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All The Small Things
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(Also The Occassional Spine)

Father Donnally's Monologue

The Marriage Of Bette And Boo
By Christopher Durang

Monologues to come:

Art
The Zoo Story

In the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen. Good evening, young marrieds. Am I in the right room?
The theme of marriage in the Catholic Church and in this retreat is centered around the story of Christ and the wedding feast at Cana. Jesus Christ blessed the young wedding couple at Cana, and when they ran out of expensive wine, He performed His first miracle- He took vats of water and He changed the water into wine. I have some wine right here! (Sips it)

Please don't talk while I'm talking. Young marrieds have many problems to get used to. For some of them this is the first person of the opposite sex the other has ever known. The husband may not be used to having a woman in his bathroom. The wife may not be used to a strong masculine odor in her boudoir. Or then the wife may not cook well enough. How many marriages have floundered on the rocks of ill-cooked bacon?

I used to amuse friends by imitating bacon in a saucepan. Would anyone like to see that?
(Falls to floor and does a fairly good- or if not good, then an unabashedly peculiar- imitation of bacon, making sizzling noises and becoming crisp. He rises)

I also do coffee percolating. Pt. Pt. Ptptptptptptptptptpt.
Bacon's better.
But things like coffee and bacon are important in a marriage, because they represent things that the wife does to make her husband happy. Or fat.
The wife cooks the bacon and the husband brings home the bacon. This is how St. Paul saw marriage, although they probably didn't really eat pork back then, the curing process was not very well worked out in Christ's time, which is why so many of them followed the Jewish dietary laws even though they were Christians. I know I'm glad to be living now when we have cured pork and plumbing and showers rather than back when Christ lived. Many priests say they wish they lived in Christ's time so they could have met Him; that would, of course, have been very nice, but I'm glad I live now and that I have a shower.

Man and wife, as St. Paul saw it. Now the woman should obey her husband, but that's not considered a very modern thought, so I don't even want to talk about it. All right, don't obey your husbands, but if chaos follows, don't blame me. The tower of Babel as an image of chaos has always fascinated me-
Now I don't mean to get off the point... The point is husband and wife, man and woman, Adam and rib. I don't want to dwell on the inequality of the sexes because these vary from couple to couple- sometimes the man is stupid, sometimes the woman is stupid, sometimes both are stupid. The point is man and wife are joined in holy matrimony to complete each other, to populate the earth and to glorify God. That's what its for. That's what life is for. If you're not a priest or a nun, you normally get married.

Not everyone gets married. But my comments today are geared toward the married people here. Man and wife are helpmates. She helps him, he helps her. In sickness and in health. Anna Karenina should not have left her husband, nor should she have jumped in front of a train. Marriage is not a step to be taken lightly. The Church does not recognize divorce; it does permit it, if you insist for legal purposes, but in the eyes of the Church you are still married and you can never be unmarried, and that's why you can never remarry after a divorce because that would be bigamy and that's a sin and illegal as well.
So, for God's sake, if you're going to get married, pay attention to what you're doing, have conversations with the person, figure out if you really want to live with that person for years and years and years, because you can't change it. Priests have it easier. If I don't like my pastor, I can apply for a transfer. If I don't like a housekeeper, I can get her fired. But a husband and wife are stuck together. So know what you're doing when you get married. I get so sick of these people coming to me after they're married, and they've just gotten to know one another after the ceremony, and they've discovered they have nothing in common and they hate one another. And they want me to come up with a solution. What can I do? There is no solution to a problem like that! I can't help them! It puts me in a terrible position. I can't say get a divorce, that's against God's law. I can't say go get some on the side, that's against God's law. I can't say just pretend you're happy and maybe after a while you won't know the difference because, though that's not against God's law, not that many people know how to do that, and if I suggested it to people, they'd write to the bishop complaining about me and then he'd transfer meto some godforsaken place in Latin America without a shower, and all because these people don't know what they're doing when they get married. So I mumble platitudes to these people who come to me with these insoluble problems, and I think to myself, "Why didn't they think before they got married? Why does no one ever think? Why did God make people stupid?"
Are there any questions about newly married couples? Well I don't have time for any more questions anyway. We'll take a short break for refreshments, and then Father McNulty will talk to you about sexual problems which I'm not very good at, and then you can all go home. Thank you for your attention. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
By Borgeson, Long and Singer

