Julie-Anne Reyes, from Nolita, by Nina Ki

Julie-Anne Reyes. Fourteen. Filipinx.

JULIE-ANNE. I first met her in the line for the bathroom, at a party. Isn’t that weird? I tend to meet a lot of people in the bathroom line, though. I always talk to them and stuff– I mean, you’re waiting around together, right…?? Just something to kill time. Nolita always said that was weird, but I thought it was fun. …That was her name. Nolita.

(pause)

It was one of those things that were so charming about her. Nolita wasn’t her real name, in case you were wondering. She didn’t really tell anybody her “birth” name, not even me. She chose Nolita after that book about the nymphomaniac and the child molester, who wrote that again? Vlad– Vladimoor– I don’t know. Some Russian guy. Anyway, she put “no” in there just to change it up. She liked that kind of thing. Changing it up. It was one of the things I admired most about her. She did it to me too, you know– she changed me up. I mean, I’m there one second, you know, completely into guys (I think), and then the next– I don’t know. I’m having dates and stuff. Like ice cream. Getting ice cream, I mean, Nolita liked this one place called Moo’s.

(pause)

Moo’s Ice Cream. Funny name. But Nolita liked it. Ice cream wasn’t even that good, and there weren’t that many flavors– only Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate. But she liked that the old lady who ran it was a “halfie,” I mean, she said half Chinese half white, like her, and mostly she liked the name. She just– I don’t know. She liked it. And she made me like it, too. She changed me.

(pause)

If I could compare the whole experience– the whole experience of being around her, I mean, I would liken it to a natural disaster. She was a natural disaster. Like a hurricane, or a tsunami. Or, no, an earthquake. Yeah. An earthquake. She made the ground shake under me, made everything collapse and fall down so I have to build everything back up. But she was my natural disaster… or she used to be.

(pause)

She kissed me first, you know. For the record. Right outside of Moo’s, one day. Fucking rocked my world. I don’t even think she was gay before that. She just wanted to do it, so she did. She was that kind of person, you know. Nolita. I loved it, loved her, you know, but sometimes it drove me crazy. Really crazy, like she made me feel so– shook up inside. You know? …She broke up with me yesterday. Just said, I’m sorry, Honeybun. She called me that. Honeybun, like the pastry thing. Now every time I walk by a bakery I want to cry. But she said, it’s not working out anymore and she’s got to go do her thing. Just like that. One day it’s working, the next day it’s not. Fucking changing it up.

(pause)

I’m sad, ateh. I’m really sad. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. It’s the first time I ever really loved someone, you know? And a girl? Does that like– mean I’m gay? Even if Nolita’s not around, anymore? What the hell does that even mean? Do I go look for boys or girls, now? Both? Neither? But I shouldn’t even say that. The only person I want, is her. I mean, really. That’s all I really want, to go hold her hand and maybe kiss sometimes, or even go to that stupid place. Moo’s. What a stupid name. What do you do, ateh? What do you do after that, when they’re gone? After they change you up, and go? Do you know? Can you tell me?

More information: ms.ninaki (at) gmail (dot) com

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

Donating is easy. >>Visit this link. Make sure to mention The Non-Binary Monologues Project in the notes section of the form, and you’re all set!

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ADULTING WITH YOU, by Ayla Sullivan

WADE. Honey, listen, I know I haven’t been the most, like, available person to you these past few months. My depression naps aren’t even naps anymore, they’re just me pretending that sleeping for sixteen hours at a time is something I can get away with; the neighbors keep threatening to call social services because they think we’re neglecting a screaming baby every time I have, like, a gentle, I mean really mild, panic attack when the dishwasher makes the, you know, the (inhuman screeching buzz no dishwasher would ever make) sound; and you know I see you give me those pity eyes, which I know you don’t mean to look like that and I’m not saying I don’t appreciate you being so supportive because you are my purpose and my muse and all that shit, which is to say I think you would be really proud of me today.

For one, I took a shower. I know. It’s basic, but I took a shower at 9 AM. Which you know means I naturally woke up at 8 and grumbled to the stillness of our apartment about existence and, like, if anything I do even matters and if I can mentally prepare myself for Jeff to call me his “Golden Girl of espresso sales” no matter how many fucking times I tell him to stop calling me something so patronizing and gross and when I got out of the shower and I saw myself I didn’t disassociate and wish I saw something better. I just saw me and I saw someone who lives somewhere they are loved and where the shower water is the perfect temperature.

