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Audition Armory

A couple years ago, I was asked to participate in an experiment called Audition Armory, organized by the Pocket Theater, in which a small group of playwrights met up with a small group of actors, in order to write tailor-made audition monologues that these actors could choose from. I have no idea if any of mine ever got used by these actors, but since I do periodically get asked if any of my plays have good audition monologues (the answer is no), I thought I'd post these for posterity's sake.

The idea is the actors would tell us the kind of monologue or character they thought would showcase them the best, and we'd generate stuff along those lines. So some of these are serious, some are comedic, none of them have any context, and they were super fun to write. Please to enjoy! If you decide to use one of these monologues, you can say they're from the play Et Cetera Ever After by Scotto Moore.

Youíve absolutely got to be kidding me. No, I just drove halfway across town to be here - just stop for a second, stop apologizing, Iím just saying - of course youíre sorry you forgot. Iím not accusing you of being heartless. But maybe a little thoughtless? You know? Maybe a lot thoughtless, like you live in a self-absorbed bubble and it just doesnít occur to you that - people in your orbit get swept up and they tolerate basically anything to be around you, and I thought I was different somehow, like you actually noticed me. But you know something? I came over here to break up with you anyway. Because I found someone who doesnít treat me like one of these art world groupies who lurks around trying to steal one of your napkins so they can sell it on eBay. And please donít pretend you care in the slightest who is he or what he does or what heís like. Even if you did care, it wouldnít be important, because look - no one in this city can paint like you do, but I donít climb into bed with a painting when I get lonely. The important thing about him is heís actually got a soul. Just like me as it turns out. And just like some but definitely not all of your paintings, for what thatís worth.

I was driving home from St. Louis to Waterloo one time in my shitty little Corolla, pouring down rain, and I was stuck behind this semi trailer for miles, and finally I decided, even though it was risky, I just needed to pass this truck. And the minute I got in front of it, it sped up and got right on my ass and just stayed there, like this was an evil sentient truck out of a Stephen King novel. Thatís what it feels like trying to deal with you, do you understand? I did everything humanly possible to just move on and get ahead of you and just start living again, and suddenly you just charge up and start asserting yourself and climb into my trunk looking for the spare tire or whatever - this analogy is falling apart, I get it - and Iím like, maybe I should just pull over and let you pass again or turn around or flip myself over into the ditch to see if you even notice - the point is, we shouldnít even be having this conversation, because we were never together in the first place. We were each just driving along and we wound up on the same stretch of highway completely by chance for a while, butÖ that road trip is over, buddy, and Iím not taking it again.

Hereís how I got out of it. I started putting up disco lights all over my living room. Party lights, you know, flashing lights that respond to the music. I put LED light bulbs in all the fixtures so you get these color cycling glows all over the room. Lava lamps, glitter lamps, those lamps for kids that project constellations on the ceiling. The important thing is, try to have something in every corner of the room. Then I would come home from a day feeling worthless at the office and I would turn all these lights on, I didnít even need music, I would just stand there, surrounded by flashing colors and feeling ridiculous and I would just start laughing, or usually dancing, like that saying ďdance like nobody's watchingĒ except I keep forgetting to put tape on my webcam so Iím really dancing like thousands of anonymous weirdos are watching, but whatever, that level of nuance is up to you. You can even, like I would watch ďGreyís AnatomyĒ and theyíd be like, ďsorry your mother died in surgeryĒ and Iím just like, ďwell Iím sure that fictional character had a very good lifeĒ because with all those lights flashing in time to the soundtrack, nothing can faze me. Iíve been ordering new lights from Amazon every week. Iím afraid if I donít add new lights to the system to keep it fresh, Iím going to overcorrect and snap so far back that Iíll go on a tri-state killing spree.

Sheís fine, she just had a scare. She and some friends were playing down by the creek, and they dared her to walk out onto the ice, and then it broke and she fell through. I mean, itís a shallow creek, she wasnít going to drown, they pulled her out and took her to the closest house and gave her some warm clothes. And then, the part I donít understand, her friends went through her clothes and found some homework or something, because they were looking for her name. She hadnít told them her name. Sheís been playing with them ever since we moved to the neighborhood but she wouldnít tell them who she was. And thatís because - she didnít want to tell them who I was. She was - ashamed of me, ashamed that we ever had to come here, like she wished we were in witness protection or something because then at least weíd all have new identities and could pretend we had new lives, and I justÖ she walked home by herself because none of them would walk with her and she was too proud to call me, but when she got home, she broke down, and then I broke downÖ and now weíre going to Cheesecake Factory because I donít have a better solution. You could meet us there. Iím not sure which one of us needs cheesecake more at the moment.

