[For this week's edition of Monologue Madness, we go to Outspoken (2005), a play that's been touring high schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for the last few years. The piece is sort of a Reader's Digest of the kinds of things that educational theater shows tackle on a regular basis—but I've made sure to cut the didacticism, dimensionalize the issues, show different perspectives, and simply do things in my own unique way. The following monologue, delivered by "Teen 5," takes a familiar issue and twists it—in order to make sure students aren't way ahead of the play, which they usually are when it comes to finger-wagging assemblies about Important Things. Other Teens occasionally interject comments in the middle of Teen 5's monologue:]
(Teen 5 addresses the audience until otherwise instructed to do so.)
TEEN 5: I am a boy in love with a girl.
I’m just slow when it comes to making things happen. Very slow.
(Teen 2 approaches Teen 5.)
TEEN 5: I said one word to her in all of sixth grade. (To TEEN 2:) Hi.
TEEN 2: Hi.
TEEN 5 (to the audience): And that was it. Until seventh grade. (To TEEN 2:) Hi, Tina.
TEEN 2: Hi, Frank.
TEEN 5 (to the audience): And that was it. Until the school dance in eighth grade. (To TEEN 5:) Wanna dance?
TEEN 2: Okay.
TEEN 5 (to the audience): And that was it. Until freshman year of high school. (To TEEN 2:) You wanna go to a movie or something?
TEEN 2: Sure.
TEEN 5 (to the audience): When we became sophomores, she started calling me her “boyfriend.” And junior year, I started calling her my “girlfriend.” We’re seniors now, we’re pretty committed, and I’m gonna ask her to marry me. When I’m 72.
But until then, we hang out all the time. Sometimes we go out with my friends. Sometimes with hers.
But the thing is, at the beginning of senior year, she started hanging out with a whole new group of friends.
A bunch of gay guys.
And she even joined the gay-straight alliance on campus. She’s not gay or anything—believe me, I would know—but she has this let’s-change-the-world attitude that can be really annoying coming from a high school girl.
Look, I don’t have a problem with gay guys, but I don’t want to hang out with them either.
You see, it’s like this: I go out with her and her friends, and I get seen around town. People know she and I are boyfriend and girlfriend, but they start associating me with all these gay guys anyway. And when a weekend full of hanging out passes, Monday morning comes, and I get the crap beat out of me in the locker room after gym class.
(Teen 1 and Teen 3 approach Teen 5.)
TEEN 1 (to TEEN 5): Why do you hang out with all those fags?
TEEN 5 (to TEEN 1 & TEEN 3): What?
TEEN 3: What are you? A homo or something?
TEEN 5: No.
TEEN 1: I thought you were straight.
TEEN 5: I am.
TEEN 3: But I guess you’re a faggot.
TEEN 5: No, I’m not. (To the audience:) For some reason, they don’t beat up the guys at school who are actually gay. They take their hate out on me instead.
And they know I won’t tell anyone about it. Not even my girlfriend knows. I ache all over, but you can’t really see the bruises, so she has no clue what’s going on.
I mean, I wish I could rub it in her face and tell her, “You see what hanging out with your friends does to me?” But I can’t. Because if she ever found out about this, she would make a big deal about it, and she’d get the whole school involved, and more than ever I’d be forever associated with this whole gay thing.
And if I think I have it bad now, just imagine what would happen if I became some poster child for gay rights. It would mean a lot more turned heads, a lot more whispering behind my back, and a lot more beatings from guys who just don’t care how much you hurt.
I am a boy in love with a girl.
And because of that:
I’ll take the punches. I’ll take the kicks. And I’ll keep going out on weekends with a bunch of gay guys who will never know that because I get beat up:
They don’t have to.