Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Becker from Jitney by August Wilson

Howdy! Welcome back to Unknown Playwrights and Monologue Monday.

I hope everyone is well during this Coronapocalypse. This week we’ll be looking at the character of Becker in August Wilson’s Jitney.

Here is the plot synopsis of Jitney

“Regular taxi cabs will not travel to the Pittsburgh Hill District of the 1970s, and so the residents turn to jitneys—unofficial, unlicensed taxi cabs—that operate in the community. This play portrays the lives of the jitney drivers at the station owned by Jim Becker.”

  • Jim Becker, the well-respected manager of the jitney station. In his 60s. 

A good role for a senior actor, that’s for sure. In a previous post we covered Jitney more in-depth and also profiled Rena’s monologue.

One reason we’re covering this monologue this week, is that the Los Angeles cops totally handcuffed an actor for doing the monologue. His video will appear at the end.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 3.32.53 PM

Let’s take a minute and talk about how this Covid-19 and the resulting quarantine has hurt people of color the most in the US.

First, it kills them way more than white folks:

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 4.08.21 PM

Here’s a couple links about why that is the case.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 4.11.30 PM
Congratulations, America. Even Germany is calling you out on your racist BS. 

In addition to built-in societal and health service shortcomings, there’s the police. Most of America is under some sort of quarantine order. Wearing masks are required in some places or encouraged in others.

Presumably faced with a dearth of real crimes, police all across America must find other ways to take out their superior attitude on the civilian populace.

Here a gangster thug cop in Wood River, Illinois is harassing two African American men for wearing masks…you know, the masks everyone is supposed to wear so we don’t all get sick and die?

God forbid these cops have to fight real crimes or investigate something. The city of Wood River is soooo f*cked.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 3.55.22 PM
Of course there’s a golf course on their homepage. The town’s lack of self-awareness is hilarious. Or are they hyper-aware??? 

These gentlemen were harassed for wearing a mask. But what happens when you DO wear a mask? Don’t worry we have video of that, too courtesy of the Philadelphia cops:

The news person says three police officers, but they were backed up by a bunch more.

African Americans aren’t the only ones to bear the brunt of America’s stupidity. Asian Americans have caught their fair share.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 4.40.55 PM

Here a Chinese American doctor talks about what it’s like to save people’s lives while folks are busting your mom’s windshield.

There’s enough racism for another video…

Back to the play….

Becker has a monologue where he berates his son, for being a murderer and such…and not beng around when his mom died:

I was there! I was holding her hand when she died. Where was you? Locked up in a cage like some animal. That’s what killed her. To hear the judge say that the life she brought in the world was unfit to live. That you be “remanded to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections at Western State Penitentiary and there to be executed in the electric chair. This order to be carried out thirty days from today.” Ain’t that what the judge said? Ain’t that what she heard? ‘This order to be carried out thirty days from today.’ That’s what killed her. She didn’t want to live them thirty days. She didn’t want to be alive to hear on the eleven o’clock news that they had killed you. So don’t you say nothing to me about turning my back when I nursed that woman, talked to her, held her hand, prayed over her and the last words to come out of her mouth was your name. I was there! Where were you Mr. Murderer? Mr. Unfit To Live Amongst Society. Where were you when your mama was dying and calling your name? (Stops talking a moment to gather himself.) You are my son. I helped to bring you into this world. But from this moment on…I’m calling the deal off. You ain’t nothing to me, boy. You just another nigger on the street.


A 2017 production

Now we come to the video portion of our monologue.





Last, but not least, with some improvisation from LA’s finest method actors, here’s Tyree Freely’s monologue:

View this post on Instagram

Hey what’s up Instagram. I was filming a self-tape this morning for @ldbcasting @thats_mrs_butler_2_you, and I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole and didn’t see anything, so I opened the door to see 2 LAPD officers on the sides of my door. They told me to step out of my own home as they asked me who was inside. As I informed them that it was just me inside, they weren’t trying to tell me what happened nor were they trying to tell me their names. I told them how I was making a self tape for class (though they didn’t know what a self tape was nor did they believe me). Then, they were trying to place me under arrest for something I had no idea about. I kept asking why are you trying to place me in handcuffs, and you can hear the officer saying, “You’re lucky we didn’t just grab you and throw you in handcuffs.” For whaat ?!? Being black in my own home? They finally told me someone called them because of some possible fighting going on here, so instead of asking me to wait outside, they decided to “detain” me. So I politely complied w/ their orders as I refuse to be another hashtag. As I was placed in handcuffs, one officer searched my whole apartment as no one was there (like I said). (FYI, soon as you walk in, you could literally see my tripod/ring light set up w/ my phone on it) They finally said it was suspicion of domestic violence in my apartment! AS I AM IN MY HOME BY MYSELF! Who am I beating up? Myself? This was completely uncalled for as I was taken out of my own home to be handcuffed for doing a monologue. Also, they were too close to me to begin with. I thought we were suppose to be social distancing as I’m being placed in metal handcuffs that could’ve been infested w/ Rona germs. I apologize @ldbcasting for not submitting in a timely manner, but this is what I was dealing with. I didn’t even get to finish my take as this was take 4. Thank you officers Velasco and Terzes for ruining my self tape and also this entire monologue for me. The devil is a liar & I am blessed. God I thank you for covering me because it could’ve went a totally different route. #quarantinemonologues #artist #black #disrespectful #God #trending #Jitney #blm

A post shared by A N K – T Y R E E F R E E L Y (@freely_ty) on

Everyone please stay safe during this awful time and love your neighbor.

