Sunday, January 6, 2019

Monologue Mania Day #1775-1776-1777-1778-1779-1780 The Biggest Secrets (House 1) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Jan. 2-3-4-5-6-7, 2019

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Monologue Mania Day #1775-1776-1777-1778-1779-1780 The Biggest Secrets (House 1)  by Janet S. Tiger (c) Jan. 2-3-4-5-6-7, 2019

To watch the video of Biggest Secrets (house #1) please click here

                                           The Biggest Secrets
                                       by  Janet S. Tiger    
                                © 2019  all rights reserved 

Act 1 - House #1
          (One of the characters - this could change nightly-  will come forward and look out into the audience )

You have a secret.

        (Turns quickly and points to another person)

And so do you!

          (Twirls pointing the whole time)

And you and you and you!

         (Points both hands towards themselves)

And so do I!

And the great thing about a secret is......if you keep it long's almost like a friend.

Even if it's a bad secret.  Which most secrets are.  The big ones that is......and that's what tonight is about......while you are watching this......I want you to be thinking.....about secrets......

          (Turns to leave, stops, looks back)

..........about your secret......

           (Lights blackout, then come up on a simple set - a couple of chairs, two purses by the chairs, and a paper bag.  But  there is also a sense of an emptied house - a place that was once filled that is now very         empty.  Moving empty.       
RITA enters, she is in her 50s and has the look of 'what have I forgotten?' that you see on people who are moving.  She takes a deep sigh and surveys the emptiness, starting to         sniff a little.)

RITA – I remember the first day we walked in here, it felt like home.  The people who lived here     were very nice...what were their names?  (Thinks)  Can't remember.  But he told us a joke     about birds....(thinking)  two crows are sitting on a fence watching a jet fighter fly and the            first crow says "I wish I could fly like that."  The second crow says, "If you had two butts and both of them were on fire, you could."  (Laughs) and I remember thinking it was a         good sign to laugh in a new house.  (Sighs again)  Fifty years.  Where does it go?      Speaking of where does it go....Mom!  (Listens, then louder, maybe a touch of worry)         MOMMMMM!

              (We hear a voice offstage, followed by rustling.)
ALLISON -  I'm coming!  Hold your horses!
              (A woman comes into sight, this is Allison, Rita's mother, and she is wearing a large, old, decrepit hat.)
RITA -  What is that?
ALLISON - I found it in that closet behind the back room!
RITA - Why doesn't that surprise me....
ALLISON -  I used to wear this at the beach!  Do you remember it!
RITA -  How could I forget?  It's only been in there for 40 years......Mom, there are probably  
spiders in that!

              (She takes the hat off her mother's head and shakes it with a cloud of dust coming out.)
RITA - Great!  Now I have to sweep that up! 
ALLISON - I'm not afraid of spiders!     You know that - your sister is the one who hates             spiders....
RITA-  (A little weary)  Yes, Mom.
ALLISON -  I think that's why she wouldn't help me move....
RITA - Ya think?
ALLISON - You're such a good girl, Rita, I appreciate how you've helped with all this.....
RITA - (Embarrassed, something on her mind)  No problem, Mom

(Allison is quick to sense something below the surface, she now looks sharply at her daughter)

