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.
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
Ace — KARAMAZOO
Character: Ace (‘Has a hairstyle and outfit that yell ‘look at me! I’m gorgeous!)
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.
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?
Leon — SUCKER PUNCH
Character: Leon (Black British)
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.
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.
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.
Christopher — THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
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.
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.
Trip — OTHER DESERT CITIES
Character: Trip (a bright, funny TV producer- Polly’s younger brother).
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.
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.
Mister Ellody — THE ACCORDIAN SHOP
Character: Mister Ellody
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.
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)
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.
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…
Ken — RED
Character: Ken (Rothko’s assistant)
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.
(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.
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.
You always think you’re better than everyone else.
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.
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.
Ethan — RIDE!
Character: Ethan (African-American)
Age: Late 20s
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.
Not going East!
Letting out these shouts.
Not going no East!
Not with you.
Was that really me?
Did I just do that?
Walter’s eyes, they’re laughing.
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.
I get it!
Oh, I get it!
Lightbulb buzzing in my brain!
They’re going to harm me.
Harm me in some way.
Them three standing there
From over East.
East of the county.
Born to it.
Here at the side of the street.
Picking me out.
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.
Oh I got it.
Ready to kill.