We will see you soon.



Posters/Wednesday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

Hello and welcome to the pandemic edition of Unknown Playwrights’ theatrical link dump. This is where we usually post all sorts of fascinating, interesting a titillating links related to theatre. But theatre is closed. Except it isn’t. It’s gone online and we will bring you those online links soon.

Usually this link dump is brought to you by theatrical posters, but this week (same as last) it’s brought to you by shows closed due to pandemic.

The best one was from a Korean theatre that linked directly to the government’s constantly-updated COVID-19 site. Way to go, responsible theatre (and government)!

Famous playwrights are not immune to pandemic.

A fun Canadian theatre is doing fun Canadian-y things online

Read an almost NSFW play about the last bottle of hand sanitizer on Earth.

A Quarantine Vogel-style bake-off LIVE!

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 is available via free streaming from the Goodman Theatre.

Some crazy-ass German puppetry (is there really any other kind?)

American playwright/iconoclast David Hansen has been forcing asking actors to record his short plays whilst in quarantine. The results are hilariously compelling. Mister Hansen was also the subject of this week’s Monologue Monday.

Drunk MacBeth, drunk Pride & Prejudice, all based in Berlin.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lin-Manuel Miranda are having a cute playoff on Twitter. Here is Andrew’s version of a Hamilton song.

La Boheme LIVE!

A fascinating group out of South Africa

Nightly opera streams from the Met

RSC’s Richard II is so hot right now. Browse around their site. They have plenty of other streaming options.

When 30 playwrights write monologues of the livestream audience’s choosing.

Caveat comedy group is livestreaming their shows.

The Globe Theatre is streaming Shakespeare plays (if you have the dough). Arseholes.

Supermegafamous playwright Young Jean Lee gave a free online storytelling class. I didn’t want to download the platform, so you can figure out how to watch it.

LaMaMa is streaming some stuff.

Is Tiny Theatre2020’s version of the Little Theatre Movement?

Theatre without theatre (but with Instagram)

Here’s a link with even more links/overview of online theatre resources

Tony and Helen Hayes-winning actress Alice Ripley has been livestreaming

This claims to be a livestreaming thing from Hungary, but I have no idea where said stream is. #theatrepeople

Livestream a bunch of Broadway shows for free, including shows with Orlando Bloom, Lee J. Cobb and Hugh Jackman

All the Web’s a Stage will happen April 23.

Something for the kiddos.

Learn storytelling live at Theatre Lab.

This list is shorter than most lists , for obvious reasons. If you have any other online theatre stuff, feel free to message me with the link and I’ll add it.

In the meantime, here is a short play about a suicidal candy bar. Because of course it is!

Posters/Wednesday Link Dump

Wednesday Link Dump

Howdy and welcome back to Unknown Playwrights! Our Link Dump lives on! This week’s edition is brought to you by theatre cancellation notices due to COVID-19. Hope everyone’s doing okay!!!!

The Joys of Musical Theatre Cosplay

Sometimes you gotta stand up for yourself

Battling Imposter Syndrome in the theatre

74 Must-see muscial movies

Broadway performer Grace McLean speaks

Musicals of the 2010s, a complete list (except the one I wrote isn’t on this list)

Playwright Chelsea Frandsen’s new mantra

Lee Blessing interviewed

Tyler Dwiggins interviewed

Edith Freni interviewed

Exploring the lives of Nubian women through theatre

Narration through song in South Africa

Dancing with a deer, a jaguar or a snake

COVID-19 has led to The Short Play Project

Some folks (Johnny Cash’s daughter) think Shakespeare plagiarized wrote King Lear while under quarantine. I don’t think so, but when did the world actually care what I think?

Approved plays for livestreaming

What does a playwright do? (This playwright mostly collects rejection notices)

New Mexico had a fun theatre festival

Aphra Behn, the first professional woman writer (and spy and stuff)

An intro to Czech theatre

The history of Czech theatre (and opera)

African Americans and Shakespeare

Is Shakespeare racist? (probably???)

Multiculturalism in Shakespeare’s plays (side note: Has England been xenophobic since England began?)

Two goats and two scarred artists

Liverpudlian Molière

Unlike in WW2 France, collaborators are good people in theatre

That Fidel Castro play tho

Teaching theatre tech when you don’t know theatre tech. Sounds fun.

Costume and prop challenges

And that’s it. But we’ll leave you with some Doo Wop 45s….