monologues female (110)

7 STAGES OF GRIEVING by Wesley Enoch & Deborah Mailman - MURRI WOMAN
AFTER DINNER by Andrew Bovell - MONIKA
AGNES OF GOD by John Pielmeier - AGNES
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (ACT 1, SCENE 3)  by William Shakespeare - HELENA
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 1, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HERMIA
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
AS YOU LIKE IT (ACT 3, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - PHEBE
AS YOU LIKE IT (ACT 3, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - ROSALIND
ATLANTA by Joanna Murray-Smith - ATLANTA
AWAY by Michael Gow - MEG
AWAY by Michael Gow - GWEN
BLACKROCK by Nick Enright - CHERIE
BOX THE PONY by Leah Purcell - LEAH
CARAVAN by Donald Macdonald - PENNY
CLEOPATRA (ACT 5, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - CLEOPATRA
COSI By Louis Nowra - JULIE
CRAVE by Sarah Kane - A
CRAZY BRAVE by Michael Gurr - ALICE
DAGS by Debra Oswald - GILLIAN
DON'S PARTY by David Williamson - KATH
EDUCATING RITA by Willy Russell - RITA
EUROPE by Michael Gow - BARBARA
EUROPE by Michael Gow - BARBARA
FEN by Caryl Churchill - MARGARET
HAMLET (ACT 3,  SCENE 1) by William Shakespeare - OPHELIA
HOLY DAY by Andrew Bovell - ELIZABETH
HONOUR by Joanna Murray-Smith - SOPHIE
JERUSALEM (ACT 2, SCENE 6) by Michael Gurr - NINA
JULIUS CAESAR (ACT 2, SCENE 1, ADAPTED) by William Shakespeare - PORTIA
KING HENRY IV, PART I (ACT 2, SCENE 3) by William Shakespeare - LADY PERCY
KING HENRY VI, PART I (ACT 4, SCENE 4) by William Shakespeare - PUCELLE
KING RICHARD III (ACT 1, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LADY ANNE
KING RICHARD III (ACT 1, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LADY ANNE
LOOSE ENDS (ADAPTED) by Michael Weller - SUSAN
LOW LEVEL PANIC by Claire McIntyre - MARY
MACBETH (ACT 1, SCENE 7) by William Shakespeare - LADY MACBETH
MISS JULIE by August Strindberg - JULIE
MY GARDEN By Ivy Craddock
NICE GIRLS by Linden Wilkinson - POPPY
OLEANNA by David Mamet - CAROL
OTHELLO (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - EMILIA
RADIANCE by Louis Nowra - CRESSY
ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 2, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 4, SCENE 3) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
SAINT JOAN by George Bernard Shaw - JOAN
SKYLIGHT by David Hare - KYRA
SUMMER AND SMOKE by Tennessee Williams - ALMA
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH by Tennessee Williams - HEAVENLY
THE BOYS by Gordon Graham - NOLA
THE CALL by Patricia Cornelius - DENISE
THE CHERRY ORCHARD by Anton Chekhov - Madame Ranevsky
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LUCIANA
THE GOAT by Edward Albee - STEVIE
THE KID by Michael Gow - SNAKE
THE MAID'S TRAGEDY (ACT 4, SCENE 1) by Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher - EVADNE
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakepeare - PORTIA
THE SEED by Kate Mulvany - ROSE
THE WINTER'S TALE (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HERMIONE
TRUE ROMANCE by Quentin Tarrantino - ALABAMA
TWELFTH NIGHT (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - VIOLA
TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing - LAINE
WILD HONEY by Anton Chekhov - ANNA
WHO'S AFRAID OF THE WORKING CLASS by Christis Tsiolkas, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves and Andrew Bovell - RHONDA
WIT by Margaret Edson - VIVIAN

7 STAGES OF GRIEVING by Wesley Enoch & Deborah Mailman - MURRI WOMAN
(Delivered in the style of stand up comedy)
Have you ever been black?  You know when you wake up one morning and you're black?  Happened to me this morning.  I was in the bathroom, looking in the mirror and I thought, "Nice hair, beautiful black skin, white shiny teeth... I'm BLACK!"
You get a lot of attention, special treatment from being black.  I'm in this expensive shop and there's this guy next to me, nice hair, nice tie, nice suit, waving a nice big gun in the air and this shop assistant says, "Keep an eye on the nigger... eye on the nigger."
OK, so I went to try on a dress and the shop assistant escorts me to the 'special' dressing room, the one equipped with video cameras, warning to shop lifters, a security guard, fucken sniffer dog... 'Get out of it'.  Just so I don't put anything I shouldn't on my nice dress, nice hair, beautiful black skin and white shiny teeth...
Now I'm in this crowded elevator, bathed in perfume, in my nice dress, nice hair, beautiful black skin and white shiny teeth... 'Hey which way'.
(The woman sniffs the air) Somebody boodgi and they all look at me!
Now I go to my deadly Datsun, looking pretty deadly myself, which way, lock my keys in the car.  Eh but this Murri too good, she got a coat hanger in her bag!  Fiddling around for a good five seconds and starting hearing sirens, look around, policeman, fireman, army, fucken UN and that same sniffer dog.  Just to make sure everythings OK.
(Spoken in an American accent while holding the audience at 'gunpoint') "Who owns the car, Ma'am?"
(Indicating herself) "ME."
So I'm driving along in my deadly Datsun, stylin up to that rear vision mirror.  Car breaks down.  Get out.  Started waving people for help.
(Imitating a fast car) Started waving people for help. Vrooom!  Started waving people for help. Vrooom! 
Next minute I see this black shape coming down the raod - fucken black sniffer dog.
Finally get home, with the help of policeman, fireman, army, fucken UN.  Still looking deadly in my nice dress, nice hair, beautiful black skin and white shiny teeth.  Aunty comes in, "Eh Sisgril, nice dress, can I borrow it? 'Mmmm'.
Thinking that tomorrow will be a better day, I go to bed.  Kicking that sniffer dog out.  Still with the sound of sirens in my head.  Snuggling up to my doona and pillow.  Morning comes, I wake, looking in the mirror.  Nice hair, beautiful black skin, white shiny teeth.  I'M STILL BLACK! NUNNA!

Oh, charming. It wasn't my idea coming back here in the first place. But once Freddie's set eyes on a lame dog, you might as well talk to the moon. I keep looking at the door and thinking she's going to come through it any moment with that poor weirdie. I know it's awful but it's one of my- you know- THINGS. We're none of us perfect… I can't stand anything N.P.A. Non-Physically Attractive. Old women in bathing-suits - and skin diseases - and cripples… ; Rowton House-looking men who spit and have hair growing out of their ears… No good, I just can't look at them. I know Freddie's right about Hitler and of course that's horrid. Still, I cant' help sympthizing with Brian, can you? I don't mean the way he described. I think it should be done by the state. And so should charity. Then we might have an end of all those hideous dolls in shop-doorways with irons on their legs…. Freddie won't hear of it, of course. But then he loves a lame dog. Every year he buys so many tickets for the spastic raffle he wins the TV set and every year he gives it to an old folks' home. He used to try taking me along on his visits but I said it wasn't me at all and he gave up. One-place-we went, there were these poor freaks with-oh, you know-enormous heads and so on-and you just feel: oh, put them out of their misery. Well, they wouldn't have survived in nature, it's only modern medicine, so modern medicine should be allowed to do away with them. A committee of doctors and do-gooders, naturally, to make sure there's no funny business and then-if I say gas-chamber that makes it sound horrid - but I do mean put to sleep. When Freddie gets all mealy-mouthed about it, I say, look, darling, if one of our kids was dying and they had a cure and you knew it had been discovered in the Nazi laboratories, would you refuse to let them use it? I certainly wouldn't. I love my own immediate family and that's the lot. Can't manage any more. I want to go home and see them again. They may not be the most hard-working well behaved geniuses on earth, but no one in their right mind could say they were N.P.A. Freddie, I'm going. You can get a taxi and…

AFTER DINNER by Andrew Bovell - MONIKA
I'm fine now. Honestly. Just pretend that nothing happened. It's just that for a moment I thought Martin was still with me and I panicked. Isn't that silly. I was thinking about what I was going to order when I remembered that I hadn't left anything out for Martin. I thought of him searching through the fridge and not finding a morsel. I wanted to say something, to tell you he'd be looking for his dinner but I couldn't get it out. It was as though a large piece of phlegm had lodged in my throat and my words couldn't pass it. But then I remembered. Martin wouldn't be wanting his dinner because Martin's not with me any more. Martin's dead. And the phlegm just slid away. Poor Martin. If only I was a little quicker. To have held him in my arms before he went. But how was I to know? How was I to know he was about to die. Men don't have strokes when they're thirty eight years old. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't my fault, was it? Have I told you how Martin died? We'd finished our dinner. Martin was in the loungeroom watching television and I was in the kitchen doing the washing-up. I'd nearly finished the pots when I smelt this most vile smell. So I put the dog outside but the smell didn't go away. I searched high and low through that kitchen. Martin couldn't stand unidentified smells. Then I realised that the smell was coming from the loungeroom. I went in and there was Martin sitting bolt upright in his chair with his nostrils quivering and the most terrible look on his face. He would hate me for telling you but he'd lost control of his bowels. Something he normally never would have done. 'Martin', I said. 'Is everything alright?' 'No dear'. And they were his last words. He closed his eyes and slid off the chair. The poor man, he was such a clean person when he was alive. So sad that he had to die in such shame. And thank God we didn't have any children. And God knows we tried. Still, where would we be now if we had children? Not here, not out on the town having such a good time.

What words I said before suited necessity;
without the slightest shame, I now unsay them all.
Under a tender guise my hate matched his manly hate.
The trap I set for his ruin was too high to vault.
For my own part the conflict born of an ancient grudge
has been pondered long and deep.
What I planned to do, has now been done.
Here I stand where I struck him down.
He could not escape the stroke of death, nor beat it aside.
Like a fisherman casting his tightly woven net,
I snared him in a mesh of deadly crimson cloth.
I struck him twice.  Twice he cried and fell to his knees.
Once down I delivered the third and final blow,
in thanksgiving to Hades, lord of the underworld,
guardian of the dead.
So he fell, his life throbbed away;
Breath and blood spurting out of him like a shower,
spattering me like drops of crimson dew.
I soaked it up joyfully as spring buds do the gods’ sweet rain. 
It is over and done, these are the facts.
It if pleases you, noble elders of Argos, be glad.
But for me — I am triumphant.
The dead deserve libations, the sacrament of religion.
Agamemnon has the just deserts of death.
He filled our cup with such an evil brew,
he himself now come home and drunk it to the dregs.

AGNES OF GOD by John Pielmeier - AGNES
I’m tired of talking! I’ve been talking for weeks! And nobody believes me when I tell them anything! Nobody listens to me! … Where do you think babies come from? … Well, I think they come from when an angel lights on their mother’s chest and whispers into her ear. That makes good babies start to grow. Bad babies come from when a fallen angel squeezes in down there, and they grow and grow until they come out down there. I don’t know where good babies come out. (Silence) And you can’t tell the difference except that bad babies cry a lot and make their fathers go away and their mothers get very ill and die sometimes. Mummy wasn’t very happy when she died and I think she went to hell because every time I see her she looks like she just stepped out of a hot shower. And I’m never sure if it’s her or the Lady who tells me things. They fight over me all the time. The Lady I saw when I was ten. I was lying on the grass looking at the sun and the sun became a cloud and the cloud became the Lady, and she told me she would talk to me and then her feet began to bleed and I saw there were holes in her hands and in her side and I tried to catch the blood as it fell from the sky but I couldn’t see any more because my eyes hurt because there were big black spots in front of them. And she tells me things like – right now she’s crying ‘Marie! Marie!’ but I don’t know what that means. And she uses me to sing. It’s as if she’s throwing a big hook through the air and it catches me under my ribs and tries to pull me up but I can’t move because Mummy is holding my feet and all I can do is sing in her voice, it’s the Lady’s voice, God loves you! (Silence) God loves you. (Silence) … I don’t want to talk anymore, all right? I just want to go home. 

Hello, Christy love.  Here.  I said I had something for you.  Don't let Tocky see it.  He'll have a heart attack... They're rosary beads...Irish horn.  (She laughs) Irish horn!  Would you like to hear a story?  I think you're old enough.  It's about your father.  You're like your father in many ways, you know.  Sure you want to hear it?...Right!  You'll hear a lot worse before you're much older.  Years ago your father and me went to a Kerry dance back home in ould Ireland.  It was a beautiful summer evening and we were dancing at the Crossroads.  During the evening your father and me danced a dance called 'The Siege of Ennis'.  After we had been dancing for a while, I said to your father: "Denny, is it 'The Siege of Ennis' we're after dancing, or is it 'The Siege of Guinness'?  Because I can feel the neck of a Guinness bottle sticking into my belly."  Your father blushed.  He went real red.  I said: "Come on, Denny.  Let's walk in the fields and in some hidden hedge we'll drink of the Guinness bottle."  And then your father, trembling, said, "No Breda.  No.  'Twould be a mortal sin!"  A good Irish horn went to waste that night...You do understand.  A little.  (She hugs Christy to her)  Ah, my little boy.  My innocent little boy.  I spend all my life figuring ways to stops having babies, but I'd love to have you for my son.

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (ACT 1, SCENE 3)  by William Shakespeare - HELENA
Then, I confess,
Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,
That before you, and next unto high heaven,
I love your son.
My friends were poor, but honest; so's my love:
Be not offended; for it hurts not him
That he is loved of me: I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit;
Nor would I have him till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet in this captious and intenible sieve
I still pour in the waters of my love
And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian-like,
Religious in mine error, I adore
The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more. My dearest madam,
Let not your hate encounter with my love
For loving where you do: but if yourself,
Whose aged honour cites a virtuous youth,
Did ever in so true a flame of liking
Wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian
Was both herself and love: O, then, give pity
To her, whose state is such that cannot choose
But lend and give where she is sure to lose;
That seeks not to find that her search implies,
But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies!

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 1, SCENE 1) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
How happy some o'er other some can be!
Through Athens I am thought as fair as she.
But what of that? Demetrius thinks not so;
He will not know what all but he do know:
And as he errs, doting on Hermia's eyes,
So I, admiring of his qualities:
Things base and vile, folding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity:
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind:
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgement taste;
Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste:
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
As waggish boys in game themselves forswear,
So the boy Love is perjured every where:
For ere Demetrius look'd on Hermia's eyne,
He hail'd down oaths that he was only mine;
And when this hail some heat from Hermia felt,
So he dissolved, and showers of oaths did melt.
I will go tell him of fair Hermia's flight:
Then to the wood will he to-morrow night
Pursue her; and for this intelligence
If I have thanks, it is a dear expense:
But herein mean I to enrich my pain,
To have his sight thither and back again.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
O, I am out of breath in this fond chase!
The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace.
Happy is Hermia, whereso'er she lies,
For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. 
How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears.
If so, my eyes are oftener washed than hers.
No, no, I am as ugly as a bear;
For beasts that meet me run away for fear.
Therefore no marvel though Demetrius
Do, as a monster, fly my presence thus.
What wicked and dissembling glass of mine
Made me compare with Hermia's starry eye?
But who is here? Lysander! On the ground!
Dead? Or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.
Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HERMIA
Help me, Lysander, help me! Do thy best
To pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!
Ay me, for pity, what a dream was here!
Lysander, look how I do quake with fear!
Methought a serpent eat my heart away
And you sat smiling at his cruel prey.
Lysander! what, removed? Lysander! Lord!
What, out of hearing? Gone? No sound, no word?
Alack, where are you? Speak, and if you hear.
Speak, of all loves! I swoon almost with fear.
No? Then I well perceive you are not nigh
Either death or you I'll find immediately.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - HELENA
Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin'd all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me.
Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid!
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?
Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,--O, is it all forgot?
All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest.
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.

AS YOU LIKE IT (ACT 3, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - PHEBE
Think not I love him, though I ask for him:
'Tis but a peevish boy; yet he talks well;
But what care I for words? yet words do well
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
It is a pretty youth: not very pretty:
But, sure, he's proud, and yet his pride becomes him:
He'll make a proper man: the best thing in him
Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
Did make offence his eye did heal it up.
He is not very tall; yet for his years he's tall:
His leg is but so so; and yet 'tis well:
There was a pretty redness in his lip,
A little riper and more lusty red
Than that mix'd in his cheek; 'twas just the difference
Between the constant red and mingled damask.
There be some women, Silvius, had they mark'd him
In parcels as I did, would have gone near
To fall in love with him; but, for my part,
I love him not nor hate him not; and yet
I have more cause to hate him than to love him:
For what had he to do to chide at me?
He said mine eyes were black and my hair black:
And, now I am remember'd, scorn'd at me:
I marvel why I answer'd not again:
But that's all one; omittance is no quittance.
I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
And thou shalt bear it: wilt thou, Silvius?

AS YOU LIKE IT (ACT 3, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - ROSALIND
And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty,-
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed-
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of nature's sale-work. 'Od's my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it:
'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream,
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy south puffing with wind and rain?
You are a thousand times a properer man
Than she a woman: 'tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favour'd children:
'Tis not her glass, but you, that flatters her;
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
But, mistress, know yourself: down on your knees,
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love:
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can: you are not for all markets:
Cry the man mercy; love him; take his offer:
Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
So take her to thee, shepherd: fare you well.