Essentially, Shakespeare was a formula writer. Once he found a device that worked, he used it. Over and over and over again. So, Mr. Shakespeare, the question I have is this: Why did you write sixteen comedies when you could have written just one?
In answer to this question, I have taken the liberty of condensing all sixteen of Shakespeare’s comedies into a single play, which I’ve entitled ‘The Comedy of Two Well-Measured Gentlemen Lost in the Merry Wives of Venice on a Midsummer’s Twelfth Night in Winter’. Or ‘Cymbeline Taming Pericles the Merchant in the Tempest of Love As Much As You Like It For Nothing’. Or ‘The Love Boat Goes to Verona.’

Act One. A Spanish duke swears an oath of celibacy and turns the rule of his kingdom over to his sadistic and tyrannical twin brother. He learns some fantastical feats of magic and sets sail for the Golden Age of Greece, along with his daughters, three beautiful and virginal sets of identical twins. While rounding the heel of Italy, the duke’s ship is caught in a terrible tempest which, in its fury, casts the duke up on a desert island, along with the loveliest and most virginal of his daughters, who stumbles into a cave, where she is molested by a creature who is either a man or a fish or both.

Act Two. The long-lost children of the duke’s brother, also coincidentally three sets of identical twins, have just arrived in Italy. Though still possessed of an inner nobility, they are ragged, destitute, penniless, flea-infested shadows of the men they once were, and in the utmost extremity, are forced to borrow money from an old Jew, who deceives them into putting down their brains as collateral on the loan. Meanwhile, the six brothers fall in love with six Italian sisters, three of whom are contentious, sharp-tongued little shrews, while the other three are submissive, airheaded little bimbos.

Act Three. The shipwrecked identical daughters of the duke wash up on the shores of Italy, disguise themselves as men, and become pages to the shrews, and matchmakers to the duke’s brother’s sons. They lead all the lovers into a nearby forest, where, on a midsummer’s night, a bunch of mischievous fairies squeeze the aphroditic juice of a hermaphroditic flower in the shrews’ eyes, causing them to fall in love with the duke’s brother’s sons, while the ‘Queen’ of the fairies seduces a jackass, and they all have a lovely bisexual animalistic orgy.

Act Four! The elderly fathers of the Italian sisters, finding their daughters missing, dispatch messages to the pages, telling them to kill any man in the vicinity. However, unable to find men in the forest, the faithful messengers, in a final, misguided act of loyalty, deliver messages to each other and kill themselves. Meanwhile, the fish-creature and the duke arrive in the forest disguised as Russians, and for no apparent reason, perform a two-man underwater version of ‘Uncle Vanya’.

Act Five! The duke commands the fairies to right their wrongs. The pages and the bimbos get into a knock-down drag-out fight in the mud… during which the pages’ clothes get ripped off, revealing female genitalia! The duke recognizes his daughters! The duke’s brother’s sons recognize their uncle… One of the bimbos grows up to be Vanna White… and they all get married and go out to dinner.
Except for a minor character in the second act who gets eaten by a bear, and the duke’s brother’s sons who, unable to pay back the old Jew, give themselves lobotomies.

And they all live happily ever after.

W.A.S.P
By Steve Martin

Voice? Voices? Voices? Voice? Typical, nothing.
Left here on my own, with only the images of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.
Hello? Hello? Im living the lie, I know it. Nothing but the rules of the road, the ethics of the lumberjack, the silence of the forest broken only by the sound of the ax getting the job done. The ax never complaining.
Truth handed down from the pages of Redbook and the Saturday Evening Post. Becoming leader and hero, onward and stronger to a better life. I know my feelings cannot tolerate illumination under the hard light, but when seen by the flickering light of a campfire surrounded by the covered wagons heading west, I am a god that walks on Earth. Must be strong, must be strong, and in my silence- I am never wrong. The greater the silence, the greater the strength. And therein is the logic of the lie.

Her. Once, with one hand I held her wrists behind her back and kissed her. Once, I entered her like Caesar into Rome. Once, I drank her blood. I would repeat her name in my head; it swam across my vision to exhaustion. I saw it flying toward me and flapping with wings. I exploded it with the letters flying off in all directions. I inverted it; I anagrammed it. Every word she spoke destroyed or created me. She was the tornado, I was the barn.

