Monologues

by Donald E. Baker

(In Alphabetical Order)


After It Stopped

SYNOPSIS

5-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. A man describes the after effects of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.  He resolves to do something about the monster who sentenced him to a lifetime of self-loathing.

CHARACTER (1M)

TIMOTHY--Age 38, any race or ethnicity. 

SETTING

Indeterminate

TIME

Indeterminate

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Scott Sickles: “1 in 6 men have experienced sexual assault. About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (source: RAINN.org) Baker elucidates how boyhood sexual trauma resonates over time by focusing on one man’s experience. There are the universal questions (‘did I bring this on myself?’) and those specific to this character. We see how decades of anguish have laid waste to his life and the lives of those he’s tried to love. There are no gory details, nothing exploitative, just raw unvarnished truth and a bubbling rage. