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THE LEAGUE OF YOUTH
A monologue from the play by Henrik Ibsen
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Collected Works of Henrik Ibsen, vol. vi: The League of Youth/Pillars of Society. Ed. William Archer. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912.

STENSGARD: What a lovely night! Listen to the music and merriment floating out over the meadows. And how still it is in the valley! I tell you the man whose life is not reconsecrated in such an hour does not deserve to live on God's earth! To build up, you know, we have to tear down first. I had a dream once--or did I see it? No; it was a dream, but such a vivid one! I thought the Day of Judgment was come upon the world. I could see the whole curve of the hemisphere. There was no sun, only a livid storm-light. A tempest arose; it came rushing from the west and swept everything before it: first withered leaves, then men; but they kept on their feet all the time, and their garments clung fast to them, so that they seemed to be hurried along sitting. At first they looked like townspeople running after their hats in a wind; but when they came nearer they were emperors and kings; and it was their crowns and orbs they were chasing and catching at, and seemed always on the point of grasping, but never grasped. Oh, there were hundreds and hundreds of them, and none of them understood in the least what was happening; but many bewailed themselves, and asked: "Whence can it come, this terrible storm?" Then there came the answer: "One Voice spoke, and the storm is the echo of that one Voice." I don't remember when I had this dream; several years ago. But the same shiver, the same thrill, that then ran down my back, I felt again tonight. Yes, I will give my whole soul utterance. I will be the Voice. And who knows how far the storm may sweep?

REAL
(this monologue is not from a play)
a monologue for a male
by Jimmy Brunelle

Most people think I'm weird because I volunteer down at the local homeless shelter. "Why do you want to be around those low-lifes"? It's just that one day, I was walking around feeling really sorry for myself because my mother wouldn't let me pierce my ear--everyone else was getting it done. Anyway, I walked by this wooded area that was really, really littered. Suddenly, this guy sits up from beneath all these cardboard boxes. I'd never seen anybody so dirty. Beard down to here. Hair down to here. It was his eyes though. When I looked into them, it was like the whole of existence just disappeared...except for his eyes. It was like I was seeing myself--but he wasn't me--but he was me. I just took off running as fast as I could. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling. Finally, something made me stop. I couldn't just do nothing. So, I bought him a pepperoni pizza, went back and just plopped it there in front of him like he was going to bite me or something. He said "Thanks, brother", and smiled. I said "you're welcome", and really meant it. Then I walked home--the long way. I needed to think. Up to that point, my whole life was a sham. For the longest time I pretended to be someone I wasn't--so other fake people would accept me. I finally saw someone for the first time...me. So, that's why I work at the shelter. There, I feel real.

MOVIES ARE EVIL
a monologue for either gender
from the play Couch Potato Santa
by Jimmy Brunelle © 2001

DR. SIGMUND IGLOO: It's just that when a person says something like "I wanted movies to be my life" the other person should say something like "well, what happened? Why aren't they your life?" Well, I'll tell you why they aren't. I was brought up by a mean step-3rd cousin. My step-3rd cousin you ask? Well, she was my step-mother's 2nd cousin on her father's side. What happened to your step-mother you ask? She died at the hairdresser's under one of those industrial-strength hair dryers. She went in for a perm, dehydrated to begin with--she was a sun worshipper--and the dryer just sucked the last drop of moisture from her body. She shrivelled up like a prune. Anyway, to make a long story short, my mean step 3rd cousin thought I should be a doctor. I wanted to be a director--you know, make independent films about ordinary people who work in buildings--but it was "you have to go to medical school" everyday of my life. I'd ask over and over "Please, can I watch a movie?" and she'd just say "Movies are evil. Movies are evil. MOVIES ARE EVIL!" And, now, here I am. I'm sad. Sad, you ask? Yes, I'm very unhappy. My life is all about me. I live alone--I don't count the parakeet--and all I do is play Nintendo and listen to Miss Britney Spears--I like to keep up with the youth of America. I need...I need...I don't know what I need. Just help me. Please. Tell me what to do, Santa. I thought I'd try the personal ads, but such things are for losers. Plus, what if I place an ad and no one answers? Well, I'll just die, that's what. But if I don't get out and meet someone, it'll be me and the parakeet forever. But what if I do meet someone and she doesn't like Miss Britney? I don't think I could date someone who doesn't like Miss Britney. No, I can't--"movies are evil, movies are evil, movies are evil..."

 

Female Parts

Sara Munro, from Taking Liberties
Sara Munro has come to the office of her English teacher. He had put a novel by Margaret Laurence, "The Diviners", on his class curriculum and this ignited a firestorm in the community. A group is demanding that the book be banned from the school and Sara is afraid that her teacher is going to buckle under the pressure.

