Contemporary Monologues — Men

(Last 100 Years)

Scroll down for Com­ed­ies, His­tor­ies and Tra­gedies — click each box to view and down­load the speech

 

Man — LAUGHING WILD

Char­ac­ter: Man

Age: Any

Play: LAUGHING WILD

Author: Chris­toph­er Durang (pub­lished 1994)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Two comic mono­logues evolve into a man and a woman’s shared night­mare of modern life and the isol­a­tion it cre­ates. From her turf battles at the super­mar­ket to the des­per­ate cliches of self-affirm­a­tion he learns at his “per-son­al­ity work­shop,” they run the gamut of every­day life’s small bru­tal­iz­a­tions until they meet, with dis­astrous inev­it­ab­il­ity, at the Har­mon­ic Con­ver­gence in Cent­ral Park.

Speech:

I was in the super­mar­ket the other day about to buy some tuna fish when I sensed this very dis­turbed pres­ence right behind me. There was some­thing about her focus that made it very clear to me that she was a dis­turbed person. So I thought – well, you should never look at a crazy person dir­ectly, so I thought, I’ll just keep look­ing at these tuna fish cans, pre­tend­ing to be engrossed in wheth­er they’re in oil or in water, and the person will then go away. But instead wham! she brings her fist down on my head and screams “would you move, asshole!” (Pause.) Now why did she do that? She hadn’t even said, “would you please move” at some ini­tial point, so I would’ve known what her prob­lem was. Admit­tedly I don’t always tell people what I want either – like the people in the movie theatres who keep talk­ing, you know, I just give up and resent them ‑but on the other hand, I don’t take my fist and go wham! on their heads!

I mean, ana­lyz­ing it, look­ing at it in a pos­it­ive light, this woman prob­ably had some really hor­rible life story that, you know, kind of, explained how she got to this point in time, hit­ting me in the super­mar­ket. And per­haps if her life – since birth – had been explained to me, I could prob­ably have made some sense out of her action and how she got there. But even with that know­ledge – which I didn’t have – it was my head she was hit­ting, and it’s just so unfair.

It makes me want to never leave my apart­ment ever ever again. (Sud­denly he closes his eyes and moves his arms in a cir­cu­lar motion around him­self, round and round, sooth­ingly.) I am the pre­dom­in­ant source of energy in my life. I let go of the pain from the past. I let go of the pain from the present. In the places in my body where pain lived pre­vi­ously, now there is light and love and joy. (He opens his eyes again and looks at the audi­ence peace­fully and hap­pily.) That was an affirmation

George Gibbs — OUR TOWN

Char­ac­ter: George Gibbs (the boy next door- a kind but irre­spons­ible teenager)

Age: Teen­ager

Play: OUR TOWN

Author: Thornton Wilder (pub­lished 1938)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Our Town is both an affec­tion­ate por­trait of Amer­ic­an life and ‘an attempt to find a value above all price for the smal­lest events in our daily life’. It explores the rela­tion­ship between two young neigh­bors, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, whose child­hood friend­ship blos­soms into romance, and then cul­min­ates in marriage.

 

Speech:

I’m cel­eb­rat­ing because I’ve got a friend who tells me all the things that ought to be told me. I’m glad you spoke to me like you did. But you’ll see. I’m going to change. And Emily, I want to ask you a favor. Emily, if I go away to State Agri­cul­tur­al Col­lege next year, will you write me a letter? The day wouldn’t come when I wouldn’t want to know everything about our town. Y’ know, Emily, whenev­er I meet a farmer I ask him if he thinks it’s import­ant to go to Agri­cul­tur­al School to be a good farmer. And some of them say it’s even a waste of time. And like you say, being gone all that time –in other places, and meet­ing other people. I guess new people prob­ably aren’t any better than old ones. Emily, I feel that you’re as good a friend as I’ve got. I don’t need to go and meet the people in other towns. Emily, I’m going to make up my mind right now –I won’t go. I’ll tell Pa about it tonight. 

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Chadwick Meade — PUNK ROCK

Char­ac­ter: Chad­wick Meade

Age: 17 

Play: PUNK ROCK

Author: Simon Steph­ens (pub­lished 2009)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Based on his exper­i­ence as a teach­er, Steph­ens describes his play as ‘The His­tory Boys on crack’. It explores the under­ly­ing ten­sions and poten­tial viol­ence in a group of afflu­ent, artic­u­late sev­en­teen year old stu­dents. Con­tem­por­ary and unnerv­ing, the story fol­lows seven sixth-formers as they face up to the pres­sures of teen­age life, while pre­par­ing for their mock A‑levels and trying to get into Oxbridge. They are a group of edu­cated, intel­li­gent and aspir­a­tion­al young people but step-by-step, the dis­lo­ca­tion, dis­junc­tion and latent viol­ence sim­mer­ing under the sur­face of suc­cess is revealed.

Speech:

Human beings are pathet­ic. Everything human beings do fin­ishes up bad in the end. Everything good human beings ever make is built on some­thing mon­strous. Noth­ing lasts. We cer­tainly won’t. We could have made some­thing really extraordin­ary and we won’t. We’ve been around one hun­dred thou­sand years. We’ll have died out before the next two hundred. 