Thanks. Sorry, only the man over there won’t stop talking. I wanted to read this in peace. I couldn’t concentrate. He just kept going on and on about his collections or something. I normally don’t mind too much, only if you get a letter like this, you need all your concentration. You can’t have people talking in your ear – especially when you’re trying to decipher writing like this. He must have been stoned out of his mind when he wrote it. It wouldn’t be unusual. Look at it. He wants me to come back. Some hopes. To him. He’s sorry, he didn’t mean to do what he did, he won’t do it again I promise, etc., etc. I seem to have heard that before. It’s not the first time, I can tell you. And there’s no excuse for it, is there? Violence. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Keep going back to that? Every time he loses his temper he ... I mean, there’s no excuse. A fracture, you know. It was nearly a compound fracture. That’s what they told me. (indicating her head) Right here. You can practically see it to this day. Two X-rays. I said to him when I got home, I said, “You bastard, you know what you did to my head?” He just stands there. The way he does. “Sorry,” he says, “I’m ever so sorry.” I told him, I said, “You’re a bastard, that’s what you are. A right, uncontrolled, violent, bad-tempered bastard.” You know what he said? He says, “You call me a bastard again and I’ll smash your stupid face in”.

ATLANTA by Joanna Murray-Smith - ATLANTA
Part of my problem, when I was growing up, was that I never told people what they wanted to hear. This was very disturbing. My parents thought I was a very sick small child because I would not embrace the beautiful, the sweet, the funny, lovely, playful, gentle things. It's amazing how sophisticated a little child can be. We forget. Isn't that hilarious! We spend all those years as children thinking : My God, these adults are idiots not realising how much more we understand than they think we do! And then we become adults and we're exactly the same! I remember as even a very small child thinking : what on earth is the point of pretending that everything is beautiful and lovely when it's not? My mother was insistent that I find the world a charming, wonderful place and that life was a miracle. She would trace my finger. This one. The 'pointer'. She would trace it along the lines of her scar, the scar on her belly, and say : 'Isn't that the most beautiful, perfect, neat little scar and wasn't the doctor the cleverest nicest doctor in the whole world?' (Pause) 
In my mother's village, the Jews fled to a small hut in the forest. My uncle and aunt had a baby and the baby would not stop crying. The more my mother's aunt tried to silence her baby, the more the baby screamed. And everyone in the hut knew that in the end it would be the baby which would kill them. So a vote was taken and my mother's aunt put her hand over the baby's face until it was quiet…until it was quiet…. (Pause) 
It takes me by surprise: realising, My God! This is it! I'm grown up! I am what all those big people were, the ones who could do anything…Which is the saddest thing in the world…because it's so much better being a child and yet there is no way of going back!

(An actress in her late twenties runs up on the stage. She is nervous. She shields her eyes against the light. She is dressed in a slightly bizarre and trendy style. She carries in her arms a cat on a leash.)

Actress: Hi. Hey Hi. Wow. All right. Nice place. Nice,uh, nice theatre. Good vibes. Okay....for my.....can you hear me? Can you? No? Yes? You are out there, right? (She puts the cat on the floor, her foot on the leash) O.K., so we're all here. Let's see..Audition! RAH! Get that part! O.K. My name is.....shit! I forgot my name. Right. This would be construed as craziness. My name is......I did. I forgot my name. My stage name. See, I decided to use my new stage name for this audition for, uh....luck. It was very....look, what d'you care, right? My human world name is Mary Titfer. Titfer. You got it? Goodo!
...Now, one more introduction and we're under way. The, uh, small person on my leash is my cat 'Tat'. Get it? (points to herself). Titfer (points to cat.) 'Tat'. Right. You got it. Hey, we're waking up here! We're demonstrating consciousness. Okay. O.K. Now, you.... the imperial you....have a part. I, Titfer need a part. We are thus in tune. Synchronicity.  Now, 'I've got two parts for you today, and here's the surprise: I've got one classical piece and I've got one contemporary piece. Good. For my classical piece I will take off all my clothes. Now, why is this classical? Surly you jest. The body. The body is classical. It goes all the way back and all the way front. Har,har.

Okay. O.K. Now, in the great tradition of auditions you may stop me at anytime. You can stop me one second after I start. Just yell 'Thank you Miss Titfer'. Firm but courteous and zaparoonie. I stop. I nip the strip. But when I stop my classical piece, I shift immediately into my contemporary piece which is......full attention now......beating the kitty's head in with a hammer! Yipes! Holy Mackerel! Is this broad kidding? Wellll, I wouldn't want to spoil it for you but I don't think she's kidding. So, option A....We will let this poor, desperate, deluded girl debase herself.....and I would, will, be debased. Mortified. I clothes here? In front of strangers? Or option b....We can yell 'Thank you Miss Titfer' and watch her clonk the kitty.....and remember, Miss Titfer is fast. It will happen in a flash. Kittyplasm....and haven't we, well, you actually killed the little puss? Or option C, the last option. We could give Mary Titfer the crummy, undemanding, twelve line, two scene part now, which, let me assure you, any mildly competent average workday actress could do while standing on her head shouting 'You can take this job and shove it'........backwards. So now we're out of the exposition and into the meat of the matter.  You have a part.  I need a part.  We have business here, right? Right?

AWAY by Michael Gow - MEG
I saw the carton.  I saw it in the hall.
I saw it.  It was near the telephone table, wasn't it?
You saw it too, didn't you?  You saw the box sitting there.
You must have it.  It was sitting next to your vanity case.
Everything lese that was in the hall got packed in the car.  You did see it.
You were the last one out.  You're the one who shuts the door, after you've made sure the stove's off and the fridge has been left open.  You saw the carton and you left it there on purpose.
You left it behind.
And you knew what it was.  You knew what was in it and you left it there.
Why did you do that?
Why would you do a thing like that?
I want to know why you did it.
Tell me why you deliberately left that box behind.
We have a game we play every year.  We sneak presents home, we hide them, we wrap them up in secret even thought we can hear the sticky tape tearing and the paper rustling; we hide them in the stuff we take away, we pretend not to see them until christmas morning even when we know they're there and we know what's in them because we've already put in our orders so there's no waste or surprise.  And Dad always hides his in a pathetic place that's so obvious it's a joke and we laugh at him behind our backs but we play along!  You knew what was in that box.  You left it behind.  I want to know why.
What were you trying to do, what did you want to gain?
Did you want to have something we'd all have to be sorry for the whole holiday?  There's always something we do wrong that takes you weeks to forgive.
You have to tell me.

AWAY by Michael Gow - GWEN
The things that are taken away on holidays always go in the proper order, so everything will fit. I can't help it if someone decides to be smart and funny and try to hide things in a little cardboard box. I wasn't going to have the whole routine upset, that we've been following all these years and that I thought was giving people a good life, though it seems I'm very wrong, for the sake of someone's joke.
You're developing a nasty streak. A very nasty, cruel streak. You know what you're becoming? Snide. A nasty, snide girl. No one likes a snide girl, always arguing, always throwing a tantrum, getting your own way, answering back, correcting people, criticising, complaining, no one likes that sort of girl. Unless you count your foulmouthed little English chum. You'll make a great pair. Throw your future away. Give it away. Throw what I have done, we have done, in our faces.
Sacrificed! Gone without. Gone through hardship so what happened to us will never happen to you. So you'll never know what we saw - never, never, never. Never see people losing jobs and never finding another one, never be without a home, never be without enough money for a decent meal, never be afraid that everything will fall apart at any second. Isn't that something, miss? Tell me? Isn't it?
Now my head's going to burst. I'm going to take something and then get lunch.

I felt a power in me that made me snap and I was runnin’ down the street.  Gwarnghi, crazy, with anger, that death makin’ me cry with fury.  A black hand pickin’ up a stone, the glass from the bar smashin’ over us.  A shower of blood!  All the Koories shoutin’ so angry.  Voice gone with beggin’ that mob to go home before they all got arrested or someone killed by a gun from some ute goin’ by.  Farmers’ 202s stickin’ out ute windows, all of them yellin’ at the blacks.  I ran with the mob, we aren’t gunna take it anymore.  I’m lyin’ in the glass and two big gunjies pick me up.  All the hands grabbin’ at me, but I was gone, into the bullwagon with its metal and vomit…Them fellas bangin’ on the side, givin’ me a headache.  Merrigans barkin’.  There was a young boy from the river, sittin’ big-eyed in the corner.  I’ll never forget what whites have done to our people, it was all there in his face.

BLACKROCK by Nick Enright - CHERIE
(Cemetery.  Cherie by the grave with a boom box.)
It was my fault.  If we stuck together like we said, you and me and Leanne, you wouldn't be here.  But I lost youse all.  Now I've lost you.  And no-one knows how.  You should hear the rumours.  Someone seen a black Torana with Victorian number plates.  It was a stranger in a Megadeth T-shirt, it was a maddie from the hospital, even your stepdad.  All these ideas about who did it, who did it, like it was a TV show.  It is a TV show.  Every night on the news.  I want to yell out, this is not a body, this is Tracy you're talking about.  Someone who was here last week, going to netball, working at the Pizza Hut, getting the ferry, hanging out.  You were alive.  Now you're dead.  But I know you can hear me.  I can hear you.
(She plays a bit of a song)
Your song.  Times we danced to that, you and me and Shana, Shana singing dirty words, remember?  Mum hearing and throwing a mental... I shouldn't laugh, should I?  Not here.  But all I can think of is the other words.
(She turns off the tape.)
You were wearing my earrings.  You looked so great.  And some guy took you off and did those things to you.  Wish I knew who.  You know, Trace.  Nobody else does.  If I knew, but, I'd go and kill him.  I'd smash his head in.  I'd cut his balls off.  I'd make him die slowly for what he did to you.

BOX THE PONY by Leah Purcell - LEAH
When I grow up, I took off from up'ome'der. I grabbed the essentials…And jumped in my little yellow Datsun Sunny…(sings) 'Sunny, thank you for the smile upon my face…' Good car. Straight to Sydney, Eastern Suburbs, real flash. Had to live somewhere, right? So I go to a real estate agent. 'G'day'…and true's god, the woman behind the counter looks at me and says, 'We haven't any money, we haven't any money, take whatever you want.' So I took a one-bedroom flat. See, blackfella not greedy. So now I live in Woollahra, real fuckin' flash, which is nice…because as Aunty Pauline Hanson say, 'Too many people up'ome get paid too much money for sitting around drinking too much port.' So Woollahra feels like home. Then I gets this job presenting on cable TV and all of a sudden I'm a BIG star in Woollahra! Solid, eh? But serious now…them fellas in Sydney they different mob, eh? Up'ome'der when you drivin' and a car passes, you wave. 'Hey, cuss.' But here in Sydney, biggest mob of bloody cars, I'm wavin' all bloody day, what's wrong with them fellas? None of them bastards wave back! And another thing, you're sitting next to someone. 'G'day.' 'Where you come from?' 'Woollahra?' 'Hey, you and me and this bloke over here, same mob. We'll have to get together and have a cup of tea.' 'I'm from up'ome'der, 'Murgon.' 'My father he's white, two wives, two families, one white and one black…and…that…was…my mum. Here, wher you goin'? 'It get's better! I haven't got up to the part about me being conceived at the dump!' 'Suit yourself…'
Another time, I'm walking down the street and this lady comes out of gate and, true's god, it's like a bloody cartoon. She grabs her bag and goes…
(As WHITE WOMAN frightened by seeing a blackfella up close, she clutches her handbag to her chest and blinks, stopping in her tracks as if she fears LEAH might hit her.) 
…like I was going to hit her or something… 
She backs in her gate, up the path, falls in the front door, rolls up the hallway, doing backward somersaults…slow motion…And I stood there….thinking…

CARAVAN by Donald Macdonald - PENNY
Stop it!  Stop it!  I can't stand it any more.  I really can't.
(They are so surprised they fall silent.  They all look at her)
I've had it.  Up to here!  Do you understand?  Every year for four years I've had to endure this holiday.  I've had to put up with the heat.  I hate the heat!  The inconvenience, the primitive conditions - there hasn't been a light in the shower for four years.  And the caravan.  Your precious caravan.  Parkes, do you know I hate caravans?  I hate them.  Do you know what I'd like to happen, Parkes?  I'd like all the drips to combine into one very big flood and I'd like the caravan to float out to sea.  With all of you in it!
You're sorry!  Oh yes, you're sorry.  For four years I've had the heat, and the caravan, and the children.  And Parkes.  And it's been hell!  I thought this year it would be different.  I thought... with my friends here, I might at least enjoy myself.  (Starts to cry) But you're worse.  Far worse than the children.  We won't go home!  We can't go home.  It's pouring with rain.  We have talked about this holiday for years.  We're here and we are stuck with it and I insist that we stay.  We have one week to go -
Don't interrupt.  And for that week I don't want to hear one nasty word from any of you.  Do you hear?  Not one word.  I want everybody to be nice.  I want a week of niceness.  All right?  No matter what.  Or I'll... I'll... burn the caravan down.
(She grabs an umbrella and a raincoat and a hat and tries to regain some dignity)
I am now going to take a cold shower and then I'm going to bed.  I don't care where I sleep.  Or whom with.  As long as there are no arguments.
(She exits in the twilight.  Everybody transfixed)

CLEOPATRA (ACT 5, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - CLEOPATRA
Give me my robe, put on my crown, I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip.
Yare, yare, good Iras; quick: methinks I hear
Antony call. I see him rouse himself
To praise my noble act. I hear him mock
The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men
To excuse their after wrath. Husband, I come:
Now to that name, my courage prove my title!
I am fire, and air; my other elements
I give to baser life. So, have you done?
Come then, and take the last warmth of my lips.
Farewell, kind Charmain, Iras, long farewell.
(Kisses them. Iras falls and dies)
Have I the aspic in my lips? Dost fall?
If thou and nature can so gently part,
The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch,
Which hurts, and is desir'd. Dost thou lie still?
If thus thou vanishest, thou tell'st the world
It is not worth leave-taking.
This proves me base:
If she first meet the curled Antony,
He'll make demand of her, and spend that kiss
Which is my heaven to have. Come, thou mortal wretch,
(to asp, which she applies to her breast)
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and despatch. O, couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass,
Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?
As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle.
O Antony! Nay, I will take thee too.
(applying another asp to her arm)
What should I stay - (Dies)

COSI BY Louis Nowra - JULIE
I like doing theatre, even though it's my first time.  I like it because I'm doing something.  Using up energy.  Getting out of my ward.  God, how I hate that ward...My parents had me committed.  They think it's sort of like a holiday.  Those dirty white and olive walls give me the heebie jeebies, they really do. (She laughs) See, I'm happy coming to this burnt out theatre.  (Pause) Doug...It's peculiar about drugs.  Doug hates them because he likes to be naturally high all the time.  Zac likes them because everything passes like he's in a dream or limbo.  I think I'm a natuarlly addictive personality.  I like what they give you here, because not to be on drugs, whatever sort, is like being in limbo for me.  Drugs make me feel sort of living.  Completely the opposite for Doug.  Especially junk.  Ever had it?  No, you haven't.  I can tell.  A bit of pot, touch of acid, right?...Junk.  Junk is like lying in a warm, cloudy river.  Some people can't imagine life without love, well, I can't imagine life without junk.  I know it's stupid, that's why I like doing this theatre thing.  Doesn't make me sit in my ward thinking: what I need right now is...I'm really full of beans, you know?  I could cut your hair in a minute flat.  I could, you know?  That's my profession.  Hairdresser.  I'd do a good job on you because I'm not on junk.  On junk...holy, holy Moses...(She laughs) You know, just before I came here, a woman was in my salon for a trim.  Just a little off here and there.  I'd just shot up.  Beautiful stuff.  Felt like Mercury, no finger could hold me down.  I had the nods.  Everything became real slow.  Like time standing still.  Each hair required absolute concentration.  Hour after hour I devoted myself to that hair and twelve hours later that woman was still there, minus a few curls, if that.  She hadn't moved.  Too scared that I was going to snip everything except her hair.  (She laughs) I should have charged by the hour.

You're so neat.  You're such a neat guy.  I wish I woulda known you when I was little.  Not real little.  But at the age when you start finding out stuff.  When I was cracking rocks apart and looking at their sparkles inside.  When I first put my finger inside me and felt wonderment.  I would've took you to this real neat hideout I had where I made a waterfall with tires and shit, and my own hut.  We could've taken all our clothes off, and I'd look at your dinger, and you could show me how far you could piss.  I bet you would've protected me.  People were always giving me shit.  Ya know what?  Once I was in a play.  I was real glad I was in a play 'cause I thought they were just for pretty people, and I had my dumb eyepatch and those metal plate shoes to correct my duck foot.  It was The Ugly Duckling, and I really dug that 'cause of the happy ending and shit.  And I got to be the ugly duckling and I had to wear some old tattered black cloth and get shit flung at me, but I didn't mind 'cause at the end I'd be that pretty swan and all.  But you know what they did, Slim?  At the end of the play I had to kneel on the stage and cover my head with a black shawl and this real pretty blonde-haired girl in a white ballet dress rose up behind me as the swan.  It was really shitty, man.  I never got to be the fucking swan.  I paid all the dues and up rose ballerina Cathy like the North Star.  And afterwards all the parents could talk about was how pretty she looked.  Boy, I ran to my hideout and cried and cried.  The lousy fucks.  I wish you were around then.  I bet you would've protected me.

CRAVE by Sarah Kane - A
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy’s and talk about the day and type up your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don’t listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you’re sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florence and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the tv programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you’re late and be amazed when you’re early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I’m black and be sorry when I’m wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I’d known you forever.

CRAZY BRAVE by Michael Gurr - ALICE
There are one hundred and thirty four varieties of deodorant in Safeways, Nick, I counted them, one hundred and thirty four.  (Beat) I don't believe in blueprints.  There is no charter of principles.  The mistake is thinking that there is something definitive.  Some definitive destination, a place you actually arrive at, or if there is, that it's remotely likely we'll get there in anything like the next million years.  Sometimes I think it's all down to the wrong monkey.  (Beat) The wrong monkey getting pushed off the branch.  You know?  Two monkeys in a tree.  One finishes eating his berries.  Very nice he thinks, I'd like some more.  Looks at the other monkey.  Hang on.  I'll take his.  I'll just steal his berries and push him off the branch.  So he does.  (Beat) And that was it.  All the genetic material for goodness was shattered on a rock in about four billion BC.  And now there's us: all descended from the wrong fucking monkey and picking our arse in Las Vegas.  (Beat) The point is change.  That's all there is.  And nothing burns down by itself.  I say leave the bright new world to some future time when people might know what they want.  I mean, would you buy Utopia from me?  (Beat) Christ, I wouldn't.  (Beat) The way I see it, our duty is lighting fires.  Getting out of this unbelievable rut.  You know when '99 ticked over into 2000, you could just about hear it, this great worldwide Nothing.  Nothing happened.

DAGS by Debra Oswald - GILLIAN
All right.  I'm going to admit something I never thought I'd admit to anyone ever.  I've got a crush on Adam.  Head over heels.  Uncontrollable passion, etcetera.  Unrequited passion, of course.  Now I know this sounds like I'm throwing away everything I've said so far.  And I guess I am.  I know every girl at school except Monica is in love with him.  I know he'd never go for a dag like me.  I know it's hopeless.  I know all that.  But I can't help it.  Just thinking he might look at me, my heart starts pounding like mad.  And then I worry about whether he can tell my hearts going crazy, and I have to act really cool.  This crush - it's like a disease.  Do you know - oh, I'm almost too embarrassed to admit this - Adam misses the bus sometimes.  'Cos he's chatting up some girl or something.  And do you know what I do?  I get off the bus after one stop and walk back to school, so I can hang around the bus stop hoping he'll turn up.  Just so I can ride on the same bus with him.  Isn't that the most pathetic thing you've ever heard?  I'm crazy.  I can lie here for hours thinking about him.  Writing these movies in my head where Adam and me are the stars.  I try to imagine how he'd notice me and fall hopelessly in love with me and all that.  Like, one of my favourites is that the bus breaks down one day in this remote place and there we are stranded together.  He discovers that I was this really fascinating woman all along.  Far more interesting than all those silly girls at school.  But - I say that I can't bear to be just another notch on his belt.  So Adam has to beg me to go out with him.  Grovel almost.  That's a pretty over-the-top version.

When I was sixteen I remember slipping out one Sunday night – it was this time of year, the beginning of August – and Bernie and I met at the gate of the workhouse and the pair of us went off to a dance in Ardstraw.  I was being pestered by a fellow called Tim Carlin at the time but it was really Brian McGuinness that I was – that I was keen on. Remember Brian with the white hands and the longest eyelashes you ever saw?  But of course he was crazy about Bernie.  Anyhow the two boys took us on the bar of their bikes and off the four of us headed to Ardstraw, fifteen miles each way.  If Daddy had known, may he rest in peace . . .  And at the end of the night there was a competition for the Best Military Two-step.  And it was down to three couples:  the local pair from Ardstraw; wee Timmy and myself – he was up to there on me; and Brian and Bernie . . .  And they were just so beautiful together, so stylish; you couldn’t take your eyes off them.  People just stopped dancing and gazed at them . . . And when the judges announced the winners – they were probably blind drunk – naturally the local couple came first; and Timmy and myself came second; and Brian and Bernie came third. Poor Bernie was stunned.  She couldn’t believe it.  Couldn’t talk.  Wouldn’t speak to any of us for the rest of the night.  Wouldn’t even cycle home with us.  She was right, too:  they should have won; they were just so beautiful together . . .  And that’s the last time I saw Brian McGuinness – remember Brian with the . . .?  And the next thing I heard he had left for Australia . . .  She was right to be angry, Bernie.  I know it wasn’t fair – it wasn’t fair at all.  I mean they must have been blind drunk, those judges, whoever they were . . .

You know what that bastard has done to me now?  Yes I know.  I know you said, "Take it easy Steph, go easy with this one".  But I thought, no, this is the one, Brendan's the one.  I mean, Brendan, that should have been the giveaway, even if I'd missed the Miraculous Medal on the dashboard.  But there he was, this vital, vibrant, caring man, who took three months to tell me his marriage was a sacrament, so even though he couldn't live without me, he couldn't live with me.  Well, I could live with that, right?  I could live with anything.  Until tonight.  I could live with the guilt, and the clock watching, and the quick dash for the door to make it home before Bernadette gets back from her Ecumenical Tae Kwon Do group.  I could live with being stood up for a Pentecostal Bushwalk.  I can live with Brendan and Bernadette, I mean not live with Brendon because of Bernadette... well, because of Brendan, the gutless little Mick turd.  I can live with any of this.  You know what he's done, Fliss?  You know what Brendan has done?  He has given me up for Lent.  You know I did think Brendan was it.  Intelligent, sensitive, no police record.  And after all the ratbags that have come my way.  I mean, Ken Willis.  You knew Ken.  (Pause) You don't know anyone do you?  (She takes another oyster) Sergei was the full Slav bit.  Dirty collar, dirty fingernails, straight Stolichnaya for breakfast, the full bit.  Black bread and long card games and lots of crying.  I was in heaven.  Then this old lady turns up looking for Sid.  Sid Nichols.  It's his Mum from Toukley.  His Aunt Iris has died and left him a milkbar at the Entrance.  Das Vedanya, Sid.  He was the first.  But it's not as though I haven't learned.  I've learned to look for integrity, sanity and balance.  I haven't found them.  I've found Ken Willis, the professional cheque bouncer.  Frank Sneddon, who brought the poker machine to Fiji.  And now Brendan Kennelly, who has given me up for Lent.

I propose that we reach an agreement.  You want this man freed and I want - would you like to know what I want?...

When I heard his voice last night, the first thought that rushed through my head, what I've been thinking all these years, when you would catch me with a look that you said was - abstract, fleeting, right? - you know what I was thinking of?  Doing to them, systematically, minute by minute, instrument by instrument, what they did to me.  Specifically to him, to the doctor...Because the others were so vulgar, so - but he wouldn't play Schubert, he would talk about science, he even quoted Nietzsche to me once.
I was horrified at myself.  That I should have such hatred in me, that I should want to do something like that to a defenceless human being, no matter how vile - but it was the only way to fall asleep at night, the only way of going out with you to cocktail parties in spite of the fact that I couldn't help asking myself if one of those present wasn't - perhaps not the exact same man, but one of those present might be...and so as not to go completely off my rocker and able to deliver that Tavelli smile you say I'm going to have to deliver - well, I would imagine pushing their head in a bucket of slime, or electricity, or when we would be making love and I could feel the possibility of an orgasm building, the very idea of currents going through my body would remind me and then - and then I had to simulate it, simulate it so you wouldn't know what I was thinking, so you wouldn't feel that it was your failure - oh Gerardo.  So when I heard his voice, I thought the only thing I want is to have him raped, have someone fuck him, so that he should know just once what it is to...And I can't - I thought that it was a sentence that you would have to carry out.
But then I told myself it could be difficult, after all you do need to have a certain degree of enthusiasm to -
So I asked myself if we couldn't use a broom handle.  Yes, Gerardo, you know, a broom.  But I began to realise that wasn't what I really wanted.  And you know what conclusion I came to, the only thing I really want? (Brief pause) I want him to confess.  I want him to sit in front of that cassette recorder and tell me what he did - not just to me, everything, to everybody - and then have him write it out in his own handwriting and sign it and I would keep a copy forever - with all the information, the names and data, all the details.  That's what I want.

DON'S PARTY by David Williamson - KATH
Oh...they were great days...great bloody days, weren't they?  Then why the hell did I have to put you on an invalid's diet because you had ulcers at the age of twenty-five because you couldn't fucking well cope with your job or anything else for that matter and why did I have to cook all your meals and wash all your clothes?  Eh?  Because your little mummy hadn't told you that there's a fucking great world full of people out there who don't give a stuff about little Donnie Henderson, boy wonder, prematurely retired.  Whizz kid.  Adolescent genius, full grown bomb out.  Fizzer.  Squib...

(Undaunted)  I had to creep around our flat while Donnie Genius is tapping out his earth-shattering novel that was going to place him, and I quote, amongst the ranks of the all time fucking greats...Delusions of grandeur weren't in the race!  I had to wait seven fucking years before I was allowed to have a kid.  Jesus Christ!  I wasn't allowed to do pottery until last year because it was so mundane.  You shit me, Henderson.  You shit me completely.  I'm going to bed.

EDUCATING RITA by Willy Russell - RITA
But I don’t wanna be charming and delightful: funny. What’s funny? I don’t wanna be funny. I wanna talk seriously with the rest of you, I don’t wanna spend the night takin’ the piss, comin’ on with the funnies because that’s the only way I can get into the conversation. I didn’t want to come to your house just to play the court jester.

But I don’t want to be myself. Me? What’s me? Some stupid woman who gives us all a laugh because she thinks she can learn, because she thinks one day she’ll be like the rest of them, talking seriously, confidently, with knowledge, livin’ a civilised life. Well, she can’t be like that really but bring her in because she’s good for a laugh!

I’m all right with you, here in this room; but when I saw those people you were with I couldn’t come in. I would have seized up. Because I’m a freak. I can’t talk to the people I live with anymore. An’ I can’t talk to the likes of them on Saturday, or them out there, because I can’t learn the language. I’m a half- caste. I went back to the pub where Denny was, an’ me mother, an’ our Sandra, an’ her mates. I’d decided I was n’t comin’ here again. I went into the pub an’ they were singin’, all of them singin’ some song they’d learnt from the juke- box. An’ I stood in that pub an’ thought, just what the frig am I trying to do? Why don’t I just pack it in an’ stay with them, an’ join in the singin’?

(Angrily) You think I can, don’t you? Just because you pass a pub doorway an’ hear the singin’ you think we’re all O.K., that we’re all survivin’, with the spirit intact. Well I did join in with the singin’, I didn’t ask any questions, I just went along with it. But when I looked round me mother had stopped singin’, an’ she was cryin’, but no one could get it out of her why she was cryin’. Everyone just said she was pissed an’ we should get her home. So we did, an’ on the way home I asked her why. I said, ‘Why are y’ cryin’, Mother?’ She said, ‘Because- because we could sing better songs than those.’ Ten minutes later Denny had her laughing and singing again, pretending she hadn’t said it. But she had. And that’s why I came back. And that’s why I’m staying.

EUROPE by Michael Gow - BARBARA
Always 'us', 'all of you', 'we', 'them'.  Never 'I', 'me', just 'you alone'.  Do you ever think of one individual person?  Can you look at one human being and see only one human being, or do you have to see millions of others standing behind in a crowd that stretches to the horizon?  Germans who are punctual, Frenchmen who all wear berets, Italians all waving there arms in the air, Americans chewing gum?  What do all Australians do?  How do you see them?  I'll tell you what they all do: they beat their heads against a wall crying 'We don't need you.  We're as good as you.  We are happy with ourselves.'  That's all anyone said while I was there.  They would tell me over and over and over how independant you all were, how grown up you all have become, how confident, how open, mature, positive, repeating it all constantly like a chant.  But it can't be true.  No one who is happy needs to repeat, 'I am happy' a thousand times a day to convince himself.  You are all paranoiacs.  You see, I can play that game, I can put you at the front of a crowd and pretend you represent them all.  I can go on and on too.  I can say that your newness, your freshness, your freedom from tradition attracted my world-weary, neurotic decaying European sensibility.  I can say you represent all the things that are missing from my life: romance, laughter, space, clear dazzling light.  But I would be talking in cliches.  It would have no meaning ...
(In a sad, angry outburst) I missed you so badly!  I missed your jokes.  I missed your body.  I was happy for a week, but human happiness terrifies me.  I wanted to stay with you but I couldn't.  I didn't want to come home, but I had to.  I wish I'd never met you.  Being with you again makes me realise how unhappy I really am.  I don't want to see you again.  And I don't want you to go, ever.

EUROPE by Michael Gow - BARBARA
I only have two more performances of this for a few months.  Then the chorus in Medea.  I hate that too.  The girl in the lead can't act.  She starts to weep the very second her foot touches the stage.  All these old plays.  We do them over and over.  We do them this way, we do them that way, we dress them up, we strip them bare, we expose them, we conceal them, we reinforce them, we deny them.  And the new plays are just shadows of the old ones.  Over and over.  Oh, God, why bother doing this.  Theatre!  It's torture.  If only the public knew.  If only they would learn something from it.  We could go on to something new.  But back we go to the next way of doing the same old thing, the new interpretation of the same ancient meaning.  One night I will give a new interpretation.  Sing a song, tell a joke, maybe a story; yes a true story: avoid the catastrophe completely; no plots, no mysteries, no betrayals.  Of course that would do my career no good at all.  Because I can do it all so well.

FEN by Caryl Churchill - MARGARET
It was after she died I started drinking, which has been my great sin and brought misery to myself and those who love me.  I betrayed them again and again by saying I would give it up, but the drink would have me hiding a little away.  But my loving sisters in Christ stood by me.  I thought if God wants me he’ll give me a sign, because I couldn’t believe he really would want someone as terrible as me.  I thought if I hear two words today, one beginning with M for Margaret, my name, and one with J for Jesus, close together, then I’ll know how close I am to him.  And that very afternoon I was at Mavis’s house and her little boy was having his tea, and he said, ‘More jam, mum’.  So that was how close Jesus was to me, right inside my heart.  That was when I decided to be baptised.  But I slid back and had a drink again and next day I was in despair.  I thought God can’t want me, nobody can want me.  And a thrush got into my kitchen.  I thought if that bird can fly out, I can fly out of my pain.  I stood there and watched, I didn’t open another window, there was just the one window open.  The poor bird beat and beat round the room, the tears were running down my face.  And at last at last it found the window and went straight through into the air.  I cried tears of joy because I knew Jesus would save me.  So I went to Malcolm and said baptise me now because I’m ready.  I want to give myself over completely to God so there’s nothing else of me left, and then the pain will be gone and I’ll be saved.  Without the love of my sisters I would never have got through.

HAMLET (ACT 3,  SCENE 1) by William Shakespeare - OPHELIA
O, what a noble mind is here o’er thrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th’ observ’d of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck’d the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh;
That unmatch’d form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

HOLY DAY by Andrew Bovell - ELIZABETH
I’ll tell you and hope that you can make more sense of it that I can. (beat) I was at the waterhole ... doing my washing. It’s not far from the house, a few minutes to talk, no more. I was in a hurry because I had left the child sleeping .... And besides, it was getting late, the light had already begun to fade. I heard something and looked up. It was my husband approaching. He said that he had heard the child crying. So I gathered my things and started back. I found myself hurrying, almost running, because I could feel it, Mr Wakefield, I could feel that something was wrong. It could have just been the storm. I could hear the thunder coming, but when I got back to the house there was nothing, no child crying, just silence. I went inside. It was dark. I reached out as any mother would, to feel for her warmth .... Surely my senses played a cruel trick, for I could feel nothing there. I lit a candle but even by the light my eyes refused the truth. The crib was empty. The child taken ... I’m telling you she had fallen asleep at my breast and I had wrapped her in my shawl, for the nights are cold out here, and I had put her in the crib and now she was gone. Can you understand the hell of that moment, Mr Wakefield? Can any of you imagine it ...? I ran outside for my husband and saw the church burning. God help me ... what was going on? I saw him running for the church. He had seen the flames and I screamed to him that the child was gone. He took his gun and told me to wait at the house until he returned. And I waited and watched our church turn to ash until I could wait no longer.

HONOUR By Joanna Murray-Smith - SOPHIE
I wish – I wish I was more – Like you. Like you. You’re so – you’re so clear. You seem so clear about things. Whereas I’m – I’m so – I can never quite say what I’m – even to myself, I’m so inarticulate. Some nights I lie awake and I go over the things I’ve said. Confidently. The things I’ve said confidently and they – they fall to pieces. And where there were words there is now just – just this feeling of – of impossibility. That everything is – there’s no way through it – (progressively breaking down) I used to feel that way when I was very small. That same feeling. Not a childish feeling – well, maybe. As if I was choking on – as if life was coming down on me and I couldn’t see my way through it. What does a child who has everything suffer from? Who could name it? I can’t. I can’t. (breaking) But it was a – a sort of – I used to see it in my head as jungle. Around me. Surrounding me. Some darkness growing, something – organic, alive – and the only thing that kept me – kept me – here – was the picture of Honor and of Gus. Silly. Because I’m old now and I shouldn’t remember that anymore. Lying in bed and feeling that they were there: outside the room in all their – their warmth, their – a kind of charm to them. Maybe you’re right and it was – not so simple as it looked, but they gave such a strong sense of – love for each other and inside that – I felt – I felt loved. And since I’ve gotten older I don’t feel – (Weeping.) I feel as if all that – all the – everything that saved me has fallen from me and you know, I’m not a kid anymore. No. I’m not a kid any more. But I still feel – I need – I need –



JERUSALEM (ACT 2, SCENE 6) by Michael Gurr - NINA
And what is this idea? That everyone gets the disease they deserve? Yes, I am interested in it. And I’m particularly interested in the fact that you never hear if from the parents of a child born with its brain hanging out of its head. Karma? What does around comes around? There’s something very nasty hiding in the idea of karma. It’s another way of not thinking. People get what they deserve? Sounds like the Liberal Party with a joint in its mouth. (Beat) l bad deeds are accounted for? Really? In my experience there are great numbers of very bad people leading very happy lives. It’s a pretty false comfort, wouldn’t you day, tho think they’ll all get a spank in Hell. To think they’ll all come back as a piece of dogshit. (Beat) Surely the point is what we do now? Who we become, how we behave? To leave all the judgement up to God or the karmic compost – that’s terrible impotence isn’t it? Adults, grown men and women, with a dummy in the mouth. And look closely at this, Malcolm, look at the people who glue themselves to these ideas. For the happy and healthy these ides are a way of feeling smug. Fifty cents in the poorbox and the knowledge that the poor will always be with us. And those who actually suffer? What are they saying? I am suffering because God wants me to? I think those American slave songs, so uplifting, and I want to be sick. In my training they take you around the wards. There was a woman, both breasts long gone into the hospital incinerator. She tried to hold my gaze while the sutures were taken out. Until the hospital chaplain came sliding across the lino. And her pale fierce eyes slid him right back through the curtain. (Beat) You see I don’t believe that justice is something you light a candle for. I’ts just the way you behave.  (Beat) But that’s me. Will you tell Vivien I called in? Malcolm, I’ve enjoyed our little talk. (She extends her hand)

JULIUS CAESAR (ACT 2, SCENE 1, ADAPTED) by William Shakespeare - PORTIA
Nor for yours neither. You've ungently, Brutus,
Stole from my bed: and yesternight, at supper,
You suddenly arose, and walk'd about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
And when I ask'd you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks;
I urged you further; then you scratch'd your head,
And too impatiently stamp'd with your foot;
Yet I insisted, yet you answer'd not,
But, with an angry wafture of your hand,
Gave sign for me to leave you: so I did;
Fearing to strengthen that impatience
Which seem'd too much enkindled, and withal
Hoping it was but an effect of humour,
Which sometime hath his hour with every man.
It will not let you eat, nor talk, nor sleep,
And could it work so much upon your shape
As it hath much prevail'd on your condition,
I should not know you, Brutus. Dear my lord,
Make me acquainted with your cause of grief.

Is Brutus sick? and is it physical
To walk unbraced and suck up the humours
Of the dank morning? What, is Brutus sick,
And will he steal out of his wholesome bed,
To dare the vile contagion of the night
And tempt the rheumy and unpurged air
To add unto his sickness? No, my Brutus;
You have some sick offence within your mind,
Which, by the right and virtue of my place,
I ought to know of: and, upon my knees,
I charm you, by my once-commended beauty,
By all your vows of love and that great vow
Which did incorporate and make us one,
That you unfold to me, yourself, your half,
Why you are heavy, and what men to-night
Have had to resort to you: for here have been
Some six or seven, who did hide their faces
Even from darkness.

I should not neel, if you were gentle Brutus.
Within the bond of marriage, tell me, Brutus,
Is it excepted I should know no secrets
That appertain to you? Am I yourself
But, as it were, in sort or limitation,
To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed,
And talk to you sometimes? Dwell I but in the suburbs
Of your good pleasure? If it be no more,
Portia is Brutus' harlot, not his wife.

KING HENRY IV, PART 1 (ACT 2, SCENE 3) by William Shakespeare - LADY PERCY
O, my good lord, why are you thus alone?
For what offence have I this fortnight been
A banish'd woman from my Harry's bed?
Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee
Thy stomach, pleasure and thy golden sleep?
Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,
And start so often when thou sit'st alone?
Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks;
And given my treasures and my rights of thee
To thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy?
In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch'd,
And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars;
Speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed;
Cry 'Courage! to the field!' And thou hast talk'd
Of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents,
Of palisadoes, frontiers, parapets,
Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin,
Of prisoners' ransom and of soldiers slain,
And all the currents of a heady fight.
Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war
And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow
Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream;
And in thy face strange motions have appear'd,
Such as we see when men restrain their breath
On some great sudden hest. O, what portents are these?
Some heavy business hath my lord in hand,
And I must know it, else he loves me not.

KING HENRY VI, PART I (ACT 4, SCENE 4) by William Shakespeare - PUCELLE
First let me tell you whom you have condemn’d:
Not one begotten of a shepherd swain,
But issued from the progeny of kings;
Virtuous and holy, chosen from above,
By inspiration of celestial grace,
To work exceeding miracles on earth.
I never had to do with wicked spirits;
But you, that are polluted with your lusts,
Stain’d with the guiltless blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it straight a thing impossible
To compass wonders but by help of devils.
No, misconceived Joan of Aire hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,
Chaste and immaculate in very thought;
Whose maiden blood, thus rigorously effus’d,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.

Brave warriors, Clifford and Northumberland,
Come, make him stand upon this molehill here,
That raught at mountains with outstretched arms,
Yet parted but the shadow with his hand.
What! was it you that would be England's king?
Was't you that revell'd in our parliament,
And made a preachment of your high descent?
Where are your mess of sons to back you now?
The wanton Edward, and the lusty George?
And where's that valiant crook-back prodigy,
Dicky your boy, that with his grumbling voice
Was wont to cheer his dad in mutinies?
Or, with the rest, where is your darling Rutland?
Look, York: I stain'd this napkin with the blood
That valiant Clifford, with his rapier's point,
Made issue from the bosom of the boy;
And if thine eyes can water for his death,
I give thee this to dry thy cheeks withal.
Alas poor York! but that I hate thee deadly,
I should lament thy miserable state.
I prithee, grieve, to make me merry, York.
What, hath thy fiery heart so parch'd thine entrails
That not a tear can fall for Rutland's death?
Why art thou patient, man? thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
Thou wouldst be fee'd, I see, to make me sport:
York cannot speak, unless he wear a crown.
A crown for York! and, lords, bow low to him:
Hold you his hands, whilst I do set it on.
(Putting a paper crown on his head)
Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king!
Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair,
And this is he was his adopted heir.
But how is it that great Plantagenet
Is crown'd so soon, and broke his solemn oath?
As I bethink me, you should not be king
Till our King Henry had shook hands with death.
And will you pale your head in Henry's glory,
And rob his temples of the diadem,
Now in his life, against your holy oath?
O, 'tis a fault too too unpardonable!
Off with the crown, and with the crown his head;
And, whilst we breathe, take time to do him dead.

KING RICHARD III (ACT 1, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LADY ANNE
Set down, set down your honourable load,
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,
Whilst I awhile obsequiously lament
The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster!
Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood!
Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost,
To hear the lamentations of Poor Anne,
Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,
Stabb'd by the selfsame hand that made these wounds!
Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life,
I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.
Cursed be the hand that made these fatal holes!
Cursed be the heart that had the heart to do it!
Cursed the blood that let this blood from hence!
More direful hap betide that hated wretch,
That makes us wretched by the death of thee,
Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads,
Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives!
If ever he have child, abortive be it,
Prodigious, and untimely brought to light,
Whose ugly and unnatural aspect
May fright the hopeful mother at the view;
And that be heir to his unhappiness!
If ever he have wife, let her he made
A miserable by the death of him
As I am made by my poor lord and thee!

KING RICHARD III (ACT 1, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LADY ANNE
Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble us not;
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries.
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!
Blush, Blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
Thy deed, inhuman and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.
O God, which this blood madest, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink'st revenge his death!
Either heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead,
Or earth, gape open wide and eat him quick,
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood
Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered!

And leave out thee? Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.
If heaven hath any grievous plague in store
Exceeding those that I can wish upon thee,
O, let them keep it till thy sins be ripe,
And then hurl down their indignation
On thee, the troubler of the poor world's peace.
The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul;
Thy friends suspect for traitors while thou liv'st,
And take deep traitors for thy dearest friends;
No sleep close up that deadly eye of thine,
Unless it be while some tormenting dream
Affrights thee with a hell of ugly devils.
Thou elvish-mark'd, abortive, rooting hog.
Thou that wast seal'd in thy nativity
The slave of Nature and the son of hell;
Thou slander of thy mother's heavy womb,
Thou loathed issue of thy father's loins,
Thou rag of honour!

I had no choice, did I, I'm a woman.  Women are obliged to be far more skilful than men, because who ever wastes time cultivating inessential skills?  You think you put as much ingenuity into winning us as we put into losing: well, it's debatable, I suppose, but from then on, you hold every ace in the pack.  You can ruin us whenever the fancy takes you: all we can do by denouncing you is to enhance your prestige.  We can't even get rid of you when we want to: we're compelled to unstitch, painstakingly, what you would just cut through.  We either have to devise some way of making you want to leave us, so you'll feel too guilty to harm us; or find a reliable means of blackmail: otherwise you can destroy our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words.  So of course I had to invent: not only myself, but ways of escape no one else has ever thought of, not even I, because I had to be fast enough on my feet to know how to improvise.  And I've succeeded, because I always knew I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own...When I came out into society, I was 15, I was Celia's age, I'd already realised that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do as I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and pay attention: not to what people told me, which was naturally of no interest, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide.  I practised detachment.  I learnt how to look cheerful when I was angry and how to smile pleasantly while, under the table, I stuck a fork into the back of my hand.  I became not merely impenetrable, but a virtuoso of deceit.

Honey, I don’t want to hurt you.  I want to change you.  I want to make you see that there is some value in life, that there is some beauty, some tenderness, some things worth reacting to.  Some things worth feeling.  But you’ve got to take some chances some time!  What do you want out of life? Just survival?  It’s not enough!  Its not, not, not enough!  I am not going to have a surviving marriage.  I’m going to have a flourishing marriage!  I’m a woman!  Or, by Jesus, it’s about time I became one.  I want a family!  Oh, Christ, Alfred, this is my wedding day.  I want – want to be married to a big, strong, protective, vital, virile, self-assured man.  Who I can protect and take care of.  Alfred, honey, you’re the first man I’ve ever gone to bed with where I didn’t feel he was a lot more likely to get pregnant than I was.  You owe me something!  I’ve invested everything I believe in you.  You’ve got to let me mould you.  Please let me mould you.  You’ve got me whining, begging and crying.  I’ve never behaved like this in my life.  Will you look at this?  That’s a tear.  I never cried in my life.

LOOSE ENDS (ADAPTED) by Michael Weller - SUSAN
I don't believe this.  Are you saying you did everything you did so I'd let you make a baby?  Is that what you're saying?  Because if it is... well, nice to know what you're keeping me around for.  Thank you.  (Pause)  This is one pretty shitty thing to lay on me.  Nobody forced you to do anything you didn't want to do.  Jesus, Paul, what's the matter with you?  (Pause)  All right.  I didn't tell you.  I was wrong - mea culpa.  What can I say, Paul?  I'm sorry?  Because I am.  But that doesn't have much to do with anything right now, does it?

Babe, you don't get a whole lot of time to think about what you should do when there's this thing growing inside you.  And it's not getting smaller.  And the more you think things over the less small it's getting.  It's not like I just popped down to the friendly neighbourhood abortionist.  I did think it over just a little bit before I went through with it.  (She goes quiet)  Paul.  I like what we have.  I guess I just don't want anything to change it.

You think I can't have healthy babies, Momma?  Well, I can...I'm as strong as an ox.  I've worked in that store and taken care of you by myself since I'm twelve years old, that's how strong I am...Like steel, Momma.  Isn't that how we're supposed to be?...But my babies won't die because I'll love them and take care of them...And they won't get sick like me or Gert or be weak like Eddie and Louie...My babies will be happier then we were because I'll teach them to be happy...Not to grow up and run away or never visit when they're older or not be able to breathe because they're so frightened...and never, ever to make them spend their lives rubbing my back and my legs because you never had anyone around who loved you enough to want to touch you because you made it clear you never wanted to be touched with love...Do you know what it's like to touch steel Momma?  It's hard and it's cold and I want to be warm and soft with my children...Let me have my babies, Momma.  Because I have to love somebody.  I have to love someone who'll love me back before I die... Give me that, Momma, and I promise you, you'll never worry about being alone...Because you'll have us...Me and my husband and my babies...Momma?...Please say yes...I need you to say yes...Please?...Somebody hold me...Please...Somebody hold me.

LOW LEVEL PANIC by Claire McIntyre - MARY
Maybe if I'd been wearing trousers it wouldn't have happened.  I was only wearing a skirt because I'd just come from work and it's the kind of place where they like you to wear a skirt, that or smart trousers.  Well, I haven't got any smart trousers so I have to wear a skirt.  You're better off on a bike in trousers I know.  It's obvious.  But it's not as if I was going on a marathon.  It takes ten minutes to cycle home at the outside.  More like five.  If that.  I'm not really comfortable on a bike in a skirt: it just makes people look at your legs.  But who's around at that time of night to look?  Anyway I wasn't even on the bike: I was going to get on it.  I was going to.  It's not as if I was cycling along with my skirt up round my ears.  I wasn't.  I don't do silly things like that.  I could have been getting into a car with a skirt.  Would that have made a difference?  I could have cycled to work wearing a pair of jeans and had my skirt folded up in one of the panniers but then it wouldn't have been all squashed and that wouldn't have gone down well at all with the management.  Or I could have come to work on the bicycle wearing a skirt and could have changed into trousers to go home in given that you're meant to be alright in the daylight but you're not safe at night.  Or I could have walked to work and got a taxi home and I could have worn whatever I liked.  But I'd still have been there, on the edge of the road at midnight, about to get on my bicycle or into a car or just been stuck there waiting for a taxi whether I'd been in a skirt or not, whether I had good legs or not, whether I was fifteen or menopausal or lame, I'd still have been there.

MACBETH (ACT 1, SCENE 7) by William Shakespeare - LADY MACBETH

He has almost supped. Why have you left the chamber?
                         Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would,"
Like the poor cat i' the adage?
                         What beast was't then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man.  Nor time, nor place,
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you.  I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.

I really started cookin' when I was eight. I sat down at the piano as I had every day since I could walk, threw back the lid of the Knabe-Bechstein-Steinway and there on the keys was Mozart. I was never lonely playing the piano. Brahms was always there. Bach. Chopin. And here was Mozart. Hi, Mozart! Only this time, he had a raincoat on. A little raincoat. Now I had been told to beware of men in raincoats, but after all, it was Mozart. Mozart's no degenerate. Mozart's no creep. You can trust Mozart. The cool water of Mozart. He says, "Hello, little girl. You gonna bring me back to La Vie?" I said, "Golly, I'll try". And I began playing that Kochel listing I had been practising for a year with that magical imitative brilliance that children can have. The technical mastery and total non-comprehension that children can have. I lifted my hands, dug them into the eighty-eights and Mozart says: "Yeah. Give it to me". I looked down. Mozart. The raincoat. Opened. The keys became erect. Black. White. I became terrified. Mozart! This isn't a school yard. This is a hall named after Mr. Andrew Carnegie and I'm only 8 years old and what the hell are you doing??? "More. More. More", says Mozart and he throws back his head. "Dig those digits into these eighty-eights. Bring me back to life. Bring me back to life" Mother??? Dad?? They're in the wings blowing kisses at me. Holding up signs. "You've never played better". Mozart moans. It's a short piece. It ends. Mozart spurts all over me. I'm wet. Mozart wet. Frightened. The audience roars. This child prodigy. Can't they see what's happened? I look down and hear a chorus of "yeahs" coming from all those little dead men in raincoats. There's a scuffle and Brahms leaps on the keys. "Me next! Me next! Bring me back to life". My fingers dig into Brahms. Well, I started to like it. Mozart lives. Brahms lives. For the next twenty years that was my life. Diane de la Nova and her circus of Music. Diane de la Nova and her Massage Parlor of Melody.

MISS JULIE by August Strindberg - JULIE
So you think I can't stand the sight of blood?  You think I am so weak?  How I'd love to see your blood, and your brains, on the chopping block!  I'd like to see your whole sex swimming in a sea of blood, like this creature here.  I think I could drink out of your skull, dabble my feet in your chest, and eat your heart roasted whole.  You think I'm weak; you think I love you, just because something in me cried out for your seed!  Do you think I want to carry your spawn under my heart, and nourish it with my blood - bear your child and take your name?  Incidentally, what is your name?  I've never heard your surname - if you've got one.  I'm to be Mrs Doorkeeper or Madam Dustheap, I suppose!  You dog, with my collar round your neck, you lackey with my crest on your buttons; I'm to share you with my cook, am I, and be the rival of my own servant?  Oh..h!  You think I'm a coward - you think I'll run away!  No, I'm staying here, even if the heavens fall!  My father'll come home, he'll find his desk broken open and his money gone.  Then he'll ring - that bell there - two rings for his footman.  Then he'll send for the police, and I shall tell him everything - everything!  And thank God that'll be the end of it - if there is an end.  He'll have a stroke and die, and that'll be the finish of us.  And then there'll be peace - quiet - everlasting rest.  They'll break his escutcheon over his coffin, his noble line'll be extinct.  But the lackey's stock will go on - in a foundling hospital - he'll win his spurs through the gutter, and end in a gaol.