And then, Babe, I listened to three podcasts today. Different ones! On the way to work, on the way home, fucking just casually when I was walking around Target. Yeah, I fucking went to Target today too. I looked in—not just the dollar section—I went to the motherload. I went to every home and bath decoration section because I was thinking about us. And thinking like how great it would be if I could get us those gold terrarium things with the succulents and like antlers for some reason because every nice catalogue home has those gold antlers for some reason and, and, and, what I really want to say is that I’m like a real fucking person because of you. Like, holy shit, you’ve got me…domesticated.

More information: aylaxc.sullivan (at) gmail (dot) com

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

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Shay, from Current, by Samantha Vakiener

SHAY. I liked tracking your story.  You were so… (Can’t describe it.) but ultimately endearing.  I got like a high from listening to you.  Like, I meant so much— No, something I created meant so much to someone.  And that made being a fish, wearing a stupid costume for a stupid fish fry restaurant, mean something.  A reason to stick around.  After it hadn’t meant something for so long.  I would listen to you.  And listen to you.  And listen to you.  I would have kept on listening to you.  Because… I thought I was helping you.  And then that one day you… you asked who was in the suit.  And I wanted to take off the head and talk to you.  Finally talk to you.  To someone.  Have a conversation.  But I was scared.  And it turns out I had every right to be.  It’s just been days, but.. The things you’ve said to me.  The things you’ve done.  You wish you had never asked.  Because you don’t want to know me.  No matter what you say.  What’s appropriate at this stage of acquaintanceship is “What’s your favorite color?”  “What kind of music do you like?”  Not “What are you?”  Not “Will you heal me?”  That’s too much to put on a person you just met.

Context: From the full-length CURRENT.  Monologue occurs during the final scene.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/users/2282/samantha-vakiener

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

Donating is easy. >>Visit this link. Make sure to mention The Non-Binary Monologues Project in the notes section of the form, and you’re all set!

Cat, from Laced, by Sam Mueller

Cat, yelling from the stage.

CAT
Holy hell, there are so many of you!
Hey!
We’ve got no microphone tonight so I’m gonna need you to shut up!

            Cat waits.

(CAT)
Everyone have their glasses?
Raise them to the
Ladies
and gentlemen
and the actually interesting people here

Listen,
Some mornings I wake up
and I feel caught in the middle
feel the she, her, hers, and the he, him, his
waging a war in my gut
telling my they and them and theirs that they must choose
that the middle is just muck

But some mornings I wake up
and it doesn’t feel like the middle at all.
It’s something else entirely
It feels like slipping into warm flannel
and sipping chai while it rains
some days, fiercer
like slipping feet into
unbroken platform heels
clusters of muscles in my feet controlling plantar flexion
feeling the downward pointing feet pulling at muscles all the way up my leg
sometimes it feels like work, but
it takes work to become

On my clearest mornings,
They and them and theirs is a root
It grounds me
as both she and he
and neither she and he
both and neither

I don’t know where that leaves me.
I don’t want to make a mockery of the women who
Slip feet into soles and find it fuel for their woman-ness
Truth be told
I can be jealous of them
It’s simple for them
Uncomplicated
A feeling of being elevated
They find themselves powerful
but
Heels were made to be unisex
Ninth fucking century
Persian men wore heels into battle on horseback
A symbol of wealth
Of manliness
And I realized slipping feet into shoes
Was me preparing for the battle of being
Fighting
Ritual
It’s the last thing I do before stepping on stage
It roots me to my goddamn people
Like if I had the means to trace up my family tree
Could I find a member of the Persian cavalry that shares my name?
That maybe also felt between
and outside?