 

You know what we’ve got to look for­ward to? You know what will define the next two hun­dred years? Reli­gions will become bru­tal­ised; crime rates will become hys­ter­ic­al; every­body will become addicted to inter­net sex; sui­cidewill become fash­ion­able; there’ll be famine; there’ll be floods; there’ll be fires in the major cities of the West­ern world. Our edu­ca­tion sys­tems will become battered. Our health ser­vices unsus­tain­able; our police forces unman­age­able; our gov­ern­ments cor­rupt. There’ll be open bru­tal­ity in the streets; there’ll be nuc­le­ar war; massive deple­tion of resources on every level; insanely increas­ing third-world pop­u­la­tion. It’s hap­pen­ing already. It’s hap­pen­ing now. Thou­sands die every summer from floods in the Indian mon­soon season. Afric­ans from Seneg­al wash up on the beaches of the Medi­ter­ranean and get looked after by guilty hol­i­day­makers. Somali­ans wait in hos­tels in Malta or prison islands north of Aus­tralia. Hun­dreds die of heat or fire every year in Paris. Or Cali­for­nia. Or Athens. The oceans will rise. The cities will flood. The power sta­tions will flood. Air­ports will flood. Spe­cies will vanish forever. Includ­ing ours. So if you think I’m wor­ried by you call­ing me names, Bennet, you little, little boy, you are fuck­ing kid­ding yourself.

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Tony — KISS ME LIKE YOU MEAN IT

Char­ac­ter: Tony

Age: 20s

Play: KISS ME LIKE YOU MEAN IT

Author: Chris Chib­n­al (pub­lished 2001)

Brief Syn­op­sis: 3 A.M. on a hot mid­sum­mers night in Manchester. A party taking place in a shabby Vic­tori­an ter­race house. In the back garden Tony and Ruth meet, thanks to a stolen can of beer. On the floor above, Don and Edie are having a party of their own. As the night pro­gresses, love is def­in­itely in the air but then so is the smell of cheap lager. And even cheap­er aftershave.

Speech:

Listen… I need to… Um… Say… I mean… I know we only met earli­er… And I nearly set you on fire… And we’re both going out with people. Obvi­ously that’s quite tricky. But… Well… You are the most beau­ti­ful woman I have ever laid eyes on in my entire life. I saw you and my heart leapt. You make me want to change my life. To… par­ti­cip­ate. I know it’s not pos­sible and that you have a boy­friend and we’re not com­pat­ible or whatever but… I just… I know it’s stupid… but maybe just hear me out for a second and then you can tell me I’m an idiot and we’ll both go back in and pre­tend this never happened but… I want to travel the world with you. I want to bring the ice cold Amstel to your Greek shore. And sit in silence and sip with you. I want to go to Tesco’s with you of a Sunday. Watch you sleep, scrub your back, rub your shoulders, such your toes. I want to write crap poetry about you, lay my coat over puddles for you, always have a handker­chief avail­able for you. I want to get drunk and bore my friends about you, I want them to phone up and moan about how little they see me because I’m spend­ing so much time with you. I want to feel the tingle of our lips meet­ing, the lock of our eyes join­ing, the fizz of our fin­ger­tips touch­ing. I want to touch your fat tummy and tell you you look gor­geous in mater­nity dresses, I want to stand next to you wide-eyed and hold my nose as we open that first used nappy, I want to watch you grow old and love you more and more each day. I want to fall in love with you. I think I could. And I think it would be good. And I want you to say yes. You might feel the same. 

Beat. 

Could you? Maybe? 

RUTH looks at Tony
She goes to say some­thing
Snap black­out

 

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Chunk — THE CALL

Char­ac­ter: Chunk

Age: 20s

Play: THE CALL

Author: Patri­cia Cor­neli­us (pub­lished 2009)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  The Call is an enthralling drama about a young man look­ing to escape a sub­urb­an life

Speech:

You’ve got it all wrong. It come to me like a whack on the back of the head, like the floor’s sud­denly given way. An epi­phany, that’s what I’m having. Ever heard of an epi­phany, Aldo? It’s like God’s spoken, like light­ning, some fuck­ing big moment of enlight­en­ment. And I’m having it. It’s all crap. It’s a big load of bull. A hoax. Someone major’s pulling our leg, got us by the throat and is throt­tling us, got us boxed in, packed up. Nothing—means—nothing. You got it? Once you got that, you’re living free. Who says how life’s meant to be? Who says what’s good, what you should or shouldn’t do? Who in hell’s got the right to meas­ure a man’s suc­cess? He did this, he did that, he got that job, he got paid a lot. Fuck off. He owns a house, a wife, two kids. So what? He’s a lawyer, a doctor, he’s made a suc­cess of his life. No suc­cess story for the likes of us. 

And you know what? I don’t give a shit. Finally it’s clear to me. It’s all crap. And I’m free of it at last.

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Ben — STRANGERS IN BETWEEN

Char­ac­ter: Ben (older broth­er of Shane- the protagonist)

Age: 20s

Play: STRANGERS IN BETWEEN

Author: Tommy Murphy (premiered 2005)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  There’s a cli­mate of fear in friendly Goulbourn and Shane is forced from his family, and flees to Kings Cross, Sydney. Shane is unsure of his sexu­al­ity, more unsure of how to find intim­acy and com­pletely thrown by having to choose between laun­dry liquid and powder. He meets 2 strangers, Will and the beguil­ing Peter, a 50-year-old gay man.

