Teddy, from Riot Brrrain, by Caitlin M Caplinger

TEDDY (they/them)
It’s not a swing and maybe that’s how the world has portrayed it like this very lateral process you’re up then down then up down then up down up down and those are your only two modes

                            Deep breath and reveal

bipolar two
literally the name that you’re only occupying these two spaces you’re stripped of that middle the regular the calm
to say nothing of the void that is co-existing pouring in and out of the cracks filling you out making you into one whole lotta
into one whole stunning rich worthy helluva person

                          TEDDY enters into the revolving door (hypomania), moving slowly

it’s more a revolving door where at different times you’re burrowed in a pocket that’s allowing you to conquer the fucking world you are up at dawn who needs food I will accomplish everything in the universe who needs sleep who needs health who needs fucking money spend it all on shit that temporarily grounds me or takes me to the next goddamn level I am above those things I’m the one to take you to the hospital at 3am because I can’t get to sleep because what if someone dies my phone needs to be on I will murder someone most likely me

                 Ducks out and into another door section (baseline), the revolving speeds up

the next pocket is chill cool as a manic pixie cucumber the parts you like the acceptable mode the kind of calm you only feel after a Michelin star orgasm

                Ducks out and into another door section (depression), the revolving speeds up

fuck this pocket

                     The revolving speeds up

but the comforting aspect is that because its spinning there’s this gravity keeping you in one of these 3 pockets so you know what to expect

                    The revolving stops, TEDDY drifts out

it’s the days when gravity stops working when there’s no force pushing me into the center of the door when I could very well float out when the color leaves my cheeks and talking is useless because who would I communicate with it’s the days where you find me unapproachable intimidating because I don’t have an expression on my face or I don’t immediately kiss your ass or I just seem above it all but I suspect actually deep down you can sense there is nothing and that scares the shit outta you

Context: Teddy definitely, 100% has neurosyphilis — oops! To track down the dipshit who passed the pox, they embark on an epic punk-filled journey through their sexual (ok, sometimes romantic) past. Riot Brrrain features an original soundtrack, canonically non-binary and bisexual characters, and loads of biting humor.

This monologue ends the play. After acting some kind of fucked up for 90 minutes, Teddy finally confronts their own challenges and shame: they do not actually have neurosyphilis, its Bipolar 2.

More info: caitlincaplinger.com | caitlincaplinger@gmail.com for inquiries and performance permission

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Byrd, from Not Funny, by Avery Kester

[A young person sits with a drink in their hand. They’re at their home, maybe in just their underwear, it’s that kind of a night.]

BYRD. Why do straight men always ask me, “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever seen?” Not a funny question. What they really mean is, “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever sucked off, had in your ass, held in your hands, yadda yadda… “ and of course what’s under that is, “My penis size is my only indicator of my self-worth and I need to feel validated.” Once again, not funny. Why do straight men always ask me this? Why, why, why, why… and I always give my answer, because I hope it will shock them. I hope they will come away from it thinking “Why do I bother with this?”

[Pause. A drink.]

I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. I’ll say something like, “The biggest dick I ever saw was on a woman. Very petite, slender thing, she was packin’.” People laugh. It’s not really funny. “Shocked the hell out of me.” I say. When I think about it, and to my trans friends, it’s funny because such a big dick was on such a small person. Sometimes I’ll continue that story and tell them about how such a big dick didn’t really fit anywhere… but not always. That’s the funny part. But when I tell most cisgender people that, especially the straight guys, they think the funny part is that a woman has a dick. That’s not what I meant. Not funny. Not funny.

[They’re shifting around, perhaps uncomfortable.]

Maybe the funny part is that these men who ask me, who ask me “What’s the biggest penis you’ve ever seen?” are so insecure about the size of their dicks, desperate for validation, and I get to say “I once fucked a girl with a 10 inch monster dick.” I am careful who hears this story, I don’t tell everyone. I don’t tell anyone who would tell me that this fact makes her not a woman, well not on purpose anyways.

[Pause.]

It’s not funny. She misgendered me while in bed together. The only trans person I’ve been with to ever do so. She misgendered me after we fucked, we were lying in bed tangled up with each other. She asked me how I was, I said good… very good. I asked her how she was, and she said “Well I’m lying in bed with a beautiful girl so… can’t complain.”

[A drink.]

Yeah that was after we fucked. Not funny. I’ve never laughed about it. Lying in bed with a beautiful girl… lying… in. Bed. It did hurt, like a knife to the gut. Why? Why? WHY? We’ve gone through a whole evening coming into night together… whole evening… had a whole ass conversation beforehand. She knew I was nonbinary. Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh fucking yeah she knew. She knew. “Lying in bed with a beautiful girl.” Never do I feel that dysphoria more strongly than when someone misgenders me while I’m laying naked on top of them.

[Pause.]

I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. I didn’t even stay in bed with her the whole night. I threw my clothes on and slept on the couch. Why why why why why… She texted me at 6am when she woke and found me gone, I remember this so keenly… “Come back… I miss you….” Why? I always tell people this story as if it’s funny. Misgendering people… not funny.

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Z, from Retrograde, by Sav Souza

Z (they/them)
There was this German-exchange student in my class junior year.
She was basically fluent in english
and one day she turned to me really frustrated
and said, “I just talked to the cute boy with the locker next to mine and I’m having this feeling and I have no idea how to say it.”
And I said, “Maybe try words?”
And she said, “No- I know it in German, but there is no word in English.”
So, I was like “Can you use other words to try and explain it?”
And she said, “It’s Verschlimmbessern.”
And I said, “…bless you?”
And she went on to explain that it was the word for that situation when you mess something up and everytime you try to fix it, all you do is make matters worse,
and I was like, “You have a word for that? We just say that entire explanation.”
And she was like, “That is so much work.”
And I was like, “I KNOW RIGHT?! And also so sorry about your mishap with the cute boy.”

So I invited her over for a like sleepover thing and we stayed up all night as she told me all these weird translations of German words that we don’t have an equivalent for.
Some of the highlights were:
Kummerspeck- which literally translates to “sorrow bacon” and is the German word for “extra weight gained from emotional overeating”.
Schadenfreude is essentially that gratifying feeling you get when your piece of shit misogynist uncle’s third wife leaves him for another woman.

The Maasai people of Kenya have- I kid you not-
17 different words for the English word “cattle”,
And there is this language spoken in the Philippines that literally has like 20 for “rice”.
So like!!!
??????????
Don’t even get me started on languages that assign a gender to everything and everyone-
literally everything-
my toothbrush is a boy, my sandwich is a chick-
It doesn’t make sense!
I’m trapped in a box by language and it’s lack of ability to rise up to the complexities of human identity. If our experience and understanding of the world is so heavily based on the language we speak, then why do we limit our understanding with the language we create?

About the piece:
Retrograde is a one act musical that takes place inside of the mind of the main character, Z, as Retrograde Amnesia erases their memories from their brain after an accident. Through the piece, Z travels through memories that were formative in their identity and experience as a human- good and bad. This monologue takes place in the beginning of the play as Z is just getting to know this new world they are trapped in and are wandering and wondering amongst their many thoughts and existential questions about our experiences as humans.

Contact:
Please reach out to contact (at) savsouza (dot) com for inquiries, questions, or interest.

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K, from Gillian’a Bat Mitzvah, by Kevin Kantor

K. (they/them) I really don’t want to put you on the spot here Steph, but I’m callin’ bullshit. Girl. Bullshit, girl! You are not intimidated by me because you think I’m prettier than you, because well, firstly, we both know that survey says I am not. Granted it’s not a survey that I conducted. Still. You’re not intimidated by me, you’re made uncomfortable by me and not because I’m prettier than but because I’m pretty, period. And you didn’t know that pretty could come in this kind of package. It’s a horizon expanding kinda night. L’chaim! So how bout you offer me one of those smokes you think you’re hiding very well from everyone upstairs, we hit rewind, and we start being honest with one another because I love your brother but I need another ally up there. Yeah, I love him. And honestly, Steph, you smell like an ashtray. And you’re the most beautiful person in that room.

More info: KevinKantorPoetry (at) gmail (dot) com

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Cole, by Ella Gabriel

Cole (they/them) I keep having the same dream over and over again where I’m sitting in the corner of what I think is a room but it turns out each time to be this massive container the size of the front part of a ship and suddenly the ship starts closing in on me and I can’t go out and I have to squeeze myself into the tiniest little ball possible so I can barely breathe and the killer is this — and it’s always slow-motion at this part — I realize I just won’t make it because the container is moulded to the shape of the ship so there’s just no space for me at all. [Beat] Sometimes I see these guys who just don’t even have to think about whether or not to speak in any given moment. They just go for it. Like it’s their moment to fill in the first place. Their space to take. And then I think of my own confidence, right? And how everyone says how bold and unafraid I am of speaking my mind and grabbing opportunities but they don’t realize that’s a choice I made early on. Probably in direct reaction to that recurring dream. It’s something I’ve worked real hard to be able to do. Rather than some sort of birthright.

Context: This is one of 200-odd monologues I’ve written as a series for myself as an actor this year. I write one per day as a kind of artist challenge that I’m doing every weekday of 2018 and then I film one and put it on my socials at the end of the week. This one was number 79.

More info: iamellagabriel.com // email: ellacgabriel (at) gmail (dot) com

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Liv, from Great Big Sky, by Claire Gilbert Haider

LIV. (They/Them)

I’d already been living in the Bay Area for a year maybe when he died. And I was loving it there, I mean, I am queer as fuck and I look better in a suit and tie than any cis man I know. I’d been wearing blazers and button ups for about a year by then — my genderqueer calling card, as it were. I never added my dad on Facebook. He couldn’t even know I was queer, let alone genderqueer, that would have killed him faster.

I remember when I was in high school I had hair down to my waist. I was already wearing boxers by that time, but my hair screamed femme to most people so that’s the role I played. When I finally cut it short, after I got out of my secret queer relationship — my dad hated it. He said long hair was so attractive to men. Men liked it, and didn’t I want to be appealing to men? First of all, yuck. Saying that to your own kid — yuck. But secondly — and this I never got to tell him — why the fuck did he assume I wanted to be attractive to men? Who said my hair or my anything was a signal to cis men that I was looking to be their white picket fence, their vacuuming in pearls, their subservient flesh sleeve for the rest of my life? So Jane and I broke up, and I cut it all off, I went hard into the David Bowie look while in Oakland. I mean, three piece suits, pocket watches, the whole nine. I killed it.

Anyway, when he died I got his ties. I got his tie clips. I got his antique pocket watch that has to be wound, that has his dad’s name and his name engraved in the back. It’s all mine now. And when I wear it? I know he wouldn’t understand it. Wouldn’t approve. I’m carrying on the things I miss most about him and he’d think there was something wrong with me for it. Anyway, I still look better in a suit than he ever did. Take that, Dad.

More info: This monologue is from a play in progress called Great Big Sky by Claire Gilbert Haider. Liv and their friend Ziggy are hiking through the Yosemite Valley spreading Liv’s father’s ashes around the park. This monologue takes place in Tuolumne Meadows. For further information please contact clairehaider (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Ciel from Crashing, by Jonathan Alexandratos

CIEL is a non-binary character in my play CRASHING. They can also transform into a plane. Here, they talk to their new neighbor, PHOEBE, after a moment of connection.

CIEL.
Okay so.
See this toy airport thing?
I’ve been building this since I was a kid.
It all started because I got this one toy. It was one of those Happy Meal toys,
Y’know, like you get from McDonalds?
I was, like, eight, and they had one of those ones:
Barbie or Hot Wheels. Remember that?
Barbie or Hot Wheels.
And the Barbie was the “girl toy”
And the Hot Wheels was the “boy toy,”
Which, I mean,
What a horrible position you put those poor workers in.
Right?
Like, they work 12-hour shifts for minimum wage,
And now they gotta gender your kid, too?
Anyway of course they couldn’t tell with me
Because I looked somewhere between Chucky and Bride of Chucky,
So that meant I got Hot Wheels.
I sat down,
Opened it up.
My mom was furious.
“How could you get a Hot Wheels!?
“You’re a girl!
“You were supposed to get a Barbie! “
Those damn burger-flippers!
“They can’t see a girl when one’s slappin’ ‘em in the face!”
Thank God this was before the era of the cell phone video
Because this shit woulda been all up on YouTube. Anyway, we were asked to leave the establishment,
And I kept my little Hot Wheels plane.
Which I loved!
It was a plane! I thought Hot Wheels was just cars, but here was a plane!
And this little plane created this whole thing where my mom got all upset maybe because on some level she knew I wasn’t ever gonna look like what she expected me to look like.
But also because it was everything I was, just boiled down into a tiny little thing.
They said “she,” McDonald’s said “no,” now I say “they.”
I got a charge outta that.
So I told this little plane that I’d build ‘em an airport and all sorts of other stuff would fly in and out and they could fly in and out
I did that, and, when it was basically done, something kinda crazy happened:
I transformed into the plane
The little toy plane
It felt like a “thank you,”
Like this little toy plane wanted me to feel how it felt to finally have a place to land So it made me into a toy plane, too
And I flew around my bedroom,
And I felt the lift all around me
Holding me up
I controlled my descent and landed so smoothly I could barely tell I was on the strip of cardboard I laid down as a runway.
And once I came to a halt
I was allowed one last wisp of air to course over my wings
And I unfolded back into a person.
That’s when I knew I was a “them.”
Because if there’s an airplane in here,
I didn’t have to just be one thing anymore.
So if my gender is anything,
It’s this little plane.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/users/3845/jonathan-alexandratos