I tattooed a Persian Cedar tree on my thigh the day before I turned 21.
I held hands with myself
Clutched my own body for the two hours it took for the needle to leave all of the ink beneath my skin.
Dipping in and out faster than hummingbird wings
Watched as my artist poured their heart into my flesh
And I asked how long they’d been tattooing.
They looked young but they said twenty years.
And I said I couldn’t imagine doing anything for twenty years.
And they winked when they said
It roots me.
And we laughed at the irony of tattooing a tree as roots
And I studied the hard edges of their face
The shadows of a red beard creeping in
as they smiled and said
the art of creating,
it makes me feel so feminine, you know?
I just don’t see why I can’t be male and female
And neither male nor female at the same time, you know?
and I said
I know
Because I did
And they said
Namas-fucking-te.
The light in me recognizes the light in you
Like a beacon,
like a lighthouse
The fresh ink in my thigh leaving a dull throbbing reminder
a steady pulse of knowing
It didn’t matter what I looked like to anyone else
I could claim my femme
And I could claim my masc
They could exist together
And I could be complete

I only have one other tattoo
I went back to the same artist five years later
And they said
I was wondering what happened to you.
It’s so good to know you’re still
here
And they put three words beneath my tree
It says
Burn, Gender, Burn

So I kept painting my face
Covered up my brows
I glittered my lips
I extended my lashes so far
Past the clouds
and past the stars
and out of Florida
out of fucking Florida
and back in time
I wanted to butterfly kiss
Marsha
and Sylvia
and Christopher Street
and the femmes who came before me
the ones who spoke Spanish at home with their mothers
and yelled English to the cops on the streets
I want to séance with their ghosts
and thank them for the air I breathed
deeper and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and

            Cat gasps.

I need to ask them why it is
Sometimes
So
Damn
Hard
To
Be
The
Person
I
Am.

Context: A flashback to the night prior at around 3 am as Cat (they/them/theirs) is on stage delivering a monologue in full drag.

More information: samanthadmueller (at) gmail (dot) com

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

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Cookie, from Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Pirate? by Ben Kemper

COOKIE. No! No this is too much! I will not challenge you to duel, Captain. Not even with a cardboard-tinfoil-whatever cutlass. I get we’re supposed to be, you know, fierce and buccaneer-ey, but I didn’t sign up to be a pirate to fight people. Do you know what happens when people fight, Captain? They get hurt. And since I’ve already lost a leg, a hand, and an eye at various points on this adventure I’m going to sit this one out. This isn’t what you promised. You said that pirates were free, that they could choose whatever they want to be. But I feel like you’re just making us what you want to be. So, I’m going back in the galley and making ship’s biscuit because that’s how this pirate pirates and I’m not going to fight anybody. Except at a thumb war. I am an expert thumb warrior.

Context: A group of friends cast themselves as pirates, seeking to throw off the chaffing rules and niceties and live wild and free. “The Captain” puts together a crew of First Mate, Lookout, Cookie, and Parrot and leads them on a quest for plunder and buried treasure, all while being consumed by Sir Nicky Pick who seeks to crush the wily band and impose order on the neighborhood.

This monologue comes at the point when the rest of the crew is weary of the Captain calling the shots and forcing them into even wilder, more dangerous stunts. Cookie, a pacifist, who has “lost” various appendages at the Captain’s command, refuses an order to duel with her.

More information: Please contact the playwright at benkemperstoryteller (at) gmail (dot) com.

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

Donating is easy. >>Visit this link. Make sure to mention The Non-Binary Monologues Project in the notes section of the form, and you’re all set!

 

Dani, from Seams, by Kathryn Lynn Morgen

DANI. (non-binary, seam-ripping a thrifted dress shirt.) I buy these old clothes from thrift stores. Sometimes I dive them from dumpsters. I don’t know how I choose them. It’s more like they choose me. They have a certain sparkle, seem to vibrate with a secret energy that others don’t.

They show me what they want to become, usually we discover it together: a cocktail dress, a blazer—usually something formal, sometimes something to relax in, a mumu, or party in.

Dani examines the garment, exploring their options for creating something new out of something old.

Some garments speak to me and tell me “I’ve always wanted to twirl on the dance floor on the body of a ballroom dancer.” Others are more introverted and ask me to discover their identities. I’ve learned—over and over—things are rarely as they seem. There’s a greater purpose than the eye can perceive, they are greater than what they are seen as.

Dani clicks the fabric into the machine which after just a few inches catches, knotting up the fabric, Dani pulls out the mess of thread and begins again with the seam-ripper, confident, calm.

I grew up sensing that in myself, came to know it in myself and later in fabric and thread. I’ve learned to sense it in other people, too… but not you. I never could. I still can’t.