Oh, Iím a great singer, yeah. Iím a tenor, you know, a ďrock tenor,Ē somebody who really rocks the tenor range, kind of like, if you ever heard of, uh well heís dead now but this dude Freddie Mercury? People say we sound very similar, you know. For instance, just like Freddie I have a five octave vocal range, just like Freddie I have an amazing falsetto, and just like Freddie I look awesome in a sparkly gold unitard riding on the shoulders of a guy in a Darth Vader costume. Which, my point is, you try singing five octaves under those conditions and youíll see, what level of, the kind of skill weíre, uh well donít spend a lot of time on that image because I donít actually have a unitard any more because, uh look I used to gamble a lot. Anyway. This one time Freddie turned down a baritone solo with an opera because he said his fans would only accept him as a rock singer. And thatís kind of how I feel right now, with your request, to sing whatever it is, that song, at your kidís party. I am not going to track down a new unitard just to sing at your kidís party.

Some dude thought my grandfather was sleeping with his wife, so he showed up at the hotel where my grandfather worked, and he shot my grandfather point blank in the chest. I realize this is a strange way to introduce polyamory into our relationship, but look, grandfather survived, and so will we. I know how youíre feeling, but imagine youíre my grandfather and you open the door to your office and suddenly youíre staring down the barrel of a shotgun. I imagine thatís a lot worse than learning I made out with Jerry at a work party. Which, youíve met Jerry before and you said you liked him, so please, no coming to the office and shooting him, okay? I just need to stretch my wings a little. Youíre glorious, youíre wonderful, and I want to spend an indefinite period of time with you that equals no less than the precise amount of time we continue to make each other happy - so we got that going for us - but for me, thatís going to have to include some extracurricular activity outside the strict confines of how weíve defined our relationship so far, which, letís be clear, I have ambitions beyond making out with Jerry, or I should say, making out with people when Iím so drunk that I only know it happened because we took a selfie with Jerryís lips connected to the side of my face like a barnacle.

I used to empathize too much with the White Witch in the Narnia books when I was a kid. Whenever I read those books, I was always angry that these four punk kids showed up out of nowhere and suddenly got to be kings and queens for no apparent reason. Meanwhile the White Witch, who has been alive for thousands of years accumulating knowledge and power is suddenly swept aside, just because she has a thing for snow, itís like - is that the message we should be sending to our children, that powerful women who rule with confidence deserve to lose their kingdoms just because - well, in this case, because they made one simple mistake and killed the wrong talking lion - anyway, talking animals in general are obviously not the biggest threat to powerful women in the world, but when youíre a child, you donít know that yet, you just donít know that yet. Then I got older and understood the books a little better. Did you know that the White Witch killed every human being on the planet Charn before she lost her magic and came to Narnia to start over as a witch? Tell me again how four snotty British kids who literally got lost in a closet deserve the Narnian monarchy instead of her?

I need you to know something about me, in case this wasnít already clear for one reason or another. Iím a deeply pacifist human being. I donít believe in violence for any reason. And god knows I donít have revenge fantasies and I donít hold grudges and I live my life with a good heart, you know? I get involved in my community, I volunteer, I found my way into a job where I get to contribute to the city, I still teach people how to play trumpet at that music school over by Marlaís house. My point is, my record is clean, Iím a good human being and Iím proud of it. Sure Iím not perfect. I make mistakes just like anybody. Maybe Iím too arrogant, too self-satisfied, too myopic, I donít know because I donít linger on it. But I can tell you this much - I will be thrilled to make the mistake of pounding you into a gory mess of blood on the pavement if I hear that you ever get near that school again. I wonít notify your parole officer, I wonít call the police, Iíll just - protect my community, you understand? Iíll contribute to the city, and I wonít linger on it.

I just lost the ability to tell jokes altogether. Iíd stand there, and say, ďTwo guys walk into a bar,Ē and then Iíd freeze, because I started wondering, well where were they before that, and how did they meet the first time, were they married, did their wives know each other, or were they married to each other, all these questions cascaded, and it got worse if it was like, ďA rabbi and a priest are trapped on a boatĒ or whatever because, why on fucking godís green earth do people get trapped on boats in this day and age, would they not have junior rabbis and junior priests to kind of step up and say, ďhey there fellas, maybe just stick to the bus systemĒ or whatever. Anyway, I understand intellectually that you canít unpack the entire history of every character in a joke in order for a joke to be effective, I get that. But emotionally - these jokes are little snapshots into how we view people, and to the extent that these people are poorly drawn caricatures, weíre doing our own humanity a disservice, weíre laughing at the lowest common denominator instead of somebody specific, and that will always mean laughing at those less privileged and more disadvantaged than us, and I just canít abide that, you know? So thatís when I started taking anti-anxiety medication and now I donít worry about it so much.

[originally written in 2017; posted in 2019]

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