Contemporary Monologues — Women

(Last 100 Years)

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Mary O’Donnell — BOMBSHELLS

Char­ac­ter: Mary O’Donnell (A feisty teen­age school­girl com­pet­ing in a talent quest)

Age: Teen­age


Author: Joanna Murray Smith (first per­formed 2001)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Six funny and per­cept­ive mono­logues about the stresses of modern female life


No one can sing and dance like me. No one in the whole school. I am the Liza Min­nel­li of St Brigid’s and nobody can say I’m not. I’ve got a better voice than Angela McTerry. Much better. Her only claim to fame is that she has breasts bigger than her head, of which I am envi­ous… not. And I can dance which Angela McTerry cannot do even though she thinks she can. She has not got the physique. Angela McTerry does not look attract­ive in a leo­tard and some­body who loves her should tell her so. She’s got calves the size of the Soviet Union just like her sister Theresa McTerry – who’s get­ting mar­ried to Ted ‘The Pot-plant’ Swin­bank on Sat­urday and thereby intro­du­cing the world to the lovely vision of Angela in tan­ger­ine chif­fon. And she’s got tick­ets on her­self just because her father’s on Neigh­bours. Like Neigh­bours is a big deal. Neigh­bours is not a big deal. The talent show is a big deal. I love the talent show. I love the talent show. So far there’s no one who even comes close. Allis­on Stoddard’s one-woman Wait­ing for Godot was a wank. Janice McElhone’s ‘Islands in the stream’ didn’t cut it – someone should have told her it was a duet. Veron­ica O’Grady’s ‘Abba Medley’ was a trav­esty. A trav­esty. I hope Bjorn and Benny never hear about it. Veron­ica O’Grady would be banned from Sweden. Mr Bur­bridge said: ‘Mary O’Donnell, the talent show is coming up so you had better get think­ing, young lady.’ Mr Bur­bridge knows that I am the talent show. The talent show would be noth­ing without me. It would be ‘the show’. The show. Because I am the talent. Okay. Okay. Here we go. This is your last rehears­al, Mary O’Donnell. Do not stuff it up. Do not stuff it up. 


Gillian — DAGS

Char­ac­ter: Gil­lian

Age: Late teens

Play: DAGS

Author: Debra Oswald (pub­lished 1987)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Gil­lian is six­teen, suf­fers from the occa­sion­al ‘ack-attack’, and is wor­ried about not having a boy­friend. She loves chocol­ate and is infatu­ated with the best-look­ing boy in school. A funny and com­pas­sion­ate look at adolescence.


All right. I’m going to admit some­thing I never thought I’d admit to anyone ever. I’ve got a crush on Adam. Head over heels. Uncon­trol­lable pas­sion, etcet­era. Unre­quited pas­sion, of course. Now I know this sounds like I’m throw­ing away everything I’ve said so far. And I guess I am. I know every girl at school except Monica is in love with him. I know he’d never go for a dag like me. I know it’s hope­less. I know all that. But I can’t help it. Just think­ing he might look at me, my heart starts pound­ing like mad. And then I worry about wheth­er he can tell my hearts going crazy, and I have to act really cool. This crush – it’s like a dis­ease. Do you know – oh, I’m almost too embar­rassed to admit this – Adam misses the bus some­times. ‘Cos he’s chat­ting up some girl or some­thing. And do you know what I do? I get off the bus after one stop and walk back to school, so I can hang around the bus stop hoping he’ll turn up. Just so I can ride on the same bus with him. Isn’t that the most pathet­ic thing you’ve ever heard? I’m crazy. I can lie here for hours think­ing about him. Writ­ing these movies in my head where Adam and me are the stars. I try to ima­gine how he’d notice me and fall hope­lessly in love with me and all that. Like, one of my favour­ites is that the bus breaks down one day in this remote place and there we are stran­ded togeth­er. He dis­cov­ers that I was this really fas­cin­at­ing woman all along. Far more inter­est­ing than all those silly girls at school. But – I say that I can’t bear to be just anoth­er notch on his belt. So Adam has to beg me to go out with him. Grovel almost. That’s a pretty over-the-top version.



