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

MONOLOGUE: Eariwig

by Ann Harvie

Setting:     National Health Service GP’s surgery in a run-down area of Glasgow, Scotland

Time:        Mid 1960s, near the end of the evening

Character: ELLEN MACKENZIE, 46, an unmarried home help, originally from Sutherland but working in Glasgow.

ELLEN, prim, upright and respectable, sits in the uncomfortable surgery chair, telling the doctor, for the first time in her life, about her mental difficulties. She has a strong Highland accent.

ELLEN

I hear them speaking about me more and more, Doctor.

(Folds her arms and imitates a female, broad Glasgow accent, nodding her head sideways, as knowing gossips do) “Some home help that yin. Spends hauf the day starin’ oot the windae.”

(Imitates another female, less broad Glasgow accent, and acts as if nudging a fellow gossip) “She’s a spinster, you know. Never been a bridesmaid, never mind a bride.”

(In her own voice) But they call me Mrs. Mac anyway.

(Loudly and firmly, almost startlingly assertive) My name is Miss Ellen Mackenzie.

(In her own voice) I want to say that sometimes but I know they would just laugh behind their hands and still they would call me Mrs. Mac. It’s a mockery, to my mind, but I know they don’t mean it that way so I pretend I don’t hear them.

(Imitates a third female, Kelvinside, Glasgow posh accent) “Mrs. Mac does her best, but she doesn’t really understand what it’s like to have children.”

“Oh, but Mrs. MacPherson,” I want to say, “I do, I really do.”

I‘ve seen them, have I not, and aye, right enough, Doctor, my own mother as well, losing a wee bit of themselves with every baby. There was a thing the old wives used to say in Sutherland where I was born.

(Imitates an old female with a Highland accent) “Lose a tooth for every child.”

(Her own voice) But it’s more than teeth that they lose.

Baby after baby, wearing them out. But they love them, even so. And that’s fortunate, because without love, a baby’s just another parasite.  Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: The Perfectionist

by Katherine Burkman

SETTING:            A room or an empty stage.

TIME:                 The present.

CHARACTER:      ROGER, a man in his 20s or 30s

ROGER speaks to the audience. He is dressed to perfection.

ROGER

I have heard that one is allowed to make 26 mistakes a day. On bad days, one is allowed to make 50. Who has given this permission? I attend a 12-step program for perfectionists—I am a recovering perfectionist—and they provide these statistics at one of our meetings. I don’t know how many mistakes I make a day, but I don’t want to make any.

Needless to say this perfectionism has caused me numerous problems, probably about 26 a day and 50 on a bad day. When I was in school, I could never get myself to write or hand in papers that weren’t perfect. They had to be dragged out of me by the brute force of my mother, my father, my teachers, and finally even my shrink. Imagine a Jungian shrink dragging papers out of me. I don’t think so. But I was under a lot of pressure to produce.

I have found a job that allows me to enjoy my perfectionist tendencies. I sort things. Big things in this pile, small things in that pile, blue things in the other pile, etc. And I make the piles impressively neat. It doesn’t pay much, but at least I don’t lose sleep over my job.

It’s my social life that’s at risk, and this is where I need your advice. See, I met this really neat girl, well woman I suppose. And I want to ask her out. I met her at a party, a disorderly one where people were drinking a lot. I was very uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a drink of wine, but only one glass and I sip it. Well, this girl and I got to talking but she was slurping a glass of beer. Slurping. I liked what she was saying but I didn’t like the slurping. I had only just met her, so I could hardly say, “Look, I think you are attractive and intelligent and the right height, but I can’t abide the way you slurp.” I began thinking that if I married this girl, I could wait until we were married maybe six months and then tell her, but I don’t think I could hold out beyond a first date. There are other girls I haven’t taken out because of their slightly sloppy attire, their slightly too loud voices, or their slightly too big feet. You can see how perfectionism can inhibit one’s social life. I saw that movie recently, someone or other and the Real Girl. It was about a shy guy who bought himself a doll and got her organized. But that didn’t work for him and I don’t think it would work for me since I want some real love. Haven’t you found that when you criticize a date, she doesn’t usually want to go out a second time? I certainly have.  Continue reading