Contemporary Monologues — Men
(Last 10 years)

Scroll down for Light and Dra­mat­ic cat­egor­ies — click each box to view and down­load the speech then click box again to close speeches

 

Boy — GOOD DOG

Char­ac­ter: Boy (Black Brit­ish-London accent)

Age: Teens-30s but this speech can be played by any age

Play: GOOD DOG

Author: Arinzé Kene (pub­lished 2017)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Set during the early nought­ies, good dog is a the­at­ric­al mono­logue that chron­icles grow­ing up in a mul­ti­cul­tur­al com­munity, and the every­day injustices that drive people to take back con­trol. Because even the most patient among us can’t wait forever.

Speech: 

there’s someone shout­ing  so I look to the end of the block  where the stray cat runs out of gandhi’s corner­shop again  man’s name ain’t actu­ally gandhi  no one knows what his actual name is but someone star­ted call­ing him gandhi one time and now he answers to it   gandhi runs after the cat got 

a broom­stick   bark­ing suttin in his lan­guage    fuming cos 

he can’t seem to make the cat stop coming in his shop 

prob­lem is   gandhi got one of dem annoy­ingly slow-clos­ing shop doors   you know that door that when you try be polite and shut it after your­self you tug it but it’s nuff stub­born and wants you to know that it’s inde­pend­ent and is gonna shut itself in its own slow time thank you very much   and you’re like   lissen door I was only trying to help you close cos you looked like you were strug­gling so no need get­ting all inde­pend­ent on me    and you juss flick your hand away from its ungrate­ful handle and leave it to take its time show­ing off isself   which unfor­tu­nately for gandhi is juss enough time for that stray cat to sleep in his corner shop 

so I watch gandhi chase the stray ting out into the street swinging the broom­stick    only in doing that    he aban­doned his post leav­ing the corner shop vacant and behind him a group of dem rude what what girls quickly slip into the empty corner shop like awhaaat what what what what          the what what girls think they’ve got in without gandhi know­ing but to gandhi’s credit    he fitted a jingle-jingle above that slow door at the week­end    so he hears the jingle-jingle and spins around so quick like in the car­toons making a dough­nut on the pave­ment with his cheap rubber bhs shoes    he dashes back to his shop and kicks the what what girls out    they leave the shop like     what what    what you mean I didn’t buy nuffin    I didn’t wanna buy nuffin   I’ve changed my mind what 

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Ace — KARAMAZOO

Char­ac­ter: Ace (‘Has a hair­style and outfit that yell ‘look at me! I’m gorgeous!)

Age: 15

Play: KARAMAZOO

Author: Philip Ridley (pub­lished as part of THE STORYTELLER SEQUENCE 2014)

Brief Syn­op­sis:  A fif­teen-minute mono­logue about one of the coolest, most pop­u­lar kids in the school, whose recent increase in pop­ular­ity is the direct result of a char­ac­ter make-over fol­low­ing the death of a parent. A witty and moving per­form­ance piece for the teen­age actor.

Speech:

I’ve got noth­ing against ugly people. Uggers’re fine. In their place. The way I see it… well, it’s like sport! Boxing, say! You do not put a fly­weight no hoper in the ring with a heavy­weight at the top of his form. Same with looks. It is inhu­mane — I repeat: in-hum-mane to put uggers in the same living space as people like me. You see, I’m what’s called an alpha male. Danny thought that one up. He is good with words, is Danny. Me and him hit it off — Bahmn! — The first time we met. Down the cafe it was. You know the one? Next to that second-hand com­puter place. Me and Danny happened to sit at the same table one morn­ing for a fry up and seven hours later — seven hours! — we were still there — still jab­ber­ing away and knock­ing back an after­noon Coke and dough­nut like we’d known each other all our lives. Danny could­n’t wait for me to join his school. We used to count the days to the start of the new term. And before you say any­thing, no, I was not expelled from my last school. They turned it into luxury flats — Where was I?…Alpha males! If we were all jungle creatures — I’d be the lion. Sea creatures — the Great White. Air — eagle. Neat, eh?

