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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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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Cam, from Women March on Washington by Christine Kallman

Spring 2016. Early morning. We are in a hilly and wooded area in Northeast Iowa.
CAM (they/them) is dressed in outdoor wear with a backpack. They hear a low drumming sound.

 

CAM. Do you hear that?
Pause. CAM hears the low drumming sound again.
Ruffed Grouse. [beat] You won’t see them. They’re hiding in the deep brush. This tract — this hardwood forest— was saved from tilling because of the steep slopes and rocky soil. Perfect for grouse. And probably forty other species of birds.
Look! See the hawk? Red-tailed hawk. And those over there— turkey vultures.
This is what I love about my job.
Out here I always feel totally content.
I suppose I should be afraid, although I’ve never had anyone follow me out here.
I’ve been threatened, you know. Followed at night.
More times than you can imagine.
Pause. CAM listens and hears the grouse again.
We hear it in springtime. The male grouse make the sound by rotating their wings.
In some species, behavior is not so gender-specific. Birds, butterflies, a lot of insects
have both male and female characteristics. But I’m not going to try to make a lot of arguments comparing human and animal behavior. I used to do that.
Used to have detailed arguments. But you know,
people are just going to believe what they want to believe.

I don’t bring people here, generally.
I don’t want to expose this delicate environment to a lot of traffic.
I do bring my students here. This summer we sampled twelve streams
to measure aquatic diversity. Here’s what we found:
Streams like the one here— that have more diversity of life—
they’re healthier and better able to overcome stressors, like drought.
CAM starts down the hill.
Watch your step. I’ll take you down now. Down to the spring.
CAM walks down, then stops next to a stream. The gentle rush of water.
Always, when I’m out in nature, the— agony—
about who other people think I am—
just—
disappears.
Am I a woman? Am I a man?
On the street, in the grocery store, with a student. At a party. They’re looking at me funny.
They want to categorize me. It makes them so uncomfortable not to know.
What to do with me?
And I could say, well, I was designated female at birth.
But I don’t feel like a woman. Never have.
On the other hand, I don’t feel like a man either. It doesn’t fit for me.
Since it’s closer, I do generally present more like a man.
But I don’t want to be a man. I don’t want surgery
and I don’t want to give up the feminine parts of myself.
It’s funny. As a scientist, I’m always placing things in categories.
And I could tell you all about the way scientists are looking at gender
on a spectrum now— not just two choices.

But mainly, I want to make the point that
we are too quick to categorize people. Not just on gender,
but on a whole gamut
of characteristics. There is something really screwed up
about the way we put people in boxes.
Listen. People are not who you think they are.
Not a single one.
You think you’ve got someone pegged?
You don’t.
People are not what they seem.
And even if you could figure them out,
they’re like this stream. They’re always changing.
Being fed by something deep underground.
Pause. CAM puts their hand in the stream.
Personally, I find that refreshing.

 

More info: Character name is Cam (they/them). The scene is roughly in the middle of a full-length play (in development) entitled Women March on Washington. It received a reading this spring in Northfield, MN, with actors of diverse age, race and gender.

Playwright: Christine Kallman. I can be reached at my website, christinekallman.com.

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Love Poem to My Heart, by JoJo Ruby

Oh heart, you steady drum. (beats)

Under your enduring rythm

I’m becoming undone.

I go into my being,

unwinding in timing and

stops

in- between.

I lay beauty on her back

so she can float down my bloodstream.

Oh heart, you poet.

I hold my pen like an artery, like a ripchord. I listen for you through the full bellied shout of my dreams, I fill pages with words groping for what you mean when you (beats) I hold onto your sound and hope to sing myself clean.

You ceaseless jester, how we have wrestled through the labyrinth of riddles my mind has built across my knowing. How I’ve toiled on this path in darkness despite all of your glowing. How I’ve masked you in conventions to keep my truth from showing.

Oh heart, it is you I am still learning to trust, untwisting these anxious guts, I am letting these breathes open you up, and with the you as my crux, I will rise again, despite these earthquakes shaking my sheepish limbs, and ever charging, changing winds, on the days I cannot bear to wear this skin, I go in. and for the thousandth time I start over, (beats)

always coming back softer,

but somehow stronger.

(beats)

Oh heart, You teacher, you bray truth into my make up when you break me. Through aches and pangs my faults are tumbled, composed for smooth and shining fumbles, Any test I have failed you have let me retake, so I’m stitching up my sleeves for smarter heartbreaks. Threading the lessons from every mistake.

You gardener, you rake the ground my pain walks on. Planting seeds within in the deep ravine, where Ive thrown the parts I don’t want seen. and when I find myself buried, you compost my tainted memories and turn me– over, push me on to greener pastures, on to blooming fields of laughter. Every season just another chapter. Another chance to make roots around what I am after, I’m sure,No matter what chaos come, an oasis grows under my sternum. (beats)

Oh heart, you curious magic, you are the universe between palms, invoking prayers unspoken. With every every wax and wane of moon you groom my dereliction. On my most haunted nights, your light is the cloak I wear for protection. and yet so many times I’ve accepted your gifts just to neglect them.

