From Three Sisters (1900) by Anton Chekhov (as translated by Elisaveta Fen):
[Andrey laments to a fellow Council Member]
Oh, where has all my past life gone to? – the time when I was young and gay and clever, when I used to have fine dreams and great thoughts, and the present and the future were bright with hope? Why do we become so dull and commonplace and uninteresting almost before we’ve begun to live? Why do we get lazy, indifferent, useless, unhappy?… This town’s been in existence for two hundred years; a hundred thousand people live in it, but there’s not one who’s any different from all the others! There’s never been a scholar or an artist or a saint in this place, never a single man sufficiently outstanding to make you feel passionately that you wanted to emulate him. People here do nothing but eat, drink and sleep… Then they die and some more take their places, and they eat, drink and sleep, too, – and just to introduce a bit of variety into their lives, so as to avoid getting completely stupid with boredom, they indulge in their disgusting gossip and vodka and gambling and law-suits. The wives deceive their husbands, and the husbands lie to their wives, and pretend they don’t see anything and don’t hear anything … and all this overwhelming vulgarity and pettiness crushes the children and puts out any spark they might have in them, so that they, too, become miserable half-dead creatures, just like one another and just like their parents!
*Andrey is traditionally cast as ‘male’. They begins the play as an aspiring academic, but ends up marrying, having children, and working for the Town Council. Here they openly laments to a fellow council member, who is hearing impaired.
Monologue curated by Classical Monologue Dramaturg, Rory Starkman.
DRAMATURG NOTES (from all three pieces):
Though all three of these characters are traditionally cast as ‘male’, nothing in these monologues indicate that they need to be male. Each monologue reads as a philosophical soliloquy, and though traditionally it has always been males who were thought to philosophize (and even still there is a disparity within university philosophy departments, which tend to be overrun with people assigned male at birth), the ability to think out loud and express one’s thoughts and emotions is not a gendered aspect of living. In de-gendering/un-gendering these monologues from 1900, the idea of philosophical thought in performance can move further out of the male realm and into a more non-binary theatrical space.
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