ALLISON -  What's wrong?
RITA -  (Almost like a child who is hiding something) Nothing...
ALLISON - You always got that look on your face when you were trying to hide something                        from me and your father.   Well, mostly me, because you could send a tank in front of       your father before he noticed anything.  But I can tell, what is the problem?
RITA-  No worries...... 
ALLISON -  (Stops her) I hate that expression!  Of course there are worries!  The person who     said that first should be shot!  Then they'd have no worries!
RITA - (Laughs in spite of herself)  Ma!
ALLISON -  Well, it's true!
RITA -  (Sighs)  Okay, there is something .....
ALLISON -  (Triumphant)  I knew it!
RITA -  It's...hard to tell you....
ALLISON -  (Worried)  Is it the boys?  Are they ok?
 RITA -  The twins are fine....Jody is fine.....Eric is fine, everybody's fine!
ALLISON-  Well, that's all that know that's what I always say!
RITA - (Hard to do)  That's true.......I guess, well, I know how you are about secrets...
ALLISON - That's because.......I am ……
   RITA and  ALLISON -  …..Allison! ...the bearer of truth.
ALLISON-  I hate secrets!  What's so awful you couldn't tell me?  Oh, let me guess...
RITA -  Don't do that....
ALLISON -  You were pregnant when you and Eric got married....
ALLISON - Everyone knew - no premature baby is born weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces!
RITA -  Ma, that was no secret -  it was 1983!   Eric and I were living together for two years!
ALLISON - I always liked to think you had separate bedrooms.
RITA - You walked in on us once!
ALLISON -  (Shuddering)  Why do you have to remind me of that!
RITA -  (Amazed)  I didn't bring it up!
ALLISON -  So what's the big secret then?  (Thinks, then eyes light up)  Wait a minute, is it that
your cousin Terry is gay?

RITA -  Everyone knew Terry was gay from when he was four years old and knew all the words   
            to Funny Girl!  No, Mom, it's something closer to...home....

ALLISON -  (A little concerned)  When you were cleaning up, did you find something your        
father hid?   Did he have a secret girlfriend?  I would find that hard to believe as he never got off the couch.......

RITA -  No hidden love letters, no surprise children.... 
ALLISON -  You never know, still waters run deep...when Edith's husband died she found out
he'd had an affair with her hairdresser, can you believe that?  Edith always wondered why Dan encouraged her to give such big tips when she got her hair done.....

RITA -  (Takes a deep breath)  Boy, this is harder than I thought....

ALLISON-  (suddenly horrified)  Oh, my God!  I know what it is!  You’re going to put me in a
RITA- (Tries to interrupt, but it’s like trying to stop a tsunami)  But Mom, that’s crazy……
ALLISON-  You've been planning this for the last year with your brother and sister!  I should
have known!   And I believed you!  I believed you were getting that place in back ready for me, but you're going to rent it out and put me away in that awful place!  How could you do this to me! 
RITA -  That's not it, Mom....
ALLISON -  (Looking around)  But you can't make me leave!
RITA- Mom, the house is sold!
ALLISON - I could just stay a closet! 
RITA -   Listen to me.....
ALLISON - I've been a good mother...all right a little messy......
            (Rita grabs her Mom's hands and stops her, making her listen.)
           (This stuns Allison and makes her sit down.)
ALLISON -  What the hell is that supposed to mean? 
RITA -  (Getting upset)  It means that .....(deep breath)....all the junk you wanted me to
           (Allison stares for a moment, trying to digest this news.)
ALLISON -  (Stunned)  All my things, my furniture,....(Horrified)  ...the photos!
RITA - (Now Rita is horrified)  Not your furniture, Mom!  That's all there!
ALLISON -  Even the piano?
RITA -  Yes, even the piano.....(to herself)  ...even though you haven't played it in 30 years....
ALLISON - Then what is going on?  What did you throw out that is so damned important?
                     (Rita picks up a bag and shakes it at her mother.)
RITA -  All of this......(hard not to curse)
ALLISON -  (Confused)  You mean .......
RITA -  (Getting stronger)  Yes, I mean all of the things you have saved and told me to put into storage that are just plain (savors the word)  JUNK!
ALLISON - (starting to grasp what is going on)  But where are they?
RITA - In junk heaven.
ALLISON - All of the...
RITA -  (Builds to a crescendo)  That's right, Mom, all of the boxes and boxes of plastic             containers that you so lovingly washed and stored to be given to the nursery school!  All     of the envelopes you saved from all of the bills you received that you counted and put          into rubber bands and stacked for the children to learn to write on!  All of the paper towel     rolls that were to be used by the teachers!  Every single twist and tie that you collected       that could be used in the garden!  It is all gone!   All of it!  GONE!
           (The following is done quickly as Allison looks through the brown bag and shows the                   items to Rita)
ALLISON- All of the green plastic baskets from the strawberries that grocers don’t use                          anymore?
RITA – (Calm)  Gone.
ALLISON – And the magazines?
RITA –(Smiling)  Gone.
ALLISON-  (Sad)  The glass jars from the English jam….the ones with the pretty flowers?
RITA – (Happy) Gone!
ALLISON - (She lets the word sink in)  So where did they go?
RITA -  I threw them all out! 
(Allison throws up her hands in horror!)
ALLISON - Didn't I teach you better than that!  What about our landfills….
RITA – To the DAV, and into the recycler and into the garbage and when you live at my        house you will not be saving anything! And when you go to your class at the gym and      bring home all the towels and jackets and (shudders) underpants…..the DAV will be             getting them every month!  No, every week!  (As if to a child)  Do you understand?
ALLISON -  You always had that streak of Hitler, didn't you?
RITA - (Sighing deeply)  I feel better.
ALLISON - So what was the big deal about telling me?
            (Rita is stunned by this and just stares at her mother.)
ALLISON – That was the big secret?  You have no idea of what a good secret is!  Your             grandmother and grandfather were divorced for 16 years and never told us children – now that’s a secret!  Aunt Hilda and that stupid son of hers Ralph won the lottery and never   told anyone in the family – we only found out when they both died in that auto crash that      they were rich and didn’t need the money we sent every month!  Now there’s a secret!              Did you think I’d be upset?  Didn’t I always teach you children that things aren’t as          important as people?
            (Rita nods, then thinks.)
RITA -  (Amazed)  Then why did you save all that crap?
ALLISON -  It gave me something to do.
(Rita starts laughing, we can see she’s thinking about all that she had to do involving the  junk.)
ALLISON – I can’t believe you were so worried about telling me this! 
            (Rita laughs harder)
ALLISON – I guess we can never understand our children.  Do you want to know a secret? 
RITA – Do I?
ALLISON – I knew.
RITA -  You knew what?
ALLISON – That you were… can I say it politely?  Discarding my carefully saved items.
RITA – (Stunned)  Are you joking?
ALLISON – One night, you forgot one of the bags, and it had some important coupons in it that I
knew you used, you know the ones from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

