MONOLOGUE: The Restaurateur

by Les Hunter

Setting:
A kitchen in an Indian restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queen, NYC

Time:
Now

Character:
THE RESTAURATEUR, a young Indian man; a chef

(THE RESTAURATEUR is at work in his Jackson Heights eatery. He prepares a dosa.)

THE RESTAURATEUR

How to make, and serve, a Jackson Heights Dosa.

Step one: Be born. The importance of this step cannot be overlooked. New Jersey or Puducherry, a small town or large city; It makes no difference. But the best dosa comes from the south. So, say, be born in Ernakulam.

Step two: Grease the pan with cooking oil. Turn the heat on to a nice medium. That is the only time you will say the word “medium” at this restaurant. “Hot,” “Spicy,” yes; “Medium,” no.

Step three: Throw yourself completely into something imaginative as a child. Turn a tree into a far away castle. Become consumed with drawing butterflies. In certain cases, this can arise from some kind of trouble. For example: Have your parents die at a young age. Move in with your aunt in the country, who’s very kind and old fashioned. She’s a wonderful cook. You watch her in the kitchen. You watch her make step four of a dosa.

Step four: Pour half a cup of dosa batter into the pan like a pancake. Spread into pan. Do not be alarmed if the dosa develops tiny holes as you spread the batter. This is normal.

Step five: Fall in love. Feel rejection. Fall out of love.

Step six: Baste the dosa with oil. When the upper surface begins to look cooked, flip the dosa. By this time, ideally, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in color. Like me. Allow to cook for one minute after flipping the dosa. Become tired of dosas. Allow your mind to wander. Meandering, your mind guides you to…  Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: Where’s the Blitzkrieg?

by Ethan Kanfer

SETTING:            A bar and grill

TIME:                  Night

CHARACTER:      BERYL, female, 40’s, British accent.

(BERYL sits at a table talking to an unseen friend. She is drinking a margarita, not her first of the evening.)

BERYL

No, I don’t have a thing for him. I mean, I don’t have that kind of a thing for him. I don’t go moaning his name when Nigel and I are having sex, if that’s what you mean… Right, wouldn’t be good for the confidentiality rule, would it? Professional to the core, that’s us. Oh, yes. Faster, harder… ohhh, Patient X!! No, it’s not like that. It’s… I don’t know how to explain it. He’s gotten to me somehow. Challenges me all the time…  I know, it is what it is, it’s what we do… Yeah, yeah, I’m familiar with the bloody term, thank you very much. I never liked it, sounds like something they’d sell at Home Depot. Discounts on kitchen counter-transferences, come on down… He says I make him feel like he can’t win. He opens up, I’m negative. He goes back in his shell, I give him shit about that, too… I guess he’s right, in a way. I’m always saying “I’m not your mother, not your lover, not your guru, not your friend.” …No, not in those words, obviously. But that’s the content. At least to his ears, that’s how it sounds… I thought I was setting boundaries, that’s what my supervisor said to do, but it didn’t land. The poor bastard just keeps getting more and more upset with me. You know what he said to me the other day?

(She does an American baritone, not too well.) “Where’s the blitzkrieg, Beryl? Why does everything have to be rationed?”

(Back to her normal voice.) I didn’t say anything. What is there to say? He was taunting, of course, ‘cause he knows I’m sensitive. Been here twenty-six years, and I’m still a “foreigner.” My little axe to grind… But he’s right, isn’t he? We who aren’t the wives, aren’t the kids, aren’t the co-workers. Can’t we afford to be a bit more generous? Not say “no” all the time? What have we got to lose? We don’t have to live with the buggers, do we?… And that’s where I felt something shatter inside him. It was one negative too many, one rebuff, one cheap counter-argument, and I could see in his eyes something had gone just terribly wrong. He reminded me of a burnt out light bulb. You know how you shake it and you hear the filament sort of jingling around in there. Well, if you could pick up an a one hundred a seventy-five pound man and shake him, you’d have heard his heart rattling like that, like fried filament… I knew you were going to ask me that. Yes, he does. Every Tuesday. I’ve suggested many times he go find someone else, if he doesn’t like my approach. But he won’t do it. Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: On the Window Ledge

by Ella Carmen Greenhill

Setting:        A bed.