Char­ac­ter: Rose (a col­lege student)

Age: Late teens-20s


Author: Wil­li­am Hanley (pub­lished 1965)

Brief Syn­op­sis: The play starts with a poor, dusty shop.. the door is flung open, let­ting in a lithe young black man. In this dance for two, the char­ac­ters make hes­it­ant approaches, circle, feint, threaten each other with gun & ice pick but scarcely make con­tact. The young man is obvi­ously a hunted man. The store­keep­er a non-Jewish refugee from Nazi Ger­many, is close-mouthed, sus­pi­cious, anxious to avoid self-involve­ment. The third dancer is Rosie, an 18-year old from River­dale, who has wandered into the shop after losing her way with no illu­sions about her home­li­ness or about the encounter that has led to her troubles.


If you knew me better, you’d see that this is exactly the kind of thing that’s likely to happen to me. Get­ting knocked up, I mean. The point is it was my first time, I was a virgin before that. Wouldn’t you know it, I’d get caught? Aside from everything else, I’m not lucky, either. You see, if I was lucky, Harold and I could’ve suc­cumbed to our silly little pas­sion and that would’ve been that, the end of it. And New Rochelle, of all places. At least if it’d been in some nice apart­ment in the Vil­lage, say, with the sound coming through the window of traffic and people, the breeze blow­ing the cur­tain over the bed, like in the movies. But no. I lost my vir­gin­ity in the attic of an old house in New Rochelle. Harold’s grandmother’s house. On a rainy day in spring on the floor of the attic in his grand­moth­ers house, listen­ing to the rain on the roof, breath­ing the dust of old things…And what comes next but his grand­moth­er who was sup­posed to be in the city for the day. But instead, she’s sud­denly stand­ing there, scream­ing: “Stop that! Stop that this instant!” Need­less to say, it was out of the ques­tion. Stop­ping. At that par­tic­u­lar moment. I mean, sex is like a flight over the sea, one reaches the point of no return…I guess it sounds funny now, but you know, at the time…it was pretty rotten. Sordid, I mean…it wasn’t at all the way it’s sup­posed to be. And Harold, of all people. A girl finds her­self in this pre­dic­a­ment, this con­di­tion, she’d at least like to think the cause of it was some clever, hand­some guy with charm and exper­i­ence, just returned from spend­ing a year in Rome, say, on a Gug­gen­heim fel­low­ship. But Harold. Harold is six foot two, about a hun­dred and twenty five pounds, tops, and an Eco­nom­ics major at CCNY…That’s about the best I’ll ever be able to do, I know it. Ever since I found out I was preg­nant I’ve been walk­ing around with a face down to here and my mother kept saying, “What’s the matter with you, anyway? I just don’t know what’s gotten into you lately.” So, finally, I told her: a kid named Harold, as a matter of fact.




Char­ac­ter: Babe

Age: late teens-20s


Author: Beth Henley (pub­lished 1982)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  Three eccent­ric sis­ters from a small South­ern town are rocked by scan­dal when Babe, the young­est, shoots her hus­band, Zack­ery, a power­ful and wealthy lawyer. Even­tu­ally, she reveals that the shoot­ing was the result of her anger at Zack­ery’s cruel treat­ment both of her and of Willie Jay, a 15-year-old Afric­an Amer­ic­an boy with whom she’s been having an affair with.Humor and pathos abound as the sis­ters unite with an intense young lawyer to save Babe from a murder charge, and over­come their fam­ilys pain­ful past. 


After I shot Zack­ery, I put the gun down on the piano bench, and then I went out into the kit­chen and made up a pitch­er of lem­on­ade. I was dying of thirst. My mouth was just as dry as a bone. I made it just the way I like it, with lots of sugar and lots of lemon- about ten lemons in all. Then I added two trays of ice and stirred it up with my wooded stir­ring spoon. Then I drank three glasses, one right after the other. They were large glasses- about this tall. Then sud­denly my stom­ach kind of swole all up. I guess what caused it was all that sour lemon Then what I did was? I wiped my mouth off with the back of my hand, like this? I did it to clear off all those little beads of water that had settled there. Then I called out to Zack­ery. I said, “Zack­ery, I’ve made some lem­on­ade. Can you use a glass?” But he didn’t answer. So I poured him a glass anyway and I took it out to him. And there he was, lying on the rug. And he was look­ing up at me trying to speak words. I said “What?? Lem­on­ade?? You don’t want it? Would you like a Coke instead?” Then I got the idea- he was telling me to call on the phone for med­ic­al help. So I got on the phone and called up the hos­pit­al. I gave my name and address and I told them my hus­band was shot and he was lying on the rug and there was plenty of blood. I guess that’s gonna look kinda bad. Me fixing that lem­on­ade before I called the hos­pit­al. I tell you, I think the reason I made up the lem­on­ade, I mean besides the fact that my mouth was bone dry, was that I was afraid to call the author­it­ies. I was afraid. I – I really think I was afraid they would see that I had tried to shoot Zack­ery, in fact that I had shot him, and they would accuse me of pos­sible murder and send me away to jail. I mean, in fact, that’s what did happen. That’s what is hap­pen­ing – ’cause here I am just about ready to go right off to the Parch­ment Prison Farm. Yes, here I am just prac­tic­ally on the brink of utter doom. Why, I feel so all alone.




