Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Cactus and Karma by David Hansen

Hello everyone and welcome to a very special pandemic edition of Monologue Monday! Today we bring you two pieces of Quarantine Theatre.

These are monologues written by playwright David Hansen and performed by actors under quarantine. How claustrophobic is that?

Playwright Hansen and his gang of thespians have created something called The Short Play Project where they perform Hansen’s plays from the comfort of their very own quarantine.

CACTUS

The first play we’re profiling is about cactus sex. Kinda.

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OH YEAH!!!!

It’s actually about vulnerability and is more of a metaphor. I know, I was kinda crushed, too.

This monologue can be used by any gender.

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The guys, at work. They call me the cactus. Not “Cactus,” that would feel like a

nickname. “What’s up, Cactus?” That would be cute. No, that’s what they say behind

my back. [concerned, under the breath] “Don’t fuck up today, the Cactus is out for

blood.”[normal voice] Which is fine. I’m not there to have fun or be liked. I have work to

do and so do they, I don’t care if they are afraid to deal with me, they have to and that’s

it.

I do hate when I am referred to as prickly. That bothers me. But tough? Okay. Yes. Call

me tough. Is it because I am aggressive? No, it’s not. A cactus isn’t aggressive. A cactus

doesn’t leap out at you from a dark alley and murder you. That would be funny right.

[hard stare] No, you have to mess with it. Then you get hurt. That was a warning. To

you. I guess.

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Look, but don’t touch.

I am a seed that fell in a stony place, with no roots and little hope for survival. But when

the sun rose up I was not scorched, I said, “up yours, sun,” and grew anyway. That was

a biblical reference.

My toughness is my defense. My thorns are a defense. My just coming out and telling

you these things. That doesn’t mean I’m “letting you in.” I am stating the obvious so you

can’t tell me later that you didn’t know.

But I’d like to have sex with you, which means one of two things are going to happen.

You get close and I hurt you, or I let you cut me open to experience all the sweetness I

have hidden inside of me and then I die. I am no longer a cactus.

So ask yourself. Which outcome is more likely to happen?

“The guys at work” always seemed to be assholes, so I wouldn’t put much stock in what they say.

However, this is an interesting play about perception, vulnerability and human nature.

To download the monologue, just click here.

KARMA

The second play is about that age old concept of karma. The play is about a millipede.

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I like to pretend it’s this millipede.

We’re not really told why/how this millipede ended up at its karmic destination, but we don’t really need to be, either.

ONE

I live. I live. I eat. I live. I hunt. I eat. Eat what is in front of me. Navigate the surface. Always moving forward. Across the surface. Surface down. Surface across. Surface up. This is up, I am up, I live, I move, move unencumbered up. Vast plane of nothing, no food, no dark, but safe. Safe, I am, from beings, impossibly large beings, gigantic meatsticks, the great dangers. Also giant, but less so, the beasts who torture, crush, consume. Up surface they cannot go. But no food, I live. I eat, must eat. So, to the surface, with obstacles, surfaces smooth, surfaces nubbly, moving to catch, consume, sate, moving on. I was. I was. I recall. A meatstick once, once giant, a giant meatstick, with, I had, my, the way the world was, to me, mine, I understood. Understood. Understood me. A youth, young for meatstick, very old for me, turns of dark, numbering in the hundreds. A child? A child, curious, thoughts, ideas, catching, hunting, pinching, one like me, separating me, part by part, separated, causing chaos, call it pain. Ending life. I was. I was not. No longer child, now me. To learn. To truly understand.

That’s it. I’ve known several meatsticks in my life and many of them would be better off as millipedes.

You can download the play here.

To see all the plays of Hansen’s noble experiment, please check out the YouTube playlist.

Also, please check out Mr. Hensen’s website where he maintains a blog and other goodies. If you have access to the New Play Exchange, dude is on there, too.

This concludes our very special pandemic Monologue Monday. Everyone be safe. See you soon!

 

 

 

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: The Best Marriage Advice from “Black and White and Red All Over” by Tara Meddaugh

Hello dear readers! We’re back with yet another Monologue Monday – this week we are featuring Tara Meddaugh’s monologue The Best Marriage Advice taken from the full-length play Black and White and Red All Over.