I remember her in a yellow chair, leaning forward, her underwear ankled, delivering to me the angels kiss. Now I stand at the foot of her bed and watch her sleep, and silently ask the question "Who are you?" but the question only echoes back upon myself.

Oh, I know what she goes through. She aches with desire. She reaches out for nothing and nothing comes back. She is bound by walls of feelings. They surround me, too, but I must reach through the walls and provide.

There is no providing on a lingering summers walk; there is no providing in a caress. I have been to the place she wants me to go.
I have seen how the king of feelings, the great god romance seats us in his giant hand and thrusts us upward and slowly turns us under the sky. But it is given to us for only minutes, and we spend the rest of our lives paying for those few moments. Love moves through three stages: Attraction, Desire, Need. The third stage is a place I cannot go.

Finish your meal. If I cant be excused, why should he? The denial of my affection will make him strong like me. I would love to feel the emotions I have heard so much about, but I may as well try to reassemble a dandelion.
 
The Actor's Nightmare by Christopher Durang
 
Oh don't go! Maybe someone else will come out. Of course, sometimes people have soliloquies in Shakespeare. Let's just wait a moment more and maybe someone will come. Oh dear.
To be or not to be. That is the question. Line. Line! Oooooh... Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I. Whether tis nobler to kill oneself or not killing oneself or to sleep a great deal. We are such stuff that dreams are made on and our lives are rounded by a little sleep.
Uhh thrift- thrift Horatio! Neither a borrower nor a lender be- but to thine own self be true. There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. Extraordinary how potent cheap music can be. Out, out damn spot! I come to wive it wealthily in Padua- if wealthily then happily in Padua.
Brush up your Shakespeare- start quoting him now! Da da da...
I wonder whose yacht that is! How was China? Very large, China. How was Japan? Very small, Japan.
 
I pledge allegience to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which is stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Line. Line! Oh my God.
 
Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee and I detest the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because they offend thee, my God, who art loving and deserving of all my love. I swear to confess my sins, do penance and amend my life, Amen. That's the act of contrition Catholic schoolchildren say in confession to be forgiven their sins. Catholic adults say it as well, I imagine... I don't know any Catholic adults.
Line. When you call for a line, the stage manager normally gives you your next line to refresh your memory. Line.
The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth like a gentle rain upon the place below when we have shuffled off this mortal coil. Alas, Poor Yorick- I knew him well. Get thee to a nunnery- Line!- Nunnery.
As a child I was taught by nuns and then in high school by Benedictine priests. I really rather liked the nuns. They were sort of warm but they were also fairly crazy too. Line. I liked the priests also...the school was on the grounds of the monastery and my junior and senior years I spent a few weekends joining in the daily routine of the monastery: prayers then breakfast then prayers then lunch then prayers then supper then prayers then sleep. I found the predictability quite attractive. And the food was good. I was going to join the monastery after high school but they said I was too young and should wait. And then I just stopped believing in all those things, so I never did join the monastery. I became an accountant. I studied logariths and cosine and tangent... Line!
 
I'm sorry. This is supposed to be Hamlet or Private Lives or something and I keep rattling on like a maniac- I really do apologize. I just don't recall attending a single rehearsal. I don't know what I was doing. And also you came here to see Edwin Booth and you get me. I really am very embarrased. Sorry. Line!
A, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l , m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t...
 
Its a far far better thing I do then I have ever done before... Its a far far better place I go to than I have ever been before. Oh good- Are you Ophelia? Get thee to a nunnery!

LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!
by Terrence McNally

Between Twin Brothers

JAMES: After my bath, Buzz- and I never remotely thought in my wildest imaginings I would be making love to a man named Buzz or saying things like I love you, Buzz or how do you take your tea, Buzz- this same wonderful Buzz wrapped me in the biggest, toastiest bath sheet imaginable and tucked me safely into the lovely chair by the window in the corner of our room. I fell asleep listening to my brother play Rachmaninoff downstairs. I would wake up to the most unsettling yet strangely satisfying conversations in my long/short life. And I will scarcely say a word.

