Contemporary Monologues — Women
(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

 

Zia — MY WHITE BEST FRIEND: (AND OTHER LETTERS LEFT UNSAID)

Char­ac­ter: Zia (South Asian)

Age: Any

Play: MY WHITE BEST FRIEND: (AND OTHER LETTERS LEFT UNSAID)

Author: Zia Ahmed (premiered 2019)

Brief Syn­op­sis: My White Best Friend col­lects 23 let­ters that engage with a range of topics, from racial ten­sions, micro­ag­gres­sions and emo­tion­al labour, to queer desire, pre­ju­dice and oth­er­ness. Express­ing feel­ings and thoughts often stifled or ignored, the pieces here trans­form letter writ­ing into a pro­voc­at­ive act of candour.

Speech: (Read­ing aloud)

A request from Zia.

Can all black + brown people who are work­ing class come to the front
white + work­ing class in the middle
every­one else back row
please be honest

Zainab
not gonna lie
Uhhh
I watched the video
of my white best friend
and I was caught in two minds
it’s a bit of a headf***
cos I’m torn
course the peace speaks to a lot of people
but there’s some­thing about it
I can’t put my finger on like
I duno
did white people respond to it
because a white person was saying it?
cos maybe inten­tion­ally or not
it cen­ters the white person
and does that mean
they only listen to things when a white person’s saying it?
you know
like
like online when bare things go viral when it’s a white person saying racism is bad
but people who actu­ally exper­i­enced it get told like calm down or stop play­ing the race card
or I duni
so I’m glad you’re on stage

a brown woman
my f***ing mate
I love you
you’re sick
we come up to see you in Strat­ford-upon-Avon
you killed it on stage
we went back to yours
you made a banging daal
in the room 4 south Asian actors/writers
you me h + s
and we jus talk for ages
about how things are chan­ging
about how things aren’t chan­ging
about chan­ging s***
about the joy + pain of it
this industry it’s hard
being brown being work­ing class +
how we go on
how we’ve known each other for so long
some­times it feels like
let’s talk about some­thing else
but the talk­ing helps
I know there’s bear What­s­App groups
send­ing the tweets the art­icles the good news the griev­ances the sup­port in the alle­gi­ances
in these chats

in know­ing there’s people who got your back
just some of the things we talked about
opened out

(please read the cards in order one by one)

Card one

dear
insert name
‘Half of what I say is mean­ing­less; but I say it’s so that the other half may reach you.’
white ppl love khalil gibran
badly trans­lated rumi quotes
‘The wound is where the light enters you.’

 

Actor 6 (‘A Black Woman’) — WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION…

Char­ac­ter: Actor 6 (‘A Black Woman’)

Age: Any

Play: WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTHWEST AFRICA, FROM THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN THE YEARS 1884 — 1915

Author:  Award-win­ning play­wright Jackie Sib­blies Drury (pub­lished 2014)

Brief Syn­op­sis:A group of actors gather to tell the little-known story of the first gen­o­cide of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury. As the full force of a hor­rif­ic past crashes into the good inten­tions of the present, what seemed a far-away place and time is sud­denly all too close to home. Just whose story are they telling?

Speech: (NB: ital­ics is her read­ing the present­a­tion cards aloud)

Hello thank you for coming.
Oh, I already did that.
Wel­come to our present­a­tion.
We have pre­pared a lec­ture to pro­ceed the present­a­tion because we feel that you would bene­fit from some back­ground inform­a­tion so as to give our present­a­tion a great­er amount of con­text.
Yeah. Ok, so, the lecture’s a lec­ture but it’s not a lec­ture lec­ture.
We made it fun.
Ish
Sort of.
Anyway.
The lecture’s dur­a­tion should last approx­im­ately five minutes.
It might be ten. I’m bad at time.
Because, you know, what’s hap­pen­ing is the import­ant thing, it does­n’t matter when it hap­pens, or how long it hap­pens for, it’s that it’s hap­pen­ing. Am I right?
(Nervous laugh)
This is hap­pen­ing.
(Nervous laugh)
Ok.
In this lec­ture- Um…Wait, what?
(She flips through the cards)
Ok.
(To the ensemble and audi­ence at the same time).
‘We’ forgot to write in the part ‘we’ agreed ‘we’d’ write about the over­view.
So…
(To the audi­ence)
Ok. So, there’s like a lec­ture that’s only sort of the lec­ture and then we did this thing that is kind of like an over­view before the lec­ture, which is before the present­a­tion.
Does that make sense?
OK.
Yeah…
yeah I think I’m just going to skip some of this stuff, you know, since it seems it does­n’t actu­ally say what we all agreed that it should say. even though we went through a lot to figure out how to do this and intro­duce it prop­erly, but this intro­duc­tion isn’t what it’s sup­posed to be so…
This so is what we’re doing: Lec­ture, Over­view, Present­a­tion. Super fun, great.
(To her­self) Skip skip skip.
Help­ing me Present the lec­ture to you is our ensemble of actors.
I’m also kind of the artist­ic dir­ect­or of our ensemble, so. Okay.
In this present­a­tion, which is already star­ted I know, I will be play­ing the part of Black Woman. I am also black, in real life, which you might find con­fus­ing. Please try to think of it like this: Black Woman is just the name of the char­ac­ter I’m playing.

