August: Osage County - Tracy Letts

VIOLET: I ever tell you the story of Raymond Qualls? Not much story to it. Boy I had a crush on when I was thirteen or so. Real rough-looking boy, beat up Levis, messy hair. Terrible under-bite. But he had these beautiful cowboy boots, shiny chocolate leather. He was so proud of those boots, you could tell, the way he’d strut around, all arms and elbows, puffed up and cocksure. I decided I needed to get a girly pair of those same boots and I knew he’d ask me to go steady, convinced myself of it. He’d see me in those boots and say, “Now there’s the gal for me.” Found the boots in a window downtown and just went crazy: I’d stay up late in bed, rehearsing the conversation I was going to have with Raymond when he saw me in my boots. Must’ve asked Momma a hundred times if I could get those boots. “What do you want for Christmas, Vi?” “Momma, I’ll give all of it up for those boots.” Bargaining, you know? She started dropping hints about a package under the tree she had wrapped up, about the size of a boot box, real nice wrapping paper. “Now Vi, don’t you cheat and look in there before Christmas morning.” Little smile on her face. Christmas morning, I was up like a shot, boy under the tree, tearing open that box. There was a pair of boots, all right… men’s work boots, holes in the toes, chewed up laces, caked in mud and dog poo. Lord, my Momma laughed for days. My Momma was a mean, nasty old woman. I suppose that’s where I got it from.

Proof – David Auburn

CATHERINE: I lived with him. I spent my life with him. I fed him. Talked to him. Tried to listen when he talked. Talked to people who weren’t there… Watched him shuffling around like a ghost. A very smelly ghost. He was filthy. I had to make sure he bathed. My own father… After my mother died it was just me here. I tried to keep him happy no matter what idiotic project he was doing. He used to read all day. He kept demanding more and more books. I took them out of the library by the carload. We had hundreds upstairs. Then I realized he wasn’t reading: he believed aliens were sending him messages through the Dewey decimal numbers on the library books. He was trying to work out the code… Beautiful mathematics. The most elegant proofs, perfect proofs, proofs like music… Plus fashion tips, knock-knock jokes – I mean, it was nuts, OK? Later the writing phase: scribbling nineteen, twenty hours a day… I ordered him a case of notebooks and he used every one. I dropped out of school… I’m glad he’s dead.

Luisa’s Monologue - The Fantasticks

This morning a bird woke me up. It was a lark, or a peacock; something like that. So I said hello. And it vanished, flew away, the very moment I said hello! It was quite mysterious. So do you know what I did? I went to my mirror and brushed my hair two hundred times, without stopping. And as I was brushing it, my hair turned mauve. No, honestly! Mauve! Then red. Then some sort of a deep blue when the sun hit it…. I’m sixteen years old, and every day something happens to me. I don’t know what to make of it. When i get up in the morning and get dressed, I can tell something’s different. I like to touch my eyelids, because they’re never quite the same. Oh, oh, oh! I hug myself till my arms turn blue, then I close my eyes and cry and cry till the tears come down and I can taste them. I love to taste my tears. I am special. I am special! Please, God, please, don’t let me be normal!

Papers - Alan Stratton

MYRA:  I’m very sorry about the things I said. I want to take them back. I wish I could cut out my tongue. I didn’t mean it. I really didn’t. (Co-ed comes out into his living room) I seem to have come at a bad time. Sorry to have intruded. What? You are deep in ‘literary’ pursuits and I am clearly in the way. But don’t worry about me. You should be ashamed. I’m not blind. I don’t need your words! I have enough of my own. My whole life is words. Words. Words. Words! I am sick to Goddamn death of words. I want to scream. I am in pain and all I can think are sentences! I wish to God I were illiterate! It’s not all right. It is pain and it is humiliation and I cannot stand it anymore. I cannot! You know, just because I have a brain doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart. You have hurt me. You have… have… I cannot breath you have hurt me. You used me dammit! You used me! I came here to tell you I love you and I find I’m a plot twist. Put it in chapter five. Big laugh! I’m comedic relief. All I do is mark papers and read. Ask the Dean. I can’t even attract flies. What else have you put in your book? Don’t give me that. Oh you didn’t. You couldn’t. For everyone to read? To know? I seem to be losing control. GET AWAY FROM ME! T.S. Eliot was right. “Between the idea and reality falls the shadow.”

Our Town - Thornton Wilder

EMILY: I don’t like the whole change that’s come over you in the last year. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings; but I’ve just got to—tell the truth and shame the devil. Well, up to a year ago, I used to like you a lot. And I used to watch you while you did everything—because we’d been friends so long. And then you began spending all your time at baseball. And you never stopped to speak to anybody anymore—not to really speak—not even to your own family you didn’t. And George, it’s a fact—ever since you’ve been elected Captain, you’ve got awful stuck up and conceited, and all the girls say so. And it hurts me to hear ‘em say it; but I got to agree with ‘em a little because it’s true.