Char­ac­ter: Fiona

Age: In the play she cuts back and forth between 15 and 32 years old


Author:  Shar­man Mac­don­ald (Pub­lished 1990)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A play that deals with the female exper­i­ence of Scot­tish life and cul­ture, and the dif­fi­culty of escap­ing from cul­tur­al conditioning.


(very quickly) Last week, I was on the bus, upstairs. I was going to see Dorothy and this girl up the front, she star­ted having a fit or some­thing. Must have been the heat. There were lots of people there between her and me but they, none of them… I went over to her and did what I could. She was heavy. I’d heard about them biting through their tongues. Epi­leptics. It wasn’t pretty. Me and this other bloke took her to the hos­pit­al. But I saw her first. He wouldn’t have done any­thing if I hadn’t. I didn’t get to see Dorothy. Well? That’s worth some­thing, isn’t it? God. Are you listen­ing? I’m not trying to bribe you. It’s plain eco­nom­ics. I mean, I’ve made a mis­take. It was my fault and I was wrong. I take it all on me. OK. Now if you let it make me preg­nant… God. Listen, will you. If I’m preg­nant it’ll ruin four people’s lives. Five. Right? My Mum’ll be dis­ap­poin­ted and her man’ll walk out on her. That’s two. Are you with me, God? I’ll not be very happy. My mother’ll hate me for the rest of my life for what I’ve done and that’s not easy to live with. That’s three. I’m still count­ing, God. Ewan’ll be in for it. Well, he can’t avoid it. I’m illeg­al and I’ve never been out with any­body else. Not that nobody fan­cied me. I wouldn’t like to think I was unpop­u­lar. Lots of people fan­cied me. My mum said I had to wait till I was six­teen. Then she relen­ted just when Ewan happened to be there. Poor old Ewan. That’s four, God, that’s four. Then there’s the baby. If it’s there and if I have it it’s got no chance. It would be born in Scot­land. Still there, are you? I hate Scot­land. I mean, look at me. If I have an abor­tion the baby’ll be dead so that’ll be five anyway.


Meg — AWAY

Char­ac­ter: Meg

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


I saw the carton. I saw it in the hall. I saw it. It was near the tele­phone table, wasn’t it? You saw it too, didn’t you? You saw the box sit­ting there. You must have. It was sit­ting next to your vanity case. Everything else that was in the hall got packed in the car. You did see it. You were that last one out. You’re the one who shuts the door, after you’ve made sure the stove’s off and the fridge has been left open. You saw the carton and you left it there on pur­pose. You left it behind. And you knew what it was. You knew what was in it and you left it there. Why did you do that? Why would you do a thing like that? I want to know why you did it. Tell me why you delib­er­ately left that box behind. We have a game we play every year. We sneak presents home, we wrap them up in secret even though we can hear the sticky tape tear­ing and the paper rust­ling; we hide them in the stuff we take away, we pre­tend not to see them until Christ­mas morn­ing even when we know they’re there and we know what’s in them because we’ve already put in our orders so there’s no waste or sur­prise. And Dad always hides his in a pathet­ic place that’s so obvi­ous it’s a joke and we all laugh at him behind our backs but we play along! You knew what was in that box. You left it behind. I want to know why. What were you trying to do, what did you want to gain? Did you want to have some­thing we’d all have to be sorry for the whole hol­i­day? There’s always some­thing we do wrong that takes weeks to for­give. You have to tell me.



Char­ac­ter: Heav­enly

Age:  Teen­ager


Author: Ten­ness­ee Wil­li­ams (pub­lished 1959)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Chance Wayne, the one-time heart-throb of his homet­own, returns hoping to break into the movies and find the girl he loved in his youth. He is accom­pan­ied by faded movie star, Alex­an­dra Del Lago, yet he dis­cov­ers that time is shortly to catch-up with him and wreak a ter­rible retri­bu­tion for his past actions. In this scene: After con­tract­ing a vener­eal dis­ease from her lover, Chance Wayne, Heav­enly under­goes an oper­a­tion to cure this dis­ease- yet the oper­a­tion was badly per­formed and leaves her barren.


