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

MONOLOGUE: Bunny-Boy

by Marijana Cosic

Setting:     Children playground in the local park

Time:        Daytime

Character: BUNNY-BOY, 28 years old

A silent girl is playing in the sand somewhere in the back of the playground. She is building a sandcastle and she doesn’t take notice of her surroundings. Centre stage is BUNNY-BOY, with rabbit ears attached to his head, a puffy bunny tail to his bum, he plays randomly with playground’s attributes.

BUNNY-BOY

I have been a furry for a while… (looks at the silent girl) Unfortunately my girlfriend over there is not. Which is hard… (sighs) yeah…

(Looks right, left. Speaks in confidence.)

You know what a furry means? No? Yes? …It’s a fetish… a silly game… sure it is. Although, it depends sometimes. I’m a human, that’s obvious. But my character is a white rabbit, my so called animal spirit. I don’t have a full suit you know, but I have 3 tails and a set of ears, all handmade. Kind of proud of it… And I don’t really participate in the furry culture, but… I am one. (sarcastically, annoyed) And no, I am not a giant muscular man-beast in the body of fat 30-year-old living in your parent’s basement.

(Looks at the girl.)

I want to tell her but damn it, don’t know how… You see her? Such a beautiful creature, isn’t she? Right there…love of my life… playing… Maybe if her mom was an animal rights activist, then it would be like…politically correct…and…she could like accept me…or…

(Grins, imagines.)

She would look great in fur… as a huge sexy Fox. I bet she’d like that.

Should I just tell her?

I think she just doesn’t want to be known as the girl going out with the freak… Few of people at my work told me it could turn out that way… No worries, I was smart enough to tell them a story about a “friend of mine.”

(Winks.)

And NO, I couldn’t ever imagine finding Bugs Bunny sexually attractive. That’s like finding a second cousin sexually attractive.

(Shrugs his shoulders.)

And yes, I’m prepared to be called a “Furvert”. Have you heard that one? I’ve heard pretty much everything you can call me…  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

MONOLOGUE: I’m Fine

by Kate Berneking Kogut

Setting:      bare stage except for a table and chair

Time:          present

Character: Older ANNIE, middle-aged

A pool of light surrounds Older ANNIE.

OLDER ANNIE

I don’t remember the first time he hit me. Wouldn’t you think I’d remember something like that? The physical? That’s over for me. But the other…? Why does he still have so much control over me…?

(sits; struggles to collect herself)

I was in the kitchen earlier today – barefoot. I dropped a glass. It broke, of course, and I just stood there, waiting. I couldn’t breathe. Finally I heard him walking toward the kitchen and I was bracing myself because I knew I was going to hear how stupid I was, how clumsy I was. But all I heard was “Are you okay?”

(short beat)

It wasn’t “him.” I looked over and there was this incredible man with a broom and a dustpan saying something like “don’t move” and that he’d “get this” and before I knew it.

(smiles)

…I was laughing and crying and then he got concerned because he thought I was hurt—you know, that I’d cut myself, and I couldn’t…I couldn’t tell my husband that for a split second I thought he was someone else.  Continue reading