Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Laundry and Bourbon (Elizabeth & Hattie) by James McLure

Howdy and welcome back to Monologue Monday. This week’s monologues come from a play entitled Laundry and Bourbon (aka Southern women drinking and gossiping).

In Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

The play claims to have a plot. I stole this one from playdatabase:

The setting is the front porch of Roy and Elizabeth’s home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets which are so much a part of small-town life. They are joined by the self-righteous Amy Lee who, among other tidbits, can’t resist blurting out that Roy has been seen around town with another woman. While the ensuing conversation is increasingly edged with bitter humor, from it emerges a sense of Elizabeth’s inner strength and her quiet understanding of the turmoil which has beset her husband since his return from Vietnam. He is wild, and he is unfaithful, but he needs her and she loves him. And she’ll be waiting for him when he comes home–no matter what others may say or think.

Admittedly, this isn’t my cup of tea. The Southern-fried genre of theatre has been done much better (think Tennessee Williams) and the small-town village mentality and escape thereof has been better portrayed by Inge. As for comedy, I know real-life Southerners 10 times funnier than this play.

However, on the plus side, it does provide three female roles, some strong. It also provides decent audition monologue material.

Let’s take a look at the character breakdown:

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Two of these characters have monologues we can explore.

Elizabeth: I remember the first day he drove into town in that car.

So these people like to talk about the past. Elizabeth is remembering when she saw Roy with his car.

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Elizabeth: Wish tonight was 10 years ago.

Elizabeth has reached a point in her life and relationship when she wishes she could go into the back seat of a Ford Thunderbird 10 years ago. Also, in fiction, why does it seem men need to teach women about their bodies?

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Hattie: Figure I better check on the kids.

Hattie complains about her kids. The monologue is here.

Hattie: Figure I better check on the kids. No telling what devilment they’ve gotten up to. (Dialing.) Everything gonna turn out fine you’ll see. (On the phone.) Hello? Cheryl? Cheryl dear, this is Mommy. . . Mommy. . . your mother. (Aside.) Child needs a hearing aid. What’s that dear? Vernon Jr. threw a rock at you? Well, throw one back at him, honey. Show him who’s boss. Cheryl, sweetheart, put Grandma on the phone. . . Cheryl this week! (Pause.) Sounds -like they’re running her ragged. Hello? Little Roger. Is that you. I don’t want to talk to you right now punkin, I want to talk to Grandma. . . ’cause I want to talk to Grandma . . . yes Grandma does have baggy elbows. Now lemme talk to her. . . what’s that? Honey of course Mommy loves you. . . I love you all the same. . . Do I love you more than who? Fred Flintstone. Yes. More than Paul Newman no, but Fred Flintstone yes. . . It’s a grown-up joke honey. Now put Grandma on . . . She’s what? Tied up! You untie her you hear me? You want a switchin’? . . . Then you untie her, right now. . . Marion? That you. . . Oh, you were playin’ . . . Oh good I thought they had you tied up for real. . . How they doing. . . yes . . . yes. . . yes I agree there is too much violence on TV. . . yes I’ll pick them up at five. . . No I won’t be late. . . You have my solemn word. . . Goodbye. What’s that? Little Roger? . . . Yes it’s nice to hear your voice again too . . . You’re playing what? Sniper? Vernon Jr. has climbed a tree in the backyard and he has a brick? Well, little Roger, listen and listen carefully, under no circumstances go under that tree. . . He’s gonna drop the brick on your head, sweetheart. . . So don’t go under the tree. That’s just what he wants. . . OK . . . OK . . . “Yabba dabb doo” to you too. (She hangs up.) He’ll walk right under that tree. The child has no more sense than God gave a screwdriver.



Hattie: Today I went through living hell.

She also goes shopping with said kids. The monologue is here.
Today I went through living hell. I went shopping with my children. Disastrous. When my kids hit a department store, they go berserk. I think it activates something in their glands. We hadn’t been in J.C. Penney’s five minutes before they scattered in all direction. Now you take my little Cheryl. She’s a sweet little thing but bless her heart she’s a thief. It’s time I faced facts, ‘Lizabeth. My daughter is a kleptomaniac. As soon as we got into that store, she started stuffing her pockets. Stuffing her clothing. She ran away from me and ten minutes later I saw her. I barely recognized my only daughter. She looked like a beach ball with legs. Telling her to put it back is no good. Thieving is in her blood. She gets it from Vernon Jr. Now he was in the hardware department chasing his brother with a hammer. And all little Roger was doing was screaming. Somehow Vernon Jr. broke a solid steel J.C. Penney hammer. When it comes to destruction, Vernon Jr. is a genius. But I tell you, it’s the last time I go shopping with those kids. I took the little darlings over to Vern’s mother’s place. She has a nice big house. They ought to have it leveled in about an hour or so.




Hattie: Elizabeth you’re getting all sentimental and romantic.

Of course Hattie has some advice for her yearning-for-the-past friend Elizabeth.

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And there you have it, some monologues. For quality female contemporary monologues, please check out Adam Szymkowicz’ Pretty Theft and Rare Birds as well as Incendiary. There’s also My Name is Tania Head by Alexandra Wood.

PS if you ever wondered what Laundry and Bourbon being rehearsed in Indonesian looks like, now is your chance. And yeah, the director is kind of a dick (like a lot of American directors I’ve known).

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