Time:           A cold February afternoon.

Character:    HOLLY, late 40’s. Beautiful and tired.

(HOLLY sits. She wears a white dressing gown.)

HOLLY

“You look nice”!

“You look nice”?

What sort of rubbish last words are they? If they are my last words, which to be honest with you, I think is quite likely.

Now “I love you”

or “never forget me”
or even,
if I had allowed myself to be really soppy I could’ve said:
“I will always be with you… right here” like E.T, with a lift of my frail hand as I reached up to touch her cheek.

But no, I’ve just said something that no-one really cares about, a comment that leaves no lasting impression whatsoever.

(She is annoyed but mellows quickly.)

She does though. She does look nice.
They all do, they all make an effort when they visit. Put on a pretty dress or a smart shirt to show me…

What?
To show me they’re ok?

Coping?

That they can use the washing machine without me? I dunno.

She’s small…looks very small today.

I wanna hug her but I can’t so
I just put my hand out a bit and she holds it.
Her hands are cold and…
they’re shaking.

Is she shaking because she’s cold?  Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: Griselda

by Richard Ballon

Setting:        A cluttered kitchen in a small apartment in Queens, New York City

Time:           The present

Character:    EVA SUCICH, 50-year-old lesbian, first generation American of Croatian descent.

EVA speaks to her lover.

EVA

I told you honey, this finger is off limits. You can’t put it in your mouth. I’ve got this sore that won’t heal. No, I’m not suggesting I’ve been messing around, of course we’re careful and everything. Will you get over that idea? I am not messing around. It’s kind of about my mother. What?  No I’m not sleeping with my mother. Eww.

She died a couple months ago just before I met you. You would have liked her. She was like a dancing bear. She enjoyed her food and liked to snag relatives in the paw of a good argument. She would shake herself awake as she turned her mattress every morning so her dreams wouldn’t sit there asking to be remembered. My Ma’s name was Griselda. You can imagine what I got as a kid to have a mother named Griselda with a foreign accent in her apron pocket.

My Ma didn’t walk, she lumbered, and things she touched burned bright and shame on the foreheads of the few she gave a piece of her mind. She spread wide as a hen over two bus seats and she would cluck a comment to someone she was bound to overhear, though she claims her hearing was going. She used to tell me, “These ears only fill up with good news.”

Well, give her a bit of gossip and she would peck at it, passing it on, politely, like she was apologetically offering a piece of day old cake.  Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: The Loser

by Kim Wiltshire

Setting:      TOM’s bedroom, England

Time:         present, mid-morning

Character: TOM, 41 years old

TOM sits on a ruffled bed, he is stuffing clothes into a bag. He wears dirty pajamas and has blood dripping out of his nose and lip.

TOM

(sings) Forty-one today, forty-one today, he’s got a smack in the face, oh forty-one is gonna be ace.

(pause)

I’m not a morning person. I know that. My parents know that. In fact every fucker I can think of knows that. So, considering that fact, can someone please tell me why my stupid mother thinks that knocking on my door at eight o’clock in the morning, on my birthday no less, is a good idea? God, that old cow makes my flesh creep. She comes in without a by your leave, and does this over-exaggerated “I’m being quiet” movement as she walks across the room and puts my tea down on the table. Then off she shuffles, and…and, you know, I just wasn’t quick enough. The mug smashed into the door just as she shut it—still full of tea. Now that tea is all over my good jeans.