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Leon — SUCKER PUNCH

Char­ac­ter: Leon (Black British)

Age: 16

Play: SUCKER PUNCH

Author: Roy Wil­li­ams (Premiered 2010)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Set in the 1980s, the play focuses on two young black Brit­ish male prot­ag­on­ists: Leon Dav­id­son — Black Brit­ish champ or Uncle Tom? Troy Augus­tus — Amer­ic­an power­house or naive cash cow? Having spent their youth in the same London boxing gym, the two former friends step into the ring and face up to who they are. Boxing has dom­in­ated their lives with an unhoped-for struc­ture and mean­ing, but it becomes clear that it is no sub­sti­tute for their health, family, and friends. Sucker Punch looks back on what it was like to be young and black in the 1980s and asks if the right battles have been fought, let alone won.

Speech:

The first fight I’m having is with some tall, skinny-look­ing kid. From the minute I step into the ring, he’s star­ing me out, like I burgled his house. What am I doing here…? Oh! He lands one right on me. I’m going dizzy, I’m all numb. I wanna go home. I’ll keep out of his way.

Bell rings.

Crowd seem to like it when I move around. I’ll go a bit faster then. They’re lap­ping it up. Let’s see if they like this. Bop my shoulders, spin my arm like Sugar Ray Leonard, now they’re cheer­ing, can’t get enough. Skinny white boy don’t know what to do with me! I get in a jab, and it hurts him, my first punch as well. A bit of fancy foot­work now, I think. Crowd are loving it. Anoth­er jab! Then a sweet upper­cut! Skinny kid is down like a heap! I’m taking him out, me! My first ever fight, and I took him out. Yes! What a feel­ing. Start­ing to like this. Next up is a fight­er from Repton. Mark Saun­ders. Half-caste fight­er from Brick Lane. Trying to find a way in here, but he’s not having any of it. It’s like he can see me coming. I go with the foot­work. He can’t keep up with me. I’m tiring him out, he’s dazzled by my speed. That’s it, that’s it, keep him coming, keep him coming, now, have that!

He hits out with a flurry of punches.

Oh yes! I look to Charlie, he’s gotta love it!

He takes a hit.

Oh that was stupid. All I can see is gloves, fuck, get me out! My ears are ringing. I’ve got pins and needles all inside, gotta take it, gotta keep up, make it to the next round, come one!

Ref stops the fight. Bell rings.

What? What…what the…what you mean he’s won Ref? I didn’t go down! I didn’t go down, I was get­ting back up, I had him. 

 

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Christopher — THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Char­ac­ter: Chris­toph­er

Age: 15

Play: The Curi­ous Incid­ent of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Simon Steph­ens (per­formed 2012)- based on book by Mark Haddon

Brief Syn­op­sis: Chris­toph­er, fif­teen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears’s dead dog. He records each fact in the book he is writ­ing to solve the mys­tery of who murdered Wel­ling­ton. He has an extraordin­ary brain and is excep­tion­al at maths, but he is ill-equipped to inter­pret every­day life. He has never ven­tured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he dis­trusts strangers. But Chris­topher­’s detect­ive work, for­bid­den by his father, takes him on a fright­en­ing jour­ney that turns his world upside-down.

Speech:

When you look at the sky at night you know you are look­ing at stars, which are hun­dreds of thou­sands of light years away from you. And some of the stars don’t exist any more because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and col­lapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you don’t have dif­fi­cult things in your life it is nice to think that they are what is called neg­li­gible which means they are so small you don’t have to take them into account when you are cal­cu­lat­ing some­thing. It’s because of all the light pol­lu­tion in London. All the light from the street­lights and car head­lights and flood­lights and lights in the build­ings reflect off tiny particles in the atmo­sphere and they get in the way of light from the stars. 

 

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Trip — OTHER DESERT CITIES

Char­ac­ter: Trip (a bright, funny TV pro­du­cer- Polly’s young­er brother).

Age: 20s

Play: OTHER DESERT CITIES

Author: Pulitzer Prize final­ist for this play- Jon Robin Baitz (premiered 2011)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Set at Christ­mas 2004,  Brooke Wyeth returns home to visit her par­ents after a six-year absence. A once-prom­ising nov­el­ist, she announces to her family the immin­ent pub­lic­a­tion of a memoir about her brother’s death — a wound that her par­ents don’t want reopened. Her young­est broth­er, Trip, won’t play her game; her aunt knows way too much, and her par­ents fall into all their old routines as they plead with her to keep their story quiet. 