Struggling with the seam, the seam-ripper slips and jabs Dani in the finger, they curse, it’s painful but they are used to it, Dani sucks their finger, puts the garment in their lap, lights a cigarette. [The ghost of?] their mother sits behind them at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette, watching.

Dani clicks the garment into place on the sewing machine, taking a drag from her cigarette.

Dani lays the cigarette in the ashtray and begins to sew. The sewing machine chomps at the fabric, this time with no hiccups, the sewing machine glides at the whim of Dani’s fingertips, obeying, for the time being.

I remember when I was five or six, watching you get ready to go out. You were a stunning, radiant woman. I remember the way your pearls sparkled with a magic iridescence that matched a gleam in your eye—like shoes to the perfect purse, or scarf. You had a secret energy about you. I wanted to be like you.

I don’t want to be like you anymore. I just want to know you, who you are, who you were, who you wanted to be.

I realized later that gleam was a deflection you used to distract people from what was inside of you—a hard, empty world you lived in. You didn’t want the light to get in, you didn’t want to be seen. You wanted to be invisible. You wanted disappear. And now it seems you have.

Dani finishes a stitch, gets up from the sewing machine and goes to the fridge without looking at their mother.

They retrieve two beers, put one down in front of their mother and crack it open. Dani sits across from their mother at the table, cracks open their beer and sips.

Context: 

Setting: An apartment building of mostly long-term residents with one or two high-turnover apartments, studios to two-bedrooms.

Dani’s Studio.

Decoration: thrifted elegance with a touch of kitsch, outdated appliances, bare essential furniture, a sewing machine/station against the wall opposite the refrigerator and kitchenette, between the two, a retro kitchen table with four chairs.

Dani has just received word their mother is dead and goes to their sewing machine to continue creating/mending/refurbishing a garment.

More information: http://www.klmxyz.com/

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

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Steps 2, 3, 5 & 8, from 12, by M. Keala Miles, Jr.

STEP 2:

Come to believe that only a power greater than ourselves will restore us to sanity

GAMBLING ADDICTION

ADDICT. So we had this county fair when I was really young. I didn’t even really like the rides. I liked to play the games. I like to try to win prizes. It’s a thrill, you know, to try to WIN something.

ECHOES: win…win…win…win…win

ADDICT: I like to WIN. No, I LOVE to WIN.

My favorite game was the basket toss. You have to put the right amount of backspin and throw the softball at just the right arc to get it to stay in the basket. I figured it out pretty quick. I got so many oversized stuffed animals from that game.

My dad started to go crazy because I had too many bags of prizes stacked up in the garage.
He said I had to choose which ones I wanted to keep. I couldn’t do it; so he picked three bags at random and gave the rest to charity.

I cried for nine days.

When I got older, I finally started to go on the rides.

And I was terrified at first: Roller coasters look so dangerous.

And then you get off the ride and you feel like, it almost feels like you won the prize. Like “I conquered this huge metal monster!” I…fucking WIN!

THAT stuck with me.

That thrill, for WINNING.

As you get older you keep finding ways to win. It’s a continuous discovery. You take risks every day and you win every day. What will get me downtown faster? The trolley or a cab? Should I eat Thai or Italian? Can I push for one more mile on this run? Do I negotiate a promotion?

Some risks, some WINs are bigger than others.

When I was 25, my boyfriend took me to Vegas. It was my first time…it would definitely not be my last.

Fucking roulette. I fucking love roulette. Just that tick…tick…tick…tick………tick………tick…

It’s like a song you don’t want to end.

Then it’s over.

Just like that.

I close my eyes and hear that tick…tick…tick…tick…tick. Tick. Tick. Over and over. The reward is never worth the risk. How much money have I thrown down at that table? Year after year.

I still need that thrill. I just wish it would last longer. I just wish I knew how to make that feeling last forever.

But that feeling can’t last forever, right? But I don’t know how to walk away.

That’s why I am here.

***

STEP 3:

Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood THEM.

NARCOTICS ADDICTION

When my dad died I was 13, and my mom suddenly became this completely different person. She seemed to have even more life…

It’s crazy. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand that your parents had a life before you were born. Like you just feel like you are the center of their universe, you know; I mean, you ARE the center of the universe.
But I didn’t have a dad, anymore. I felt like I was going crazy. And I was like, where’s my MOM? Why isn’t she here? And it was almost like he lost his life and she found it and was making sure to suck out every last moment of joy from whatever he left behind.