Don’t give me your “Voice of God” speech. Papa, there was a time when you could have saved me, by let­ting me marry a boy that was still young and clean, but instead you drove him away, drove him out of St. Cloud. And when he came back, you took me out of St. Cloud, and tried to force me to marry a fifty-year-old money bag that you wanted some­thing out of — and then anoth­er, anoth­er, all of them ones you wanted some­thing out of. I’d gone, so Chance went away. Tried to com­pete, make him­self big as these big-shots you wanted to use me for a bond with. He went. He tried. The right doors would­n’t open, and so he went in the wrong ones, and — Papa, you mar­ried for love, why would­n’t you let me do it, while I was alive, inside, and the boy was still clean, still decent? You mar­ried for love, but you would­n’t let me do it, and even though you’d done it, you broke Mama’s heart. Miss Lucy was your mis­tress long before Mama died. And Mama was just in front of you. (pause) Can I go in now, Papa? Can I go in now, Papa? I’m sorry my oper­a­tion has brought this embar­rass­ment on you, but can you ima­gine it, Papa? I felt worse than embar­rassed when I found out that Dr George Scud­der­’s knife had cut the youth out of my body, made me a child­less woman. Dry, cold, empty, like an old woman. I feel as if I ought to rattle like a dead dried-up vine when the Gulf Wind blows, but, Papa — I won’t embar­rass you any more.


Char­ac­ter: Nora Morton 

Age:  Teen­ager


Author: Neil Simon (premiered 1983)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Set in Brook­lyn, New York in Septem­ber 1937 during The Great Depres­sion, this comedy focuses on Eugene, a Polish-Jewish Amer­ic­an teen­ager who exper­i­ences puberty, sexual awaken­ing, and a search for iden­tity as he deals with his older broth­er Stan­ley, his par­ents Kate and Jack, his Aunt Blanche, and his two cous­ins, Nora and Laurie, who come to live there after their father­’s death. 


I can’t believe it. You mean it’s alright for you to leave us but it wasn’t alright for me to leave you?

It was my future. Why couldn’t I have some­thing to say about it? I need to be independent.

So I have to give up the one chance I may never get again, is that it? I’m the one who has to pay for what you couldn’t do with your own life. I’m not judging you. I can’t even talk to you. I don’t exist to you. I have tried so hard to get close to you, but there was never any room. Whatever you had to give went to Daddy, and when he died, whatever was left you gave to Laurie…

….I have been jeal­ous my whole life of Laurie because she was lucky enough to be born sick. I could never turn a light on in my room at night or read in bed because Laurie always needed her pre­cious sleep. I could never have a friend over on the week­ends because Laurie was always rest­ing. I used to pray I’d get some ter­rible dis­ease or get hit by a car so I’d have a leg all twis­ted and crippled and then once, maybe just once, I’d get to crawl into bed next to you on a cold rainy night and talk to you and hold you until I fell asleep in your arms…just once…


Char­ac­ter: Cherie (Aus­trali­an)

Age: Late teens


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.


It was my fault. If we stuck togeth­er like we said, you and me and Leanne, you wouldn’t be here. But I lost youse all. Now I’ve lost you. And no-one knows how. You should hear the rumours. Someone seen a black Torana with Vic­tori­an number plates. It was a stranger in a Mega­death T‑shirt, it was a maddie from the hos­pit­al, even your step­dad. All these ideas about who did it, who did it, like it was a TV show. It is a TV show. Every night on the news. I want to yell out, this is not a body, this is Tracy you’re talk­ing about. Someone who was here last week, going to net­ball, work­ing at the Pizza Hut, get­ting the ferry, hanging out. You were alive. Now you’re dead. But I know you can hear me. I can hear you.

She plays a bit of the song. 

Your song. Times we danced to that, you and me and Shana, Shana singing dirty words, remem­ber? Mum hear­ing and throw­ing a mental…. I shouldn’t laugh, should I? Not here. But all I can think of is the other words. 

She turns off the tape. 

You were wear­ing my ear­rings. You looked so great. And some guy took you off and did those things to you. Wish I knew who. You know, Trace. Nobody else does. If I knew, but I’d go and kill him. I’d smash his head in. I’d cut his balls off. I’d make him die slowly for what he did to you.



Age: late teens-20s


Author: Beth Henley (pub­lished 1982)