Kill Claudio! (Beat) You kill me to deny it. Farewell. I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in you: nay, I pray you, let me go. In faith, I will go. You dare easier be friends with me than fight with my enemy. Is Claudio not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they come to take hands ; and then, with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour, - O, God that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place. Talk with a man out at window! A proper saying! Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone. Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count, Count Comfect; a sweet gallant surely! O that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too : he is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

MY GARDEN By Ivy Craddock
As you can see I live in a very attractive cottage made of asbestos fibre and old stout bottles set in concrete, which was built for me by some sailor friends during a party we had over a few days at some point during word war two. It is actually part of some crown land near the railway station. I have lived here ever since and don't intend to change now. Occasionally some young pup at the council tries to tell me I don't own the land. I show them my bloomers and they soon waft away.

Luckily I had some very nice gentlemen friends over the years and have managed to get the power and water on at no cost, plus a nice shed made out of old fruit boxes and copies of the women's weekly. Roofing was a problem until 1962 when a working bee from the local under 19's soccer club sewed together all my old corsets and welded them into place.
Of course the facilities aren't marvelous compared with modern standards but that's fine by me. I've got a bunsen burner, a kettle, a plastic fork and a hose, and I take care of my personal hygiene on the nature strip. I was 196 last birthday by my calculations but I may have forgotten to carry the three. I was 22 when Mary Antoinette invaded Darwin so that should give you some idea.
Now, you're hear about the garden. Have some of this nice herbal tea. It's made from those angel's-trumpet trees up the back, and they've been lovingly sprayed with illegal chemicals once a week since 1973. I get them from some old pals in the airforce - they're left over from Vietnam. Some people say those angel's trumpets are poisonous but what would they know? They probably barrack for Manly. And I know there's all this newfangled palaver about chemicals being bad for you but it's never affected me - look out! There's a giant squid having a go at your bonnet, dear! I'll have at it with my plastic fork. Cheeky devil. I'll plant that and it will grow into a lovely camellia tree.
Where was I? Oh, the garden. Yes, I have two fruit trees and I spray them everyday. What I like to do is get in the nuddy so the spray doesn't eat into your clothes, pop on a pair of old gumboots, get up the tree and blast away for an hour or so in the mornings before the sun gets too hot. Look, lovey. I'm not sure what kind of fruit they are. To be honest with you, they haven't flowered for about six years or produced a blessed plum between them, but I think they'll come into their own this spring.
This here is a fence around the vegie garden made of an old kero tin I used to live in, and some twine from an old jumper I was knitting for the man down the road. When I found out he only had two arms, there was only one sensible thing to do - unravel the whole shebang and start again. The rude bugger. Could have told me before I'd exerted m'self, but that's young people for you: 86 and needs a good slapping.
In the vegie garden here you can see lots of stakes sticking up. That stake over there is where I planted a tin of pumpkin soup. That ought to be shooting up soon. Over there is where I planted a packet of zucchini seeds. I don't bother taking the seeds out of the packet. I just chuck an old grenade at the ground, drop the packet into the whole, and then threaten one of the council workers until they send in a back hoe and fill in the hole. I like a sense of community, where everyone pitches in, and you don't want to get too pooncey about gardening, it'll give you shingles.
I do like to relax in my garden. I like to get myself onto the banana lounge on this lovely patch of concrete under the hills hoist and sunbathe in the nude. You can get some very interesting patterns from the hills hoist lines creating saucy shadows across your body.
Yes....many members of my family spend time in the garden. My uncle Stan is over there under the pergola. He died in 1936 after a spraying incident but I don't think the two are related. Cousins Violet and Marjorie are down near the back fence. They were having a nibble on an angel's trumpet last I saw of them, happy as Larry and quoting Shakespeare in Swahili. Haven't seen them for a while come to think of it. Eh? Oh that would have been in the seventies I think, dear.
Of a garden is special. Why in the absence of a moat, how else can you create a no mans land around your property in case of an attack by giant rodents wearing stripy nighties and holding umbrellas? Goodness me. That's why you need one, because if you sprayed chemicals in the house every day everything would go mouldy. So that's what you need a garden for.
Yes, I do have plans for my garden. I'm thinking of volunteering it as Australia's new radioactive dump. There's no need for that Lucas Heights mob to traipse out into the desert bothering aboriginal folk, they can just come down here with a ute and a wheelbarrow and drop the lot off. That'll teach those little aphids. I mean there are days when I lay down some suppressive fire with bazookas and the little blighters still come back. other than that, I'm thinking of growing crab apples for making some jam in the corner over there. What's good is you can make glow in the dark jam if you keep up the levels of DDT and wee on the lemon tree often enough.
All my spare time I spend in the garden, drinking a bit of weed killer as the sun goes down. Moderation in all things. It's a very spiritual time, in the garden. It's just you, nature and a small air rifle a lot of the time. And of course I read newsletters people send me about various conspiracies involving migrants, UFO's and the price of 50-50 cordial. You'd be surprised how it all ties in.
I used to have neighbours. Most of them went into the compost heap eventually and the rest drifted away, just as DDT will waft over a fence. Quite poetic really. I don't miss them to be perfectly honest.
Of course, I entertain in the garden, I've already told you I like to sunbake in the nicky noo nar under the hills hoist and if that's not a free service for low flying helicopters, I don't know what is. Every Thursday a large horde of pixies come out of the gully trap and we have a bit of a salon where we tell stories. Usually they arrive after my first cup of angel's trumpet tea and they can stay for hours if it's good spraying whether.
A young man with a ponytail came to visit me once - I called him Mr. Ed. He wanted to plant something that looked a bit like a tomato plant in the back. I said "fill ya boots, mate!" I used to creep out at night and give them an encouraging spray. Well he came back in a week, rolled the leaves up and smoked them. I said "sonny, the war's over. For heaven's sake, you should be able to afford yourself a packet of fags." He's under one of the fruit trees now.
Look if you ask me my secret to gardening I'd say a spray a day keeps nature away, and you can never have too much concrete. If you get sick of the colour you can always paint it again. You've got to commune with the garden and you can only really do that if your wearing nothing but a pinny and some gum boots. Anything else is just showing orf.
Gardening. It's just poetry with rubber gloves on really. Isn't it?

NICE GIRLS by Linden Wilkinson - POPPY
Well, stuff you, Megan.  I am.  I am an absolute shit.  (She kisses Megan) I refuse to grow old, that's all.  No, no, no.  So I paint and plaster myself and if I have to I'm going to get simply everything lifted.  And you can hate me for it if you want.  Women usually do.  They freeze me out.  So, who cares?  We're all going to end up as ashes in an urn, whatever we do, all of us.  I love life, it's just my own I despise.  I don't feel anything.  Nothing.  I'm made of straw.  Sometimes I want to tear all the flesh off my bones, just to see if there's any blood left inside or whether I'll just poke out.  I imagine running out into the back yard at night and ripping myself open in the moonlight, and all the pieces just spill themselves, like lawn clippings, and fly away.  Sad old Raggedy Anne.  Oh, poop!  Meg.  Poop!  Remember when we were young and we had the unknowns to look forward to?  God!  I wish they'd drop the bomb, then we could stop all this effort!  And when we're dead, who's going to remember a silly old night at the beach?  I wish, just once, something had gone wrong for you, Megan.  Oh, bugger!  This is useless.  We could spend our whole lives hating each other and what's the point?  But if we try to help each other, to understand...give me a job in your shop, Meg.  Please, please.  Honestly, if I had a job, I'd be happy.  It'd be all right.  I could cope.  I'd feel alive.  I know I would.  And I'd be good, I could contribute.  I have some wonderful ideas.

OLEANNA by David Mamet - CAROL
Professor, I came here as a favour.  At your personal request.  Perhaps I should not have done so.  But I did.  On my behalf, and on behalf of my group.  And you speak of the tenure committee, one of whose members is a woman, as you know.  And though you might call it Good Fun, or An Historical Phrase, or An Oversight, or All of the Above, to refer to the committee as Good Men and True, it is a demeaning remark.  It is a sexist remark, and to overlook it is to countenance continuation of that method of thought.  You love the Power.  I’m sorry.   You feel yourself empowered … you say so yourself.  To strut.  To posture. To “perform.” To call me in here…” Eh?  You say that higher education is a joke.  And treat it as such, you treat it as such.  And confess to a taste to play the Patriarch in your class.  To grant this.  To deny that.  To embrace your students.  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 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.  (she prepares to leave the room)

I used to be what they call a Christ-bitten reformer.  You know what that is?  - A kind of benign exhibitionist...I delivered stump speeches, wrote letters of protest about gradual massacre of the coloured majority in the country.  I thought it was wrong for pellagra and slow starvation to cut them down when the cotton crop failed from army worm or boll weevil or too much rain last summer.  I wanted to, tried to, put up free clinics.  I squandered the money my mother left me on it.  And when that Willie McGee thing came along - he was sent to the chair for having improper relations with a white whore - I made a fuss about it.  I put on a potato sack and set out for the Capitol on foot.  This was in winter.  I walked barefoot in this burlap sack to deliver a personal protest to the Governor of the State.  Oh, I suppose it was partly exhibitionism on my part, but it wasn't completely exhibitionism; there was something else in it, too.  You know how far I got?  Six miles out of town - hooted, jeered at, even spit on! - every step of the way - and then arrested!  Guess what for?  Lewd vagrancy!  Uh-huh, that was the charge, 'lewd vagrancy', because they said the potato sack I had on was not a respectable garment... Well, all that was a pretty long time ago, and now I'm not a reformer any more.  I'm just a 'lewd vagant'.  And I'm showing the S.O.Bs' how lewd a 'lewd vagrant' can be if she puts her whole heart in it like I do mine!  All right.  I've told you my story, the story of an exhibitionist.  Now I want you to do something for me.  Take me out to Cypress Hill in my car.  And we'll hear the dead people talk.  They do talk there.  They chatter together like birds on Cypress Hill, but all they say is one word and that word is 'live', they say 'Live, live, live, live live!'  It's all they've learned, it's the only advice they can give. - Just live...Simple! - a very simple instruction...

OTHELLO (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - EMILIA
But I do think it is their husbands' faults
If wives do fall: say, that they slack their duties,
And pour our treasures into foreign laps;
Or else break out in peevish jealousies,
Throwing restraint upon us: or say they strike us,
Or scant our former having in despite,
Why, we have galls: and though we have some grace,
Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know,
Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell,
And have their palates both for sweet, and sour, 
As husbands have. What is it they do,
When they change us for others? Is it sport?
I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
I think it doth. Is't frailty that thus errs?
It is so too. And have we not affections?
Desires for sport? And frailty, as men have?
Then let them use us well: else let them know,
The ills we do, their ills instruct us so.

We were in the park.  I was sixteen and I was... I had taken all these Percoset.  I was unbelievably high.  He had thrown away his shoes - and I was like "Mom's going to kill me" because I had no idea where his shoes were - but he was so happy about it.  And he had his red socks and he was running around kicking up the leaves.  You kn ow in movies where they show a person's high or whatever and the camera careens all around?  It was like that.  But fun.  You know.  We were having so much fun.  We were leaping around in huge piles of leaves.  He buried me.  I buried him in a big pile.  I was on baby-sitting detail.  He was pretending he was a train.  So he was charging through the leaf pile, making tracks, you know?  I was the caboose.  And he kept going "Coal, caboose!  Coal, caboose!"  So it's time to go and he's driving home and he's in his car seat still demanding coal, and I couldn't focus and I drove off the bridge.  The car went into the lake.  I couldn't get him out of his car seat.  He drowned.

RADIANCE by Louis Nowra - CRESSY
You were created from dirt.  Your father was dirt.  He never raped was me.  He raped me!  Under this house.  Me!  He did it to me!  Under that burning house.  He was just one of mum's boyfriends.  If he walked down the street I don't think I'd even recognize him.  Mum was in town.  He was going to drive away but his car had no petrol, so he went and bought a can.  He sucked on a tube to get it flowing into the tank.  I was playing under the house.  Then suddenly he was there.  He had this screwdriver.  I tried to fight him but he was too strong.  As he was doing it he kept kissing me with his mouth stinking of petrol.  The pain - all the aweful pain through my body like he was stabbing me in two.  He said he'd kill me if I told Mum.  I stayed under the house for hours trying to clean myself with some old rags.  Then a few months later I realized I was having the man's baby.  I tried to keep it from her.  You know what happened when I told her?  She hit me.  She said I was lying, that it was one of the local boys and I was blaming her boyfriend.  She didn't believe me.  I had you in that house.  In my bed.  I was twelve.  Twelve, Nona.  (Pause) I hated Mum for not believing me.  But at least she kept you, pretended you were hers.  That's not your mother.  I'm your mother, Nona.  You were born because your so called Black Prince raped me.  Just a filthy pig smelling of petrol.  We kept it a secret.  I was ashamed.  She was ashamed.  But I'm not ashamed of you.  I'm telling you the truth.  You're my flesh and blood, my daughter.  You're my blood.  My blood is yours, Nona!  I named you because you were mine.  That's all Mum would allow me to do - name you, Nona...I want you to know the truth.  You have to know the truth.

Well, are you satisfied now!  Don't you think you've had a great success?  You wanted entertainment, and no one can say you haven't had it.  How is this for your scandal?  You stood on your chair and told them who I was: or if you haven't yet, you have no need to.  I'm going to show myself to them, looking as I am.  A common little slut, as a lady called me.  You can watch the fun get funnier.  They'll have no doubts about me now; they'll know exactly where I come from!  Do you want me to tell you the climax of the ball?  To begin with, I insult my mother: I pluck her feathers in front of them all: and I take her away, back to her paino lessons.  Down the wind goes the Countess Funela!  Her father sold wallpaper; he carried the rolls on his back and a paste-pot in his hand.  They used to give him five francs a time, which kept him happy because it meant he could buy himself a drink without telling his wife.  That's the poor you!  You wanted to play with them tonight because you were bored, but you'll see what a mistake it was, and how right your nurses were when you were little and they told you not to play with the common children in the park.  They don't know how to play, and I haven't played for one moment since I came here.  I've been unhappy: isn't that vulgar of me?  I've been unhappy.  And all because you didn't understand, or wouldn't understand, that I love you.  It's because I love you that I've done my best to dazzle them this evening; it's because I love you that I've pretended to love your brother; it's because I love you that I was ready to throw myself in the lake, like a baby and a fool, to finish it all!  If I hadn't loved you, and loved you from the moment we met, do you think I should have agreed to be your mad puppt show?...Well, won't you say something?  It's tiresome, of course, this poor girl standing here saying she loves you.  But please say something.  You usually say so much.

ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face;
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night.
Fain would I dwell on form -- fain, fain deny
What I have spoke; but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay';
And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false. At lovers' perjuries,
They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully.
Or if thou thinkest I am too quickly won,
I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my havior light;
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true-love passion. Therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 2, SCENE 5) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that's not so.
O, she is lame! Love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide then the sun's beams,
Driving back shadows over louring hills:
Therefore do nimble-pinion'd doves draw love,
And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings.
Now is the sun upon the highmost hill
Of this day's journey, and from nine till twelve
Is three hours long, yet she is not come.
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball;
My words would bandy her to my sweet love,
And his to me:
But old folks, many feigns as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead.
O God, she comes!

ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, 
Towards Phoebus' lodging: such a wagoner
As Phaethon would whip you to the west,
And bring in cloudy night immediately.
Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night,
That runaway's eyes may wink and Romeo
Leap to these arms, untalk'd of and unseen.
Lovers can see to do their amorous rites
By their own beauties; or, if love be blind,
It best agrees with night. Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black,
And learn me how to lose a winning match,
Play'd for a pair of stainless maidenhoods:
Hood my unmann'd blood, bating in my cheeks,
With thy black mantle; till strange love, grown bold,
Think true love acted simple modesty.
Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven's back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them. O, here comes my nurse.

ROMEO AND JULIET (ACT 4, SCENE 3) by William Shakespeare - JULIET
Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.
I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,
That almost freezes up the heat of life:
I'll call them back again to comfort me:
Nurse! What should she do here?
My dismal scene I needs must act alone.
Come, vial.
What if this mixture do not work at all?
Shall I be married then to-morrow morning?
No, no: this shall forbid it: lie thou there.
(Laying down her dagger)
What if it be a poison, which the friar
Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead,
Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour'd,
Because he married me before to Romeo?
I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
For he hath still been tried a holy man.
How if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time that Romeo
Come to redeem me? there's a fearful point!
Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,
To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,
And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?
Or, if I live, is it not very like,
The horrible conceit of death and night,
Together with the terror of the place,--
As in a vault, an ancient receptacle,
Where, for these many hundred years, the bones
Of all my buried ancestors are packed:
Where bloody Tybalt, yet but green in earth,
Lies festering in his shroud; where, as they say,
At some hours in the night spirits resort;--
Alack, alack, is it not like that I,
So early waking, what with loathsome smells,
And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth,
That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:--
O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,
Environed with all these hideous fears?
And madly play with my forefather's joints?
And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud?
And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone,
As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?
O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost
Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body
Upon a rapier's point: stay, Tybalt, stay!
Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.
(She falls upon her bed, within the curtains)

SAINT JOAN by George Bernard Shaw - JOAN
Give me that writing.
(She rushes to the table; snatches up the paper and tears it into fragments)
Light your fire: do you think I dread it as much as the life of a rat in a hole?  My voices were right!...
Yes: they told me you were fools and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust to your charity.  You promised me my life; but you lied.  You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead.  It is not the bread and water I fear: I can live on bread: when have I asked for more?  It is no hardship to drink water if the water be clean.  Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no affliction.  But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight of the fields and flowers; to chain my feet that I can never again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills; to make me breathe foul damp darkness, and keep me from everything that brings me back to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness tempt me to hate Him:  all this is worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times.  I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind.  But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the devil, and that mine is of God.