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Drought, by NewSong

I wrote this halfway through the summer, I share it now that the
drought has ended. Water has been blessing the earth once again, the
fire near our house that burned for months is finally out, the river
is flowing with enthusiasm once again. And I have moved out of that
unknowing vulnerable place where I spent this summer, not knowing if I
would receive that yang blessing from the sky, afraid I was scorching
my land with the asking of my journey.

It is a time of drought-
the river and lake are low,
the winds are high,
I walk where water once licked, kissed, covered.

“But beauty…” you pleaded
as if it were my obligatory gift to the world
so I compromised until I couldn’t.
Under shorn gold ornament,
I found someone I recognized.

Deep underwater
I find a plankton that glows
And if we could find out how to convert its energy,
one small piece could power a town.
If you swim near it,
you can breathe the water slowly and live.

“courageous,” he said.
“brave,” she said.
“A necessary choice made
to soothe the weeping of my soul,”
I said.
finally, formally, as they.

Barefoot,
my toes grip sliding rocks,
the going is slow, tedious, on the steep bank,
and for a moment,
I identify as a 4-legged,
scrambling hands and feet.

A newfound beauty,
Skin shed for comfort,
Strong and confident,
I step through the threshold.
Into-
A confused look,
“tweety bird?”
A stranger to all but me.
I swing between elation and agony,
like the seasons on Mercury.

A swarm of pigeons and seagulls,
take down the plane into a post-apocalyptic world.
I see bodies black from frostbite,
that fill the arroyo where they camped,
fingers clutching each other,
dead because they relied on each other’s bad advice,
So every person for themself,
I isolate myself to survive.

For three days you couldn’t look at me.
The truth spoken and lived,
now you incant loudly,
-a spell to ward off my vulnerability,
that awakens your fear-
speaking of the difficulties of friends,
the scorching sun,
and-

“will it rain?”
the clouds hover,
and I hope for an outpouring
to cleanse and cool the land.

Do clothes make the man?
I had been waiting for this moment,
Fabulous and new,
I stand awkwardly with hands in my pockets.
I had forgotten the loud disconnect of parties.

The eagerness of the willows,
pushing up through sand for air,
tell me this ground has been dry before.
Perhaps the earth will not burn.

More info: Contact newsonghealing (at) gmail (dot) com

They have a blog where they write about spirituality and mindfulness
within their non-binary life at spiritgender.wordpress.com.

>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Blue, from The Finality of Tits, by Avery Kester

BLUE. A friend once told me a joke and it was that dating when you’re queer is like looking for a job, you either do it online or you get referred. Pause now for laughter. Like a job too, people always seem to think there are partners everywhere just waiting for you to come and claim them, and when you don’t have one, all of your friends and relatives start telling you about a local place that’s hiring. My long resume doesn’t help me in the dating world, I’ll tell you what. So I have an account on Tinder. And OKCupid, they’re kind of the best ones to be queer on. Kind of messed up really. I’ve still gotten a lot of hurtful messages about how my gender is fake and I’m a liar and an attention whore. But what I’m trying to tell you isn’t really about that, it’s about what are called unicorn hunters. You’ve never heard of them? Unicorn hunters? What is this, dragons and dungeons? Well not quite my friend. Unicorn hunters are straight couples looking for a bisexual woman to join their existing relationship. She has to be into the same kinds of things as they are, but also have her own interests. She must be open to having sex with them, both of them, whenever they see fit. She must want more connection than just sex but also understand her place as an outsider to the relationship. Usually she must also be the picture of femininity and trans girls need not apply. She, like unicorns, doesn’t exist. Which is why they’re called unicorn hunters and not famed unicorn prize catchers. I am not a unicorn for many reasons, but chiefly because I am not a woman. Not a woman. Hello yes it’s me, genderqueer with tits, but distinctly not a woman. Look at me in this suit. This is a man’s suit. Look at me with my haircut. This is a trademarked genderqueer haircut. Really more of a zebra than a unicorn. Real but flighty and introverted. I know about the finality of tits. I understand that because I have them, everyone everywhere will always assume that I am a woman. I can’t afford to lose them anymore than I can afford to keep them, surgery is expensive. I think about cutting them off myself sometimes, when it gets really bad. But I’ll tell you, there is not much is this world that makes me feel as terrible as when I receive a message from a pair of straight folks looking for a unicorn. “Hey there cutie! My hubby and I are looking for a fun loving girl to join us in the bedroom!” Or “My boyfriend says you’re one of the prettiest girls he’s ever seen! Can we take you to lunch?” I am not a woman. I am not a girl. I…. I’m… not a girl. And I work hard at that okay? I have manufactured this look, this walk, this manner of speaking. I know what I’m about and it’s distinctly between the binary. But even though I spell that out in the 500 character about me section on Tinder, they still say things like that to me. I spend so much time hating my body and wishing that it would fuck off. I don’t need the arrows of unicorn hunters to help me with that.

