4 Monologues for Women
(free for students & auditions)
the One Act Play
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1982
Time/Place/Scene: The setting is the Duxbury High School
auditorium, where the monthly meeting of the Duxbury Ladies Literary
Society, (founded in 1905) is taking place. There is a podium
draped with a red Russian shawl, and a banner blazened "Duxbury
Ladies Literary Society,"(which the ladies carry when they march
in the town's July 4th parade) is hung at the back of the stage.
The time is now.
The pre-show music, a brisk march played on a not-quite-in tune
piano, reaches the climax of a section, and before the unseen
pianist can launch herself into the next segment, President Eleanor
Holmes Witherspoon, a fifty-ish woman costumed as Eleanor Roosevelt,
calls the meeting to order.)
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (bangs gavel)
Ladies! Ladies! Uh, thank you, Clara. Clara, that's enough! Stop
the music, will you? There now.
Hasn't this been fun? Like our July 4th parade! Now you might
as well go back to your seats, girls, because we're not going
to announce the winners until you're all settled. In the meantime,
I want to take this opportunity to thank Leena Carlson, our program
chairman. Stand up and take a bow, Leena, whoever you are! There
she is! She's that Marilyn Monroe! (ELEANOR leads the audience
Now there's been a nasty rumor going the rounds that Leena dreamed
up this whole fantasy party so that she could show off that red
sequin dress . The way I heard it, she paid $400.00 for it to
wear on her anniversary, but when Bill saw that it was cut down
to her appendix practically, he would't let her out of the house
in it! Not anywhere there's men! Not true, not a word of it. I
happen to know that she borrowed this contest idea from the Chicopee
Women's Guild, and the dress she got from her sister-in-law, who
used to sing with a rock band. So shame on you gossip, whoever
Are you ready yet? What? (Goes to curtain to consult
I'm supposed to tell all you Jackie O's that the judges thought
you were all very good, especially that one in the pink, with
the blood on her stockings: but the ground rules that Dr.Engles
set down for us say very plainly that our heroine can't be anybody
who's married to somebody who's more famous than she is. So I'm
afraid we have to rule that Jack was, no matter what he said to
the French that time! Of course that eliminates you Nancy Reagans,
too---and I suppose it 'd even apply to me, if I were out there
in the running! ! I knew I never should have married that upstart
Franklin! (looking off)
Now? (goes ofstage, returns with a paper)
At last! The moment we've all been waiting for! We're going to
call the three finalists up here to give their answers to our
"Heroine of History" quiz, conducted by our own distinguished
quiz mistress, Dr. Catherine Engels, on loan to us today from
my husband's university where she teaches that wonderful "Women
in History" course I took last year......Excuse me a minute, girls,
they want me......Just hold your horses, while I announce this.......The
runners up in todays contest are-!
Fanfare, please, Clara! (piano fanfare)
Susie Coombes as Heloise, and Rochelle Singer as Lady Godiva!
Take a bow, girls, and ladies, give them a big hand!
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
"Why did I decide to come dressed as this particular woman?"
As Mary Queen of Scots? You mean just what were my personal feelings?
Well,I guess I thought that it would be romantic. I mean, I love
the clothes of this period, the lines, the velvet. I considered
coming as Queen Elizabeth, but she's just too.. too.. grotesque.
The virgin Queen! Did you see the movie? No, not the
Shakespeare In Love one, I can't imagine myself as Judi Dench,
but the Essex one, with Bette Davis in All that white paint, and
the fright wig. Even with Glenda Jackson as Liza, Mary's the sympathetic
one. So beautiful, so wronged. I loved reading about her. Not
in history, though. School history books are designed to
scrub all the romance out of everything. Fortunately, no
one can remember it. I must've been inspired by Victoria
Holt; I read all her books. Anyway, this one had Mary on the cover,
galloping over the misty moors, with her enemies in pursuit. They
were all obsessed by her, you know. Either madly in love, or plotting
her ruin. So thrilling! But Mary's better than a Gothic
novel, because it's all true. She really mattered.
But "as an example for women today?" Oh, wow. I agree that
examples are important. Or at least, ideals are. Nobody
today is in a queen's situation, the Divine Right thing is Over.
Even Princess Di knew she had to hustle. But Mary's fall...
You see, Mary lost everything. Her country and her throne, her
husband, her child, the man she loved, her friends and her freedom.
But she never lost her dignity. Or her will to fight. She knew
what was due to her. A lot of us today have losses. Some of you
may recognize the material in this dress-- it's from the drapes
in the music room of our house in Linden Lane. I'm never
going to be living anywhere that I could use them any more, not
with what I got in the divorce. Sewing this-- and yes, I did think
of Scarlett O'Hara, making a dress from drapes-- the sewing had
a calming effect while the kids were staying with Larry over vacation.