RITA – Eric loves the colonel’s breasts!
ALLISON – So I followed you in my car back to your house…..
RITA – Why didn’t you just call me on my cell phone?
ALLISON – I can’t remember the number for that!  Anyhow, I was down the street and I saw
you taking items from your car and dumping them directly into the garbage pail.

RITA – Oh, my God!
ALLISON – So I kind of knew.
RITA – (Apologetic)  I only threw out the things I couldn’t recycle, like the plastic holders from
the fruit.  Nobody wanted them!  I tried!

ALLISON – What about the nursery school?  (Laying on the guilt)  That’s where you TOLD me
you were dropping them off for the kids!
RITA -  I did!  For years, I did!  Really!  But then they caught me…..
ALLISON – Caught you?
RITA – Yeah, originally, when Jody was going there, they said they could use stuff like that, but
then after she was …older….I would just drop the items off when it was closed.  But one day the principal was there and she said all they did was throw out most of the junk, so I shouldn’t bring any more.

ALLISON -  It must’ve been sad….

RITA – That’s not the word I was thinking of….(Gets a funny look, remembering the drop offs) 
Wait a minute, Jody has two kids of her own!  It’s been a long time -  So why didn’t you tell me before?  

ALLISON – (Deep breath)  Because it was nice to see you every week.

