Sunday, November 4, 2018

Monologue Mania Day # 1724 Second Acting (a one-act) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Nov. 5, 2018

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Monologue Mania Day #  1724 Second Acting by Janet S. Tiger (c) Nov. 5,  2018

                                                Second Acting
                                                                 a one-act
                                              by Janet S. Tiger  (c) 2018

                 (Set is simple, a theater in the background, the doors visible and a sign advertising the play currently running.  There is the sound of a crowd, and we see an older man, enter, look around, and sidle in the door.  He comes out a moment later, holding a very large and delicious looking brownie.  He smiles and takes a bite.  This is Bert, and he is a bit more relaxed now.  We hear the sound that intermission is almost over and he takes a Playbill out of his pocket and starts to walk towards the doors.  Suddenly a woman with a clipboard swoops in on him - she has been watching from the side and she is fierce.  In her thirties, she is Tiffany, the House Manager, and she is angry)

TIFFANY -  Wait a minute!

BERT -  (Surprised, a bit concerned)  Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot I had to finish this before I go back in...

         (He takes the brownie and is about to stuff it in his face, when she reaches out and grabs his arm)

TIFFANY -  No need for that!

BERT -  Oh, good, I can just put it in my pocket and have it later....

           (He goes toward the door and she blocks him, he steps aside, and she blocks him again)

BERT -  Excuse me,

TIFFANY -  You are not excused!

BERT -  Beg pardon?

         (He looks at the brownie)

BERT -  If it's about the brownie, I assure you I paid for it, that nice young lady over there and I had a lovely conversation.....

TIFFANY -  It's not about the brownie!

BERT -  (Starting to get worried)  Then, please excuse me, but I'd like to see the second act....

TIFFANY -  I\m sure you would!

BERT - Thank you...

TIFFANY -  Just show me your ticket...

BERT -  Of course.....

          (He starts to search in his pockets)

TIFFANY -  (To herself)  This is gonna be interesting...

BERT -  Beg pardon, but....I'm sure it's here somewhere....

TIFFANY -  Maybe you left it at your seat?

BERT -  Oh, I don't know, it must be in one of my poclets...

TIFFANY -  Maybe you lost it?

BERT -  (Brightens)  Maybe that's it!  When I went to the bathroom perhaps....

             (He makes an elaborate show of digging through his jacket and pants)

TIFFANY -  Or perhaps you just never had a ticket?

BERT -  (Indignant)  Young lady, I do not like the way you are speaking to me!  I would like to see the manager!

TIFFANY -  (Hissing)  I am the manager!

BERT (Not happy) Oh......

TIFFANY -  Oh, yes, and I've been watching you!

BERT -  (A little squeaky)  Me?

TIFFANY -  Yes, you!  You are a second act-er !

BERT -  Excuse me?

TIFFANY -  You know what I mean!  A person who does not pay for a ticket, but sneaks into plays during the second act!  As the new House Manager I am cracking down on all unauthorized theater patrons!  And you, sir, have been here for the last four shows......

           (She points to the clipboard)

TIFFANY - (Triumphant)........and not once did you buy a ticket!

BERT - (Sputtering)  Did you ever think I might just have .......a season ticket?

TIFFANY -  You might, but you might not!  What's your name, I'll check.....

BERT - (Quickly)  That won't be necessary!  There is such a thing as trust!

TIFFANY -  Yeah, and I don't trust you, Mister!  By not paying you are stealing!

BERT -  I have never stolen anything in my life!

TIFFANY -  Think again!

BERT -  I am a respected member of the community!

TIFFANY -  Okay, Mr. Respected Member, what did you think of act one?

BERT -  It was very nice, but dragged a bit in the middle.

TIFFANY -  Ha!  You could say that about half the plays in the world!  How about a specific?  Like the name of the lead actress?

BERT -  (Smug)  Penny....Penny Halverson!  And she is wonderful!

TIFFANY -  What about when she fell down?

BERT - Everyone makes mistakes, that's what's so wonderful about live theater.   Is she all right?

TIFFANY -  She didn't fall down in the theater...she broke a leg this morning and her understudy replaced her. 

BERT -  (Desperate)  I'm old.  I forgot.

            (She looks at him, and he crumples a bit)

BERT -  All right, you tricked me.  What happens now? Are you going to arrest me for this?