Speech:

I’ve tried. But it won’t work. Come back. Mum’s wait­ing for you to come back. You should see her hair but. She came home from the hairdress­er and it was so big and curly. It was like she’d gone in and asked to look like Barn­sie in Chisel. Fuck, Dad and me laughed. Couldn’t help it. I was ripped so I couldn’t stop. Mum cried and I got para­noid but then she laughed and it was okay. We don’t laugh much no more. She can’t sleep. She has night­mares. Tim Hewson looks like he will get a con­tract with Maser­ati. The paper was right for once. After his dad’s funer­al he was straight on a plane to Europe. They’ll pay him heaps. His dad was watch­ing car racing when he died. People die all the time in Goul­burn. That’s all old people talk about, hey. A pipe bust open on me the other day. Shit poured on me and everything. Every­one laughed. I didn’t snap. I’m not going to get into fights no more. There’s heaps of Lebs in Goul­burn. They’re moving there from Sydney. It’s dan­ger­ous. They fight in packs. If one gets you on the ground, ten cousins’ll jump out of Hold­ens and kick the shit out of you. They live in hills and prowl at night. A baby got taken from the hos­pit­al. It was hot as all fuck on the road. Was wor­ried my new tyres would melt. Nan might not move down the coast no more. There are Lebs there too. And junkies. Junkie Lebs. Ter­ror­ist junkie Lebs every­where and the drought. Council’s got to do some­thing. More round­abouts. Ivan Milat’s run­ning for alder­man but. Shoot­ers Party and a Family First pref­er­ence deal, they reckon. It’s such a hot day. Come back. We’d drive straight to the pool. Straight down the high­way. Straight through town. Straight to the pool. Dive in and swim to the other side.

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Ruben Guthrie — RUBEN GUTHRIE

Char­ac­ter: Ruben Guthrie

Age: 29 (This speech could be played by any age)

Play: RUBEN GUTHRIE

Author: Brendan Cowell (pub­lished 2009)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Ruben Guthrie is on fire. He’s the Cre­at­ive Dir­ect­or of a cut­ting-edge advert­ising agency, he’s engaged to a Czech super­mod­el and Sydney is his oyster. He pours him­self a drink to cel­eb­rate, a drink to work, a drink to sleep and one spec­tac­u­lar night he drinks so much he thinks he can fly.

Speech:

School school school school school. Fuck, um – well my par­ents sent me to a board­ing school. I mean how hard is it to have one kid asleep at night in your house how hard is it but no … board­ing school! Look, I gotta say I wasn’t like ―this at board­ing school, I didn’t like get­ting smashed on rocket fuel and talk­ing about vagi­nas, hon­estly I had no interest in Alco­hol at all. I spent my money on magazines and elec­tron­ics – fash­ion mostly. By the time I reached Year Eight I had fif­teen pairs of jeans. So of course the rugby guys and the rowing guys and the wrest­ling guys would come in at night and they’d pin me down and get it out of their system – the rage. ―Nice shoes faggot – you got mousse in your hair let’s put mousse in his anus! I’d be flip­ping through MAD magazine and just put the thing down and take it. Fine. But then this guy called Corey joined our school, and sud­denly all that stopped. Corey was older than me, bigger than me and a whole lot cooler than me. He drove a black Suzuki Vitara had five ear­rings and the word ‘Fuck’ tat­tooed inside his lip. My mum was always saying ―bring Corey with you on the week­end and she’d go all flushed and wear low-cut tops in the kit­chen. To this day I don’t know why he chose me but he did.

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Douglas — EUROPE

Char­ac­ter: Douglas

Age: 20s-30s

Play: EUROPE

Author: Michael Gow

Brief Syn­op­sis: In Europe a young Aus­trali­an travels in pur­suit of an act­ress with whom he has had a brief affair

Speech:

What a great place. This area’s like some­thing out of Thomas Mann or Kafka. God it’s excit­ing being in Europe. So alive, isn’t it? So… pulsat­ing. I’ve had a great morn­ing. I saw your Roman mosaic. Went on a tour of that poet’s house. Had a look at the inn where what’s‑his-name wrote his opera. And I went to this great exhib­i­tion at the big gal­lery. There’s some amaz­ing things in there. Stuff I knew quite well. And that altar they’ve got! But there was this per­form­ance art thing. Incred­ible! There was this big pool full of fish, carp, I don’t know, and this guy, noth­ing on, you were right, with all these cru­ci­fixes and beads in his hair, wading through the water, drag­ging this little raft behind him; he had the rope in his teeth. On the raft was this pile of animal innards with candles stick­ing out of it. Then these other people dressed as astro­nauts and red Indi­ans ran round and round the pond scream­ing and then they lit this fire and threw copies of the Mona Lisa into it. And then, I don’t know how they did it but the water turned bright red. Just incred­ible. You must see it. It’s great being here. Everything’s so excit­ing. I’ve been keep­ing everything I get. Every little item, every bus ticket, gal­lery ticket, the train tick­ets. Every post­card. Every coast­er from every bar, every café.

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James — SECRET BRIDESMAIDS BUSINESS

Char­ac­ter: James

Age: 20s-30s

Play: SECRET BRIDESMAIDS BUSINESS

Author:  Eliza­beth Cole­man (Pub­lished 1999)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  It’s the night before Meg’s wed­ding. She and her brides­maids are plan­ning to kick up their heels as the final hours before the big day tick down. How­ever not everything goes to plan as a last minute scan­dal threatens to ruin the whole affair. 

Speech:

Look, sex and love are sep­ar­ate things…Well, they can be, that’s all I’m saying. This thing with Naomi­okay, it should never have happened-but it didn’t have to impact on what I have with Meg. I thought that was the deal. It was a sep­ar­ate arrange­ment. She told me she just wanted a bit of fun, and now she turns around and does this…! I mean, where the hell did that come from? If I’d known Naomi felt like that I would’ve broken it off with her months ago. Well maybe. Oh shit, maybe not. But I just‑I just wish women would say what they mean. You know-plainly, clearly state what they want instead of expect­ing you to be psych­ic. Meg bought me this T‑shirt at the Warner Broth­ers store, and it’s got a pic­ture of Super­man on it. He’s wear­ing this per­plexed expres­sion and he’s saying You want me to leap tall build­ings and be sens­it­ive and sup­port­ive?! That’s how it is with women. They want you to slay a dragon for them one second, then cry at a guide dog com­mer­cial the next. 

 

And some­how you’re expec­ted to guess when they want you to be con­trolling and when they want you to be crying-and if you don’t make the right guess at the right time it’s instantly con­strued as proof that you don’t love them enough. If you really loved me you wouldn’t need to ask. How many times have I heard that? Well I’m sorry, I’ve loved a few people a lot, but no-one’s ever stepped out of the shad­ows and handed me a crys­tal ball. Anyway,I know I’m trying to change the sub­ject. The fact is, I’ve been acting like a prick.

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Valentine — ARCADIA

Char­ac­ter: Valentine (a present-day gradu­ate stu­dent of mathematics)

Age: 20s-30s

Play: ARCADIA

Author: Tom Stop­pard (Pub­lished 1993)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  Scenes from the past and present play them­selves out in the same room of an Eng­lish estate. Although sep­ar­ated by nearly 200 years, char­ac­ters and time begin to over­lap. Dis­cus­sions of the second law of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics, poetry, and carnal embrace lead to moments that can never be undone, no matter what we wish.. 

Speech:

If you knew the algorithm and fed it back say ten thou­sand times, each time there’d be a dot some­where on the screen. You’d never know where to expect the next dot. But gradu­ally you’d start to see this shape, because every dot will be a math­em­at­ic­al object. But yes. The unpre­dict­able and the pre­dict­able unfold togeth­er to make everything the way it is. it’s how nature cre­ates itself, on every scale, the snow­flake and the snowstorm. it makes me so happy. To be at the begin­ning again, know­ing almost noth­ing. People were talk­ing about the end of phys­ics. Relativ­ity and quantum looked as if they were going to clean out the whole prob­lem between them. A theory of everything. But they only explained the very big and the very small. The uni­verse, the ele­ment­ary particles. The ordin­ary-sizes stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about – clouds – daf­fodils – water­falls- and what hap­pens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in – these things are full of mys­tery, as mys­ter­i­ous to us as the heav­ens were to the Greeks. We’re better at pre­dict­ing events at the edge of the galaxy or inside the nuc­le­us of an atom than wheth­er it’ll rain on auntie’s garden party three Sundays from now. Because the prob­lem turns out to be dif­fer­ent. We can’t even pre­dict the net drip from a drip­ping tap when it gets irreg­u­lar. Each drip sets up the con­di­tions for the next, the smal­lest vari­ation blows pre­dic­tion apart, and the weath­er is unpre­dict­able the same way, will always be unpre­dict­able. When you push the num­bers through the com­puter you can see it on the screen. The future is dis­order. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It’s the best pos­sible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.

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Francis — THE GOLDEN AGE 

Char­ac­ter: Fran­cis

Age: 20s-30s

Play: THE GOLDEN AGE 

Author: Louis Nowra (pub­lished 1985)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Inspired by the true story of a group of people who were dis­covered in the wilds of Tas­mania in 1939. Lost in time and steeped in its own his­tory and tra­di­tions, this curi­ous com­munity is a com­plete mys­tery and a dis­turb­ing chal­lenge to its modern counterpart.

Speech:

Are you look­ing at the sunset? (Startled BETSHEB turns around. Smil­ing) I’m not a mon­ster… No more run­ning. Look at us reflec­ted in the water, see? Upside-down. (He smiles and she smiles back. Silence) So quiet. I’m not used to such silence. I’m a city boy, born and bred. You’ve never seen a city or town, have you? Where I live there are dozens of factor­ies: shoe factor­ies, some that make gas­kets, hydraul­ic machines, cloth­ing. My mother works in a shoe fact­ory. (Point­ing to his boots) These came from my mother’s factory. 

(Silence) 

These sun­sets here, I’ve never seen the likes of them. A bit of muddy orange light in the dis­tance, behind the chim­neys, is gen­er­ally all I get to see. (Pause) You’d like the trams, espe­cially at night. They rattle and squeak, like ghosts rat­tling their chains, and every so often the con­duct­ing rod hits a ter­minus, and there is a bril­liant spark of elec­tri­city, like an axe strik­ing a rock. ‘Spiss!’ On Sat­urday after­noon thou­sands of people go and watch the foot­ball. A huge oval of grass. (Miming a foot­ball) A ball like this. Someone hand passes it, ‘Whish’, straight to me. I duck one lum­ber­ing giant, spin around a nifty dwarf of a rover, then I catch sight of the goals. I boot a sev­enty-yard drop kick straight through the centre. The crowd goes wild! 

 

(He cheers wildly. BETSHEB laughs at his actions. He is pleased to have made her laugh.) Not as good as your play. (Pause.) 

 

This is your home. My home is across the river, Bass Strait.

 

(Silence) What is it about you people? Why are you like you are? Don’t go. 

 

I was watch­ing you pick these. My mother steals flowers from her neighbour’s front garden so every morn­ing she can have fresh flowers in her vase for Saint Teresa’s por­trait. She was a woman cen­tur­ies ago. God fired a burn­ing arrow of love into her. (Smil­ing) When it pen­et­rated her, Saint Teresa could smell the burn­ing flesh of her heart. 

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Francis — THE GOLDEN AGE 

Char­ac­ter: Carter (Tom’s closest friend at the office)

Age: late 20s-30s

Play: FAT PIG

Author: Neil LaBute (premiered 2004)

Brief Syn­op­sis: “Cow.” “Slob.” “Pig.” How many insults can you hear before you have to stand up and defend the woman you love? Tom faces just that ques­tion when he falls for Helen, a bright, funny, sexy young woman who hap­pens to be plus-sized and then some. Forced to explain his new rela­tion­ship to his shal­low (although shock­ingly funny) friends, Tom comes to terms with his own pre­con­cep­tions of the import­ance of con­ven­tion­al good looks.

Speech:

Dude, I under­stand. Like, totally. (Beat) I used to walk ahead of her in the mall or, you know, not tell her stuff at school so there wouldn’t be, whatever. My own mom. I mean … I’m fif­teen and wor­ried about every little thing, and I’ve got this f— sumo wrest­ler in a house­coat trail­ing behind me. That’s about as bad as it can get! I’m not kid­ding you. And the thing was, I blamed her for it. I mean, it wasn’t like a dis­ease or like some people have, thyroid or that type of deal … she just shoveled shit into her mouth all the time, had a few kids, and, bang, she’s up there at 350, maybe more. It used to ser­i­ously piss me off. My dad was always work­ing late … golf­ing on week­ends, and I knew it was because of her. It had to be! How’s he gonna love some­thing that looks like that, get all sexy with her? I’m just a kid at the time, but I can remem­ber think­ing that.

Yeah, it’s whatever, but … this once, in the gro­cery store, we’re at Albertsons and we’re push­ing four bas­kets around – you wanna know how humi­li­at­ing that s— is? – and I’m sup­posed to be at a game by seven, I’m on JV, and she’s just fart­ing around in the candy isle, pick­ing up bags of “fun size” Snick­ers and check­ing out the cal­or­ies. Yeah. I mean, what is that?! So, I sud­denly go off on her, like, this sopho­more in high school, but I’m all scream­ing in her face … “Don’t look at the pack­age, take a look in the mirror, you cow! PUT ‘EM DOWN!” Holy s—, there’s stock boys – bunch of guys I know, even – are run­ning down the isle. Man­ager stum­bling out of his glass booth there, the works. (Beat) But you know what? She doesn’t say a word about it. Ever. Not about the swear­ing, the things I called her, noth­ing. Just this, like, one tear I see … as we’re sit­ting at a stoplight on the way home. That’s all.

I did feel that way, though. Maybe I shouldn’t’ve yelled or … but it was true, what I said. You don’t like being fat, there’s a pretty easy remedy, most times. Do-not-jam-so-much-food-in-your‑f— gullet. (Beat) It’s not that hard.

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Tim — THE GOOD FATHER

Char­ac­ter: Tim (Irish)

Age: early 30s

Play: THE GOOD FATHER

Author: Stew­art Parker Trust Award-win­ning play by Chris­ti­an O’Reilly (premiered 2002)

Brief Syn­op­sis: It’s New Year’s Eve and most of the party guests are in the kit­chen admir­ing photos of their babies. But two lonely strangers find them­selves cut off from the rest. Jane was invited because she knows the people in the kit­chen. Tim was invited because he painted the kit­chen. Jane drunk­enly asks Tim, “What are you doing for sex tonight?” And a few weeks later she calls him with some unex­pec­ted news: she’s preg­nant… This speech takes place near the start of the play.

Speech:

 So I decided to go to the doctor. And I don’t know about you, but I hate doc­tors. Ter­rify me. ‘Course it was a woman doctor. I nearly ran out of the place. But then I was thinkin’, well what would I like better – have a woman or a man feel­ing me…? So that made it easier. Even so, it was, you know, embar­rass­in’ – and the mad thing is the room was upstairs with the cur­tains open and didn’t the 19A fly past – and the whole top deck nearly broke their necks for a gander. She closed the cur­tains after that. So I start tellin’ her about my mole and cancer and all this and she starts feelin’ me – like she had plastic gloves on and I was lyin’ on this bed, like a baby almost –

That’s the thing. She looks at me and says, ‘Are you aware that you only have one testicle?’ Well, I nearly dropped, or I would have only she was hold­ing me by the – and obvi­ously one of them hadn’t dropped, or somethin’. ‘You’re jokin’?’ I says. She says, ‘Surely you must have noticed?’ But that was the thing. I always just assumed I had two. Like I never bothered countin’ them. I thought, I dunno, I thought maybe they were so close togeth­er they felt like one, or maybe when one was down there, the other was off doing somethin’ else – like I dunno, I just never thought about it. So she tells me then that I might have what they call an ‘undes­cen­ded testes’, meanin’ that one dropped, but the other didn’t…she said I’d have to get it checked out, cos if there was one still up there it would have to be removed because, guess what – it could become can­cer­ous. So she gives me this letter to bring to a uro­lo­gist at the hos­pit­al. I make an appoint­ment, six weeks later in I go.

He tells me there’s a one in four chance I’m not fer­tile, that I can’t be a father, like. I says. ‘Like is there a way of findin’ out wheth­er I’m fer­tile or not?’ So he tells me there’s a sperm ana­lys­is test that I can do if I really want to. Anyway, I go off and a couple of weeks later I go back for the ultra­sound. An’ I’m delighted, like, that I don’t have cancer – cancer of the missin’ ball, an’ I’m thinkin’ I’ve a great story for the lads if ever I had the nerve to tell them, but all I’m thinkin’ is, Am I fer­tile or not’? Can I be a dad or not?

Like I didn’t know until that moment just how much I wanted to be a father. It’s stupid, but like I’d star­ted ima­gin­in’ it, what I’d be like, walkin’ around with a little fella holdin’ me hand, teachin’ him how to cross the road, or a little girl and holdin’ her up in the air – the way they look down at you, they’re so amazed to be up high. And bein’ a good father like – encour­agin’ your kids, givin’ them a tenner if they’re stuck, askin’ them how they are, always knowin’ if somethin’ was up, bein’ there for them, bein’ there for them always, always… givin’ your life for them, givin’ your life to them – fuckin’ hell, that’s the kind of person you want to be some­body, more of those kind of people, the kind of person I want to be. Father I wanted to be.

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Lenny — THE HOMECOMING

Char­ac­ter: Lenny

Age: early 30s

Play: THE HOMECOMING

Author: Multi-Award win­ning play­wright Harold Pinter (premiered 1965)

Brief Syn­op­sis: When Teddy, a pro­fess­or in an Amer­ic­an uni­ver­sity, brings his wife Ruth to visit his old home in London, he finds his family still living in the house. In the con­flict that fol­lows, it is Ruth who becomes the focus of the fam­ily’s struggle for supremacy.

Speech:

I mean, I am very sens­it­ive to atmo­sphere, but I tend to get desens­it­ized, if you know what I mean, when people make unreas­on­able demands on me. For instance, last Christ­mas I decided to do a bit of snow-clear­ing for the Bor­ough Coun­cil, because we had a heavy snow over here that year in Europe. Well, that morn­ing, while I was having my mid-morn­ing cup of tea in a neigh­bour­ing cafe, the shovel stand­ing by my chair, an old lady approached me and asked me if I would give her a hand with her iron mangle. Her broth­er-in-law, she said, had left it for her, but he’d left it in the wrong room, he’d left it in the front room. Well, nat­ur­ally, she wanted it in the back room. It was a present he’d given her, you see, a mangle, to iron out the wash­ing. But he’d left it in the wrong room, he’d left it in the front room, well that was a silly place to leave it, it couldn’t stay there. So I took time off to give her a hand. She only lived up the road. Well, the only trouble was when I got there I couldn’t move this mangle. It must have weighed about half a ton. How this broth­er-in-law got it up there in the first place I can’t even begin to envis­age. So there I was, doing a bit of shoulders on with the mangle, risk­ing a rup­ture, and this old lady just stand­ing there, waving me on, not even lift­ing a little finger to give me a help­ing hand. So after a few minutes I said to her, now look here, why don’t you stuff this iron mangle up your arse? Anyway, I said, they’re out of date, you want to get a spin drier. I had a good mind to give her a workover there and then, but as I was feel­ing jubil­ant with the snow-clear­ing I just gave her a short-arm jab to the belly and jumped on a bus out­side. Excuse me, shall I take this ash­tray out of your way?

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Lenny — THE HOMECOMING

Char­ac­ter: Lenny

Age: early 30s

Play: THE HOMECOMING

Author: Multi-Award win­ning play­wright Harold Pinter (premiered 1965)

Brief Syn­op­sis: When Teddy, a pro­fess­or in an Amer­ic­an uni­ver­sity, brings his wife Ruth to visit his old home in London, he finds his family still living in the house. In the con­flict that fol­lows, it is Ruth who becomes the focus of the fam­ily’s struggle for supremacy.

Speech:

I mean, I am very sens­it­ive to atmo­sphere, but I tend to get desens­it­ized, if you know what I mean, when people make unreas­on­able demands on me. For instance, last Christ­mas I decided to do a bit of snow-clear­ing for the Bor­ough Coun­cil, because we had a heavy snow over here that year in Europe. Well, that morn­ing, while I was having my mid-morn­ing cup of tea in a neigh­bour­ing cafe, the shovel stand­ing by my chair, an old lady approached me and asked me if I would give her a hand with her iron mangle. Her broth­er-in-law, she said, had left it for her, but he’d left it in the wrong room, he’d left it in the front room. Well, nat­ur­ally, she wanted it in the back room. It was a present he’d given her, you see, a mangle, to iron out the wash­ing. But he’d left it in the wrong room, he’d left it in the front room, well that was a silly place to leave it, it couldn’t stay there. So I took time off to give her a hand. She only lived up the road. Well, the only trouble was when I got there I couldn’t move this mangle. It must have weighed about half a ton. How this broth­er-in-law got it up there in the first place I can’t even begin to envis­age. So there I was, doing a bit of shoulders on with the mangle, risk­ing a rup­ture, and this old lady just stand­ing there, waving me on, not even lift­ing a little finger to give me a help­ing hand. So after a few minutes I said to her, now look here, why don’t you stuff this iron mangle up your arse? Anyway, I said, they’re out of date, you want to get a spin drier. I had a good mind to give her a workover there and then, but as I was feel­ing jubil­ant with the snow-clear­ing I just gave her a short-arm jab to the belly and jumped on a bus out­side. Excuse me, shall I take this ash­tray out of your way?

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Wesley — CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS

Char­ac­ter: Wesley

Age: Teen­age

Play: CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS

Author: Sam Shep­ard (First per­formed 1977)

Brief Syn­op­sis: The play focuses on the dis­turbed Tate family—the drunk­en father, burned-out mother, rebel­li­ous teen­age daugh­ter, and ideal­ist­ic son—as they struggle for con­trol of the run­down family farm in a futile search for free­dom, secur­ity, and ulti­mately mean­ing in their lives. 

Speech:

I was lying there on my back. I could smell the avo­cado blos­soms. I could hear the coyotes. I could hear stock cars squeal­ing down the street. I could feel myself in my bed in my room in this house in this town in this state in this coun­try. I could feel this coun­try close like it was part of my bones. I could feel the pres­ence of people out­side, at night, in the dark. Even sleep­ing people I could feel. Even all the sleep­ing anim­als. Dogs. Pea­cocks. Bulls. Even tract­ors sit­ting in their wet­ness, wait­ing for the sun to come up. I was look­ing straight up at the ceil­ing at all my model air­planes hanging by all their thin metal wires. Float­ing. Sway­ing very quietly like they were being blown by someone’s breath. Cob­webs moving with them. Dust laying on their wings. Decals peel­ing off their wings. My P‑39. My Mess­er­schmitt. My Jap Zero. 

I could feel myself lying far below them on my bed like I was on the ocean and over­head they were on recon­nais­sance. Scout­ing me. Float­ing. Taking pic­tures of the enemy. Me, the enemy. I could feel the space around me like a big, black world. I listened like an animal. My listen­ing was afraid. Afraid of sound. Tense. Like any second some­thing could invade me. Some for­eign­er. Some­thing undes­crib­able. Then I heard the Pack­ard coming up the hill. From a mile off I could tell it was the Pack­ard by the sound of the valves. The lift­ers have a sound like noth­ing else. Then I could pic­ture my Dad driv­ing it. Shift­ing uncon­sciously. Down­shift­ing into second for the last pull up the hill. I could feel the head­lights clos­ing in. Cut­ting through the orch­ard. I could see the trees being lit one after the other by the lights, then going back to black. My heart was pound­ing. Just from Dad coming back. 

 

Young Man — I’VE COME ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION

Char­ac­ter: Young Man

Age: Teen­age

Play: I’VE COME ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION

Author: Tony Morph­ett (pub­lished 1966)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A mod­ern­ist play formed of 6 one act plays.

Speech:

Viol­ent? Viol­ent, are we? Tell me what else we’ve ever been shown, Dad. Eh Dad? Eh? What else have we ever seen, eh? Teen­ager ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshi­ma, eh Dad? Bit of a kid worked out the answer to the Jewish prob­lem, eh Dad? All you kids. All so viol­ent. You were a viol­ent kid, Dad, weren’t you? Fight­ing in the revolu­tion. Cut­ting people’s throats an all. Who was it told you to cut the throats, Dad? Teen­ager was it? 

Or was it some old bas­tard with a grey mous­tache and one foot in the grave? Eh, Dad? Eh? Who nutted out the area bomb­ing in Ger­many? Who worked out the flying bombs for Eng­land? Who said for every one bomb that drops on our kids, we’ll drop ten on theirs? Rotten pimply-faced teen­age hoo­ligans, wasn’t it? Eh, Dad? You know why you say we’re viol­ent? Because some of us have taken a wake-up to you. I wouldn’t swat a fly for you or anyone else your age. But if I needed to, for myself, I’d cut God’s throat. I’m not killing for old men in par­lia­ments. I’m killing for myself. And do you know why, Dad? Because all along, right down the line from the man with the club killing on the witchdoctor’s say-so, right through to the poor help­less bas­tards spit­ted on bay­on­ets in what a warm, fat bishop could call a just war, right down the line, there’s always been anoth­er gen­er­a­tion of kids to send off to get killed. But this is it. Since that bomb. If we muff it, it …. is … this … gen­er­a­tion … that… picks … up … the …cheque. So that’s why I’m not listen­ing to anyone but me. 

And for all sorts of con­fused reas­ons, I am going to kill that man in the car.