And I blamed her for sucking the life out of him and I blamed her for letting him beat the shit out of me and I blamed her for turning her back on me and then in the middle of a cocaine weekend I found myself on my knees in a gas station bathroom sucking some stranger’s cock for blow…

I mean, I guess that’s what they call a moment of clarity?

He looked down at me and said, “You don’t have to do this.”

I got up off the floor. He put his pants back on, gave me enough for a couple bumps and he left, quietly.

I just stood there in a row of sinks and mirrors.

And I’d like to say that was the last time, but it wasn’t.

I can’t trust myself. So I came here looking for trust. For faith in something other than myself.

You tell me I have to trust God. Fuck God.

God took my dad before I was even old enough to understand how important having a dad is. God is the one that put me in that room with my first rail. God’s the one that let him touch me.

I deserve better. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve a God that cares. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve to be happy. (ECHO repeats)

***

STEP 5:

Admission to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

HOARDING

Everything means something.

The box of Christmas cards and photos from your childhood.

I still have every report card from Kindergarten through 12th grade. All of my awards and ribbons and trophies.

They are all important.

The pen your boyfriend used to write you that note…

The note…?

I can’t FIND it!!!

The piece of pipe that burst during the blizzard of ’98; you had to replace it—with your uncle…who you never see, but happened to be stuck in town that week because of the storm.

It’s funny, sometimes how things work out.

The bag of stuffed animals you kept because they are all plush toys you got from family vacations to Disneyland. Eight years-worth of plushies. My favorite was Donald Duck. I know a lot of people probably like Mickey or Goofy better, but I was always a Donald Duck fan.

I always thought it was kind of weird that Huey, Dewey, and Louie had an Uncle Donald and an Uncle Scrooge but not mom or dad. What happened to their parents?

It always bothered me that nobody ever talks about their parents.

It also bothered me that none of them wore pants. Mickey wears pants. Goofy wears pants. Jiminy Fucking Cricket wears pants.

Is it cuz they’re ducks? But we never see them in the water!!!

Anyway, I had Donald and his three nephews and I got a new one every time we would go to Disneyland. But I also have Roger Rabbit and Dumbo and Mickey and Minnie both.

Some people, they don’t understand. They don’t understand how much everything means. Each thing. Each. Little. Thing.

Everything means something.

It must be in that box…where is that box?

And, I don’t know, its strange, to me, I guess, that here I am, in here, and they don’t understand; like, they don’t see, you know, like they don’t treasure things. Little things.

The way I do.

And I guess what I’m having the most trouble with is that I really don’t understand why it is considered unhealthy to think this way?

To treasure all the little things. And want to remember all the little things.

This was my mother’s wedding ring.

This is all I have of her.

Now that she’s gone. I feel abandoned.

I feel empty.

When I’m not collecting, I feel empty.

So I go out every day to find more things to collect. It doesn’t matter what they are.

But it should matter, because one day I came home and, I couldn’t even open the door. This is out of control.

I just want to come home. But I don’t know how. And I need help.

***

STEP 8:

Made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends.

HOARDING

The hoarder returns. It has been at least three months since we last saw them.

It started with little things. Little things that had a story to tell. And it felt good to be a part of those stories. It was usually things that people left behind. I rescued them: discarded, forgotten things. Fuck that; I helped those stories along. I contributed.

I love that I got to be a part of history.

And now that is what they are: discarded and forgotten. History.

They are all gone.

But I guess when you live like this—with these kinds of things engulfing your life—it is easy to overlook how easy it could be to see it all go up in flames.

Because that’s what they did.

Two weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and my house was on fire. Like, at first, I thought maybe I was dreaming.   And then I could feel it, but it still felt like a dream too; you know how when you are half asleep and you hear a song or you smell something cooking and it gets incorporated into your dream?

It was like that…but then, eventually I realize that in my dream it smelled like something was burning. And I woke up to find the fire had made its way to my bedroom door. When I realized what was happening I quickly jumped out the window and I broke my ankle.

As I sat in the yard, wrapped in the quilt my grandmother crocheted when I was born, I realized that all those little things were gonna burn in that house. They were gonna burn and I couldn’t do anything about it.