Speech:

You know, let me just like pre­face this with – uh, I’ve lived most of my life in the shadow of a broth­er I barely knew – and I have about “this much” left – ok? That said – the people in this book are not the same as the ones who brought me up. I’ve told Brooke this. They are dif­fer­ent people than the ones I am look­ing at, totally.

But it’s the best thing she’s ever writ­ten. I say that we all live with each other’s diver­gent truths and in spite of having deeply con­flict­ing accounts, which don’t matter anyway any­more – (grow­ing rage, finally it all comes out and it is scary) – Because it’s the past!

And we’re all get­ting older and if this is head­ing toward des­ol­a­tion, which I can see that it is, you will all regret it, so give your daugh­ter a pass and your sister, too, both of you, stop fight­ing like weasels in a pit, because on your last day on this planet, you’ll be scared and it won’t matter as long as you take your last breath – all what will have mattered is how you loved. And I’m out. I’m done. That’s all I got.

 

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Mister Ellody — THE ACCORDIAN SHOP

Char­ac­ter: Mister Ellody

Age: Teens-20s

Play: THE ACCORDION SHOP

Author: Cush Jumbo (Premiered 2015)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Mister Ellody, his father and his grand­fath­er before him, have kept their family busi­ness going for gen­er­a­tions on the high street. When a riot breaks out and teen­agers start loot­ing the shops on the street, they steal train­ers, iPods, any­thing they can get their hands on. The one shop that remains untouched is Mister Ellody’s and the pre­cious accor­di­ons inside. This is an ensemble play in which a large group of young actors play all the char­ac­ters who are involved in the incid­ent on the street.

Speech:

Do you have any idea what an accor­di­on is worth? I sell the most expens­ive items on the whole of the road. Beau­ti­ful hand­made, antique, one-of-a-kind instru­ments and they wer­en’t even look­ing twice, they didn’t care. I saw one boy run­ning away with a mis-matched pair of Adidas train­ers. Idiot I thought. You bloody idiot. One of these accor­di­ons would buy you five hun­dred pairs of those. 

It’s not the money, I make enough of that. I repair accor­di­ons from all over the world, I have a wait­ing list of two years.Bbut some­times… when my Dad was alive the shop was full of life. People would come in just to see and touch and hear the music, oth­er­wise what’s the point? The only person that seems to show any interest now is the lady across the road, she brings me a cup of tea every day and I don’t even know her name. I’d never leave The Road but some­times when those kids chuck their chick­en boxes in my door­way, or graf­fiti on my window, or pass by without even noti­cing the beau­ti­ful instru­ments inside, yes I do feel like leav­ing. I feel like giving up. I get angry and this hot scratchy air fills up my throat until I can’t breathe and it’s trapped in there and I don’t know what to do. 

Chil­dren used to be so excited by the mys­tery of things, I know I was. Watch­ing my Dad build an accor­di­on was like watch­ing a wizard cast a spell. He’d make the bel­lows by intric­ately poli­cing layer after layer of cloth and card­board, cloth and card­board. I’d never take my eyes off his hands as he closed up the wooden body for the last time because I knew I’d prob­ably never see the inside of that accor­di­on again. What I’d seen was a one-off. It made me feel spe­cial. I’d wanted to pass that on to someone else but unfor­tu­nately I don’t have any children.

Bear — THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK

Char­ac­ter: Bear (Indi­gen­ous Australian)

Age: 18

Play: THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK

Author: Ursula Yovich (pub­lished 2018)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A story emer­ging from the unpro­por­tion­ally high sui­cide rates within Aus­tralain Abori­ginie com­munit­ies, this move­ment-based play centres around a tight-knit family (Rose, the mother of twins, Bear and Evelyn), strug­gling to come to terms with the death of their 18-year old tal­en­ted foot­baller son, Bear. 

Speech:

Hey Mum. You remem­ber how I got this scar? 

He lifts his arm to show his scar. 

