Female Playwrights, Playwrights of the Past, Unknown playwrights

A Hallowe’en Adventure by Effie Louise Koogle

Howdy all! Happy Halloween! Welcome back to Unknown Playwrights. This Halloween (just like last Halloween) we’re bringing you a Halloween play from the era of when tricks were given more than treats.

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From 1905. Honestly, thisis probably more interesting than our play. Apparently “hold-up” is a game. And two of the boys were dressed as girls. And one kid shot the other. All here.
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Also 1905. In Salt Lake City.

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1906. Dude literally scared someone to death.

They also had cooler postcards, too.

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OMG.

Let’s see what we’re up against today.

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Fair enough. I’ve done a lot of looking online and I can’t find a whole lot about the author. She was born in 1869 and died in 1947. She seems to have spent her whole life in Ohio. She had six brothers and sisters. The most interesting thing to me is that amongst 5 girls in the family only one seems to have married. And among all the sibllings, it seems only one or two married. I wish I knew what that was about. Even the Brontë sisters got married. More on Koogle later. Let’s meet our cast.

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Tarrytown…yes, that Tarrytown. Let’s check out the scenes:

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Poor Nell has been stuck in her room for a week. She’s been grounded – apparently seminaries  could ground their female students back in 1906. She was grounded for a “prank” and she’s got three days left on her sentence. Her friends Verda, Bess, Gloria, Gail, Freida & Gwendolin show up. Nell has been “ill” with a headache. She tells them not to worry…

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Don’t worry or them wrinkles will get you! Also, it’s wrong to be hypocritical and hypercritical.

The girls decide they should do something spooky for Halloween, but Bess sees a problem.

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She has a point. I love that the boys they’re after are seminary boys.

Nell suggests they go to…Sleepy Hollow.

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Bess reminds us of who lives in Sleepy Hollow.

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This dude lives there.

And boys…

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These guys seem cool.

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Take note: Fictional male characters in 1906 Halloween plays want a woman as handsome as she is venturesome.

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Miss Noesome’s seminary gals are the finest! And Glo Gould is a whole sugarplum!

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Pictured: Glo among her cohorts.

In what appears to be the prelude to a hazing ritual, the “ghosts” show up to obey their ghost master.

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Moans, groans and hisses…

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More hazing. Nell is then asked her name.

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I like how the description of the ghost sounds devolve to “Moans, etc. (Emphatic)”

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Time to tie up the girls (and Tom)! The boys/ghosts take them to the cave.

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Did she say beautiful cave? I know the most beautiful cave in the world.

And hot damn! Napoleon shows up and so does Rip Van Winkle.

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This dork…
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…meets this dork. Sadly, they don’t have a baby.

And amongst the ghosts of fictional and real-life people, a goddamned German doctor shows up. Because. Because? Oh, he wants their blood!

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“Vat iss dies sch*t? Vat die aktuelle fock?”

And Major André shows up.

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Sometimes dying for your country looks like this.

 

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“Young folks laugh” = play was written by an old person. And that other inhabitant of Sleepy Hollow pops up.

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Pictured: Sleepy Hollow’s most ballinist player: Ichabod Crane.

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Hells yeah!!!!

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Among the ghosts, the Headless Horseman is a loser. Hehe.

And for some reason a Native American female shows up. Maybe she’s a ghost because of all the Native Americans white Americans killed.

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And I know “squaw” is an offensive term that isn’t even found in any Native American language. But it’s found in this sad little play.

Eventually, the girls get scared and go back to their seminary.

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I was right about the hazing, which has killed a ton of people over the years.

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“IT WAS WORTH WHILE TO CLASH WITS WITH GIRLS OF THEIR CALIBER!”

This has several tropes in common with last year’s Halloween play.

  1. Boys dressing up like ghosts to scare girls. No gun in this one and no cross-dressing.
  2. Girls going to a “haunted” place wanting to be scared.
  3. No actual supernatural stuff.

Apparently, this was really performed at one time. The Koreshan Unity utopian community in Estero, Florida had a copy of this play in its papers.

I want to thank the folks at the state archives of Florida for scanning this play for me. So very, very kind of them.

Ms. Koogle was rather prolific in the early 1900s. Her output includes plays and sheet music.

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Pray Observe, We Must Conserve. 

1902: Ethics for Young People

1904: Twas Thee! Twas Thou! And This I Avow!

1906: The heir of Mt. Vernon

1906: Cupid’s Joke

1906: A Colonial Minuet

1906: Just After Christmas

1907: Up-to-date America: Or the Sweet Girl Graduate’s Dream

1908: Kris Kringle Jingles

1909: The Christmas Collation

1909: The Thanksgiving Songster

1912: The Buzzville News

1918: A bunch of rah-rah America stuff for WWI. And here.

1940: Ready for Kisses

Not sure the year on this, but Effie Louise Koogle just became very interesting:

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Uhhh.

If anyone has any information about Ms. Koogle, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and please check out last years’s Halloween play

And here’s a song about The Headless Horseman, by the Monotones (famous for their Book of Love)

 

 

 

 

Posters/Wednesday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

Welcome to this week’s theatrical link dump – brought to you by contemporary Dracula posters:

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From here.
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Casper, Wyoming
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Paris, Texas, last year
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Somehwere in the UK

 

When you direct/adapt Much Ado About Nothing for kids.

A day in the life of The Old Rep’s general manager.

You know you’re a playwright if…

When playwright anxiety hits.

When post-graduation depression hits.

Top 10 holiday plays for teachers

Which Halloween play are you?

A really goofy Halloween play from 1915 (yes, it’s cheating)

Shakespeare in South African schools.

“Postmigrant” theatre and a German director promoting ties between German and Scottish theatre.

A history of Palestinian theatre

Theatre in Pittsburgh

A primer on African American playwrights

The passing of Jaz Dorsey.

Creating immersive theatre in Seoul from a foreign perspective

This is what an acting resume looks like, kids.

Discovering young Israeli theatre

The theatre that became a bookshop

Theatre for development

18th Century Italian theatre overview

A chronic playwright interviewer gets interviewed

Audrey Cefaly creating a new playwriting vocabulary

When you were a theatre’s artistic director, but don’t put it on your resume…

Reviewer gets really, really excited over Joseph and his dreamcoat…

The mother of modern German comedy (That is the joke)

Ibsen’s women: Adapting Henrik in the 2010s.

Lithuanian actress Uné Baye

Cheap London theatre tickets

Help Ms. Manuel’s high school class go to Scotland next year 

Tips for dealing with scheduling conflicts as a young actor

Dealing with theatre divas.

And now this week’s Halloween-themed oldie:

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: No by Palesa Molefe

Hello and welcome back to Monologue Monday. This week’s monologue is perhaps the most unique monologue featured on the site so far.

It is simply, yet strongly, the word “no” repeated. This is an incredibly powerful monologue that forces the actor to, well, act. It isn’t merely saying “no” with different tones. The writer/performer Palesa Molefe runs the gamut of human emotions as she expresses various iterations of the word “no.”

As a produced monologist myself, Molefe has achieved with one word anything greater than I have (I know it’s not a competition). Let’s take a look:

 

Many people in life find it hard to say no. Palesa Molefe isn’t one of those people.

Specifically, women have been conditioned to not say “no.” This monologue attempts to shatter that mold.

On the flip side of things, there are people who say “no” to everything, but they tend to exist in Jim Carrey movies.

As for the performance aspect, I asked actor, dancer, director and intimacy choreographer Nicole Perry for her take on this monologue:

This monologue is great for actors working on developing emotional nuance or range. Similar to the Meisner game that requires partners to repeat, the monologue is simply the word “no”. Memorization made easy! 

This monologue is a great showcase of “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”! Each repetition is different. She covers great emotional range throughout the performance, and a variety of commitment levels and/or intentions. From adamant denial to a meek admittance, from scoffing to delight.  

Because the words are easy to remember, this could also be a great monologue to work on movement. As a movement analyst, I’m interested in when our movement supports what we are saying, and when our movement belies our true intentions. This would be a great piece to play with not just saying “no” with a variety of emotions and intentions, but also adding a layer of movement that either supports or denies what you are saying! What characters/situations come up for you as you experience this? 

I love that this monologue allows us to say “no”. Frankly, in 2019, it’s a skill we need to practice. As actors, we are conditioned to say “yes”. But, as the Broadway Intimacy Director Claire Warden likes to say “No is a full sentence”. If, as a performer or an acting student, you are put in a position that is unsafe, triggering, or questionable, you have the right to ask questions, or to just say “no”. The difficulty in this is that the power dynamic of actor/director, particularly if it’s student actor/adult director, makes us very fearful of the consequences of saying “no”. So, practice saying “no”. I hope you always get to train and work in situations that honor your agency and personhood, and allow you have and hold your boundaries. But, in case you don’t, know how to say “no”. 

Ms Molefe was kind enough to give us her introduction:

My name is Palesa Molefe a 20-year-old self-taught actor and scriptwriter from Botswana. I have always had a love for the arts, specifically film and stage performance, however my acting career truly began after the short film ‘Lacunawhich I wrote, produced and featured was amongst the official selection in the Botswana National Film Festival 2018. I’ve gained recognition for my creative and unorthodox style of storytelling. Currently I am working under my mentor Mr. Tefo Paya – an internationally recognized performer and director from Botswana, to help develop and sculpt my career. 

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Palesa Molefe, monologist extraordinaire.

Beyond introductions, Ms Molefe went out of her way to answer some questions for us.

Where did the idea come from to write/perform this monologue?

  I wanted to give light to the abuse women in Botswana go through. For reasons only known to us, most of us stay silent after having gone through such a traumatic experience. This piece to validate every woman’s ‘NO’, whether she’s saying it drunk or nervously laughing because she might be afraid. Her no is valid and she’s worth being listened to and taken seriously.

How did your prepare/rehearse this monologue?
  I did not rehearse this monologue because I know that women who have gone through this weren’t given the luxury. The day I decided to shoot the monologue, I grabbed my camera, set it up in my room, gave myself time to find my center and remembered all the stories I had heard prior to that moment. I then allowed myself to feel every emotion that needed to be felt in each moment as I started to record. 

What has the response been?
  I come from a very conservative country, so it was a bit of a culture shock. The delivery of the message was different from what a lot of people had seen but overall viewers were warm and appreciative of the message. 

Have you done much other writing, dramatic or otherwise?
  I continue to write to this day. I have plans for these scripts, whether it’s to share them on stage, film or just to keep them to myself. I recently returned from a tour around Botswana called ‘Madi Majwana’, it focused on using theatre as a tool to educate people from all walks of life on financial literacy. Right now I am focused on being a good student and learning from the ones who came before me in the creative industry.

What was the hardest thing about this monologue?
  Being honest. Being honest about how I truly felt in telling the story of many women.

What are your influences?
  What I feel, hear, think and see every day plays a big part in what influences me. If I was to move to a different country, my story and my truth would be different from the one I have now. I would experience life differently, I would hear different stories, I’d think differently because new environment adjustments and I’d see different scenery, different people, different ways of life.

What advice do you have for other performers/writers who want to use their voice for activism?
  Only you can tell your story best. When you’re convicted to write a script or perform a piece, do it in a way you know only you can. That means trusting in your capabilities, trusting in your own voice, in your own truth and owning it. You have to admit that it’s kind of hard to write a story about the life of a 50-year old man in Africa whilst you’re a 25-year old young man from America because well that’s not your story, it’s not your truth.

What do you have coming up next? How can we find out more about you?
  Currently I am working on a script for another short Film. It’s still in its early stages but it will be out and up on my YouTube channel before this year comes to an end.
 Email –  paalesamolefe1234@gmail.com.
YouTube channel – Palesa Molefe 
(is where my content can viewed, including Lacuna the short film.)
Facebook Page – Palesa Molefe

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Botswana should be more famous just for having a neat flag. 

Ms Molefe is truly one of the most impressive theatre people I’ve interacted with. Please subscribe, follow or contact her. Folks like Ms Molefe are the future of theatre.

Feel free to check out all our monologues, unknown playwrights or theatre horror stories.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Posters/Wednesday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

Today’s list of wondrous theatre links is brought to you by old Grand Guignol posters.

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Once Upon a Time in 1920.
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From 1929.
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1946.
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It’s 1928, let’s relive WWI!

What happens when you say this about theatre bloggers: “This is a massive generalisation, but a lot of people are not ‘proper writers’. They do not have the intellectual background or historical background or time to know what they are writing about.

A pretty good argument that theatre needs to de-elitize itself.

Trying to start a theatre company in Tokyo is harder than it seems.

How to survive a bad review

Set Design for Sweeney Todd: A How-to Guide.

What is a minor dramatist? (raises hand)

Did Kit Marlowe fake his death? (umm…no, but there’s still a blog post on it)

An ode to stage managers.

How not to piss off the prop team.

Translating Israel’s most important playwright.

A Barbadian play.

When your play is too short.

When water soaks through your notebook

Grants awarded to musical theatre programs hit by natural disasters

When a Facebook post spirals into hate speech and forces a good playwright to resign

University of Texas at Austin has a theatre blog.

How to flesh out a stock character as an actor

What inspires playwright Araceli Ferrara?

The production blog of an English-speaking theatre in Helsinki.

A sci-fi play is a hit??? OMG.

A history of Hemlet in Korean translation.

One’s first French play.

Does Britain have a problem with European theatre? [Of course they do!]

Glaswegian theatre.

Seems Australian community theatres also love Neil Simon.

Time to meet playwrights Beaumont, Fletcher and Ford.

A play about six-on-six basketball.

A Finnish dude whose one-man show is all about historical executions

Pretty much the most meta play I’ve heard about all week.

Even theatre directors get executed.

Since we’re coming up on Halloween soon, here’s a ghastly oldie:

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Social Media

I couldn’t really find out much about this monologue except you can download it here.

Don’t worry, I’ve copied the text below.  The monologue is good at pointing out how social media has modified or co-opted the concept of friend.

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“Friend”

I could not even find out who the writer was for this one. If you know, please contact me so I can credit them.

SOCIAL MEDIA

INT: AN OFFICE

Greta has been cornered by a coworker who is angry about being removed from Greta’s social media profile.

GRETA

Look, I’m sorry, Louisa, it wasn’t personal or anything. I’ve just started unfriending people who aren’t strictly relevant to my social life. Yikes, that sounded wrong and I can see the angry Tweet forming in your brain, but come on, hear me out.

You and I are friends…in a professional context. I like chatting with you here at the water cooler or at potlucks. I mean, I like being on your team when we do company bowling, because you’re an awesome bowler.

(Louisa does not look appeased.)

Okay, I can see I’m doing a bad job at this. It’s just…you don’t really want to see my Facebook updates about going to nightclubs in the city and I’m tired of reading about marriage and pregnancies and nightly family Boggle sessions and life-changing trips to Europe.

Ugh, not, not like your trip to Europe. Barcelona looked absolutely magical. I meant it general. It’s like…

(Deep sigh.)

Do you ever feel like everyone’s living a better life than you? Or at least acting like it? From what I can tell, two-thirds of my friends have the most adventurous, fulfilling careers that anyone could ever have. And the rest of them have perfect children and ideal spouses. There’s some overlap in there too, which is really unbearable. Or, I don’t know, maybe they’re all faking it. I guess I am too. I’m not posting about sitting under these fluorescent lights fifty hours a week. Or going home to a cat now that James left for good. Or dressing a body pillow in his old clothes and sleeping with it.

(Stares at the ground, Louisa completely forgotten.)

So anyway, that’s why I unfriended you. I just didn’t want to get too personal with my coworkers.

A

 

B

 

Hopefully this monologue gets more mileage. For those of you interested, this blog offers Unknown Playwrights, Theatre Horror Stories and plenty more monologues.

 

Posters/Wednesday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

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Today’s list is brought to you by posters for a Mexican production of Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna. [You can find Laurencia’s monologue here, BTW]

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Nice pistol. Production is here.

MacBeth came to Ghana

MacBeth came to Harlem, too.

Verdi did his own MacBeth, so MacBeth came to Florence, too.

MacBeth came to Korea…as pansori.

MacBeth…in Indianapolis.

MacBeth joins the SAS.

Playwright AND translator

The author of Kung Fu Zombies vs Shaman Warrior

Vulnerability and trust and the playwright

Schiller’s Maria Stuart meets the Red Army Faction through playwright Elfriede Jelinek

The dirty, dirty lies of playwriting.

A high school theatre blog from Illinois. Looks like we missed the Rent call backs.

Why going to the theatre alone kicks arse.

Kolkata’s theatre museum

How to cast for high school theatre.

Ancient Greek theatre, aligned with the stars

The Witch of Edmonton gets revised, revived and eviscerated by a critic.

Playwright and screenwriter Paul Kampf shares a bit on transitioning from stage to film

The very first plays.

How to modernize a scene for school

Vietnamese water puppets are pretty badass.

Modern Yemeni theatre

A Streetcar Named Desire…in Toronto.

When the theatre life becomes too much (I can relate)

First time I ever heard of Inspiration Porn. Apparently, it’s a problem.

Looking back to move forward in theatre.

Do HS theatre competitions hurt theatre? Yeah, probably.

A middle school’s Lion King adventure.

A UK book launch for an anthology of Indonesian plays. Yay yay yay!

What do you know about the Kenya National Theatre?

Don’t forget we have Unknown Playwrights, Theatre Horror Stories and Monologue Mondays!

And now this week’s Indonesian oldie – The Singers’ cover of Land of 1,000 Dances. (You can find the original Chris Kenner version here).

 

 

 

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Hate Male by Daniel Guyton

Fair warning, this monologue is not for the faint of heart. Nor should it be for high schoolers. 

This is a very, very angry monologue by Daniel Guyton.

Mr. Guyton’s work encompasses everything from children’s plays about fairies to something called Grimbaldt, the Christmas Pimp.

This monologue has the following setup:

Situation: Gretchen has been convicted of the pre-planned murder of her uncle, who raped her repeatedly when she was a child. Now that she’s in prison, she wants revenge on all men for the terror that she went through. The security guard is her most immediate target.

Here is a sample from the monologue:

GRETCHEN:

Yeah I shot him. What’cha gonna do about it, huh? Fucking pig. Fucking woman-hating, vaginaphobic son of a bitch! That shithead had it coming. Don’t look at me with those sad eyes! Those puppy dogs! Those droopy goopy cellophanes! What’cha gonna do about it huh? Feel sorry for me punk? Fuck you! You goddamn pansy! Momma’s boy! Sad sack loony tunes, probably can’t even please a woman, can ya?!? (She leans in seductively) Probably don’t even know what a pussy looks like. Do you?  If I showed you my mine, would you even know what to do with it? (She chuckles) Yeah, I didn’t think so. These bars can’t hold me in. These walls can’t shackle me. I am transcendental. I am existential! I am anti-matter, ectoplasm, plant destroying phytoplasm. I will melt into the floorboards, delve into the ether, I will eat the ground beneath my feet, and swallow up asbestos. I will rise up on the other side, a thousand times larger than I am right now, and I will cut you while you’re sleeping. I will fuck your family, and I will eat your goddamn dog for dinner! That is – assuming that you have one. Do you have a dog there, Mr. Guard? Mr. Doggy Guard? Or are you just a pussy man like I think you are? (Small pause) Don’t even look at me. Don’t even breathe near me. Every particle of air you spew is like a toxin. Every sound you make is … (She spits at him) Just get away from me. (She turns away) Why don’t you leave me alone? (Small pause) I did what I had to do. What someone had to do. What my father should have done a million years ago – I put that fucker down. Like the rabid bitch he was. (She sits) Why are you still looking at me? Shit. (She wipes a tear from her eye) Do you want a blow job? Is that…? (She shrugs) Fine. Whatever. Bring it in here, buddy, I’ll suck you off. Just like every other guy in the universe. ‘Just blow me and I’ll let you live.’ (Pause) Well, what the fuck are you waiting for? I gave you an invitation, didn’t I?

For the rest of the monologue, feel free to contact the playwright for performance rights. He’s a pretty good guy and will probably say “yes.”

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Always available on Amazon.

Here is a video the monologue’s rehearsal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget we have happier monologues for both females and males. Also, feel free to check out out Unknown Playwrights and Theatre Horror Stories.