When the smoke cleared and we start to go through the rubble it suddenly dawns on me that I almost gave my life for this disease. It turns out that I had left a stack of old newspapers and magazines next to a space heater in one of the bedrooms. I don’t remember even having a space heater; it certainly wasn’t on! But apparently it shorted out and that sparked enough of a fire.

By the time the fire department came the entire back bedroom was completely destroyed and it had made its way to my room. That’s where the firefighters stopped it; most of my bedroom was destroyed too. The bed didn’t melt down completely but it is definitely beyond salvage. They managed to spare half of the closet and the nightstand by the window.

That’s where I keep my son’s fetal death certificate. Somehow that tiny corner of the room was spared.

And I don’t know how to deal with that.

Context: SYNOPSIS: The title is taken from the common 12-step addiction recovery program philosophy, with each of the 12 scenes representing one of the steps. There are 6 addicts (to be played by 3 actors of any gender, race, or adult age), though there are more than 6 characters.

The “Echo” references are “chorus” parts during the prologue and intermission in which the three players embody the voices of temptation. You may ignore them, of course, for the purposes of a monologue.

 “12” received its world premiere at the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival. The three players were: James P. Darvas, Devi Noel, and Rhiannon McAfee. It was directed by Mark Stephan; presented at the 10th Ave Arts Center, Forum Theatre.

More information: Please refer all questions or requests for the full play to: mkealamillesjr@gmail.com

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

Donating is easy. >>Visit this link. Make sure to mention The Non-Binary Monologues Project in the notes section of the form, and you’re all set!

Lethe, by Alan Olejniczak

AT RISE.   

LETHE enters and pauses to survey the audience. The spirit walks among them and speaks directly.

LETHE. Forgetting is the primordial divinity – the venerable ancestor to remembrance. The essence of memory is not remembering, but forgetting. The forgetfulness of which, one must drink in order to live – in order to be reborn. Forgetting is choice, you know: a blessing, really.

(pause)

I remember this shade that made her death’s journey through Hades. She came to the River Styx and paid the ferryman to carry her across to be reborn. Charon invited her to drink from my waters, which would remove all memory of her previous life. “Oh”, she asked, “Will I forget all my failures?” Charon replied, “Yes, as well as your victories.”… “Will I forget how I suffered?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you celebrated.” Finally, the shade asked, “Will I forget how I’ve been lonely?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you’ve been loved.”

(shrugs)

The shade drank from my river, forgetting her former life and climbed into the boat. Most always do. It seems you all are better at remembering sorrow and regret than life’s fleeting moments of joy… Although not all make this journey, you know. There are those that wander the banks and never take the risk. Fear always holds one back and the apathetic are most often left behind.

(pause)

In the Kingdom of the Dead, I’m Lethe. While my father is best forgotten, my mother, Eris, is not one to be ignored. She is the goddess of discord and strife – admittedly a difficult woman to love. Sadly, my mother is really only remembered for two things: Starting the Trojan War and birthing eight miserable children – toil, starvation, pain, murder, lawlessness, genocide, lies and ruination… It’s hard to get attention in a family like that.

(pause)

Where was I?…Oh yes. Not ALL drink from my river, you know. Some believe that it is important to remember the mistakes of one’s past lives so that one will be wiser in the next. While I’ve met many smart people in Hades, I’ve only encountered a few that were truly wise. While I understand, you must have memory to gain knowledge, I have to wonder: is the knowledge that memory brings, the knowledge that is best forgotten? While it’s certainly a noble endeavor to remember everything, does this really make you any wiser? The mundane becomes as important as the monumental. Let’s face it, not all things are important.

(pause)

Still, there are things you are determined to remember: important things, wonderful and terrible things. There was this soldier – I forget his name. Anyway, he died in battle and his body lay in the sun for a week before they could collect the dead. This soldier made his journey and came upon the ferryman. When he was offered to drink from my river, he declined – “Oh no!” I want to remember my life: the good with the bad. This is life, after all!” The soldier drank from Mnemosyne – the waters of remembrance. Of course, he could not stay in Hades, or cross over – and was sent back. He woke on his own pyre moments before they were to set it ablaze. Everyone wanted to learn the great mystery – what lay beyond. He told them the truth: “No one escaped suffering and there was no reward for goodness. The virtuous are punished the same as the corrupted.” They burned him alive. No one was prepared to hear the truth of that.