We were six years old, Mum. Almost adults. We were sup­posed to wait for you to come home but we wanted to open our presents. So, we double banked Dad. Kept saying… “Just one present Dad, Please? Please? Please? Please? Yeah, he let us open one. The roller skates. Match­ing pairs. Bright yellow, glow in the dark ones. Wanted to try ‘em out straight away. So, Dad sits us down in the back yard. “Alright, sit eya, put these booger skates on. Ok? Now… I got anoth­er little sur­prise for ya’s. And we were like, “Ok Dad. We’ll wait.”. (He Laughs) Course we didn’t, soon as he dis­ap­peared inside, we put them skates on. I got up first and then Evelyn. My legs were shak­ing. One was goin’ this way and the other leg was goin that way. I was nearly doin’ the splits. Ev was like this, her hands on my head and I was sink­ing! “Oww Stop Ev… My ring’s gonna split, my ring’s gonna split!” … And you know, I can’t even remem­ber how but we man­aged to stand up and that’s when Dad came march­ing out, through the back door in that gammin clown cos­tume! You remem­ber the one? And that mangy look­ing rain­bow afro wig. Well, he scared the shit out of us. Looked like he came straight out of a horror movie. I screamed and fell back­wards, break­ing my wrist. I’m crying, Ev’s crying. Dad’s crying. And he’s trying to get near us but we’re shit­ting ourselves, crawl­ing away, scream­ing, “Get away clown!, Get away clown!!” And we couldn’t run coz’ we still had them stupid roller skates on and then I could feel the pain in my wrist. He picked both of us up. One in each arm. And that’s when you arrived to see this clown taking your kids to the hos­pit­al. At the hos­pit­al, Dad’s car­ry­ing Evelyn, still wear­ing that clown cos­tume. Lip­stick smudged across his face, wig all over the place. He didn’t care that he looked like a fool. He was only wor­ried bout me… That was the last birth­day, Mum. Before he died… I try and see him, you know? Every time I close my eyes I try and see that clown stand­ing in the hos­pit­al cor­ridor… But… he always dis­ap­pears and all I see is him and that tree… It’s all I see now. His face, swollen. And I’m stuck Mum. I cant get my head right. I get stuck. We saw a ghost…

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Ken — RED

Char­ac­ter: Ken (Rothko’s assistant)

Age: 20s

Play: RED

Author: John Logan (pub­lished 2010)

Brief Syn­op­sis  Master abstract expres­sion­ist Mark Rothko has just landed the biggest com­mis­sion in the his­tory of modern art, a series of murals for New York’s famed Four Sea­sons Res­taur­ant. In the two fas­cin­at­ing years that follow, Rothko works fever­ishly with his young assist­ant, Ken, in his studio on the Bowery. But when Ken gains the con­fid­ence to chal­lenge him, Rothko faces the agon­iz­ing pos­sib­il­ity that his crown­ing achieve­ment could also become his undoing.

Speech:

(Explodes.) Bores you?! Bores you?! – Christ almighty trying work­ing for you for a living! – The talking-talking-talking-jesus-christ-won’t‑he-ever-shut-up titan­ic self-absorp­tion of the man! You stand there trying to look so deep when you’re noth­ing but a sol­ipsist­ic bully with your gran­di­ose self-import­ance and lec­tures and arias and let’s‑look-at-the‑f— ‑canvas-for-another-few-weeks-let’s‑not‑f— ‑paint-let’s‑just-look. And the pre­ten­sion! Jesus Christ, the pre­ten­sion! I can’t ima­gine any other paint­er in the his­tory of art ever tried so hard to be SIGNIFICANT!

You know, not everything has to be so god— IMPORTANT all the time! Not every paint­ing has to rip your guts out and expose your soul! Not every­one wants art that actu­ally HURTS! Some­times you just want a f— still life or land­scape or soup can or comic book! Which you might learn if you ever actu­ally left your god— her­met­ic­ally-sealed sub­mar­ine here with all the win­dows closed and no nat­ur­al light – BECAUSE NATURAL LIGHT ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU!

But then noth­ing is ever good enough for you! Not even the people who buy your pic­tures! Museums are noth­ing but mauso­leums, gal­ler­ies are run by pimps and swind­lers, and art col­lect­ors are noth­ing but shal­low social-climbers. So who is good enough to own your art?! Anyone?!

Or maybe the real ques­tion is: who’s good enough to even see your art? … Is it just pos­sible no one is worthy to look at your paint­ings? … That’s it, isn’t it? … We have all been weighed in the bal­ance and have been found wanting.

You say you spend your life in search of real human beings, people who can look at your pic­tures with com­pas­sion. But in your heart you no longer believe those people exist… So you lose faith… So you lose hope… So black swal­lows red.