Independence - Lee Blessing

JO: What? I couldn’t do that. I don’t have to think about it rationally. I couldn’t do that. ‘Cause I can’t leave Mom. How can you even suggest it? What would happen to her? Tell me— what would happen? She’s never managed alone. She’s always needed someone. First there was her family, then Dad, then you after Dad, then me. Who’d be here if I left? Mom would be all alone. Is that the only reason you came down? To try and steal me away from Mom? If you think I’d leave Mom to move up there with you and that… that… you know. She needs me to listen to her. She needs me to talk to her, to be with her—to be thinking about her. What does anybody need anybody for? I don’t get a thing. I give. That’s my life. I give to people. There’s nothing wrong with it. You should try it sometime. It’s easy for you. You just take what you need from people. You don’t care how much you change in the process. You don’t care if your whole family doesn’t recognize you anymore when you… I’m sorry. Why don’t you move down here? You could find a way. Bring Susan. You could do a lot of good down here. You could really provide something for Mom… Who was here when she got out? You were already gone. I was the one who took her around to say hello to everybody again. I took her into each store. Go ahead—Leave!

Oleanna - David Mamet

CAROL: How can you deny it. You did it to me. Here. You did… You confess. You love the Power. To deviate. To invent, to transgress… to transgress whatever norms have been established for us. And you think it’s charming to “question” in yourself this taste to mock and destroy. But you should question it. Professor. And you pick those things which you feel advance you: publication, tenure, and the steps to get them you call “harmless rituals.” And you perform those steps. Although you say it is hypocrisy. But to the aspirations of your students. Of hardworking students, who come here, who slave to come here—you have no idea what it cost me to come to this school—you mock us. You call education “hazing,” and from your so-protected, so-elitist seat you hold our confusion as a joke, and our hopes and efforts with it. Then you sit there and say “what have I done?” And ask me to understand that you have aspirations too. But I tell you. I tell you. That you are vile. And that you are exploitative. And If you possess one ounce of that inner honesty you describe in your book, you can look in yourself and see those things that I see. And you can find revulsion equal to my own. Good day. 

Fat Pig - Neil LaBute

HELEN: It’s just like we’re, I dunno, hiding or whatever. From people. You don’t think? I’m dying to show you off, Tom, if you’d let me… I’ve told you to pick me up at work, all kinds of things! Tom… Please. Listen, I had a thing come up for me at the… this opportunity. Remember the interview that I… yeah. It’s a couple towns over, but far enough away that… whatever. The point is, it’s a great offer and the more I think about this—every time we end up back in the café or slipping into a movie late, after it’s already going—some little thing in my head, this warning buzzer says, “Watch it. Just watch out.” I just hope you’re not embarrassed by me in some way, because, well I mean… I don’t know what… Nothing. I’m not saying anything, except I need you to be honest with me here. Today, if possible. I’m not looking for fairy-tale or out-of-the-ballpark or anything… just a person who cares about me like I do him. Simple.

Fat Pig - Neil LaBute

JEANNIE: I’m not obligated to talk with you about shit… We’re co-workers, we work together now, and that is all. Give me the files. You’re an asshole… Forget it. I’ll just say about us, I mean, what we’ve… We should’ve probably done a lot of things! We should probably be engaged now, if you weren’t such a spineless shit, like every other guy. So…Wow. I’m twenty-eight years old, and I just keep hitting the booby prize, and you know what? After a while, it really starts to get you down… It’s no one’s problem, me included… it just sucks. That’s what I’m saying. I thought maybe you were different, but you ended up being the same kind of lame guy that I perpetually date, and it just freaks me out a little. That maybe you’re the only type out there. These baby boys who run around in nice clothes, but all they really wanna do is breast-feed for the rest of their days… I don’t care anymore. I don’t. What an ass. I’m sure you thought this would hurt me, right? Like, “What’s the worst thing I’d be able to do to her?” And this is what you came up with, some self-image killer like this one… Tom ditched me for Mama Cass! She’s fat, so does that meant that Tom secretly digs fat chicks, does it mean that I’m fat?! Is that what all this shit is about, getting back at me?

Lettice and Lovage - Peter Shaffer

LETTICE: This alludes to an incident which occurred on the Feast of Candlemas fifteen eighty-five—You are looking in fact at a unique monument of English History! It is known as the… (inventing.) Staircase of Advancement!… Does anyone know why it is so called? I will tell you. On that day of Candlemas—which by the way has nothing to do with Christmas—John Fustian gave a great feast in his Hall to honour Queen Eliabeth. We do not know what he served at this banquet, but no doubt it contained hedgehogs.  They were imaginative, our ancestors, in what they ate. Do you know that they also ate puffins? Clever, you see. The same with coney. You know what coneys are? Infant rabbit—torn from its mother’s breast. But we are in no position to find other ages disgusting, I fancy…  I resume my story… her Majesty arrived for Fustian’s feast, emerging from the bed-chamber at the head of the stairs. She was wearing a dazzling dress with a hem on to which had been sewn one hundred pearls, dredged from the Indian Ocean… Alas, so heavy was this hem the she tripped on the first step and would have fallen the whole way down, had not her host—who was standing in the middle of the staircase—on the seventh stair from the top, can you see it?—had he not rushed up and caught her in the very nick of time. For this service the Queen immediately called for a sword and dubbed him her Knight! You would have seen that sword in this very room, couched on a bed of crimson velvet. But, unfortunately, it was stolen last week. This concludes the tour of Fustian House. On behalf of the Preservation Trust I wish you a good afternoon. Thank you.