(pause)

I say this without judgment, given my family history, but what’s wrong with people? You all have this strange mix of self-loathing and a spectacular sense of your own superiority. It’s an on-going joke with the gods – although they can be just as ridiculous… Still you insist on destroying yourselves. And war! Such horror and waste. Oh sure! There’s blame and remorse, but a generation later all seem determined to start again. I guess there is always someone else to fear – or hate… I know what you’re thinking. It’s about forgetting the past and being doomed to repeat it. It’s not that! It’s about ignorance and denial and that’s not the same as forgetting… To your credit, you have your peace rallies and memorials. But still I wonder why you all commit such atrocities at all.

(sighs)

If there is danger of always remembering, what is gained from forgetting or ignoring the unspeakable suffering of others? Empathy is always nice, but what do you do with it if you don’t take action?… Forgetting is healing. Forgetting is hopeful. Forgetting is how you’re able to connect to your humanity, to find hope and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to. Why else would you bring children into the world, love them, nurture them – only to have them bear the senselessness of it all. Why create art when most is forgotten or destroyed? Forgetting your savage-selves is what it takes to live on. It how you’re able to still connect to your humanity: to find hope – and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to?

(smiles)

So there it is…

(Prepares to exit)

We will meet again, you know. It’s true. Living and dying are all part of it, and trust me, immortality is not anything you want… But that’s a whole other story. Until then.

(exits)

END OF PLAY

Context: Originally developed for the 2016 The San Francisco Olympians Festival

Re-Written for The Artist of Albatross Reach, 2017

More info: If you end up using this monologue, please contact email alanlolen@gmail.com and let Alan know how it went!

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Celia, from The Adventure of the Comic Con Caper, by Jonathan Alexandratos

CELIA. (to their friend) I told you you should have come as Watson! How can I be Sherlock without a Watson? Pokemon is lame! Misty is lame! Misty from Pokemon is lame! She’s so 1996. She’s over. We’re done with Misty. Watson is forever. Watson is life. Watson’s a doctor! How is that not cool? Whatever, I’m going to call you Watson, anyway – this is an emergency.

Watson! We have a mystery. There was only one super-rare, Con exclusive Mycroft Holmes action figure at this convention, and now the dealer has reported it stolen. I’d very much like us to recover this action figure, as the dealer will surely be so grateful for its return, that he’ll sell it to us at a steep discount, which will be perfectly within range of all the money I could save. And I want that toy, Watson. I want. That toy.

Our only clue is that the thief wore Deadpool cosplay, which, while normally conspicuous, here, allows our enemy to blend in with the 352 other Deadpools that are currently forming a Conga line around this convention center. I hate Deadpool cosplayers.

But! We mustn’t treat that as anything more than a distraction. Sifting through the pile of Deadpools is exactly what our culprit wants us to do. No, this person is a criminal first, geek never. Whoever it is will want to move that action figure as soon as possible. To Craigslist!

(on their phone) Look at this – “One convention exclusive doll for pick-up only at the convention center.” $500! Only a thief would sell Mycroft at such an offensively low price.

(Watson says something we don’t hear, Holmes replies to her) “It’s not a doll”!? Watson, I’m surprised by your eagerness to let a trivial thing like the gendering of a toy get in the way of our work. Yes, Holmes calls Mycroft “the queerest of men” in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, but he no doubt is using the time’s definition of “queer,” as opposed to how I use it to describe gender non-conformity. And so what if the criminal used the term “doll”? It is a piece of plastic, albeit a really cool piece of plastic, and possesses no awareness of gender, nor does it teach one anything about…

Wait a second! (typing away on their phone) Watson, perhaps the term “doll” isn’t Mycroft’s, but his captor’s! It could be that the thief used the term “doll” in the hopes of attracting a female buyer, as the term “doll” has historically been used to market toys to women and girls. Our foe most likely assumes a woman will be less aware of the fandom and therefore more unlikely to bat an eye at stolen goods – ugh, screw that patriarchal, misogynistic nonsense! How dare you offend my fandom, Mysterious Malcontent!