SKYLIGHT by David Hare - KYRA
'Female'?  That's a very odd choice of word.  You see I'm afraid I think this is typical.  It's something that happened ... it's only happened of late.  That people should need to ask why I'm helping these children.  I'm helping them because they need to be helped.  Everyone makes merry, discussing motive.  Of course she does this.  She works in the East End.  She only does it because she's unhappy.  She does it because of a lack in herself.  She doesn't have a man.  If she had a man, she wouldn't need to do it.  Do you think she's a dyke?  She must be fucked up, she must be an Amazon, she must be a weirdo to choose to work where she does ... Well I say, what the hell does it matter why I'm doing it?  Why anyone goes out and helps?  The reason is hardly of primary importance.  If I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done.  I'm tired of these sophistries.  I'm tired of these right-wing fuckers.  They wouldn't lift a finger themselves.  They work contentedly in offices and banks.  Yet now they sit pontificating in parliament, in papers, impugning our motives, questioning our judgements.  And why?  Because they themselves need to feel better by putting down everyone whose work is so much harder than theirs.  (She stands, nodding) You only have to say the words 'social worker' ... probation officer' ... 'counsellor' ...for everyone in this country to sneer.  Do you know what social workers do?  Every day?  They try and clear out society's drains.  They clear out the rubbish.  They do what no one else is doing, what no one else is willing to do.  And for that, oh Christ, do we thank them?  No, we take our own rotten consciences, wipe them all over the social worker's face, and say 'if ...' FUCK! 'if I did the job, then of course if I did it ... oh no, excuse me, I wouldn't do it like that ...' (She turns, suddenly aggressive.) Well I say: 'OK, then, fucking do it, journalist.  Politician, talk to the addicts.  Hold families together.  Stop the kids from stealing the streets.  Deal with couples who beat each other up.  You fucking try it, why not?  Since you're so full of advice.  Sure, come and join us.  This work is one casino.  By all means.  Anyone can play.  But there's only one rule.  You can't play for nothing.  You have to buy some chips to sit at the table.  And if you won't play with your own time ... with your own effort ... then I'm sorry.  Fuck off!'

(At a desk in an office) Yes, I was in the rest room at Swan and Edgars, having a little rest.  Just sitting there, interfering with nobody, when this old crone suddenly came right up to me and sat beside me.  You're on the staff of the B.B.C. she said, aren't you?  I've got just the thing for you, she said, and put a little card into my hand.  Do you know what was written on it?  MEN FOR SALE!  What on earth do you mean? I said.  Men, she said, all sorts shapes and sizes, for sale.  What on earth can you possibly mean?  I said.  It's an international congress, she said, got up for the entertainment and relief of the lady members of the civil service.  You can hear some of the boys we've got speak through a microphone, especially for your pleasure, singing little folk tunes we're sure you've never heard before.  Tea is on the house and everyday we have the very best pastries.  For the cabaret at tea time the boys do a rare dance imported all the way from Buenos Aires, dressed in nothing but a pair of cricket pads.  Every single one of them is tried and tested, very best quality, and at very reasonable rates.  If you like one of them by any of his individual characteristics you can buy him, but for you not at retail price.  As you work for the B.B.C. we'll be glad to make a special reduction.  If you're at all dissatisfied you can send him back within seven days and have your money refunded.  That's very kind of you, I said, but as a matter of fact I've just been on leave, I start work tomorrow and am perfectly refreshed.  And I left her where she was.  Men for Sale!  What an extraordinary idea!  I've never heard of anything so outrageous, have you?  Look - here's her card.  (Pause) Do you think it's a joke...or serious?

'America changed.'  That's what we're told.  'On September 11th everything changed.'  'If you're not American, you can't understand.'  The infantile psycho-babble of popular culture is grafted opportunistically onto America's politics.  The language of childish entitlement becomes the lethal rhetoric of global wealth and privilege.  Asked how you are as President, on the first day of a war which will kill around thirty thousand people: 'I feel good.'  I was in Saks Fifth Avenue the morning they bombed Baghdad.  'Isn't it wonderful?' says the saleswoman.  'At last we're hitting back.' 'Yes,' I reply.  'At the wrong people.  Somebody steals your handbag, so you kill their second cousin, on the grounds they live close.  Explain to me, ' I say, 'Saudi Arabia is financing Al Qaeda.  Iran, Lebanon and Syria are known to shelter terrorists.  North Korea is developing a nuclear weapons programme.  All these you leave alone.  No, you go to war with the one place in the region admitted to have no connection with terrorism.'  'You're not American,' says the saleswoman.  'You don't understand.'  Oh, a question, then.  If 'You're not American.  You don't understand' is the new dispensation, then why not 'You're not Chechen'?  Are the Chechens also now licenced?  Are Basques?  Theatres, restaurants, public squares?  Do Israeli milk-bars filled with women and children become fair game on the grounds that 'You don't understand.  We're Palestinian, we're Chechen, we're Irish, we're Basque'?  If the principle of international conduct is now to be that you may go against anyone you like on the grounds that you've been hurt by somebody else, does that apply to everyone?  Or just to America?

On September 11th, America changed.  Yes.  It got much stupider.

SUMMER AND SMOKE by Tennessee Williams - ALMA
Yes, I see!  Now that you no longer want it to be otherwise you're willing to believe that a spiritual bond can exist between us two!
But I don't want to be talked to like some incurable sick patient you have to comfort.  (A harsh and strong note comes into her voice) Oh, I suppose I am sick, one of those weak and divided people who slip like shadows among you solid strong ones.  But sometimes, out of necessity, we shadowy people take on a strength of our own.  I have that now.  You needn't try to deceive me.
You needn't try to comfort me.  I haven't come here on any but equal terms.  You said, let's talk truthfully.  Well, let's do!  Unsparingly, truthfully, even shamelessly, then!  It's no longer a secret that I love you.  It never was.  I loved you as long ago as the time I asked you to read the stone angel's name with your fingers.  Yes, I remember the long afternoons of our childhood, when I had to stay indoors to practice my music - and heard your playmates calling you 'Johnny, Johnny!'  How it went through me, just to hear your name called!  And how I - rushed to the window to watch you jump the portch railing!  I stood at a distance, halfway down the block, only to keep in sight of your torn red sweater, racing about the vacant lot you played in.  Yes, it had begun that early, this affliction of love, and has never let go of me since, but kept on growing.  I've lived next door to you all the days of my life, a weak and divided person who stood in adoring awe of your singleness, of your strength.  And that is my story!  Now I wish you would tell me - why didn't it happen between us?  Why did I fail?  Why did you come almost close enough - and no closer?

Are they going to be surprised. Hey, fellas, what's this wet-patch? Holy Hell, someone's pissed on an RSL billiard table. (laughs) I want to make a mess of this place. We'll tear it up, piss and shit on it all and someone passing by will say tomorrow morning: I saw angels in the RSL hall. It was angels that destroyed it. (touching LEWIS' wings) Aren't they beautiful? Angels hover in the air like dragonflies. Like this. Now I have no wings. No, not yet. Angels have to think of them and then they imagine having them and there is a feeling, like it must be when boys get stiff, a growing from the shoulders. Two wings on either shoulders. But they don't look like wings at first, they look like buds, white buds. Then slowly, like a flower, they slowly open, breaking through the angels' clothes. Real slow, unfolding like in dreamtime. And then they open out, like my wings. They begin to float testing new, unnamed muscles. Then they're like a bird flying, break free of the ground. I begin to rise. Above you. Higher higher, like a cloud, my body feels light as a cloud. I begin speaking but my voice has changed, it's as loud as a scream, softer than a whisper. I speak like an angel. My speech sounds like this. (She presses her lips against his hands and says the one phrase over and over) I am saying something secret to you in angel talk.

You never knew!
Nancy used to say it was how they'd walk into the pub as if they owned it, even just in the way they walked you could spot it.  All round would be the regulars, soft city blokes having their drinks and their little arguments, and then in would come Roo and Barney.  They wouldn't say anything - they didn't have to - there'd just be the two of them walkin' in, then a kind of wait for a second or two, and quiet.  After that, without a word, the regulars'd stand aside and let 'em through, just as if they was a - a couple of kings.  She always reckoned they made the rest of the mob look like a bunch of skinned rabbits.  (Softly) Poor old Nancy...

I'd like to ask her.  Right now, with them expected any minute, and her sitting chained up to that - book bloke - I'd like to ask her if she thinks it was worth it.  And I bet that'd be one question she wouldn't be able to laugh her way out of.

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH by Tennessee Williams - HEAVENLY
Don't give me your "Voice of God" speech, Papa, there was a time when you could have saved me, letting me marry a boy who was still young and clean, but instead you drove him away, drove him out of St Cloud.  And when he came back, you took me out of St Cloud, and tried to force me to marry a fifty-year-old money bag that you wanted something out of - and then another, another, all of them ones you wanted something out of.  I'd gone, so Chance went away.  Tried to compete, make himself big as these big-shots you wanted to use me for a bond with.  He went.  He tried.  The right doors wouldn't open, and so he went in the wrong ones, and - Papa, you married for love, why wouldn't you let me do it, while I was alive, inside, and the boy was still clean, still decent?  You married for love, but you wouldn't let me do it, and even though you'd done it, you broke Mama's heart.  Miss Lucy was your mistress long before Mama died.  And Mama was just in front of you.  (Pause) Can I go in now, Papa?  Can I go in now, Papa?  I'm sorry my operation has brought this embarrassment on you, but can you imagine, Papa?  I felt worse than embarrassed when I found out that Dr George Scudder's knife had cut the youth out of my body, made me a childless woman.  Dry, cold, empty, like an old woman.  I feel as if I ought to rattle like a dead dried-up vine when the Gulf Wind blows, but, Papa - I won't embarrass you anymore.

O sister, sister!  If ever you marry, beware the sullen, silent sot, one that's always musing, but never thinks.  There's some diversion in a talking blockhead; and since a woman must wear chains, I would have the pleasure of hearing 'em rattle a little.  Now you shall see, but take this by the way:- He came home this morning at his usual hour of four, wakened me out of a sweet dream or something else, by tumbling over the tea-table, which he broke all to pieces; after his man and he had rolled about the room like sick passengers in a storm, he comes flounce into bed, dead as a salmon into a fishmonger's basket; his feet cold as ice, his breath hot as a furnace, and his hands and his face as greasy as his flannel nightcap. - O, matrimony! - He tossed up the clothes with a barbarous swing over his shoulders, disorders the whole economy of my bed, leaves me half naked, and my whole night's comfort is the tuneable serenade of that wakeful nightingale, his nose!  O the pleasure of counting the melancholy clock by a snoring husband!  But now, sister, you shall see how handsomely, being a well-bred man, he will beg my pardon.

THE BOYS by Gordon Graham - NOLA
That's the worst thing. What this little bloke's goin' to see. I mean I can't stop all that stuff that goes on.
(She paces up and down, rocking the baby gently)
You know, what's the point of trying to lie about it any more? That's just what it's like. And that's just what this little bloke's goin' to be like, unless some miracle happens. I can't just hide him in a cupboard, can I? Sooner or later he's going to go out there into the same world Stevie and Brett and Glenn lived in, and why should he be any different from them? It takes a lot more than I got to do anything about it. But I tell you, I've had plenty of time to think about it, these last few months. Sittin' there in that room starin' at me tummy while it all went on outside. Yeah, hah, you know the first thing I said to meself after the birth? I said, thank God it's not a girl. 'Cause I'd been thinkin', you know, about what happened to that girl that night. Thinkin' about all sorts of things blokes might do to my girl if she was pretty, and all the things she's have to cop if she wasn't. Either way she'd lose. I mean I s'pose you can try getting by just being on your own and that, but jeez they make it tough for you. They make you feel like you're missin' out on so much if you can't go along with it all, can't be the sort of girl who has blokes after her all the time. All that sort of playing games and putting it on you're supposed to do. They make it so tantalizing. It's that thing you see all the time, on street corners and outside pubs, and when you see them hanging out of their cars. That energy that holds them together and makes them act the same as each other, whatever they're like inside. It is, it's a kind of energy, and it's full of nothing but evil. But this evil, all this violence and hatred, they think they're using it. But it's using them! And it'll use this little bloke, too. Yeah. I s'pose bein' a boy's not all that big a deal neither. And bein' a man. I mean I can't hate him, just 'cause of what goes on out there. He hasn't done nothing. But one day he might. And what can I do to stop it?

THE CALL by Patricia Cornelius - DENISE
This mother thing sucks. I hated it right from the start. Complete strangers came up and patted my belly as if it was going to bring them luck. And after the birth, which was fucking torture, mad people cooed and gurgled and talked in high-pitched voices. They smiled at me and expected me to smile back. Like, what the fuck! It's this 'You've got a little baby' stuff. I go crazy while she sleeps in her cot and you're at work and my friends have got a life and I'm on my own and I think, 'Jesus Christ, what have I done. How in hell am I going to get through this?' I push her in her pram to the shops because I've run out of baby swipes. I push her to the shops to buy disposable nappies and spend my last fifteen bucks. I push her to the shops because I can't think of anywhere else to push her. Sometimes I think if I leave her there someone nicer might come and get her and it'd be much much better. I meet with other mothers and I pray to fucking God that I don't look like them, or sound like them, or am like them. They tell me how smart their kid is, how early she talked, or walked. How their three-month- old baby is reading Shakespeare. And I look down at my fat little bald baby sucking on her dummy and I think, 'Oh, that's funny because mine's as thick as a brick'. This mother thing is weird. I'm bored. I'm lonely. And it doesn't stop.

Even if it was thirty, I’d tell you what I think of your justice, you drunken onion! (Incoherently) How dare you talk to me like the cracked Isaiah on the church window?  As if you were somebody?  For you weren’t born to this. You weren’t born to rap your own mother on the knuckles if she swipes a little bowl of salt someplace. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself when you see how I tremble before you? You’re made yourself their servant so no one will take their houses from them – houses they had stolen! Since when have houses belonged to the bedbugs?  But you’re on the watch, or they couldn’t drag our men into their wars!  You bribetaker! I’ve no respect for you.  No more than for a thief or a bandit with a knife!  You can do what you want.  You can take the child away from me, a hundred against one, but I tell you one thing: only extortioners should be chosen for a profession like yours, and men who rape children!  As punishment!  Yes, let them sit in judgement on their fellow creatures. It is worse than to hang from the gallows.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD by Anton Chekhov - Madame Ranevsky
Please don't go; I want you. At any rate it's brighter when you're here. [A pause] I keep expecting something to happen, as if the house were going to tumble down about our ears. We have been very, very sinful! Oh, the sins that I have committed . . . I've always squandered money at random like a madwoman; I married a man who made nothing but debts. My husband drank himself to death on champagne; he was a fearful drinker. Then for my sins I fell in love and went off with another man; and immediately--that was my first punishment - a blow full on the head . . . here, in this very river . . . my little boy was drowned; and I went abroad, right, right away, never to come back any more, never to see this river again. . . . I shut my eyes and ran, like a mad thing, and he came after me, pitiless and cruel. I bought a villa at Mentone, because he fell ill there, and for three years I knew no rest day or night; the sick man tormented and wore down my soul. Then, last year, when my villa was sold to pay my debts, I went off to Paris, and he came and robbed me of everything, left me and took up with another woman, and I tried to poison myself. . . . It was all so stupid, so humiliating. . . . Then suddenly I longed to be back in Russia, in my own country, with my little girl. . . . [Wiping away her tears] Lord, Lord, be merciful to me; forgive my sins! Do not punish me anymore! (taking a telegram from her pocket) I got this to-day from Paris. . . . He asks to be forgiven, begs me to come back. 

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - LUCIANA
And may it be that you have quite forgot
A husband's office? shall, Antipholus.
Even in the spring of love, thy love-springs rot?
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?
If you did wed my sister for her wealth,
Then for her wealth's sake use her with more kindness:
Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth;
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness:
Let not my sister read it in your eye;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame's orator;
Look sweet, be fair, become disloyalty;
Apparel vice like virtue's harbinger;
Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted;
Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint;
Be secret-false: what need she be acquainted?
What simple thief brags of his own attaint?
'Tis double wrong, to truant with your bed
And let her read it in thy looks at board:
Shame hath a bastard fame, well managed;
Ill d eeds are doubled with an evil word.
Alas, poor women! make us but believe,
Being compact of credit, that you love us;
Though others have the arm, show us the sleeve;
We in your motion turn and you may move us.
Then, gentle brother, get you in again;
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her wife:
'Tis holy sport to be a little vain,
When the sweet breath of flattery conquers strife.

(Rebecca is 25 and talking to the 40 year old doctor she has been involved with about how she could tell his children about their relationship) But everyone wants to hear a story, don't they?  I could say: Hello, I'm Rebecca.  I'm the maid.  Let me tell you a story.  Would you like to tell me a story?  Oh yes please, Rebecca, tell us a story.

Well once upon a time, children, there was a girl, there was a bright young girl, and she was sick, and she needed some medicine.  So she went to a doctor and she said: Doctor, doctor, it hurts, I need some medicine.  But the doctor wouldn't give her any.  He said, go away - don't waste my time - I have no medicine.  So she went back again and she said, Doctor, doctor, it really hurts, I need some medicine.  And this time the doctor went to the door.  He locked the door.