This actor will be referred to as Black Man.
This actor will be referred to as White Man.
This actor will be referred to as Anoth­er Black Man.
This actor will be referred to as Anoth­er White Man.
This actor will….Actually, we haven’t really explained you yet. And they won’t get it, so …(To the audi­ence) just ignore her for now. Ok.
Anoth­er White Man… because this is true in real life and in this lec­ture and sub­sequent presentation.

Now, without fur­ther ado, we present to you a lec­ture about Namibia.

 

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B — LITTLE ON THE INSIDE

Char­ac­ter: B

Age: Any

Play: LITTLE ON THE INSIDE

Author: Alice Birch (premiered 2013)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Two unnamed char­ac­ters, A and B, in real­ity occupy a cell, but they find spir­itu­al free­dom in invent­ing a rich and extraordin­ary world where they might exist togeth­er. This is a short but com­plex play about the love two women have for each other, and the power of ima­gin­a­tion and storytelling to excite, sus­tain and con­sole. in this mono­logue, B describes the moment at which she came to under­stand A, and A invites her into the ima­gined world she has created.

Speech:

And I real­ise
There are Giants in there.
In You.
Giants.
March­ing all around your bones.

I had learnt to listen. And she had learnt to talk.

When we Get each other. And I get to come here.
This patch of green.
That is in her head.
Where white-eyes sing up in the red man­grove trees.
And the sea is in the dis­tance.
And some­times there’s an old couple shar­ing sand­wiches in a rose garden.
It’s like she’s kept it in her fists. All these rages and laughs and whis­pers for ears that haven’t been enough.
So when she puts these hot little clenches up by my ears and
Opens
I get them all.
And we sit here.
Our backs to the burnt bed sheets and the hair and the shouts and the walls covered in faces you’re not sure will be there when you are back out in Air. Her sit­ting under a tree her heart of all full and Me swim­ming.
Swim­ming in a sequined dress

A sequin dress from the back of mum’s wardrobe

Not sup­posed to touch.

There’s a creak on one bit of the floor by the ward­robe that means you have to go on one toe and lean in like it’s The Lion the Witch and the Ward­robe and I pull out that sequined dress and smear of lip­stick and heels that don’t fit and I dance like I’m swim­ming, I dance like I’m doing the back­stroke and the but­ter­fly and like the air is cool and a kiss and not hot and a livid punch. And I dance to Yazoo, I just dance to Yazoo in my bed­room whilst down­stairs there’s a little hot quiet storm as my mum has her hand over one man and hour’s mouth or tries not to make a noise as her body shifts to a place where it isn’t hers and later, later her face will be a map of blue bruises but there will be chips for tea but for now I am dan­cing like I’m swim­ming and the red-winged black­bird singing in the green plumtrees out­side my window, my legs skinny and dan­cing and sequins fall­ing onto the brown carpet like moss under the too big for you girl shoes.

 

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Ace — KARAMAZOO

Char­ac­ter: Ace (‘Has a hair style 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:

This is what hap­pens when you make a date with a bloody Hatch­ling- oh! That’s one of my words. It describes a cer­tain kind of boy. One who acts like a baby duck. You know? After a duck pecks out its shell the first thing it claps eyes on — Quack-quack! Love! Well, that’s what Mr Not Here On Time was like. First day I joined the school — There he is! Eyes wide. Tongue down to his knees. Pure Hatch­ling! I’ve got words for most sorts of people. I’m good with words. I take after my Dad but… well, that’s anoth­er story. 