And of course, no house either, fuckers took that. Back home at my age. Back in the room I left when I was seventeen. The stupid flesh creeping cow has for some bizarre reason kept it exactly the same since I left. What for? Who knows. Anyway, about half an hour after the mug smashing incident, I think all’s quiet, I’ll go get a proper cuppa. I gets down to the kitchen, and the sight that hits me…shocking. There, in the kitchen, some limp balloon stacked up, a plastic banner saying Happy Birthday, and a shop bought cake, cos that’s posh that is. My parents with my two disgusting siblings sat round the table, disgusting smiling faces, and suddenly they break into a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday to you, we went to the zoo, we saw a fat monkey and we thought it was you!’ Hil-fucking-larious. I blew the candles out, got the back of my sister’s head and pushed her face into the cheapo cake, punched my brother in the gob, pulled down the banner and came back up to my room.  Continue reading

NEWS: Summers of yore and yet to come, as ruminated by guest editor, F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald, writing between Highballs

“And so with the
sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things
grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning
over again with the summer.”

I wrote that. From my novel Gatsby: Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires, The Great. The slow molasses transmutation from spring into summer…

Ah, summer. Blistering. Parching. Incandescent. Tweeds scratch. Starch collars pinch. Seemed the only way to cool down was to splash in the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel, kick back a quart of bathtub gin, and bare-bottom wrestle Hemingway to the pavement (whenever the arrogant bastard was in town). Smoke Chesterfields. Do the latest dance craze. Zelda would throw shapes and pitch fits.

And we would drink more gin.

While I was often too incapacitated to write anything beyond a string of unrelated flapper idioms, I have to admire these playwrights of whom you’ll see on these worldly-wide web-net pages of The Good Ear Review this summer. These are writers who, presumably, are not distracted by the cool, tall glass of the Tom Collins, or the flat-footed thumping of Zelda’s schizophrenic pirouettes.

Yes, spin, my darling. Spin. Without the cat, dear.

You will find that these dramatists exude a certain talent that I had when I was, say, 23—fresh-faced from bullshit Princeton and full of all the promise of jazz and endless nighttime. And one mammoth, mountainous, hugely humongous, ever-flowing pyramid of martini, martini, martini.

Over the hot summer weeks, expect wondrous new monologues from Natalie Smith (UK), Kim Wiltshire (UK), Richard Ballon (USA), Ella Greenhill (UK), Ethan Kanfer (USA), Les Hunter (USA), Claire Booker (UK), Nathaniel Kressen (USA), Susan Hodgetts (UK), Rahila Gupta (UK), Michael Monkhouse (UK), Dick Curran (UK), and Deirdre Dowling (USA).

Have yourself a good drama read and pass the scotch, Scottie.

MONOLOGUE: Her Career Talk

by Natalie Smith

Setting:       An office in a university careers department, England.

Time:          Morning, present day

Character:   CYNTHIA, age 54, soon-to-be-redundant careers adviser.

CYNTHIA wears voluminous flared trousers and a tee-shirt bearing the words: “Loose Cannon.”  She sits on a chair talking to a student.

CYNTHIA

Don’t be formal. Call me “Cynth.” I’m here to guide. To advise. I will literally help you in any way I can. Relax. It’s only a short appointment. And I know all about those.  But you. Let’s find out about you. You are the most important person in my sphere.

(She waves her fingers in a circular motion starting over her head until her arms are at the side of her chair.)

Besides my husband, Joe, of course.

(Pause)

Did you have a good weekend? I did. Well, we did. The family. I suppose you don’t get the same warm experience living in halls of residence. Halls of decadence more like! I know what you get up to. I was young once. Mentally, I still am. They don’t appreciate that here. And look at my skin. Ding, dong, Avon calling!

(Spins slowly once on chair)

Anyway, me and mine were busy. First we went to my sister’s who’s literally almost a cordon bleu cook. Her husband, Roger, says, ‘her mashed potatoes are that watery you can squeeze them out.’ Doesn’t appreciate good food. What about a career in catering? We get lots of books here from the book man. Comes once a month. Dirt cheap. I’ve just bought Jamie Oliver’s. I love Jamie Oliver. His lips. So full. So generous. You say you’re doing psychology? Deary me.  I worked for a psychologist once. As his receptionist. He’d always ask me how I was when he arrived in the morning. That made me suspicious.  Continue reading