You are a house of many naked rooms, oh heart.

but I will make a home of you yet.

I will beat old resentments off the welcome mat

in my chest, and paint the walls with expressions repressed

I will let love in, with all it’s clever tools

to unhinge the doors blocking my talents and my jewels

I will sweep every dirty corner with tender introspection

and open up the windows, to shine on my perfect imperfections

I’ll tug these cobwebbed heartstrings,

to bring in worthy things.

I will fill these halls of never enough

with blessings.

….and if I ever become jaded

for fear I’ve felt to much,

if I grow sick and lonesome

on another persons touch.

If I loose the pulse in promises

and get swept up in past review.

I will put a saddle on my grief, oh heart,

and ride it home to you.

 

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My Gender Is, by Seraphim Dibble

I am coming out as transgender.
Non-binary.
It isn’t past-tense. Its present and future tense.
I am coming out now, I will be coming out tomorrow.
I will be coming out to people
Who spit the word out like an insult
To strangers asking why I’m in a skirt
To people asking why I can’t just be “normal”
What is my gender, you ask? Let me tell you

My gender isn’t
Stationary.
Nor am I confused
I feel bound neither by the societal confines of being a man nor a woman

My gender is
Whatever the hell I want.
I know what I want
And what I want is to be happy in my body and my soul and my clothes

My gender isn’t
Weewee or hoohoo
Can’t you say the damn word for genitals?
And if you can, what does that have to do with who I am?

My gender is
Non-binary.
My pronouns are they, them, their, and fuck you
Fuck you if you misgender me on purpose because you’re too caught up in your own bigotry

My gender isn’t
Silence.
Nor will I be silent.
I exist in a society that tells me I am not valid, but I am valid no matter what they say.

My gender is
Screaming.
Screaming out at a sudden crisis
A spontaneous fear that I’m not really trans, I just like cross-dressing.
A spontaneous existential crisis
That I’m not non-binary, I’m a woman and am just realizing it
A sudden fear
That I am just wanting to be seen as “cool” or fit in with a group

My gender is
Fitting in.
Not pretending or trying to fit in I’ve been there and there is hell.
My gender is
Fitting in with a group where I finally feel at home and I don’t have to pretend
That I don’t like skirts, pretty nails, and feeling a little feminine sometimes

My gender is
Fuck you.
It’s a middle finger to a toxic masculinity
One that I hid in for twenty five years, and have spent four more shedding

It’s a middle finger to patriarchy
Because what use is it if I’m not using it to oppose the very system that tells me
I don’t exist
I am not valid
I do not deserve happiness
That I should kill myself
It’s an ode to me being who I am and fuck you if you say anything otherwise

My gender is the realization that love is not finite
My gender is the realization that love is not scarce
My gender is the realization that love is for me, for you, for everybody
My gender is the realization that people deserve love, even me
My gender is the realization that it is okay to be mentally ill, and to break down at the smallest thing
My gender is my photography
My gender is marching side by side with me
My gender is hand-in-hand fighting for a better world
My gender is compassionate
My gender cares.
My gender is non-definition
My gender is non-stationary
My gender is non-binary

 

 

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Of the Dark, by Tzula Propp

I remember the dark, it was the first thing there.

You think dark is smooth, but I know better. There are shapes, textures in the dark. In time, you would see them too.

The shapes gave me a boundary, the textures taught me to feel. There were silent voices in the dark, they showed me how to be.

It was like this for a long time. And it wasn’t bad, it was just all that was, all I knew.

But I knew one thing else, that this, it wasn’t me, wasn’t all that could be. Resist the dark, I told myself. Don’t let it in! Shut it out! I belong, just not here. I can be my own light!

Silent voices in the dark pleaded back at me, “Don’t go! Please, stay here, with me.”

But the silent voices needn’t have spoke, my struggle was as hopeless as an ocean wave, fighting to leave the sea. There was no direction that led away from the dark. I swirled and stormed against the only border, my border. Like the wave, I was smashed and renewed and smashed and renewed, inescapably. During that time, I became less of my form, and more of my forming—my boundary expanded. I was my escape, my prison, my home, my storm, my struggle, my voice, my dark, me.

All throughout, I expected mocking from the dark. But the silent voices understood, they were even sympathetic. This was just how it had to be, always. No one belonged anywhere, it would be death.

And this is how it stayed. My storm petered out, and again I was of the dark. I was rejoined with the walls of my prison, the first battleground of my rebellion, enveloping me like a lead blanket. And in time, I forgot why I had tried so hard to leave…

I was comfortable in the dark, and then, my eyes fluttered open, and there was light.

——————————

Playwright: Tzula Propp

Context: This piece has three major inspirations, which are also three different interpretations of the character.

The first inspiration is Brocksandra, a canonically trans character I created for a game of Dungeons and Dragons. She came to life for me more than I meant her to, I find myself returning to her often. She is a tragic outcast from a world of shadows who, despite her bardly demeanor, is deeply incompatible with the world of light around her (she is a Drow, if that means anything to you). I imagine her performing, taking on the role of Najm, the androgynous (and in my interpretation, non-binary) goddex of curiosity. The story is of Najm’s birth from the primordial chaos and rejection of nothingness, but has been made autobiographical in Brocksandra’s telling.

