Saturday, July 20, 2019

Monologue Mania July 20, 2019 The Biggest Secret (one-act 2019) by Janet S. Tiger (c) all rights reserved

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Monologue Mania July 20, 2019   The Biggest Secret (one-act 2019) by Janet S. Tiger (c) all rights reserved

This play will be performed as part of an evening of one-acts - Tiger's Tales -in October click here for poster - more info when available

                                                      The Biggest Secret   (c) 2019                                                        
                                                                 A play in one-act
                                                                  By Janet S. Tiger


RITA -  50s
ALLISON -  late 70s, Rita’s mother

Set -  Bare, only a couple of chairs, some purses, a paper bag.

(The set is simple - 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.  Fifty years.  Where does it
go?  Speaking of where does it go....Mom!  (Listens, then louder, maybe a touch of worry) She was right here…..            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!     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...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 the photos – and certainly 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 it?......

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 –I gave to the DAV, and to 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 -  Good for you!  Your whole generation has everything backwards!  You talk and
talk about saving the planet, but who drinks billions of cups of coffee with straws!  And fifty napkins!  At least I tried to recycle!  I tried to teach you that nothing is worthless, that everything can have value!  And what thanks do I get!

            (Rita is amazed and laughs)

RITA -  Mom, you did a great job teaching us kids, and I taught mine, and they even had their
classrooms start recycled art projects….it’s just….sometimes you have to draw a line, so you can walk down the hall in your own home without tripping!  And in my home, you’ll be safe!  So there!

ALLISON – Hmm!  (Takes a deep breath)  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 real secret? 

RITA – Do I? Oh, my God…I’m adopted!  I always suspected but…

ALLISON -  You’re not adopted!

RITA -  Daddy’s not my father?

ALLISON -  You look just him!  You watch too much TV!

RITA -  (Getting irritated)  So what’s the big secret?

ALLISON – (Shakes her head)  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…….

            (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 last  junk…stuff I found…
            (She starts to rummage in the brown bag.)

ALLISON – 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 is affected and Rita puts an arm around her shoulders)

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, they gather their purses, etc. to go, and Rita takes one last look
at the house, then turns to her Mom, who is smiling)

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, the end.)



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