We’re taking ‘em down, and I think I know the perfect person to do it. Misty, you showed up to the right Con after all. Your red wig, your exposed midriff, your strangely impractical suspenders – that toy robber won’t be able to resist you! You’re going in. I’ve already contacted the Craigslist Criminal to ask for a meeting place to purchase the item, and – GASP! I have a response. “Courtyard, by the falafel truck.” That’s…right over there! And look! Overcoat! Dark glasses! That’s obviously the person who absconded with little plastic Mycroft!

Misty, we don’t want to spook ‘em. Calmly approach, and, at just the right moment, I’ll swarm with Con security. Do it for Mycroft! Go go go!

She does. CELIA watches for a moment, growing more concerned by the second. Then:

What? Why are you coming back so quickly? Aha…It was just a Neo cosplayer, huh? Well The Matrix was a really good movie. I’m glad someone’s keeping it alive. Guess I uh. Made one fatal mistake, eh? I mean, I of all people should’ve known – you don’t make outfit-based assumptions anywhere, but especially at a Nerd Con.

Oh hey check it out – security just tackled Deadpool. And there’s the figure… Wow that was…bafflingly straightforward. Hmm. I kinda…I kinda can’t believe you went out there. You could’ve been in real danger, and all for an action figure that only I really cared about? You. You’re real shiny.

Hey uh Misty – thanks for going along with my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plan. Thanks for going along with a lot of my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plans. I don’t think I appreciated that until right now, as I watch ten cops haul off a pretty roughed-up Deadpool-Slash-Petty-Criminal.

Look, I saved up a bunch of money to try to haggle for that action figure, but, now that I think about it, I’ve got enough Holmes in my life. What I don’t have that much of is Pokemon. Maybe you could teach me the ins and outs? Maybe you could teach me over dinner? Tonight? Which I could pay for? As a thank you? Maybe you could choose me? Pikachu? It’s Pikachu, right? I’d maybe be your Pikachu?

Context: Celia, dressed as Sherlock Holmes at a Comic Con, tries to solve a mystery, and ends up solving something way bigger.

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

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XLucidenialX, from An Invatation Out, by Shualee Cook

XLUCIDENIALX: (genderqueer) I don’t agree with what you said.  I admired it, which is far better, if you ask me. Admiration is the highest form of jealousy. Agreement is just an excuse for people to switch off their brains. You were right in saying that people use the Nets to hide from reality, but you went wrong in supposing they could ever succeed at it. Even if we came here to avoid it, we still have real thoughts, real desires, words that stir real emotion from those who hear them. Yes, this floor is merely an illusion. But reality haunts our every artificial step. It’s true that we never grow up the way you do – we live sheltered lives, free of accidents and miracles. We are seldom surprised and never bewildered, and our souls are poorer for that. But do you truly believe humankind would give all of that up if there were not something just as precious to be gained? Being our whole selves. Go on and laugh, but I can prove it to you. Tell me, if we were unplugged right now, and I didn’t like your appearance, would I come this close to you, or put my arm around you like this? And if you knew for certain I was a different type than you like, or a different gender, would you let me? So there you have it. If I am attracted, it’s not to pheromones, or the color of your eyes, which you really had nothing to do with. I am attracted to the choices you’ve made. If I say ‘you are so beautiful, Raskin’, I don’t mean your appearance, but who you are. For in here, there is no barrier between our souls. We both know this isn’t a hand, but my desire to reach out and touch you. And when I do, it isn’t your body I connect to. It is your bravery. Your goodness. Your bright simplicity of spirit. When two people kiss, it is not their lips that touch. It is their hope. Their want. Their desperate longing to be known. And is that any less real for being online?

Context: An Invitation Out takes place in a future where the middle and upper classes live entirely as online avatars in a neo-Victorian world of their own devising. In this scene XLucidenailX, a genderqueer A.I. designer, tries to convince Raskin, an “Outdweller”who still lives mostly in the physical world, that their reality isn’t as shallow as Raskin initially thinks.

More information: https://shualeecook.com

Donate! Your donations keep The Non-Binary Monologues Project going. We are pleased to announce that we have been selected as an Incubated Artist through Headlong. This means that your donations are now tax-deductible!

Donating is easy. >>Visit this link. Make sure to mention The Non-Binary Monologues Project in the notes section of the form, and you’re all set!