Especially sewing on the pearls-- remember the South Sea effect
we had with these pearls on the shower curtains? Anyway, I can
see why the court ladies used to embroider all the time. It's
something good to do when thinking won't do any good. Between
that and prayer, Mary endured. And she never lost hope. Although
she did lose her head.
CLEOPATRA, QUEEN OF THE NILE
So you're asking: "Why did I get up as Cleopatra?" Am
I supposed to be honest? I mean, look at me! (she does
a bump and grind) Right!
OK, OK. It was after little Leroy was born. I decided I'd
have to do something if I wanted to have a shape that I could
do something with, if you get what I mean. Leroy was my third
one, and he was a Caesarean. Which is kind of a coincidence,
cause Cleopatra had a son Caesarion who was a Caesarean.
Who was named after what isn't too clear, cause his Daddy Julius
was Caesar, you know, and he--.
Anyway, I signed up for this belly dance class, and I was great.
I mean a real natural. The teacher talked me into buying this
14 carat costume cause I was so good, and she even got me a couple
of gigs at that roadhouse out on Route #2. I used the name Sherrina,
and I was what you would call a popular attraction. Even
though what I made hardly paid for the sitter--- to make the money,
you have to encourage the guys to stuff money in your bra, and
go out on "dates" and all like that, and I'm not that kind, ---
at least not when I'm married. Still, I got a real charge
out of it, and shimming does wonders for the figure, you know?
Then one of the guys my husband works with saw me out there and
started mouthing off about it . So that was that, and I was stuck
with this gold plated shimmy suit. Then when I heard about this
contest, I asked myself, "Who could I wear it and be?" My
husband was OK with it, cause we're nothing but women here, and
he suggested the Queen of Sheba. He teaches Bible class.
But I thought of Cleopatra. There was this clown did her in the
Ice Capades, with balloons for his boobs, and he wore a crown
like this one I got here.
As for her being an example for women today? That Cleopatra was
one girl who really had it. Think rock star, think megaceleb!
I mean, her word was law, at least in Eqypt. Dis her, and
you were dead meat. She was a high priestess, too, and a
goddess-- she could lock a guy away in hell for eternity. Plus,
she slept with even bigger celebs-- the most powerful guys in
the whole world. They had it all, and there they were, pumping
it into her! Think of the charge she must've got out of that,
enough electricity there to illuminate the blooming Nile! Fireworks
and a neon barge! She never had to pretend to be goody two shoes
either, like our gracious first lady. Bathing her ass in asses'
milk, drinking pearls. As for her suicide,-- some people may cringe
at that asp business. But I think it's the last word in
class. She knew the party was over. So she wasn't about
to stick around and let anybody make a fool out of her. That asp
is class, man. A class act.
JOAN OF ARC
(Martial music. JOAN, in full armor, with sword, shield,
and a huge spear flying the great lily banner, attemts to make
her way onto the stage.)
Charge! (She stumbles, crashes, staggers to her
God for St. Catherine, St.Michel, St. Margaret, St. me! (she
gets her helmet off)
Whew! It's like a belfry in there. I'm ringing.
"S OK. I'll be all right. 'Sonly a scratch.
Scond, here, I'll be ready to answer your questions.
Or, "If I am not, may God bring me to it."
OK. "Why did I decide to come dressed as this historical character?"
Easy. Knight in shining armor.
Rather fight than fuss! Bring on the Action. Other girls wanna
find their knight in shining armor. I wanna be one. The whole
difference between me and the rest of hu-woman-ity.
The costume? No, not a museum. And it doesn't fit
well enough for a real fight. Swhy I fell on my can. 'S big in
the feet, tight in the tush. Pelvic bunions. Got it from
University. Theatre department owes me. I've staged fights for
em, loaned em my swords.
This was Macbeth last year. Richard III in '95. Henry V in '98--
no wait: maybe it was.Henry VIII in '95. Or.Henry VI in
Anyway, the 64 dollar question is: how is Joan an example
for women today?
Look, uh...Joannie-babe's not for everybody. Different strokes,
ya know? But she's for me. Out in front, chuck the humble milkmaid,
if the thing needs doing, charge! Nobody told her what to do,
or how to do it. Just her voices.You don't like it, take it up
with Headquarters! But best of all, she beat the infallible! When
you're playing against the One True Church, Pappa makes all the
They got it all down, questions, answers, before you're old enough
to think they make you memorize. Page 14, question 3: This is
that kind of a sin and that other thing's an error.
And don't you dare think that---:it's a dangerous heresy. QED.
Whichever way you go, they got you, down on your knees. They got
her too, they burnt her-- but then they had to take it back! Hell
of a thing, huh? I mean they're supposed to know everything, and
they went through the whole rigamarole, questions, inquisitors,
and then they have to turn around and admit they can't tell right
from wrong! Don't know a witch from a saint! Knocking off a couple
of castles, wiping out some infantry-- that's nothing compared
to the fall of question 3! Right up the old infallible!