Then, children, he got one instrument to look into her eyes.  And another instrument to listen to her heart.  And when he'd looked into her eyes and listened to her heart, he asked her to undress.  And when she undressed, he said: I see now how very sick you are - you need some medicine.  She said: Doctor, am I going to die?  He said: No, it's simply that your eyes are very dark and your skin is very pale.  Your skin is so thin that when I touch it like this with my lips I can feel the blood moving underneath.  You're sick, that's all.  You need some medicine.  So the treatment began.  The treatment was wild, children.  It could take place at any time of day or night.  In any part of the city.  In any part of her body.

Until one day the bright young girl decided the treatment would have to end - because the more medicine she took, the more medicine she craved - and besides, she was leaving for the country.  Now this made the doctor very angry.  Because he'd broken all the rules - as he saw it - for her.  Not just the kind of rules you children have - take off your shoes, wash your hands - but grown-up rules.  Laws.  He'd broken all these rules - these laws - and he was very angry.  In fact he wept.  You bitch, he said.  You little bitch.  Because you see there'd been a terrible misunderstanding.  Since the thing the bright young girl bitch called treatment, the doctor - who of course was sick himself - who craved medicine himself - imagined to be - what? - something personal.  Something human.  Which is why he followed her.

To pretend to be someone else and get away with it is the greatest escape in the world. It means that you are no longer living in a fibro house in the middle of the sticks. Sticks is the wrong word. The soil was too poor to grow sticks. Stuck in the middle of endless paddocks, surrounded by fibro houses and losers and violence and welfare mums and ... well, you name it. In my head I could be a queen, a scientist – a model, a dying beauty dying for love. And then I’m rudely awoken by my dad whacking my mother across the face so hard her cheeks shatter. Who wouldn’t want to pretend to be somewhere else, someone else? Now, before you applaud my sob story, allow me to let you into a little secret I learnt. Sometimes someone from by background wants it too much. I was good. Bloody good, but I lacked something – not stupidity – I lacked the proper background. One of the most important things I learned was that the actresses who make it are invariably from comfortable backgrounds. You see, they’ve had those acting lessons since they were five. They’ve been told they’re beautiful from the moment they open their eyes. If they truly suffered in life they wouldn’t be able to hide it. You need to have no suffering, no hurt, just the belief that everything will come to you. And it does. I carried too many thoughts, too many dreams in my head, and they swirled around and everyone thought it was intelligence. It was in fact hunger, a desperate hunger to be brilliant, to be adored. 

I’m not to blame for every thing that’s gone wrong in your lives. I’m a thinker! It’s my job to think. Because that’s something I do better than other people. You’re all spoiled brats. Go on shoot me, but that’s the truth! Talk about the Me Generation! All this nonsense about personal identity and self-growth and being fulfilled! What a load of self–indulgent crap. Has it ever occurred to any of you that there was a generation of men and women who didn’t wake up in the morning and wonder how the day was going to pan out for them, but leapt out of bed intent on figuring out how the world was going to pan out for everyone? Maybe we got things wrong. Maybe we went too far. Maybe we had a goddamn mission and that was to make this planet a better place for our inheritors than it was for us. You whiners and whingers! What would you rather? That I’d sat quietly back and lead a sweet, unrestrained, anonymous life? So that your destiny as repressed, stupefied, second-class citizens could have gone on uninterrupted? I happened to get famous and now you’re going to use my fame against me because you’re not happy with yourselves? Why don’t you take a little responsibility and, while you’re at it, show a tiny bit of ordinary gratitude?

His name was Varguennes.  He was brought to the house after the wreck of his ship.  He had a dreadful wound.  His flesh was torn from his hip to his knee.  He was in great pain.  Yet he never cried out.  Not the smallest groan.  I admired his courage.  I looked after him.  I did not know then that men can be both very brave and very false.  He was handsome.  No man had ever paid me the kind of attention he did, as he ... was recovering.  He told me I was beautiful, that he could not understand why I was not married.  Such things.  He would...mock me, lightly.  I took pleasure in it.  When I would not let him kiss my hand he would call me cruel.  A day came when I thought myself cruel as well.  You do not understand.  You cannot, Mr Smithson.  Because you are not a woman.  You are not a woman born to be a farmer's wife but educated to be something...better.  You were not born a woman with a love of intelligence, beauty, learning, but whose position in the world forbids her to share this love with another.  And you are not a daughter of a bankrupt.  You have spent your life in penury.  You are not condemned.  You are not an outcast.  Vargueness recovered.  He asked me to go back with him to France.  He offered me...marriage.  He left for Weymouth.  He said he would wait there for one week and then sail for France.  I followed him.  I went to the Inn where he had taken a room.  It was not...a respectable place.  I knew that at once.  He seemed overjoyed to see me.  He was all that a lover should be.  But he had changed.  He was full of smiles and caresses but I knew at once he was insincere.  I saw that I had been an amusement for him, nothing more.  He was a liar.  I saw all this within five minutes of our meeting.  Yet I stayed.  Soon he no longer bothered to hide the real nature of his intentions towards me.  Nor could I pretend surprise.  My innocence was false from the moment I chose to stay.  I could tell you that he overpowered me, then he drugged me.  But it is not so.  I gave myself to him.  (Silence) I did that I should never be the same again, so that I should be seen for the outcast I am.  I knew it was ordained that I should never marry an equal.  So I married shame.  It is my shame...that has kept me alive, my knowing that I am truly not like other women.  I shall never like them have children, a husband, the pleasure of a home.  Sometimes I pity them.  I have a freedom they cannot understand.  No insult, no blame, can touch me.  I have set myself beyond the pale.  I am nothing.  I am hardly human anymore.  I am the French Lieutenant's whore.

You've made some pretty outrageous, bloody minded remarks in your life, Fay, but that one's really got to take the cake.  If you think I'd touch that greasy little meatball in a dinner suit, you not only need your head read, you need a complete overhaul from top to bottom!  Not only am I not attracted to him in any way, but I find his very existence a blot on the dignity of the entire human race.  Vain, pompous, arrogant, with the dress sense of a hedge-hog and the subtlety of a chainsaw, he has got to be the most personally disgusting, violently backward, pettily boorish and thoroughly repulsive excuse for a man I have ever met.  I wouldn't touch him if you threatened me with twelve hours of Richard Carlton Tapes!  Morty's the kind of human leggo-set that makes a bag of wet cement look exciting!  He's revolting, Fay!  Absolutely, unashamedly, irredeemably, revolting: and the very idea of him and me together makes me physically sick!  How could you?  The man's a human fur-ball!

THE GOAT by Edward Albee - STEVIE
Well I laughed, of course: a grim joke but an awfully funny one. ‘That Ross, I tell you, that Ross! You go too far, Ross. It’s funny ... in its ... awful way, but it’s way overboard, Ross!’ so, I shook my head and laughed – at the awfulness of it, the absurdity, the awfulness; some things are so awful you have to laugh – and then I listened to myself laughing, and I began to wonder why I was – laughing. ‘It’s not funny when you come right down to it, Ross.’ Why was I laughing? And just like that (snaps her fingers) I stopped; I stopped laughing. I realised – probably in the way if you suddenly fell off a building – ‘oh shit! I’ve fallen off a building and I’m going to die; I’m going to go splat on the sidewalk’; like that – that it wasn’t a joke at all; it was awful and absurd, but it wasn’t a joke. And everything tied in – Ross coming here to interview you yesterday, the funny smell, the Noel Coward bit we did about you having an affair, and with a goat. You said it right out and I laughed. You told me! You came right out and told me, and I laughed, and I made jokes about going to the feed store and I laughed. I laughed! Until it stopped; until the laughter stopped. Until it all came together – Ross’s letter and all the rest: the odd smell ... the mistress’s perfume on you. And so I knew. And next, of course, came believing it. Knowing it – knowing it’s true is one thing, but believing what you know ... well, there’s the tough part. We all prepare for jolts along the way, disturbances of the peace, the lies, the evasions, the infidelities – if they happen. (Very off hand) I’ve never had an affair, by the way, all our years together; not even with a cat, or .... anything. 

THE KID by Michael Gow - SNAKE
Honestly.  I hate this trip.  It's always chaos.  Always a fight.  By the time we get to Aunty Eileen's no one's talking to anyone.  I have to do everything.  Get the boys ready.  Stock up on drinks and Marlboro and chips.  Hate it.  Won't it be great when we get the money?  We'll be happy.  We might take over a service station.  Dean can fool around with his engines.  I'll cook snacks and Pro can man the pumps.  I'll have to help him with the change.  I'll look back on all this and laugh.  Hate it.  All the people we end up taking along.  Dean always collects someone.
You must have been the first one ever to turn him down.  He was that upset.  He was driving like a maniac.  He just drove over the median strip and back we came.  Little turd.  Know why he got chucked out of school?  Mrs. Tucker - guess what Dean called her - was wrapped in him.  She used to beat shit out of him, for any reason, no reason, just so she could grab hold of him and whack his bum.  One day he'd had enough and he told her to go and see the Abo stockman and he'd fix her up.  Poor woman grabbed all the rulers in the room and laid into Dean.  He stood up, gave her a right hook and she went down like a ton of bricks.  We all stood on the desks and cheered.  I reckon Dean would win wars single-handed.  The enemy would come to him on bended knees.  People will do anything just to get a wink or a smile that says he likes you.  Little turd.  Foul temper.  Lazy.  But who cares when it's Dean.

You have no understanding, do you?  You have comprehended - just - that I am tired of being your mistress and your solution is to conscript me into becoming your wife.  It is not being a mistress I am tired of, John.  I am tired of you.  I do not wish to be your wife.  I do not wish to be anyone's wife.  I wish to continue being the creature I am.  I am no Nell Gwyn, I will not give up the stage as soon as a King or Lord has seen me on it and, wishing me to be his and his alone, will then pay a fortune to keep me off it.  I am not the sparrow you picked up in the roadside, my love.  London walks into this theatre to see me - not George's play nor Mr. Betterton.  They want me and they want me over and over again.  And when people desire you in such a manner, then you can envisage a steady river of gold lapping at your doorstep, not five pound here and there for pity or bed favours, not a noble's ransom for holding you hostage from the thing you love, but a lifetime of money amassed through your endevours.  That is riches.  'Leave this gaudy, gilded stage'.  You're right, this stage is guilded.  It is gilded with my future earnings.  And I will not trade those for a dependancy on you.  I will not swap my certain glory for your undependable love.

THE MAID'S TRAGEDY (ACT 4, SCENE 1) by Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher - EVADNE
The night grows horrible; and all about me
Like my black purpose.  Oh, the conscience
Of a lost virgin! whither wilt thou pull me?
To what things, dismal as the depth of hell,
Wilt thou provoke me?  Let no woman dare
From this hour be disloyal, if her heart be flesh,
If she have blood, and can fear.  ‘Tis a daring
Above that desperate fool’s that left his peace,
And went to sea to fight. ‘Tis so many sins,
An age cannot repent ‘em; and so great,
The gods want mercy for!  Yet I must through ‘em
I have begun a slaughter on my honour,
And I must end it there.
Why give you peace to this untemperate beast,
That hath so long transgress’d you?  I must kill him,
And I will do’t bravely:  The mere joy
Tells me I merit in it.  Yet I must not
Thus tamely do it, as he sleeps — that were
To rock him to another world:  My vengeance
Shall take him waking, and then lay before him
The number of his wrongs and punishments.
I’ll shape his sins like Furies, till I waken
His evil angel, his sick conscience;
And then I’ll strike him dead.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (ACT 3, SCENE 2) by William Shakepeare - PORTIA
You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand,
Such as I am: though for myself alone
I would not be ambitious in my wish,
To wish myself much better; yet, for you
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair, ten thousand times more rich;
That only to stand high in your account,
I might in virtue, beauties, livings, friends,
Exceed account; but the full sum of me
Is sum of something, which, to term in gross,
Is an unlesson'd girl, unschool'd, unpractised;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn; happier than this,
She is not bred so dull but she can learn;
Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Myself and what is mine to you and yours
Is now converted: but now I was the lord
Of this fair mansion, master of my servants,
Queen o'er myself: and even now, but now,
This house, these servants and this same myself
Are yours, my lord: I give them with this ring;
Which when you part from, lose, or give away,
Let it presage the ruin of your love
And be my vantage to exclaim on you.

I'll bring this song for you.  Every time I come.  The paper said somebody nicked your flowers.  People are really off.  But they're planting a tree for you at the front of school.  Tomorrow at lunch time.  Or do you know that now?  I bet you know a lot of stuff now.  I should have been there with you, Trace.  A few times that night I thought I might sneak out.  I really wanted to.  Mum was reading in her room, I was watching TV, I could have just left it on, and sneaked out, come and found you.  But I didn't. And I keep thinking, if I had…  Would it have been different?  No-one seems to say anything straight.  All these rumours go round.
And I want to yell out, this is Tracy you're talking about.  She was here last week, going to netball, working at the Pizza Hut, getting the ferry.  She was one of us.  I wish I'd kept them earrings…. ( She plays the song again, then turns it off.)  I woke up that night.  Faces, looking down at me.  I should have known… when I went round your place on Sunday, and saw the cop-car outside, and the guys from Channel… I should have realised. You were calling to me.  That nightmare.  It wasn't one.  It was you calling.  Because all the faces.  They were guys' faces.  And I knew them all.  The cops came round our place last night.  Mum was spewing.  They're interviewing everyone who was at the party.  Seventy kids they're going to talk to.  But no-one can talk to you. You can talk to me whenever you want to.  Please talk to me.

This is the best time of all. Before the men come.

Even in summer, at the end of the day, when you feel you could have been spat out, when the hair is stuck to your forehead, it is best, best. A time to loiter. The flowers are lolling. The roses are biggest.

The big, lovely roses, falling with one touch. (Laughs) I could eat the roses! Dawdling in the back yard. If there was none of these busybodies around – thin, prissy, operated women – I’d take off me clothes, and sit amongst the falling roses. I’ve never felt the touch of roses on my body. (Examining her bare arm)

Green in the shade. Green for shade. Splotchy. You can imagine the petals, trickling, trickling, better than water, because solid...

But the men don’t come! They gotta come! When you expect them. Now, or then, it’s the same. They gotta come. The men. Standing in bars, with arms round one another’s shoulders, faces running together, to tell a bluer story... Men are dirty buggers! But they oughta come. They’re expected. (ERNIE and MASSON appear from the lane.)

(Coldly) Thought you'd drowned yourself in it.

Please don't leave me. Please, Isobel. Just stay for tonight. I don't know what to do. It's all such an effort. Like at school one term I worked really hard. I came fifteenth. I thought, this is stupid. Other people come second without trying. Why has God made me so fucking mediocre? The first boyfriend I had, it was the same. I adored him. I gave myself over. I couldn't get enough of him. Then one day he just stopped sleeping with me. Bang. Just like that. No warning. It happened again, the next three boyfriends I had. I thought, oh I see, there is something about me which is actually repulsive. After a while men don't want me. (She thinks a moment) Well, that feeling is hard. That night in the restaurant, I knew I couldn't do it. I just looked at them. I could see what they were thinking. She is not confident. I do not want to do business with her. They said, 'Oh, of course, you can't have a drink, can you?' It made me so angry. I thought, count to five. It's like they have to say it. Just to make you feel worse. So they all start drinking vodka. In these really posh surroundings. They keep drinking more. And think, oh God, you as well. Please give me a break. Just look at me as if you trust me as if there were a little goodness in me. Then they say, 'Well, of course, you never really thought we'd give you the contract, did you? This can hardly come as a surprise'. (She smiles) . What do you do? I just want to hurt them. The managing director is eating a little bird. He keeps picking little bits out of his teeth. And drinking more vodka . And laughing. He says, ' No hard feelings'. I start counting to five. I don't even get to three. I suddenly yell out, 'Yes, there fucking well are. There are hard feelings. Because you have all the power. And you love to exercise it. And oil it with vodka and smile your stupid shiny smiles. And you have just ditched me, you have just landed me, right back, right back into my terrible unconfidence…. (she shakes her head) You know what happened. I reached for a drink. A few minutes later I picked up my knife (she shrugs slightly and turns to Isobel) It wasn't so wrong. Was it? At least I was alive. Not like now.

THE SEED by Kate Mulvany - ROSE
There was a spray that Dad breathed in and now I don’t have the eggs. They’ve all been destroyed by radiotherapy and even if they found one, I can’t carry it. The tumour wiped out half my organs, my body can’t support a baby. Grandda, I’m thirty and I’ve just started menopause. 

I will never have children. (Beat) I will never have children. (Beat) I will never have children. And you know what? I don’t think I deserve them anyway. When a friend tells me she is pregnant I smile and hug and kiss and ask her dumb questions. ‘How far along?’ ‘Any names picked yet?’ ‘What are you craving?’ But I don’t let on what I’m craving. That despite my big smile and congratulations I’m green and I’m bubbling and I’m thinking, you bitch, I hope it fucking dies inside you, you bitch. And when a pregnant woman walks past me on the street I want punch her belly and walk away when she falls to the ground and just leave her there to deal with it. And when a husband tells me he’s having his third boy I want to put my hand down his pants and rip his fucking cock off and squeeze it dry of any seed. And when I see a baby in a pram…(Beat) I just  want to pick it up and smell its skin and hold it to my heart and stoke its little head and never let another person touch it for the rest of its life. Is that normal, Grandda? I don’t know. And I never will. Because the seed stops here.

