: Jealousy poster from 2014. What’s not working? Photo by Kevin Abel.

What’s your funniest theatre story?

During rehearsals for The Jacket we started a run where we replaced every occurrence of the word “jacket” with “penis”. It was too good, really, I had to stop them because we were so close to the run.

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A 2012 production of The Penis um, The Jacket. Photo by Candace Kaw.

What are your writing habits like?

Silence, paper and pen, sometimes a typewriter.

What advice do you have for new playwrights?

Write short plays.

Who are some other writers you feel should get more attention?

Inda Craig-Galván, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Celine Song, Franky Gonzalez, and Asher Wyndham.

What are common themes in your work?

Sex, gender, politics, language.

What is one thing you wished you knew now, that you didn’t know starting out?

How much shit I was going to write.

Can you please tell us about the development of The Sun, the Moon & Stars?

I believe I came up with the title first and wrote the plays from there. I wanted to write an evening of three one-acts that were thematically linked, The Stars is about loving yourself.

How does one create such a diverse and varied body of work such as you have?

I attempt various styles and genres of plays.

The Sun, the Moon & Stars as well as A Match Made in Hell do a great job parodying established tropes. What advice do you have for writing effective parody?

It’s interesting that you consider some of my plays parody, I appreciate it. I suppose it has something to do with attempting certain styles of plotting…and hopefully turning it on its head.

You identify as Latino/American/Puerto Rican. What are some ways American theatre can become truly welcoming to everyone?

What an astonishing question.

I’m not sure how to answer, but I’ll try. It’s not just the playwrights and the stories we tell, it’s the actors and directors and techies, too. Lately, the plays I’m writing don’t assign gender or race or even ability to the characters. That’s the part I’ve been doing.

What’s a question you’d like to be asked? Go ahead and answer that question.

I’m doing fine.

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Of course he’s fine, with all that mad playwriting money. Note: that represents about 10 years’ worth of royalties for playwrights (well, the ones on this blog anyways).  Photo by Kevin Abel.

 

Glad he’s doing fine!!! Here are the links!!!

His New Play Exchange page.

The man’s Twitter.

An interview with the awesome folks at 50 Playwrights.

Interview at Performer Stuff, where he has a lot of stuff.

Interview at the cool playwright interview blog.

Review of The Princess of Caspia script

Jealousy at the Orlando Fringe

Review of the same.

Review of an earlier production.

Second review of same.

Anti-gun violence play put on by high schoolers

Dramatic readings by Mr. Soltero-Brown.

Immigration-themed play available for free performance.

Here are all our other playwrights.

 

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Black Coffee

Hello everyone!!! Welcome back to Monologue Monday!!!

This week’s monologue is entitled Black Coffee. We’re still going strong with that coffee theme from last week.

I could only find one source for an author: “Brain Shaffer”

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See? Didn’t make it up. I’m assuming it’s Brian Shaffer (or some variation). If anyone knows the actual author, please let me know.

And this one is for the guys and how manly they can be…like Clint Eastwood. BUT I think it would super-interesting if a female did the monologue.

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Seems about right.

Also, sometimes the joys of the Internet are serendipitous – while searching for the monologue, I discovered an Indonesian band named “Black Coffee Monologue” – seriously. Aku senang. They sing in English. And their song is right here.

There’s also a German band called Schwarzkaffee (Black Coffee) and a Korean band called 블랙 커피 (Black Coffee) as well as a South African DJ named Black Coffee. They should all collaborate.

Here’s the entire monologue:

“I used to hate black coffee, but let’s face it, black coffee is manly.  Do you think Clint Eastwood ever took “two sugars and a cream?”  Of course not:  Clint Eastwood was a man.  And the girls love manliness.  Once at a Denny’s I encountered a waitress who would change me.  Jenny; such a lovely girl.  I had to show off my manliness (or at least act the part).  I ordered a Lumberjack Slam, extra ham, a piece of carrot cake, and of course, the clincher:  black coffee.  Unimpressed with this manliest of breakfasts—which would have wowed most waiting-persons, Jenny tried to break me by bringing more and more coffee.  Oh, I downed the breakfast before the rest of my family finished their three pancakes, mind you . . . but that coffee.  I couldn’t back down now.  I’d come too far to chicken out.  She brought the check and with that topped me off:  my eleventh cup.  I tried to manage it down, but I was on my last leg long before . . . light bulb.  Once no one was looking, I dumped my coffee in my grandmother’s cup.  Mock sipped it.  Slammed it down and strode to the door—victorious.  I take my coffee black for the same reason guys do anything:  to impress women.” 

Now watch the manly actors brag about their coffee like real men…

A

 

B

 

C

 

D

 

E

 

F

 

G

 

H

 

Who was the manliest man??? Please comment below.

Now we’ve all been waiting for, Pat Suzuki‘s cover of the standard Black Coffee.

 

Next week our Monologue Monday coffee binge continues…and we’ll take a look at an awesome playwright.

For a complete list of monologues, click here.