JOHN: There’s no point in pretending this isn’t happening. You’re dying, aren’t you? There are so many things we’ve never talked about, so many things I never got to say. I don’t want to wait until its too late to say them. I’ve spent my life waiting for the appropriate moment to tell you the truth. I resent you. I resent everything about you. You had mum and dad’s unconditional love and now you have the worlds. How can I not envy that? I wish I could say it was because you’re so much better looking than me. No, the real pain is that its something so much harder to bear. You got the good soul. I got the bad one. Think about leaving me yours.

They have names for us, behind our backs. I bet you didn’t know that, did you? James the good and John the bad, the princes of Charm and Ugly. Gregory has a journal. We’re all in it. I don’t come off too well in there either. So what’s your secret? The secret of unconditional love. I’m not going to let you die with it.

My brother smiled wanly and shook his head, suggesting he didn’t know, dear spectators. And just then a tear started to fall from the corner of one eye. This tear told me that my brother knew something of the pain I felt of never, ever not once being loved. Another tear. The other eye this time. And then I felt his hand on mine. Not only did I feel as if I were looking at myself, eye half-open, deep in a wing-backed chair, a blanket almost to my chin, in the twilight of a summer that had never come, and talking to myself, who else could this mirror image be but me? Both cheeks wet with tears now, but now I was touching myself.

That hand taking mine was my own. I could trace the same sinews, follow the same veins. But no! It brought it to other lips and began to kiss it, his kisses mingling with his tears. He was forgiving me. My brother was forgiving me. But wait! And I tried to pull my hand away. I hated you. He holds tighter. I. More kisses. I. New tears. I wished you were dead. He presses his head against my hand now and cries and cries and cries as I try to tell him every wrong I have done him, but he just shakes his head and bathes my hand with his tears and lips. There have never been so many kisses, not in all the world, as when I told my brother all the wrongs I had done him and he forgave me. Nor so many tears.

Finally we stopped. We looked at each other in the silence. We could look at each other at last. We weren’t the same person. I just wanted to be the one they loved, I told him.

JAMES: And now you will be.

IN THE PALE MOONLIGHT
By Peter Allen Fields

Captain's Personal Log: Stardate: 51721.3



It's only been two weeks. I need to talk about this. I have to justify what happened. What I've done. At least to myself. I can't talk to anyone else. Maybe if I just lay it all out in my log it will finally make some sense. I can see where it all went wrong. Where I went wrong. I suppose it all started two weeks ago while I was posting the weekly casualty list in the war room. Every Friday morning for the past three months I had been posting the official list of all Starfleet personnel killed, wounded, or missing in the war. It's become something of a grim ritual around here. Not a week goes by that someone doesn't find the name of a loved one, a friend or an acquaintance of theirs on that damned list. I had grown to hate Fridays.



When seeing the looks on some of my officers faces after reading the list, I feel like something must be done. One such Friday came and that was the day I made the decision. It was like I had stepped through a door and locked it behind me. I was going to bring stronger forces into the war- any way that I had to.



My father used to say that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. I laid the first stone. I made a plan to persuade Romulan forces into joining our side of the fighting. I had committed myself- I'd pay any price... go to any lengths because my cause was righteous. My intentions were good. In the beginning that seemed like enough. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that bad news comes in the middle of the night. It seems the enemy conquered another sector. The Cardassians had succeeded in invading Betazed. Afer that news, I had to find some way to bring another force into the front. Someone to shift the balance of power. The only group as egotistical and politically power hungry who would enter the war on a losing side would have to be the Romulans. They needed something to benefit from that motion, of course. So to find a way to bring the Romulans into the war, I approached Garak, the station's tailor and Cardassian refugee. His contacts with the enemy side would be vital in locating some data we could use to drag the Romulans away from the enemy side and over to ours. Garak suggested forging evidence to fool the Romulans into joining the battle on our side.



Maybe I should have put a stop to it right there. Maybe I should have said, "Thank you for your input, Mr.Garak. I will take your suggestion under advisement."- and then gone back to my office and forgotten the whole thing- but I didn't. Because in my heart I knew what he was saying made sense.



Garak paid a computer analyst named Tolar to create a datachip with falsified information regarding a Cardassian plan to overthrow the Romulan Empire. When that chip was brought to the Romulans, they'd see the plans of the Cardassian Order and join our side. Of course the Romulans could detect if it was a fraud and then place me in an awkward and embarrassing position.