My friend, I don’t think you’d recog­nize a real human being if he were stand­ing right in front of you. (Pause. ROTHKO’s stern and uncom­prom­ising Old Test­a­ment glare make KEN uneasy. KEN’s resolve starts to crumble. He moves away.) Never mind.

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Bashir — THE INVISIBLE HAND

Char­ac­ter: Bashir (“Sinewy and intense. A human bar­racuda”) — London-born Pakistani 

Age: Mid-late 20s

Play: THE INVISIBLE HAND

Author: Ayad Akhtar (pub­lished 2015)

Brief Syn­op­sis: In remote Pakistan, Nick Bright awaits his fate. A suc­cess­ful fin­an­cial trader, Nick is kid­napped by an Islam­ic mil­it­ant group, lead by Bashir. With no one nego­ti­at­ing his release, Nick agrees to help Bashir with fin­an­cial advice to manip­u­late world cur­rency mar­kets and to gen­er­ate money-laun­der­ing income for the ter­ror­ist group in return for his freedom. 

Speech:

You always think you’re better than every­one else.

It’s true. 

You look down on me because of what I’m doing. Here. At least That’s what you think. But in fact, that’s not it. Not even. ‘Cause the thing Is? Wouldn’t be any dif­fer­ent if I was back in London driv­ing around in some black Beemer in my Dolce Gab­banas, chas­ing after white girls like my school mates. You’d look down on me then, too, just in a dif­fer­ent way.

Where I grew up? Houn­slow? It’s a slum, really. Where they stuck all of us. My father? Spent his whole life being stepped on, spit on by white people. Selling ‘em knick knacks, and thank you, sir, and thank you, ma’am, can I have anoth­er? I wasn’t going to have a life like that.

(Beat)

Some­thing I was good at in school? His­tory. Though you prob­ably don’t believe that, neither. Thing is, I remem­ber this unit we had about European His­tory. The Span­ish Civil War. All these young men from dif­fer­ent coun­tries run­ning off to give their lives to fight the dic­tat­or, Franco. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what a whole gen­er­a­tion of us’re doing. Giving up soft lives in the West to fight for some­thing mean­ing­ful.

See the system’s pants. There’s no use work­ing inside it. We gotta change the system. We gotta take it to the Man. Bring him to the ground and stomp his heart out. And you know what? If people gotta die in the pro­cess, so be it.

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Ethan — RIDE!

Char­ac­ter: Ethan (Afric­an-Amer­ic­an)

Age: Late 20s

Play: RIDE!

Author: BAFTA Award-win­ning John Foster (First per­formed 2018)- Nom­in­ee for Best New Play Off West End (Offies) 2018 

Brief Syn­op­sis: A power­ful, phys­ic­al and heart-wrench­ing one-man show based on a true story, this play explores racism and the murder of Afric­an-Amer­ic­an James Byrd Jr. by three Klu Kluxx Klan mem­bers in 1998 and the par­al­lels to present day.

Speech:

A shout.

I’m shout­ing.

Not going East!

Let­ting out these shouts.

Not going no East!

Not with you.

Forget it!

No way!

Was that really me?

Did I just do that?

Walter’s eyes, they’re laughing.

Flash­ing.

Bright lights swinging to-fro.

Met­eor­ites burn­ing in the black.

All the while look­ing at me.

Low dull stare.

And now I realise.

Now I realise.

In this moment.

This very moment.

Split-second

I get it!

Oh, I get it!

Yeh!

Light­bulb buzz­ing in my brain!

Kill me.

Simple.

Stupid.

They’re going to harm me.

Harm me in some way.

Do damage.

 

Them three stand­ing there

Lowlifes.

From over East.

East of the county.

Red­neck territory.

Klan coun­try

Klans­men.

Con­fed­er­ates.

Born to it.

Me.

Seeing me.

Here at the side of the street.

Pick­ing me out.

Home-made victim.

Ready-made quarry.

 

Always.

Run­ning in the cross-hairs.

Run­ning through the swamps.

Run­ning under the long South­ern skies.

Run­ning down the years

Inher­it­ing the mantel. Lineage.

Like a bloodline.

Like a birthright.

 

Got it.

Oh I got it.

Them.

Them there.

Ready.

They’re ready.

Ready to kill.

Kill me.

Kill me.

Of course.

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