More info: Please contact the playwright Avery Kester (They/Them) at the following email address: averypkester (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Love Letters to Nobody, by Maybe Burke

Michaela,

I’m sorry I gave Lands your name. I know it’s something we should have agreed upon first, but Michaela, I didn’t mean to scare him. I didn’t know he would hurt you like that. I had no idea that telling him I was a girl would- I didn’t even know we were going with Michaela. I always thought you would be Nicole. Mom always wanted a Lauren, but I think she wanted to be the one to name her. But I also don’t think I should have such a blatant girl name. I’m not even a girl, I’m just closer to that than any other word you could think to give me. So we’ll call you Michaela, but you’re not the right option for me. You are the woman I never got to be. The person that everyone seems to be scared I’ll become. The girl I can’t commit to becoming. I’ve learned so much from you, but telling him that you exist just proved to me that you don’t. You’re not the final answer. I’m still me, just not the me people think they see. Maybe I’ll find another name, but we can work together to make you a more substantial part of my life. I just need to make sense of all of these people I think I could be and find one concrete person.

 
Hey Cado,

You did the thing. You called me the thing. You said the word .. Uhm. You called me han.. Uh. You called me handsome. And that’s not. Uhm. It’s not like a slip up, it’s not an accident.. it’s your opinion. And I know you think it was a compliment but it’s just ..a thing that I can’t hear. I guess I should have brought this up earlier, but I never know how much is too much too soon. You can’t call me that. Look, when I was in college, having what I was calling my sexual revolution, but what I now refer to as .. “college..” I was lonely and making a lot of mistakes and I had this one night stand. This was the year I went through the rainbow in hair dye, so at this point I was blood red, like Little Mermaid red. Me and some guy were having sex, on my bunk bed, and he like put his hand over my hair so he couldn’t see it anymore and he told me “you’re so handsome.” Like, I know people call Angelica Houston handsome and if I really wanted gender equality words wouldn’t have implications of gender, he tried every kind of retort here. But I asked him not to do that and he just kept telling me I was handsome. I was a handsome man. So I get it. You think that’s a compliment. But I’m telling you it’s not.

 
Dear ..oh I don’t even remember your name.

I’m quite aware that I am the first trans person that a lot of people meet. So, statistically, it makes sense that I’m also the first trans person most of those people date. Which is fine, I don’t mind being different than what you’re used to. What I don’t like is being your training wheels. I like talking about gender and identity, but I’m not a fucking encyclopedia. We sat at lunch for two whole hours talking about my gender. Okay, to be fair you weren’t as bad as the date that literally asked for photo ID. We went over where you work and went to school, but from the second the food came it was Trans 101 and I was Professor Exploited. “When did you know you were different? Do you know Laverne Cox? I heard that hormones are actually really bad for you. Two gay brothers? And you? Ugh, your poor father…” Pretty invasive stuff for someone I just met to be asking me when all I know is that you work in finance. When the check came, I went to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to pretend to try to pay for my meal. When I came back you said “So, I noticed you came out of the Men’s room,” but all I noticed was that you didn’t pay the check.

 

Context: Love Letters to Nobody is a solo piece by Maybe Burke. These are standalone monologues that don’t have character names, and pronouns can be malleable. Please reach out to the playwright at maybeburke.com if you’d like to learn more.

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