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You might be thinking that Meddaugh has become Unknown Playwrights’ resident monologuer. Not quite, but her monologues are pretty dang good. This monologue is classic Meddaugh, written in 1998 and brimming with her unique brand of humor.

The synopsis, taken from her site, is…

A frivolous couple passes the time by hiring and firing servants, and reading old newspapers they deem to be the current. But when the Wife wants more out of her life, she charges her Husband with a perilous task… Meanwhile, four eclectic strangers wind up secretly waiting together in this couple’s bathroom. When they discover the reasons they have all been put together, the absurdities and danger of their situation become alarmingly clear.

The monologue itself extols the virtues of keeping things on leashes, so they don’t run into the street and get squashed by cars. Meddaugh even has a neat Q & A about the play on her site.

As the monologue setup describes it:

Scene: Georgia is speaking to a young man and woman who have just met in this encounter. The couple is in the bathtub, shower curtain pulled so Georgia cannot see them, but they are presumably making love, as they both have admitted they are young and attractive, and this should be the natural course of events. Georgia is a make-up artist, and older, believing she has much wisdom to impart.

I could put the monologue right hee, but you should run over to Ms. Meddaugh’s site and get it (for free).

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Though written for a female character, I’m pretty sure a male performer could do this, no problem.

For more of Meddaugh’s monologues, please check here.. If you want to read some Theatre Horror Stories, here they are.

Join us next week for another rip-roarin’ monologue!

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Asian Goggles by Jenny Yang

Howdy and welcome back to Monologue Mondays!

As this blog has pointed out (again and again [and again]) Roles writing gigs directing gigs monologues opportunities are hard to come by in American theatre if you’re not super mega white and male.

Fortunately, there are strong, funny monologues written by funny folks like Jenny Yang.

The monologue is about how she was offered “Asian goggles” at a ski resort by someone named Skyler.

Judging from the racism, ski resortiness and name, my money’s on Park City, Utah as the location of said monologue. Park City is as racist a town as any I’ve seen.

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Wobbly graffiti from 1916 survives in the old Park City jail. Pretty much the coolest thing that town has to offer.

Speaking of Wobblies, Jenny Yang’s career has gone from badass labor organizer to badass comedian. Highlights include: making videos for Cracked and performing at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Her commentary has been covered by the BBC, New York Times and a bunch of other places. She also wrote for Last Man Standing, but since that was a vehicle for human turd-goblin Tim Allen, I wouldn’t call it a highlight.

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8/03: Literally the question nobody asked nor cared about.
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9/13: And there’s the answer!!! I’m sure Tim Allen painted lots of IWW graffiti whilst in the hoosegow.

Too bad Ms. Yang can’t get her own sitcom. If you want to know more about her and her accomplishments, please check her site out. The monologue can be found in this wonderful collection.

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Asian goggles are more than a monologue – they exist!!!

Now, let’s check out some videos of this monologue, including by the writer herself!

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Thank you so much for reading this blog and thanks to Ms. Yang for writing such amazing material.

For another Asian-centric monologue, please check here .

Can you stomach Theatre Horror Stories?

Until next time…

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: No Release by Tara Meddaugh

Hello, hello one and all!!! Welcome back my beautiful monologuistas!!!

Today we bring you yet another Tara Meddaugh classic. She’s becoming a favorite of the blog. You can find other Meddaugh monologues here:

March in Line

Ferret Envy

Single Crutch

The Beanstalk

No Release is different than all those monologues in that it is dead serious.

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This is how the audience will feel. The monologue is that powerful.

Melinda has moved back home to help her infirm mother. She knows her mother is dying and it brings no release. She feels like a marionette.

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Hopefully not THIS marionette. Damn thing costs 319 dollars.

As always, Ms. Meddaugh is kind enough to allow you to see/download the monologue free from her site, so instead of me copying it here, you can just run over there.

Now let’s see what the old YouTube pulled up:

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Hopefully more people will do this emotional monologue.

For more monologues, check here. And for our new theatre horror stories, please check here.

Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Thomas More in Sir Thomas More (Anthony Munday, Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker & Shakespeare)

Things get interesting on this Monologue Monday. I was originally going to profile A Man for All Seasons about Thomas More (Catholic saint and proto-Communist). Sadly, not many monologues are available online from this wonderful play. But there is another play entitled Sir Thomas More and one monologue from this play has picked up steam in recent years.

The play is unusual in that it’s divided into thirds and depicts three distinct portions of More’s life with little overlap. 1. Thomas More stops a riot in 1517 when he was under-sherif of London. 2. His private family life showing how kind and funny he was. 3. His time as Privy Councilor and Lord Chamberlain and opposition to king Henry VIII, resulting in More’s execution.

The play is also unusual because a whole lot of dudes [sorry ladies] wrote it. Apparently, Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle produced the first draft. Then several years later, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker and old Bill Shakespeare hammered out another draft. Naturally the monologue is attributed to Shakespeare (this may be some PR at work). If you’re interested, we’ve profiled other Shakespeare monologues before. Check Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Rumor in Henry V, part 2, The Jailer’s Daughter in Two Noble KInsmen and Imogen/Innogen in Cymbeline.

Back to our monologue. Ill May Day (aka Evil May Day) was a real thing. Normally, May Day = Party Day. But not in 1517. In recent years, wealthy merchants and bankers had been immigrating to London but also laborers had immigrated as well. Most of the immigrants were French-speaking Protestants fleeing persecution or Flemish immigrants. They only made up about 2% of London’s population, but for some people that was two percent too much. 

A fortnight before May Day, people started making anti-immigrant speeches and rumors started that “on May Day next the city would rebel and slay all aliens.” And true to the rumors, gangs of folks tried to do just that. To Henry VIII’s credit, he was not a fan and tried to stop the riot, ordering his right hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey to end it. Thomas More, as under-sheriff of London, made an appeal to the rioters. Apparently, it stalled them but didn’t stop the riots, though some foreigners thought it helped in some way. The irony behind these riots is that the only perople killed were twelve rioters who executed afterwards (hehe). One final irony is that hundreds of people were arrested for treason and could have been executed, but Henry’s wife Queen Catherine of Aragon (a foreigner herself) convinced her husband to pardon and release them.

As you probably know, More eventually wrote Utopia, became Lord Chamberlain and got his head whacked off. There’s a play about all that (and a movie….and another movie).

The monologue that’s speading these days is from Sir Thomas More, Act II, Scene 2 when More confronts the rioters. In the play, he talks them down.

SIR THOMAS MORE

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise

Hath chid down all the majesty of England;

Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,

Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,

Plodding tooth ports and costs for transportation,

And that you sit as kings in your desires,

Authority quite silent by your brawl,

And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;

What had you got? I’ll tell you. You had taught

How insolence and strong hand should prevail,

How order should be quelled; and by this pattern

Not one of you should live an aged man,

For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,

With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,

Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes

Would feed on one another.

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Happy to know I’m not the only playwright who failed penmanship class.
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From here.

I know what you’re thinking: thank God we don’t live in 1517 where everyone’s a racist xenophobic prick. Just kidding. Xenophobia, fascism and racism is still totally a thing and I’m not talking about if a dumpster fire cosnisting of fecal matter and racism were human President Trump  but other countries as well, including, but not limited to, Indonesia, South Africa, Singapore, Poland, South Korea, Germany (but no surprise there), the Netherlands (let me introduce you to South Africa and Indo- oh, never mind), Brazil and speaking of Brazil, here’s Portugal.

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I’d never want to forget the UK and their whole Brexit boner. Perhaps Antarctica is free of xenophobia.
When written, the play was never performed (it was banned), but the Royal Shakespeare Company did a performance in 2006.
Anyways, here’s the monologue being performed, even by Ian McKellen.

 

 

 

For more information about “Evil May Day” please check these links:

Site 1

Site 2

Site 3

For more about the play Sir Thomas More, please check these links:

Site 1

Site 2 (the whole dang play)

Site 3 (a video of [maybe] the whole play)

For more about xenophobia, just look out your window.

We’ll be back on Monday with more monologues!!! Hooray!!!