SARA:
"I overheard you with the principal yesterday. I was in the office waiting for someone and his door was open and I want to be a reporter… I mean, I wouldn't have listened if the door was closed.

I heard him suggest you teach another book there were other good books by Laurence that wouldn't cause such a stink.

I listened today in class when you told us you were teaching the other book. That it was better to do so. And I understand. I understand the pressure everyone's putting on you and your family, and I know that the principal's stopped sticking up for you - but Mr. Bales, you can't do this, you can't stop now, not after being on the news, not after getting yelled at for so long!

(Opening novel.) Listen to this! Listen, it's the first couple of lines from the book. "The river flowed both ways. The current moved from north to south, but the wind usually came from the south, rippling the bronze-green water in the opposite direction. This apparently impossible contradiction, made apparent and possible, still fascinated Morag, even after the years of river-watching."

I think about you, and you leaving off teaching this book which you say will be so good for us to read. I can't help thinking the opening of this book is so appropriate, that the current does flow both ways. For us, it's flowing forward and these books are going to be accepted; and it's also flowing backwards, because the writers of all those short letters are pulling us that way, too. And I'm thinking that, on one hand, we want to be open and, on the other hand, we're pulling back in the direction of hiding things. And sometimes being too open about things can cause trouble, or is it only the real reason behind your being open that's bad? And isn't it weird how I can read this book and see nothing but beauty, but when someone else reads it out loud it sounds like filth. And it's weird I can feel old and young and really convinced of things, and confused, and really stupid and, at the same time, I feel smarter than all of them put together, all of them!

"This apparently impossible contradiction, made apparent and possible…"

How'd she know?

"The river flowed both ways."

And these lines from the last page: "The waters flowed from north to south and the current was visible, but now a south wind was blowing, ruffling the water in the opposite direction, so that the river, as so often here, seemed to be flowing both ways. Look ahead into the past, and back into the future, until the silence."

You can't teach any other book, Mr. Bales. It has to be this one. It just has to be."
(Pp. 26-27.)
The complete text of Taking Liberties

 

THE WILD DUCK by Henrik Ibsen.

HEDWIG is a young teenager. Her father has just discovered that HEDWIG is not, in fact, his daughter. His love for HEDWIG and the wild duck that they nurture immediately turns to hate.

HEDWIG: Daddy! Daddy! Don't go away from me. He'll never come back to us again. I think I'm going to die of all this. What have I done to him? Mother, why doesn't Daddy want to see me any more? I think I know what it is. Perhaps I'm not Daddy's real child. And now perhaps he has found it out. I've read about that sort of thing. But I think he might be just as fond of me for all that. Almost more. The wild duck was sent us as a present too, and I'm tremendously fond of that, just the same. The poor wild duck! He can't bear to look at that any more, either. Just think he wanted to wring its neck. I say a prayer for the wild duck every night and ask that it shall be protected from death and everything bad. I taught myself to say my prayers because there was a time when Daddy was ill and had leeches on his neck and said he was lying at death's door. So I said a prayer for him when I'd gone to bed. And I've gone on with it ever since. I thought I'd better put in the wild duck too, because she was so delicate at first. And now you say I should sacrifice the wild duck to prove my love for Daddy. I will try it. I will ask Grandfather to shoot the wild duck for me.

 

REAL
(this monologue is not from a play)
a monologue for a female
by Jimmy Brunelle

Most people think I'm weird because I volunteer down at the local homeless shelter. "Why do you want to be around those low-lifes"? It's just that one day, I was walking around feeling really sorry for myself because my mother wouldn't let me pierce my nose--everyone else was getting it done. Anyway, I walked by this wooded area that was really, really littered. Suddenly, this guy sits up from beneath all these cardboard boxes. I'd never seen anybody so dirty. Beard down to here. Hair down to here. It was his eyes though. When I looked into them, it was like the whole of existence just disappeared...except for his eyes. It was like I was seeing myself--but he wasn't me--but he was me. I just took off running as fast as I could. I didn't want to feel what I was feeling. Finally, something made me stop. I couldn't just do nothing. So, I bought him a pepperoni pizza, went back and just plopped it there in front of him like he was going to bite me or something. He said "Thanks, sister", and smiled. I said "you're welcome", and really meant it. Then I walked home--the long way. I needed to think. Up to that point, my whole life was a sham. For the longest time I pretended to be someone I wasn't--so other fake people would accept me. I finally saw someone for the first time...me. So, that's why I work at the shelter. There, I feel real.