Contemporary Monologues —
Gender Neutral (Last 100 Years)
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Worker — THE WORKER
Play: THE WORKER
Author: Walter Wykes (published 2007)
Brief Synopsis: Comic and absurd, The Worker explores the life of a young woman who fashions a fake child to help her cope with the loneliness she endures each day while her husband is away at work.This extract below can be performed by any gender.
All right, look. I didn’t want to tell you, but I’ve fallen behind. At work. I can’t keep up. Recently, they’ve …ahh…. they’ve let a few people go. Every day there are fewer and fewer people doing the same amount of work. They have me running the accounting department entirely by myself! Not management, no. I haven’t been promoted. It’s just me- there’s no one to manage! I do everything! The whole department! And that’s not all! I’m also expected to take incoming calls because there’s no receptionist, fix the computers because there’s no tech department, field customer complaints because there’s no customer service. I’m in charge of the mail room, the cafeteria, janitorial services, research and development! Last week, human resources was let go, the whole department, and I received a memo- which I’d actually typed myself because there’s no secretary- instructing me to familiarize myself with all applicable state and federal guidelines! Tomorrow, I’m supposed to start mediating all employee disputes! I have no idea what I’m doing! I’d ask the legal department for advice, but I’ve never studied law so I wouldn’t know what to tell myself! And to top it all off, I have to take the CEO’s dog out to poop four times a day. At regular intervals. He has stomach problems and he’s on a very strict schedule!
Unnamed — BEATING (from THIRTY MONOLOGUES FOR TEENS)
Character: (Characters in this series of stand-alone monologues are unnamed)
Play: BEATING (from THIRTY MONOLOGUES FOR TEENS)
Author: Jim Chevallier (Published 2009)
Brief Synopsis: Thirty teen voices — flirting, mocking, musing, some fun, some serious, some colorful, some plain, on subjects as different as loss, texting and (yes) spaceships.
I got beaten up pretty bad. I feel great. Ricky kept pushing me around, kind of half-slapping me. Just for fun. Like kids have been doing for years. And you know I can’t fight. Only, this time I thought: “If I don’t do something, this will never end. This will be my life.” So I hit him back. That is, I tried; it’s not like I hurt him. In fact, he punched me. Hard. So I punched him back. And he hit me again. A few times. But each time I hit him back. He kept saying, “C’mon, man. You’re gonna get hurt.” I didn’t say a word. Just kept hitting him, every time he hit me. Not hurting him. Don’t get me wrong. Just hitting him. Finally he stepped back. “You’re crazy, man. You’re just crazy.” And he took another step back. Then I realized: “He’s afraid. He’s afraid of me.” And he was. Can you believe it? He walked away, just turned around and walked away. How do you like that? All because I fought back. I finally fought back. I fought back, and I won.
Brit in New York (Any gender/non-binary) — STUFF HAPPENS
Character: BRIT IN NEW YORK (Any gender/non-binary)
Play: STUFF HAPPENS
Author: David Hare (published 2004)
Brief Synopsis: The famous response of American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to the looting of Baghdad at a press conference in 2003 provides the title for David Hare’s play about the extraordinary process leading up to the invasion of Iraq.
‘America changed.’ That’s what we’re told. ‘On September 11th everything changed.’ ‘If you’re not American, you can’t understand.’ The infantile psycho-babble of popular culture is grafted opportunistically onto America’s politics. The language of childish entitlement becomes the lethal rhetoric of global wealth and privilege. Asked how you are as President, on the first day of a war which will kill around thirty thousand people: ‘I feel good.’ I was in Saks Fifth Avenue the morning they bombed Baghdad. ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’ says the saleswoman. ‘At last we’re hitting back.’ ‘Yes,’ I reply. ‘At the wrong people. Somebody steals your handbag, so you kill their second cousin, on the grounds they live close. Explain to me,’ I say, ‘Saudi Arabia is financing Al Qaeda. Iran, Lebanon and Syria are known to shelter terrorists. North Korea is developing a nuclear weapons programme. All these you leave alone. No, you go to war with the one place in the region admitted to have no connection with terrorism.’ ‘You’re not American,’ says the saleswoman. ‘You don’t understand.’ Oh, a question, then. If ‘You’re not American. You don’t understand’ is the new dispensation, then why not ‘You’re not Chechen’? Are the Chechens also now licensed? Are Basques? Theatres, restaurants, public squares? Do Israeli milk-bars filled with women and children become fair game on the grounds that ‘You don’t understand. We’re Palestinian, we’re Chechen, we’re Irish, we’re Basque’? If the principle of international conduct is now to be that you may go against anyone you like on the grounds that you’ve been hurt by somebody else, does that apply to everyone? Or just to America? On September 11th, America changed. Yes. It got much stupider.