Tom — AWAY

Char­ac­ter: Tom

Age: Teen­age

Play: AWAY

Author: Michael Gow (first per­formed 1986)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Away opens with a school per­form­ance of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream. Included in the school cast is Tom and Meg who form a friend­ship and slight attrac­tion to each other. It’s Christ­mas in 1967 and time to re-enact the rituals of the summer hol­i­day. Three Aus­trali­an fam­il­ies set out sep­ar­ately but are driven togeth­er by a storm. At times funny and yet pain­fully truth­ful, Away explores the comedy and tragedy of their lives

Speech:

Yeah, that’s what I had. An infec­tion. Every­one knew I had some infec­tion. I was sick. I was told the infec­tion was run­ning its course. That I had to fight. I did. One day a doctor came and sat on my bed and had a long talk with me. He told me that before I got com­pletely well again I would get a lot worse, get really, really sick. And no matter how sick I got not to worry because it meant that soon I’d start to get well again. He was full of shit. He couldn’t look me in the face to say it. He stared at the cab­in­et next to the bed the whole time. And the nurses were really happy whenev­er they were near me, but when I stared them in the face, in the end they’d look away and bite their lips. When I was able to go home the doctor took me into his office and we had anoth­er talk. I had to look after myself. No strain, no dan­ger­ous activ­ity. Keep my spir­its up. Then he went very quiet, leant over the desk, prac­tic­ally whis­per­ing how if I knew a girl it’d be good for me to do it, to try it. ‘It’, he kept call­ing it. It, it. I put him on the spot. What? Name it. Give it a name.

 

Tim — ONLY HEAVEN KNOWS 

Char­ac­ter: Tim ( a teen­age playwright)

Age: Teens

Play: ONLY HEAVEN KNOWS 

Author: Alex Hard­ing (pub­lished 1997)

Brief Syn­op­sis: An ebul­li­ent and alleg­or­ic­al music­al set in the 1940s and 1950s, telling the story of one young man’s dis­cov­ery of love and affec­tion in the big city. 

Speech:

It’s not their fault – they didn’t ask for me – I didn’t ask for them – I felt – I felt I had no right to be there, not any more. Peter went off to the war, and at first things seemed easier, but then Aunty Maur­een got a tele­gram – Peter was on his way home, he’d trod­den on a land mine and lost both legs. From that day on I felt I was a con­stant remind­er of their son, but it was me run­ning around on two legs, not him. Aunty Maur­een was alright, we’d talk. We’d listen to the wire­less. I loved the plays best – I’d like to do that one day – write plays. Could I listen to your wire­less some­times Guinea? I miss it. Do you think that I could get a job in the theatre – or on the wire­less? (Beat) I’d go with Aunty Maur­een to the army hos­pit­al to see Peter. I hated it. Other blokes there – the same age as me – half dead, scream­ing. Peter would be crying all the time – he wouldn’t say any­thing. Every­where was pain and I was ter­ri­fied – that they’d make me stay there, that I would never get out – I felt guilty because I wasn’t in those beds, I was free – I was – free. And my uncle would look at me and behind his eyes would be the word ‘coward’ ….. I’ll never go back, never.

 

Ricko — BLACKROCK

Char­ac­ter: Ricko

Age: Late teens

Play: BLACKROCK

Author: Nick Enright (First per­formed 1995)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Based on the murder of Leigh Leigh in Stock­ton, Aus­tralia. It’s Toby Ackland’s birth­day party down near the surf club—and that should mean heaps of grog, drugs and good clean fun. But by the morn­ing a young girl is dead—raped by three boys and bashed with a rock.

Speech:

You back me up, I’ll back you up. Then whatever happened we’re not in it. I know you didn’t kill her! I did. I fucken killed her (A BEAT) Shana come on to me, then she backed off. Spider says it’s a full moon, heaps of other chicks down the beach, take anyone on. I knew which ones were up for it, mate. We both did. We checked them out togeth­er. And they were check­ing us out, weren’t they? You and me and every other prick. The whole fucken net­ball squad. So, I get out there. Wazza’s get­ting head from some bush-pig up against the dunny wall. One of them young babes, Leanne? I don’t know, comes run­ning up to me, calls my name, Ricko, hey, Ricko! She grabs me, pashes me off. She’s on, no, she’s fucken not, she’s with some fucken grom­met, he takes her off down the south end. I head towards the rock. I hear my name again. 

 

Ricko. Ricko. It’s Tracy. Tracy Warner. I go, right, Jared was here. It’s cool. I’ll take his seconds. She’s on her hands and knees. Says will I help her. She’s lost an ear­ring, belongs to Cherie, she has to give it back. There’s some­thing shiny hanging off the back of her T‑shirt. I grab it, I say, here it is. She can’t see it. I give it to her. I say what are you going to give me? She says she’s going home, she’s hurt­ing. I say hurt­ing from what? Guys, she says, those guys. Take me home, Ricko. Tells me I’m a legend, says she feels okay with me. Look after me, Ricko. Take me home. Puts her arms around me. I put mine round her. I feel okay now, Ricko. She feels more than okay. I say I’ll take you home, babe, but first things first. I lay her down on the sand, but she pushes me off. Oh, she likes it rough. I give it to her rough. Then she fucken bites me, kicks me in the nuts. My hand comes down on a rock…A rock in one hand and her ear­ring in the other. (Silence) It was like it just happened. The cops wouldn’t buy that, but. Would they? Now if I was with you…Will you back me up mate? You got to. You got to. Please. Please, Jazza.