RITA – (Chuckles)  You know, we could have just gone to lunch together every week, like most
daughters and mothers do….
ALLISON – No, they don’t.  And didn’t we have some good times when you came and I showed you all the goodies I got from the gym?
RITA – We did….and now, we can have lunch together every day if you want.
ALLISON – I may be looking forward to that…..are you sure you didn’t throw out the stuff from
the gym?
RITA – Every piece to Goodwill or DAV…….
ALLISON – Positive?
RITA – (Starting to get irritated)  Ma!
            (There is the noise of a large truck outside.)
RITA -  That must be the cleaners - I think it’s time to go…
ALLISON -  Maybe I should take one last look....maybe I left something in one of the drawers…
RITA – (Annoyed)  Ma!  I went through all the drawers!  Here’s the junk…stuff I found…
            (She starts to rummage in the brown bag.)
RITA – Look, a brochure from the Tibetan Society for Earthworm Rescue…
ALLISON – (Brightens)  Such lovely people!
RITA – It’s from 1992!  You don’t know if it even exists anymore!  It’s garbage!
            (Allison goes to grab it from her)
ALLISON – I can give to Mr. Tedley  - he can roll it up and light his barbeque with it…
RITA – And here’s a great Woman’s Home Journal magazine……
ALLISON – That’ll be worth a lot….
RITA – When, in a hundred years?
ALLISON – And what’s this?
RITA – That’s the (pronounces it with gusto) ‘pee-ess day la resistahnce’
(She pulls out a fancy toothpick and holds it out to her mother.  Her mother examines it closely.)
ALLISON – (Misting up a little)  I know what that is – it’s from your wedding, the prime rib was            so delicious your father saved this as a memory.
RITA – (In shock)  Daddy saved this!  Impossible!  It still has food particles on it!
ALLISON – Well, if that’s the way you feel about it, maybe I do have to check one more time…
            (Rita watches as Allison goes over and starts pulling out drawers.  She turns to the             audience.)
RITA – This has been a fairly lightweight story until now – for those who prefer not to hear                         a dark theme inserted, please cover your ears until I wave my hand in the air. It’s only a        few minutes, and the playwright considers it necessary for some unknown reason. And     one last thing - please            remember not to tell the playwright’s mother anything about this     play-especially this part!  Thank you.
            (Rita now turns back towards her mother, who is still digging into the drawers.)
RITA – Be careful, Mom – God only knows what’s crawling around in there!
ALLISON – Nothing….
            (She starts to pull her hand out, and then stops….)
ALLISON -  Something….
            (She removes her hand and she is holding something that jingles.)
RITA – If it isn’t the key to a safety box with a million dollars, leave it!
            (Allison dangles the object in front of Rita)
RITA – (Smiling)  Oh, my God, it’s…’s a bunch of old keys!  Just what we need!
ALLISON – (Remembering something) Look at the attachment…
            (She forces Rita to look and now Rita is starting to recognize the item.)
RITA  - I made that key holder doohickey for you when I was in kindergarten…..for Mother’s                     Day, right after we moved in here! 
ALLISON – It was a good luck charm…
RITA -  Well, it served well and now it’s time to throw it out….the moths have had a nice meal                of it and I think the car is gone, too…..was that the old Ford?
ALLISON -  No, the Chevy wagon…..
RITA – The one you used to use the old umbrella to get us to be good on long trips …we’d hide                 in the back, by the window, but that umbrella must’ve been eight feet long!  (She laughs,    seeing the memory.  Then she remembers something else.)  You and Daddy had a huge                   fight over these keys!  I remember that day!  I thought you were going to kill each other!
            (Allison does remember, but it is more painful.)
RITA -  (Sifting through memories) Where were you going?
ALLISON -  To the airport.
RITA – That’s right!  Dad never could find his keys anyhow, and that was the only time I ever                 remember you losing your keys!  You even told him not to call a cab, or a neighbor, you would find them. It was amazing – we had just finished unpacking and you took                             everything out of the drawers.
            (Rita goes to a side and reaches up.)
RITA -  That’s when Daddy put in the hooks for the keys….I don’t think he lost them again…
ALLISON -  That’s why your brother was born…
RITA – Please, Ma, I do not want to hear about that…..
