Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Laughing Wild (Tuna fish monologue) by Christopher Durang

Hello and welcome back to Monologue Monday. Today we have a monologue from Christopher Durang‘s 1987 play Laughing Wild. The monologue is commonly called the Tuna Fish Monologue.

Durang has had a pretty stellar career in drama. He has won three Obies and a Tony.

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OMG they even used a tuna in a “pay-what-you-can” production. Har har har.

This plot synopsis is taken from the Wikipedia page:

The show is written for one actor and one actress. The woman’s character is emotional and unstable, and talks about hitting someone in the supermarket who wouldn’t get out of the way of the tuna fish she wanted to buy. The man’s character is giving a speech about positive thinking, but keeps spiraling into negativity. He also, it turns out, is the man the woman hit in the supermarket. The show consists of two 30-minute monologues (and then a 30 minute second act, some of it monologue, some of it scenes between the two characters). The characters do not have official names.

And of course the monologue is the one where The Woman talks about attacking someone blocking a can of tuna. The monologue can be found here. Or below.

WOMAN: I want to talk to you about life. It’s just too difficult to be alive, isn’t it, and try to function? There are all these people to deal with. I tried to buy a can of tuna fish in the supermarket, and there was this person standing right in front of where I wanted to reach out to get the tuna fish, and I waited a while, to see if they’d move, and they didn’t—they were looking at tuna fish too, but they were taking a real long time on it, reading the ingredients on each can like they were a book, a pretty boring book if you ask me, but nobody has; so I waited a long while, and they didn’t move, and I couldn’t get to the tuna fish cans; and I thought about asking them to move, but then they seemed so stupid not to have sensed that I needed to get by them that I had this awful fear that it would do no good, no good at all, to ask them, they’d probably say something like, “We’ll move when we’re goddam ready you nagging bitch” and then what would I do? And so then I started to cry out of frustration, quietly, so as not to disturb anyone, and still, even though I was softly sobbing, this stupid person didn’t grasp that I needed to get by them, and so I reached over with my fist, and I brought it down real hard on his head and screamed: “Would you kindly move asshole!!!”

And the person fell to the ground, and looked totally startled, and some child nearby started to cry, and I was still crying, and I couldn’t imagine making use of the tuna fish now anyway, and so I shouted at the child to stop crying—I mean, it was drawing too much attention to me—and I ran out of the supermarket, and I thought, I’ll take a taxi to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I need to be surrounded with culture right now, not tuna fish.

Let’s see how YouTubers did on this one:

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LA production

 

Wow, we made it from the A to Z of Tuna Fish Monologue but we’re not through yet. Oh, no, kiddos. For some reason the monologue is also popular amongst German YouTubers so you get to see the same thing, except in German. The German is here. Some of the German versions start with the tuna mention instead of “Let’s talk about life” stuff.

Ich möchte mit Ihnen über das Leben sprechen. ’s einfach viel zu kompliziert, am Leben zu sein, finden Sie nicht auch? Dieses dauernde Sich-bemühen- Müssen, lebenstüchtig zu sein… All diese Leute, mit denen man’s zu tun bekommt! Ich hab versucht, mir eine Dose Thunfisch zu kaufen, im Supermarkt, da stand dieser Mensch genau da, wo ich hingreifen wollte, um mir die Thunfischdose zu nehmen, also wartete ich einen Moment, wollte sehn, ob die Leute zur Seite gehn würden, aber keine Spur – die glotzten, wie ich, auf die Thunfischdosen… nahmen sich allerdings endlos viel Zeit, lasen die genaue Zusammensetzung der Zutaten auf jeder einzelnen Dose, als wär’s ein Buch, ein ganz schön langweiliges Buch, wenn Sie mich fragen, aber mich fragt ja keiner; jedenfalls wartete ich ziemlich lange, und kein Mensch ging weiter, ich kam an diese Thunfischdosen einfach nicht ran, wollte die schon bitten, etwas zur Seite zu gehn, aber die schienen mir derartig verblödet zu sein, wenn sie schon nicht s p ü r t e n, daß ich an ihnen vorbei wollte, daß ich diese gräßliche Angst bekam, daß das auch nichts bringen würde, überhaupt nichts bringen würde, die zu bitten, die würden wahrscheinlich so was rauslassen wie: “Wir gehen weiter, wann’s uns paßt, verdammt noch mal, du Miststück!“ und was würde ich dann tun. Also hab ich vor lauter Frust zu weinen angefangen, still vor mich hin, um nur ja keinen zu stören, und trotzdem: Obwohl ich leise schluchzte, b e g r i f f dieser idiotische Mensch immer noch nicht, daß ich an denen vorbei mußte, um an den gottverdammten Thunfisch ranzukommen, die Leute sind ja derartig unsensibel, ich hasse sie einfach, also langte ich mit meiner Faust rüber und schlug sie dem einen Kerl mit aller Wucht auf seinen Schädel und brüllte: “Wären Sie so nett, beiseite zu gehen, Sie Arschloch!!!“ Und der Mensch fiel zu Boden und sah total verblüfft aus, und irgendein Kind fing in der Nähe zu weinen an, und ich weinte immer noch und konnte mir überhaupt nicht vorstellen, jetzt noch das Geringste mit diesem Thunfisch anzufangen,

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In German theatre, the director is king. I’ve noticed German monologists will modify the words and settings much more than their Anglophone counterparts.

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In Croatia, the poster is better than the play.

Thanks again for checking out Monologue Monday on Unknown Playwrights!