That was my first moment of real doubt. When I started to wonder if this whole thing was a mistake. So then I went back to my office and there was another casualty report waiting for me. People are dying out there every day. Entire worlds are struggling for their freedom and here I am still worrying about the finer points of morality. No- I had to keep my eye on the ball- win the war- stopping the bloodshed: those were the priorities.



So I pushed on and every time another doubt appeared before me, I just found another way to shove it aside. I had grown to be quite intolerant... raising my voice for no real reason. Becoming moody and harsh at the drop of a hat- any hat. Maybe I was under more pressure than I realized. Maybe it was really starting to get to me but I was off the hook. Starfleet Command had given my plan their blessing. I thought that would have made this easier but I was the one who had to make it happen. I was the one who had to look at the Romulan Senator in the eye and convince him that a lie was the truth.



Senator Vreenak of the Romulan government joined me on the space station. We watched the datachip... the fake datachip... and stared at each other for nearly a half-hou after it had ended. Naturally he wanted to check the validity of the chip. So he brought it back to his shuttle.



So all I could do was wait and see how masterful Tolar's forgery really was. So I waited. I tried to catch up on my paperwork but I found it very difficult to focus on criminal activity reports... cargo manifests... So I went back to pacing and staring out of the window. I'm not an impatient man. I'm not one to agonize over decisions once they're made. I got that from my father. He always says, "Worries and doubts are the great enemies of a great chef. The souffle will either rise or it won't, there's not a damned thing you can do about it so you might as well just sit back and wait and see what happens." But this time the cost of failure was so high I found it difficult to take his advice. If Senator Vreenak discovered it was a forgery... if he realized we were trying to trick them into the war, it would push them further into the enemy camp. They could start to openly help the Cardassians... if worse came to worse they could actually join the war against us. I had the distinct feeling that victory or defeat would be decided in the next few minutes. I was right. The Romulans determined the datachip was fake.

So it all blew up in my face and all the lies and compromises... inner doubts and rationalizations- all for nothing. Vreenak was furious. I can't say that I blame him. I would have reacted the same way. After telling me in no uncertain terms that he would expose this vile deception to the entire Alpha Quandrant, he got back on his shuttle and headed home. There didn't seem to be anything left to do. So I went back to work. Two days later I got the news. The shuttle ferrying Romulan Senator Vreenak was destroyed. Cardassian weapondry was discovered to be the cause. I could only guess what happened. Garak had sabotaged the Senator's vessel while it was aboard the station. He had the ability and the resources to plant a bomb in the styling of the enemy having been a Cardassian spy in the first place. The Romulan authorities would surely investigate and discover our forged datachip among the wreckage. Their analysis would be different from Vreenak's. Any evidence of falsified information would be discounted because it could be ruled out as damage from the shuttle's explosion.

So the Romulans would enter the war due to the destruction and death of Senator Vreenak. All that was lost in the process was one leading political Romulan dignitary and my self-respect. A small price to pay for such a lofty goal. At least that's what I convinced myself. At 0800 hours, station time, the Romulan Empire formally declared war against the Cardassians. They've already struck 15 bases along the border. So this is a huge victory for the good guys. This may even be the turning point of the entire war. There is even a "welcome to the fight" party in the war room tonight.

So I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder- but the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again- I would. Garak was right about one thing: a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it. Because I can live with it. I can live with it.

Computer... erase that entire personal log.

 

Noises Off by Michael Frayn

LLOYD: Tim, let me tell you a little something about my life in the Big Apple. I have Hamlet's Ghost on the phone with me for an hour every evening after rehearsal complaining that Claudio is sucking sourballs through his speeches. Gertrude is off every afternoon doing a soap and Horatio is off the whole week doing a commercial for Gallow wine. Hamlet himself, would you believe it, has come down with psychological problems. Then last night I get a ring from Brooke telling me she's very unhappy here and has gotten herself a certificate for nervous exhausion. I don't have time to find and rehearse a new Vicki- I have just one afternoon while Hamlet sees his shrink and Ophelia begins divorce proceedings to cure Brooke of her nervous exhaustion with no medical aids but some whiskey- you've got the whiskey- a few flowers- you have the money for the flowers- and a certain fading bedside charm.

So I have not come to the theatre to hear about other people's problems. I have come to be taken out of myself and preferably not put back again!



Updated: 6-17-04