ALLISON -  I was already pregnant with your brother…
RITA -  But then……
(The reality starts to dawn on her and she comes back to look at her mother.)
RITA – (Quiet)  Where were you going that day?
ALLISON -   Does it matter?
RITA -   Since you made sure you found those keys…I think it does.
ALLISON –  (Hard to say, but necessary)  I was going…to another state…for an operation…
RITA – (Surprised at the euphemism)  An operation?
ALLISON – I did not want to have another child.  We had just moved, your father’s parents had      just been killed in that car crash, you two were young, the  house was a lot of work….and                 your father’s job was not that secure in those days… I had tried to find someone local,    but they were all… can I put it politely…butchers, so I got the name of someone  from a friend, Sophia, I don’t know if you remember her….
RITA – The one married to the guy who owns that big electronics chain?
ALLISON – That’s the one.  She knew a lot of people who could afford...a  real doctor.  That’s                        why he was out-of-state…reporters couldn’t track down the stars when they went for                    this type of thing.  Remember, it wasn’t legal then….
RITA -  (Surprised)  And Daddy went along with this?
ALLISON -  He didn’t have much choice – I had tried some….home remedies and ....he was afraid  I’d hurt myself and then he’d have two kids on his hands.  So we’d made all the arrangements, and I’d packed and …
RITA -  And you were going to drive us over to my friend….what was her name?
ALLISON – Valerie….
RITA – And because you were fighting so much, we were late, and you hit the traffic from the                 game….
ALLISON –(very affected by this)  And I missed the plane… we drove up the airport, we saw            it fly over our heads.  I….I felt it was a sign.
            (Rita looks around as if seeing the house for the first time.)
RITA – So there’s still secrets here…I guess no matter how empty, a house still holds its                            secrets.
ALLISON -  It’s not the house that holds them, it’s our hearts.
            (They hug then pull apart.)
ALLISON –I never once regretted my decision.  And I love your brother very much, just like      you girls, but I appreciate your not telling him about this – he hates me enough as it is..
RITA – (Laughs)  Mom!  He doesn’t hate you…he’s still mad that you saved everything but                         threw out his old T-shirt collection!  Especially his Metallica T-shirt….
ALLISON -  It was a pile of junk! 
RITA – (More serious) Mom, thanks for telling me this – it clears up a lot of stuff..
            (Rita lifts up her arm and waves at the audience.)
RITA -  All clear!
            (She turns back to her mother.)
ALLISON -  I’m glad!  (Gets an idea)  Maybe there’s something else…
           (She gets up to go to the back of the house and Rita grabs her arm.)
RITA -  It's enough.....I don't think I can handle any more.....
            (She holds up the hat - it sheds dust again.)
RITA - Discoveries.....
ALLISON -  If you insist...
RITA -  I insist.
(They gather their purses, etc. to go, and Rita takes one last look at the house, then turns to her Mom, who is also affected.)

ALLISON - (Upset)  Rita, when you threw everything away, by any chance did you also throw
away......the.....(chokes up)
RITA -  Mom, I know what you are talking about....I would never throw away something you      truly love so much....
(She reaches into her purse and takes out a very ugly item with a part that has been broken off - Allison takes it and looks at it with loving eyes.)
ALLISON -  Oh, honey......(gives her a deep, loving smile)......this is the wrong one.......
            (Rita grabs her head and starts to shake it in desperation.  Now Allison starts to laugh.)
ALLISON -  I'm only kidding, sorry.......this is my favorite bird…..
(Allison starts to laugh with Rita and they walk out, arm in arm.  They turn to look at the house one last time.)

ALLISON -  You know, Rita, even though I'm still very angry I have to be honest, I'm glad you      threw it all out.
RITA -  (Surprised)  Really?
ALLISON - (Takes a deep breath)  No, but I thought you might like to hear me say that.
               (As they exit we hear...)
RITA - (Smiling) Oh, ma.....
ALLISON -  Besides, I can always get more twist 'n ties at the market.  Now those green baskets,
those I'm gonna miss......oh, wait....maybe I have a few in this bag.....

                                             (Lights out, end of Act 1.)

 Act 2 will arrive in a couple of days.


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

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