Slight pause 

Char­ity! That’s what my agree­ing to meet him is. He’s not even cute. A Hatch­ling can some­times be amus­ing if they’re cute. Nicole — she had a Hatch­ling last year by all accounts, and she says he used to buy her little presents and send her love poems and — more import­antly — looked ter­rif­ic without his shirt on. I’ve seen a photo of him, and believe me, that boy put the ‘it’ back in fit. A Hatch­ling like that I could live with. A Hatch­ling like that I might even encour­age. But my one — and I don’t wanna sound mean, I really don’t, but facts is facts and he put the ‘ug’ back in ugly. He wears t‑shirts the size of mar­quees for one thing which is usu­ally a sign of acute six-pack short­age in my exper­i­ence. And as for his ears… well, let’s just say if a strong wind catches him unawares he could end up in Alaska quick­er than you can say flying ele­phants. Oh, I know what you’re think­ing. B***chy cow. But I’m not. I’m just being honest. 

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Simone — FERAL

Char­ac­ter: Simone

Age: Late-teens

Play: FERAL

Author:  BAFTA-Award Winner John Foster (first per­formed 2018)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A new one-woman Gypsy-Folk music­al drama. Explor­ing racism, com­munity, the gypsy exper­i­ence and the con­flict between logic and intu­ition, this com­pel­ling show fol­lows the story of eight­een-year-old Simone as she is gripped by a mag­net­ic and over­whelm­ing impulse to aban­don her family and travel in the open Dorset land­scape. Living rough and steal­ing money and food to sur­vive, Simone weaves an errat­ic trail, moving across the con­tours of the land and meet­ing an ensemble of characters

Speech:

What happened?
He asked.
My teach­er.
Last Sports day.
Year ago.
What happened, Simone?
Told him.
Noth­ing, sir.
What went wrong?
He wanted to know.
What you mean, sir?
Why do that, girl?
Girl?
Why do you always do that, girl?
Dunno, sir.
What was that all about?
Just got puffed.
You didn’t get puffed, Simone.
Got the stitch.
No stitch. Stitch.
No stitch for you.
Didn’t want it.
You could’ve won.
Nope.
Easily. You know that.
Didn’t want to go on, sir.
You could always win.
Win each time.
Every time.
If you’d a mind.
What’s the point?
It’s a race.
Like the run­ning.
The run­ning, that’s all.
What d’you like about it?
Just to run.
But you stop.
Stop every time.
Every race.
Before you reach the fin­ish­ing line.
Dead in your tracks.
Each time.
Stood on the track.
Let­ting the others run past.
Said to him
We got to talk about it, sir?
Have we?
Let­ting the others pass you.
Over­take.
Get ahead of you.
And someone else wins.
You let them win.
Said to him
Seems to matter to them.
Import­ant to them.
Don’t you ever want to win, Simone?
Win the race?
What’s the point?
People race to win.
Right.
People want to come first.
It’s com­pet­it­ive.
Spoils it.
Told him.
Takes away.
Told him.
Why don’t you let your­self win?
Why bother?
Just the once?
Not my thing.
Win­ning?
Not my wont.
You’re such a nat­ur­al.
Long legs is all, sir.
Don’t put your­self down.
Okay, sir.
You’ve got real flair.
Nice of you, sir.
Can I go now, sir?

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White best friend (White woman) — MY WHITE BEST FRIEND: (AND OTHER LETTERS LEFT UNSAID)

Char­ac­ter: White best friend. (White woman)

Age: Any

Play: MY WHITE BEST FRIEND: (AND OTHER LETTERS LEFT UNSAID)

Author: Rachel De-lahay (premiered 2019)

Brief Syn­op­sis: My White Best Friend col­lects 23 let­ters that engage with a range of topics, from racial ten­sions, micro­ag­gres­sions and emo­tion­al labour, to queer desire, pre­ju­dice and oth­er­ness. Express­ing feel­ings and thoughts often stifled or ignored, the pieces here trans­form letter writ­ing into a pro­voc­at­ive act of candour.

Speech:

That fight didn’t happen. At all. I just went to bed. And Rachel let me. ‘Cause this is the fight you and your white best friend will never have. ‘Cause how do you say to someone you love…You let me down.

How do you ask your white best friend to try and vis­ibly give a damn? Change your pro­file pic­ture, share that post, march! Know­ing it will make them feel uncom­fort­able? How could you ever put your white best friend on stage and remind them that they’re part of the prob­lem? If you love them? If you never want anyone to feel for even a moment how you feel living in this world every day?

So we don’t dis­cuss it. Which means I never got to say…

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that when you spoke your mind, I shuffled and shif­ted uncom­fort­able with the dia­logue. I’m sorry that on gut­si­er days I argued points defend­ing myself first and fore­most, as a woman, as a white woman, strug­gling to see the dif­fer­ence. I’m sorry I never thought to edu­cate myself privately, and fight, not even along­side you, but in front of you, ‘cause maybe you’re tired.