TIFFANY -  (Softening a bit)  No, no police.  Just please don't do this again!  We are a theater, and we pay the actors!  So we have to charge for the seats, so if you can't afford a ticket, just stay home.

BERT -  I've tried that, I don't like it.

TIFFANY -  Look, this is my first month, and I want to make a good impression, so please, remember that if you do this again, I will call the police!

BERT -  You're not kidding, are you?


BERT -  (Under his breath)  Amazing what a little power can do!

TIFFANY -  What?

BERT -  (Bolder)  I said that I cannot believe this.  You see, I've been coming to this theater for 20 years.  My wife and I had season tickets, we were not rich, but we supported this theater!  We were silver circle - we got to meet the actors -not opening night perhaps, but on dress rehearsal night.  We saw every show together.  Until she started falling.  And she fell one time, right here on the stairs going to the bathroom.  We didn't sue, even though she was hurt, we figured that we loved this theater.  It had given us many lovely nights together.  We had no children, so we felt that the actors were like family.  Then she fell at the mall, on cement, and it turned out she had a cyst in her brain, and the last few years of her life.....we couldn't make it to the theater.....she watched TV, but it wasn't the same.

We missed the crowds......and even with our health insurance, it ate away our savings, our house, and now, I live on Social Security, watching every penny, and I come here to your shows to the second act, and I buy one of your overpriced brownies as my contribution- my ticket.  So I can sit in one of the seats you haven't sold and watch the end of a myself.  Remembering how Mary Lou loved the intermission because we would share a brownie together.

And now you, you young person who probably has never had to lose someone you loved like this, you......(takes a breath) want me to give up my one indulgence so that you can prove you are doing your job!  Well, not only do I buy the brownies, but I also tell my friends - some of whom still come to the theater - if the play is good, and then they come!  So I am like a traveling critic!  Only I don't get paid!  And now, I won't even get to stay!

And if it makes you feel any better, this is the anniversary of my wife's death, and I came tonight, thinking she might like to see this play, but since your closemindedness is more important, you can have your seat, and you know where to put it!

        (She is very affected by this.  He turns to leave, and she reaches out to his arm)

TIFFANY -  You know, you're wrong.  I do know what it's like to lose someone.  Maybe, that's why I've been  a little.....

BERT -  Bitchy?

TIFFANY -  (Smiles)  Touchy!

          (They smile together)

TIFFANY -  My father.....he loved the theater.   He taught us all about the it was a place that generated hope for people who might nothing else.   He was an actor, but ended up working in a hardware store to support us.  There was never enough money, so...he would usher, and as soon as we were old enough, he would have us usher, too.

BERT -  So .....he taught you about Second Acting?

TIFFANY -  Oh, yeah!  He'd catch the people and tell me, 'it's stealing' and I would ask him how, since the seats were empty.  He would point and say- look the others all paid, is it fair to them?
If you go into a store and pay, then see someone run out without paying, is that fair?  It made sense.
I loved him a lot.....he died last year.....

BERT -  I'm sorry......

          (He hangs his head, then turns back)

BERT -  This has been a difficult time, but I've been coming for two years since Mary Lou died, and you were the first person to even suspect me! And all you had to do was look at the Playbill!

        (He holds it up and she laughs)

TIFFANY -  What is that?  From like, ten years ago?

BERT -  Seven, the last play we saw together......

TIFFANY - -(Sighs heavily)  My father died..... a year ago today......How's that for coincidence?

BERT -  Well, we are near a theater, and all good plays rely on coincidence!

TIFFANY - (Making a decision)   Look, as part of my job, I get tickets to each show.  And....I'm only supposed to do this for family members, but maybe, if you take my mom, you can have one of the tickets.....

BERT -  I'd be honored to take your mother......because, after all, free is free......

TIFFANY -  (Laughs)  As for today, how about you go home, eat your brownie, and I'll give your name to the box office.......

BERT -  Thank you, young lady......

          (He writes his name on her clipboard, then turns to go, stops, looks back)

BERT -  Why'd you do this?  I mean, you didn't have to give me your tickets, you don't even know me.

TIFFANY -  My dad, he didn't like stealing, but he always said.....everyone should get ....a second act.

             (Lights down, end of this act)

Note: A few words about 'free' -  all these monologues are protected under copyright law and are free to read, free to perform and video as long as no money is charged. Once you charge admission or a donation, or include my work in an anthology, you need to contact me for royalty 
Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315      
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983

Swedenborg Hall 2006-8