The second is the question, “What is a photon before it leaves an atom?” This question is one without a unique interpretation, and here I give mine.

The last inspiration is the adolescent experience of a non-binary child in a darkly and deeply repressive society. The omnipresent struggle, internalized, is the subject. The final self-coming out happens unexpectedly, following the deepest repressive phase they’ve ever experienced, almost forgetting who they are.

Note regarding the last line: in my original conception, it evoked a sense of divinely tragic irony, somewhere between almost-hope, loss of safety, and being lost. But now I’m not so sure, and encourage individual interpretation.

Contact: Tzula Propp is a grad student at the University of Oregon, where they study quantum information theory. They can be reached at spropp (at) uoregon (dot) edu

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Woodzick, from Trans/Actions, by K. Woodzick and Ayla Sullivan

WOODZICK (they/them/theirs). I’ve always hated the term, “workaholic”. As if it was so bad to bring my work home with me. Or if there was something wrong with knowing what I want and doing what I have to in order to get there. When you love what you do, you have an intimacy with your craft. There is something sacred in the process and there is something holy about making your bed in your work and being committed to lying in it.

There are some days when I choose not to leave the apartment. Because if I don’t leave the apartment, I won’t get misgendered. My roommate isn’t going to do it, and her dog isn’t going to do it, and her boyfriend knows that he will get in trouble if he does it.

But then I remember what brings me home in the first place. It’s not always turning a key; sometimes it’s the audition room in itself, a callback without fear, a promise from a director. I have loved theatre for over twenty five years, since I saw Music Man and set up chairs in my living room to mimic a train. Home is made up of all the things we love the longest, isn’t it? And isn’t it also the place we hurt the most? The place that scars us as much as it loves us?

Theatre is an industry that is still very entrenched in the gender binary. There are male and female dressing rooms, character breakdowns that clearly read male and female, and you are told at an early age as an actor what your type is, in male and female terms.

When I was thirty one, I was cast in a production of The 39 Steps, where I played over sixteen male roles. And though I had played male roles before, it no longer felt like drag to me–instead, it was an extension of my gender identity. During that production, because of that production, I changed my pronouns from she, her, and hers to they, them and theirs. I lost friends because of it. I lost work because of it. It is the single hardest and best decision I have ever made.

Playwrights: K. Woodzick and Ayla Sullivan

Context: This monologue happens in the first scene of the play. Woodzick is reflecting on their relationship to gender and theatre

Website: www.woodzick.com

Contact: nonbinarymonologues (at) gmail (dot) com

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Jitterbug, from The Earth Room, by Marge Buckley

1:

JITTERBUG (they/them/theirs)
no you
shut up.
are you aware of what your father and I survived to get you here?
four times in a row your father moved west in search of a job that would pay him a living wage
and when he finally did, he worked six days a week at that job with no vacation for nearly ten years.
i stood across the street from my childhood home and watched the United States government burn it to the ground to make way for a military base that lasted for fourteen months before it was abandoned.
has your childhood home ever been burned to the ground, Ari?
does it have a radioactive stream in the backyard?
and you
and all of your peers
you get to grow up here
away from all of that
you get to build a new world for yourselves.
i’m not saying that this one is perfect
not by any means
but
we have worked and worked and worked
to give you and your sister and your friends this chance to build something
from the ground up
and it absolutely breaks my heart
to see you squander it like this.

Context: Jitterbug and their husband George have just caught their daughter, Ari, using simulated heroin in a virtual reality chamber called The Earth Room. The intended use of The Earth Room is to allow Mars colonists the opportunity to walk around outside on Earth, since it is impossible to go outside on Mars and the real planet Earth has become nearly uninhabitable. This monologue comes at the end of a scene where Jitterbug and George are lecturing their daughter and is delivered to Ari.

2:

JITTERBUG
is my family “falling apart”?
I wouldn’t say that, per se.
don’t look at me like that.
you and your high horse, i swear to god.
no, at this exact moment
I do not know where one of my daughters is
in the grander sense
and I also do not happen to know where either my husband or my second daughter are
in the smaller-scale sense
but
that doesn’t mean
house, do you know where anybody in this family is right now?
okay, the house doesn’t seem to know either.
alright.
it is seven pm and I do not know where anybody in my family is.
but i am not going to panic.
that is not the kind of person that I am.
i am a person with a level head.
a person with their wits about them.
i am going to breathe.
i am going to live in the present moment
and i am going to wait,
because there is nothing I can control about this situation except for myself.

Context: This monologue comes towards the end of the play: Jitterbug’s daughter Ari has stowed away on a freighter back to Earth, daughter Malia has joined a protest group committed to severing all of Mars’ ties with planet Earth, and husband George is secretly participating in an extreme sport that involves racing down Mars’ sand dunes on surf boards. Jitterbug delivers this piece directly to the audience and the “house” is literally their house, which has artificial intelligence.

Playwright: Marge Buckley

Contact: margot.m.buckley (at) gmail (dot) com

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