This is the most uncom­fort­able I’ve ever been on stage. And I don’t like it. One bit.

But maybe that’s ok. Maybe not every day enjoy­ing our priv­ileges and coast­ing through life, com­fort­able. Maybe some days put­ting ourselves out there for some­body else. Stand­ing up, loudly, vis­ibly, for someone less priv­ileged, and bear­ing the brunt of the brazen miso­gyny, racism and homo­pho­bia that can incur.

I am not that white woman. Yet. These words aren’t my words. They are a request, an offer­ing, from my best friend who thinks if we have the abil­ity to reshuffle and change a small space like this, so quickly, into a safe space, we have the abil­ity to change the world. 

Claire — CLAIRE’S SOLUTION (from APPLES)

Char­ac­ter: Claire

Age: 15

Play: CLAIRE’S SOLUTION (from APPLES)

Author: John Retallack (premiered 2010)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Set on a Middles­brough coun­cil estate, five fif­teen year olds nego­ti­ate a world where the adults are absent, drugs are every­where, sex is des­per­ate and life is both ter­ri­fy­ing and thrill­ing. Claire was raped at a party by a boy from school after she had passed out from a com­bin­a­tion of alco­hol and drugs. She became preg­nant and now has a baby boy, whom she isn’t able to name. Her life has been turned upside down by the baby and she is no longer able to go out with her friends or even get Gary’s atten­tion: she still feels some con­nec­tion to him des­pite the rape. 

Speech:

We cried into each oth­er­’s faces
at least there was no one around to see me bawl­ing
Five minutes later we reached the beck again
we stood at the side of the bridge
The water rose and surged like a black brick road
I thought of Eve and Debbie in Majorca
sun­ning them­selves
not giving a care about the people back home
I ima­gined them banging a bunch of Span­ish hunks
I was f***ing jeal­ous
Eve prob­ably didn’t even care about Gary
she had that spe­cial way of using people
and get­ting whatever she wanted
To baby boy
‘What are we going to do with you?’
He didn’t seem to know
His tan­trums star­ted all over again
the noise was incred­ible
What an ugly idiot he was
My brain was over­flow­ing with baby’s, boys and b****es
it f***ing knacked
I told Eve it was Gary’s baby
she still went and shagged him
I cuddled the little knob­head in my arms for a minute
The crying was unbear­able
I really wanted to strangle it
It struck me for the rest of my life
I’d only have the Baby Boy for com­pany
so far he hasn’t been much of a mate
I stood him on top of the bridge rail­ing
we had a dance as the wind eased up a bit
I made a little prayer
scrunch my eyes
and acci­dent­ally on pur­pose threw him off the rail
There was a big plop in the water
and a bit of red where he must’ve smacked off the bottom
I faked a look of horror
Gary’s jaw and my hair colour and cheekbones
wash­ing down the dirty stream
I felt a bit sick, but at least I’d got it over with
I pushed my lips togeth­er and charged down the road again
the breeze still going but noth­ing hold­ing me back
I felt like all the estate’s eyes were on me
but killing the baby was just a silly mis­take
We’ve all been there
When I got in
I made sure to phone 999 straight away
I waited for them to come round
I had a story in my head
I stared at the win­dows
I felt alright
The sky wasn’t exactly glow­ing but all the black clouds
they were diamonds

 

Simone — FERAL

Char­ac­ter: Simone

Age: Late-teens

Play: FERAL

Author:  BAFTA-Award Winner John Foster (first per­formed 2018)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A new one-woman Gypsy-Folk music­al drama. Explor­ing racism, com­munity, the gypsy exper­i­ence and the con­flict between logic and intu­ition, this com­pel­ling show fol­lows the story of eight­een-year-old Simone as she is gripped by a mag­net­ic and over­whelm­ing impulse to aban­don her family and travel in the open Dorset land­scape. Living rough and steal­ing money and food to sur­vive, Simone weaves an errat­ic trail, moving across the con­tours of the land and meet­ing an ensemble of characters

Speech:

Speech:
Bother.
I’m in bother.
Bad bother.
So much aggro.
What dad would call a pickle.
Go back.
Voice in my head.
Go back.
Back, Simone.
Back, girl.
Back.
Go back.
You must go back.
Bars.
Boxes.
Bar­ri­ers.
Don’t do this.
Don’t go out there.
Want­ing to.
Long­ing.
Turn back!
Torn.
Be warned.
Two minds.
Return.
Coop.
Safety.
Sanc­tu­ary.
Sound of rain tip­ping down, gradu­ally increas­ing in fero­city.
Shiv­er­ing.
Goose pimples.
Thun­der. Sheet light­ning.
Pull back.
Scared.
No way.
Not scared.
Fess up!
Fess up!
Scared.
Shit scared.
Home.
Come home.
Chill.
Deep in my bones.
Where you belong.
Feel the cold bite.
Turn about.
Hearth and home.
Pounds the ground with her fists.
No no no!
Rises, turns back to the path before her.
Whatever’s out here…
Speaks to me…
Who­ever…
Whatever…

 

Simone — FERAL (2)

Char­ac­ter: Simone

Age: Late-teens

Play: FERAL

Author:  BAFTA-Award Winner John Foster (first per­formed 2018)

Brief Syn­op­sis: A new one-woman Gypsy-Folk music­al drama. Explor­ing racism, com­munity, the gypsy exper­i­ence and the con­flict between logic and intu­ition, this com­pel­ling show fol­lows the story of eight­een-year-old Simone as she is gripped by a mag­net­ic and over­whelm­ing impulse to aban­don her family and travel in the open Dorset land­scape. Living rough and steal­ing money and food to sur­vive, Simone weaves an errat­ic trail, moving across the con­tours of the land and meet­ing an ensemble of characters

 

Speech:

Taking me in?
Asking the blue­bottle.
Down the sta­tion?
You’re in trouble
He says.
Slow nod of his head.
Load of trouble.
Crim­in­al damage, lass.
Lass?
Lass?
Call­ing me lass?
Why’d you do it, Simone?
Woman cop this time.
I tell her.
In my head.
But they don’t get it.
Not really.
They never do.
Some­thing that’s got to be said.
Some­thing you need to know.
Archer cop, ser­i­ous face.
It’s only right.
Should be your dad.
Telling you.
But he’s not here.
This’ll sur­prise you, Simone.
Maybe a bit of a shock.
So take a deep breath, right?
What’s he on about?
Your par­ents.
What about them?
They were Trav­el­lers.
Gypsies, Simone.
Gypsies.
You are gypsy.
Yes.
Me.
Tingling.
Tingling all over.
Everything numb.
Heart thump­ing in my chest.
Lived there.
Archer says.
Just down there.
That camp.
Then I see it.
I see the place.
On the lip of green by the sea.
Group of cara­vans.
Trail­ers.
Smoke from fires.
Wash­ing lines.
Dogs.
Kids play­ing.
There it is.
Like I know.
Know some­thing.
Rooted in me.
Long past.
Born down there.
The cop is saying.
Then got rehoused.
On the estate.
Where you are now.
Your mum and dad.
Said noth­ing.
Told no one.
Their gypsy past.
Kept secret.
Afraid.
Pre­ju­dice and all.
Didn’t want it known on the estate.
What people would think of them.
What they’d say.
Maybe do.
Know what I mean?
Bigotry.
Ignor­ance.
So they kept it quiet.
Free of all that.
You OK, Simone?

 

Anna — THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES

Char­ac­ter: Anna

Age: 18

Play: THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES

Author:  Kend­all Feaver (pub­lished 2018)

Brief Syn­op­sis: Dia­gnosed with a severe mental ill­ness as a child, Anna was pre­scribed a cock­tail of pills. Now a young adult, she’s won­der­ing how life might feel without them. But as she tries to move beyond the labels that have defined her, her mother feels com­pelled to inter­vene — threat­en­ing the fra­gile bal­ance they have both fought so hard to maintain.

Speech:

Do you know how many drugs I’ve been on, Vivi? Seven. I wrote up a list this morn­ing. The first one, I couldn’t get out of bed so you swapped it for some­thing that had me boun­cing off the walls, but it also made me so fat I didn’t want to leave the house. You countered that with the pill that made my hands shake and then swapped that for some­thing that made me naus­eous for the whole four months it took me to adjust to it, but then my vision star­ted blur­ring, so you lowered that one and tried some­thing else, but then I star­ted get­ting these really bad night­mares and I wasn’t sleep­ing again, so you added some­thing for the anxi­ety and some­thing for the insom­nia, and I have to ask this, Vivi, and I’m sorry, because this ques­tion does seem so blind­ingly obvi­ous: did you ever think that maybe the reason this course of treat­ment was so inef­fect­ive is because you ori­gin­al dia­gnos­is was actu­ally incorrect?