Tell me, why is it I'm so happy today?  Just as if I were sailing along in a boat with big white sails, and above me the wide, blue sky, and in the sky great white birds floating around?
You know, when I woke up this morning, and after I'd got up and washed, I suddenly felt as if everything in the world had become clear to me, and I knew the way I ought to live.  I know it all now, my dear Ivan Romanych.  Man must woirk by the sweat of his brow whatever his class, and that should make up the whole meaning and purpose of his life and happiness and contentment.  Oh, how good it must be to be a workman, getting up with the sun and breaking stones by the roadside - or a shepherd - or a school master teaching the children - or an engine-driver on the railway.  Good Heavens!  It's better to be a mere ox or horse, and work, than the sort of young woman who wakes up at twelve, and drinks her coffee in bed, and then takes two hours dressing...How dreadful!  You know how you long for a cool drink in hot weather?  Well, that's the way I long for work.  And if I don't get up early from now on and really work, you can refuse to be friends with me anymore, Ivan Romanych.

This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. 
Here is a coil with protestation. (she tears the letter
Go, get you gone; and let the papers lie. 
You would be fing’ring them, to anger me. (gathering up the pieces of the letter
Nay, would I were so anger’d with the same! 
O hateful hands, to tear such loving words; 
Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey, 
And kill the bees that yield it, with your stings! 
I’ll kiss each several paper, for amends. 
Look, here is writ ‘kind Julia’: unkind Julia! 
As in revenge for thy ingratitude, 
I’ll throw thy name against the bruising stones, 
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain. 
And here is writ ‘love-wounded Proteus’. 
Poor wounded name: my bosom, as a bed, 
Shall lodge thee till thy wound be thoroughly heal’d; 
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss. 
But twice, or thrice, was ‘Proteus’ written down: 
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away, 
Till I have found each letter, in the letter, 
Except mine own name: that some whirlwind bear 
Unto a ragged, fearful, hanging rock, 
And throw it thence into the raging sea. 
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ: 
‘Poor forlorn Proteus’; ‘passionate Proteus’. 
‘To the sweet Julia’; that I’ll tear away. 
And yet I will not, sit so prettily 
He couples it to his complaining names. 
Thus will I fold them, one upon another: 
Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

What have I gained by thee but infamy?
Thou hast stained the spotless honour of my house,
And frightened thence noble society:
Like those which, sick o’th’palsy, and retain
Ill-scenting foxes ‘bout them, are still shunned
By those of choicer nostrils.  What do you call this house?
Is this your palace?  Did not the judge style it
A house of penitent whores? Who sent me to it?
Who hath the honour to advance Vittoria
To this incontinent college?  Is’t not you?
Is’t not your high preferment?  Go, go brag
How many ladies you have undone, like me.
Fare you well sir; let me hear no more of you.
I had a limb corrupted to an ulcer,
But I have cut it off: and now I’ll go
Weeping to heaven on crutches.  For your gifts,
I will return them all; and I do wish
That I could make you full executor
To all my sins – O that I could toss myself
Into a grave as quickly: for all thou art worth
I’ll not shed one tear more – I’ll burst first.


liam Shakespeare - HERMIONE
Sir, spare your threats:
The bug which you would fright me with I seek.
To me can life be no commodity:
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went. My second joy
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barr'd, like one infectious. My third comfort
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet: with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore proceed.
But yet hear this: mistake me not; no life,
I prize it not a straw, but for mine honour,
Which I would free, if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'Tis rigor and not law. Your honours all,
I do refer me to the oracle:
Apollo be my judge!

Hard to seem won: but I was won, my lord,
With the first glance that ever-pardon me-
If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
I love you now; but not, till now, so much
But I might master it: in faith, I lie;
My thoughts were like unbridled children, grown
Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!
Why have I blabb'd? who shall be true to us,
When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
But, though I loved you well, I woo'd you not;
And yet, good faith, I wish'd myself a man,
Or that we women had men's privilege
Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
For in this rapture I shall surely speak
The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
My very soul of counsel! stop my mouth.

TRUE ROMANCE by Quentin Tarrantino - ALABAMA
Clarence, I've got something to tell you. I didn't just happen to be at the theatre. I was paid to be there. I'm not a theatre checker. I'm a call girl. (Pause)
I'm not a whore. I'm a call girl. There's a difference, ya know. (Pause)
I don't know. Maybe there's not. That place you took me to last night, that comic book place. Somebody who works there arranged to have me meet you. I don't know who, I didn't talk with them. The plan was for me to bump into you, pick you up, spend the night, and skip out after you fell asleep. I was gonna write you a note and say that this was my last day in America. That I was leaving on a plane this morning to the Ukraine to marry a rich millionaire, and thank you for making my last day in America my best day. The note is over on the TV. All it says is: Dear Clarence. I couldn't write anymore. I didn't not want to ever see you again. Last night…I don't know…I felt…I hadn't had that much fun since Girl Scouts. So I just said, 'Alabama, come clean. Let him know what's what, and if he tells you to go fuck yourself then go back to Drexl and fuck yourself'. Drexl's my pimp. He thinks he's black. He says his mother was Apache, but I suspect he's lying. But he's treated me pretty decent. I've only been here about four days. I met him at the bus station. He said I'd be a perfect call girl. But no one's gonna pay a grand a night for a girl who doesn't know whether to shit or wind her watch. So what I'm doin' for Drexl now is just sorta learnin' the ropes. It seemed like a lotta fun, but I don't really like it much, till last night. You were only my third trick, but you didn't feel like a trick. Since it was a secret, I just pretended I was on a date. And, um, I guess I want a second date.

TWELFTH NIGHT (ACT 2, SCENE 2) by William Shakespeare - VIOLA
I left no ring with her: what means this lady?
Fortune forbid my outside have not charm'd her!
She made good view of me; indeed, so much,
That sure methought her eyes had lost her tongue,
For she did speak in starts distractedly.
She loves me, sure; the cunning of her passion
Invites me in this churlish messenger.
None of my lord's ring! why, he sent her none.
I am the man: if it be so, as 'tis,
Poor lady, she were better love a dream.
Disguise, I see, thou art a wickedness,
Wherein the pregnant enemy does much.
How easy is it for the proper-false
In women's waxen hearts to set their forms!
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!
For such as we are made of, such we be.
How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly;
And I, poor monster, fond as much on him;
And she, mistaken, seems to dote on me.
What will become of this? As I am man,
My state is desperate for my master's love;
As I am woman,--now alas the day!--
What thriftless sighs shall poor Olivia breathe!
O time! thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie!

TWO ROOMS by Lee Blessing - LAINE
I'm talking to myself.  All last night, taking the furniture out of this room, I was talking to myself.  It's not the worst habit.  Besides, for the last year, what else have I been doing?  (She regards the mat critically, slides it toward one corner of the room, silently appraises its new position) Talking to everyone in power - which is, of course the definition of talking to yourself.  I don't know about it here.  It'd probably be in a corner, but this one?  Which one?  (Sliding it to another corner of the room)  It's hard to know which was worse: talking to Muslims or talking to Christians.  Going across the Green Line to beg, or to Damascus - or Washington.  (Suddenly nods her head decisively)  Washington.  Definitely Washington.  The Arabs wouldn't help me, but at least they'd respect the pain.  In Washington, I was the pain. (Of the position of the mat)  This is absolutely wrong.  (She moves it to another corner, stares at it)  This is just going to have to stand for all the corners in the room.  Why not?  It's... not exactly science.  (She stares at the mat)  You'll be here.  (Tentatively, she reaches out as though stroking the cheek of her companion)  From now on, I'm only talking to you.
Michael?  This bothers me.  Here on this side, just below your mouth.  It's a line here.  A little tuck, almost.  A wrinkle.  It's not on the other side.  I don't mind you growing older, but you should do it all over your face, evenly.  Don't you think?  (A beat)  This, though.  Here at your temple.  I like this. The way the hairs glide along the side, over your ear, into the tangle in back.  Just these hairs on the side, running straight back, like they're in a hurry.  (With a slight laugh)  But all this ear hair.  This has got to go.  (Quieter)  A beard.  I can't imagine it.  (A beat)  I suppose you don't get enough sleep.  Or maybe you do.  Maybe all you do is sleep.  I hope so.  I wish you could sleep from first to last.  That you'd never open your eyes again, till I was in front of you.  Your eyes are so... Why do women love eyes so much?  They say it's men that are visual.  (A beat)  Michael?

Thebans, war is over. We are free How happy it makes me to say that. Let me say it again loud and clear: People of Thebes, we are free.
This is truly a wonderful day.
I stand before you, leader of our new democracy.
My first task is to thank you
Thank you for believing Thebes can rise again
And thank you for believing in
This Theban woman. She believed in you.
I want to talk to the women here
The women in this city turned the tide for peace,
Women put themselves in danger
Walked wearing white in front of guns,
Nagged and pleaded, begged and klaboured
Advocated tirelessly, withheld sexual favours
And never gave up. Women gave us peace.
This new administration will reflect their courage.
Women will be give prominence at every level.
And men, we love you too
We have senators reflecting all opinions here
Some radically different from my own.
We’ll learn to listen, compromise and bend
We’ll learn the skills of peace.
In our hope for peace, let us not forget the war,
Thebes has been witness to atrocities
That I can hardly heave into my mouth
We have seen butchery and slaughter
Our girls raped, boys brutalised with guns.
What meaning can we find in that?
The only meaning is to make a lasting peace.
We have lost children, parents, brothers, sisters
I lost my husband, my youngest son and my eldest blinded I fought with grief through the long night
And in your faces I can see its shadow
I want to remember those we have lost.
Please join me in two minutes silence. 

WILD HONEY by Anton Chekhov - ANNA
How can you say that?  How can you lie to me, on such a night as this, beneath such a sky?  Tell your lies in autumn, if you must, in the gloom and the mud, but not now, not here.  You’re being watched!  Look up, you absurd man!  A thousand eyes, all shining with indignation!  You must be good and true, just as all this is good and true.  Don’t break this silence with your little words!  There’s no man in the world I could ever love as I love you.  There’s no woman in the world you could ever love as you love me.  Let’s take that love; and all the rest, that so torments you – we’ll leave that to others to worry about.  Are you really such a terrible Don Juan?  You look so handsome in the moonlight!  Such a solemn face!  It’s a woman who’s come to call, not a wild animal!  All right – if you really hate it all so much I’ll go away again.  Is that what you want?  I’ll go away, and everything will be just as it was before.  Yes…? (she laughs)  Idiot!  Take it!  Snatch it!  Seize it!  What more do you want?  Smoke it to the end, like a cigarette – pinch it out – tread it under your heel.  Be human!  You funny creature!  A woman loves you – a woman you love – fine summer weather.  What could be simpler than that?  You don’t realise how hard life is for me.  And yet life is what I long for.  Everything is alive, nothing is ever still.  We’re surrounded by life.  We must live, too, Misha!  Leave all the problems for tomorrow.  Tonight, on this night of nights, we’ll simply live!

(very quickly) Last week, I was on the bus, upstairs. I was going to see Dorothy and this girl up the front, she started having a fit or something. Must have been the heat. There were lots of people there between her and me but they, none of them… I went over to her and did what I could. She was heavy. I'd heard about them biting through their tongues. Epileptics. It wasn't pretty. Me and this other bloke took her to the hospital. But I saw her first. He wouldn't have done anything if I hadn't. I didn't get to see Dorothy. Well? That's worth something, isn't it? God. Are you listening? I'm not trying to bribe you. It's plain economics. I mean, I've made a mistake. It was my fault and I was wrong. I take it all on me. OK. Now if you let it make me pregnant… God. Listen, will you. If I'm pregnant it'll ruin four people's lives. Five. Right? My mum'll be disappointed and her man'll walk out on her. That's two. Are you with me, God? I'll not be very happy. My mother'll hate me for the rest of my life for what I've done and that's not easy to live with. That's three. I'm still counting, God. Ewan'll be in for it. Well, he can't avoid it. I'm illegal and I've never been out with anybody else. Not that nobody fancied me. I wouldn't like to think I was unpopular. Lots of people fancied me. My mum s aid I had to wait till I was sixteen. Then she relented just when Ewan happened to be there. Poor old Ewan. That's four, God, that's four. Then there's the baby. If it's there and if I have it it's got no chance. It would be born in Scotland. Still there, are you? I hate Scotland. I mean, look at me. If I have an abortion the baby'll be dead so that'll be five anyway.

WHO'S AFRAID OF THE WORKING CLASS by Christis Tsiolkas, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves and Andrew Bovell - RHONDA
Carol says, "Problem with you, Rhonda, problem with you is that you're just too fertile.  You just got to look at a man and you're up the duff."  And we laughed but she's right, she's fucking right.  Woman from Welfare says, "It must be hard.  Must be hard for you, Rhonda, with all those kids.  Looking after them, it must be hard."  And I say "No it's not hard."  Though it is.  I know it and she knows it.  But I'm not going to give her the satisfaction.  So I say, "No.  Those kids, those kids are my blessings.  Everyone of them a blessing.  You understand.  A blessing" though it is... hard.  But it's like Carol says I only got to look at a man.  Anyway, I'm down the pub playing bandits with Carol, she's my neighbour, lives in the flat next door, Carol comes in and says, "Cops were over your place earlier."  And I said, "Oh yeah, what did they want this time?  If it's Nathan, you can tell 'em he's not there.  Tell 'em he pissed off."  Without a word mind you and with the rent.  Bastard.  And I'm not taking him back, not this time.  No fucking way.  Better off alone.  Well, that's what Carol says.  But she doesn't get it, Family Services don't get it, but it's how I am.  It's my life and I like having a man around.  So I've had a few.  They don't stick around.  Anyway, Carol says it's not Nathan they're after, it's about your kids.  And so I know there's trouble.  Stacey's probably been picked up shoplifting or something.  Doesn't bother me 'cause I taught 'em how.  So I go down to the station and they know me there.  And I say, "Where are they?  I want to see my kids."  "You can't see them", and I look at him and I say, "I'm their mother and I can see them whenever I bloody well like."  And then he says it.  Just a couple of words, he says it: "There's been an accident."  (Pause)
"What accident?"  "A fire.  There's been a fire.  In a Brotherhood bin.  A candle.  The clothes.  I'm sorry." (Pause)
The man in the suit, he says, "They didn't suffer, the smoke, it would have..." (She holds up her hands as if to motion him to stop talking) And I say, "They suffered.  You don't know how much."

You know what's happened, George?  You want to know what's really happened?  (Snaps his fingers) It's snapped, finally.  Not  The whole arrangement.  You can go along...forever, and everything's...manageable.  You make all sorts of excuses to know...this is life...the hell with it...maybe tomorrow he'll be dead...maybe tomorrow you'll be dead...all sorts of excuses.  But then, one day, one night, something happens...and SNAP!  It breaks.  And you just don't give a damn any more.  I've tried with you, baby...really tried...I'm loud, and vulgar, and I wear the pants in this house because somebody's got to, but I am not a monster.  I am not...SNAP!  It went snap.  Look, I'm not going to try to get through to you any more...I'm not going to try.  There was a second back there, maybe, there was a second, just a second, when I could have gotten through to you, when maybe we could have cut through all this crap.  But that's past, and now I'm going to try...You can't come together with nothing, and you're nothing!  SNAP!  It went snap tonight at Daddy's party.  I sat there at Daddy's party, and I watched you...I watched you sitting there, and i watched the younger men around you, the men who were going to go somewhere.  And I sat there and I watched you, and you weren't there!  And it snapped!  It finally snapped!  And I'm going to howl it out, and I'm not going to give damn what I do, and I'm going to make the biggest explosion you ever heard.

WIT by Margaret Edson - VIVIAN
(In false familiarity, waving and nodding to the audience)
Hi.  How are you feeling today?  Great.  That's just great.

In her own professional tone.

This is not my standard greeting, I assure you.  I tend toward something a little more formal, a little less inquisitive, such as, say, 'Hello.'  But it is the standard greeting around here.
There is some debate as to the correct response to this salutation.  Should one reply, 'I feel good,' using 'feel' as a copulative to link the subject, 'I', to its subjective complement, 'good'; or 'I feel well,' modifying with an adverb the subject's state of being?
I don't know.  I am a professor of seventeenth-century poetry, specialising in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.
So I just say, 'Fine.'
Of course it is not very often that I do feel fine.
I have been asked 'How are you feeling today?' while I was throwing up into a plastic washbasin.  I have been asked as I was emerging from a four-hour operation with a tube in every orifice, 'How are you feeling today?'
I am waiting for the moment when someone asks me this question and I am dead.
I'm very sorry I'll miss that.
It is unfortunate that this remarkable line of inquiry has come to me so late in my career.  I could have exploited its feigned solicitude to great advantage: as I was distributing the final examination to the graduate course in seventeenth-century textural criticism - 'Hi.  How are you feeling today?'
Of course I would not be wearing this ridiculous costume at the time, so the question's ironic significance would not be fully apparent.
As I trust it is now.
 is a literary device that will necessarily be deployed to great effect.
I ardently wish this were not so.  I would prefer that a play about me be cast in the mythic-heroic-pastoral mode; but the facts, most notably stage-four metastatic ovarian cancer, conspire against that.  The Faerie Queen this is not.
And I was dismayed to discover that the play would contain elements of...humour.
I have been, at best, an unwitting accomplice.

She pauses.

It is not my intention to give away the plot; but I think I die at the end.
They've given me less than two hours.
If I were poetically inclined, I might employ a threadbare metaphor - the sands of time slipping through the hour-glass, the two-hour glass.

Now our sands are almost run;
More a little, and then dumb.

Shakespeare.  I trust the name is familiar.
At the moment, however, I am disinclined to poetry.

I've got less than two hours.  Then: curtain.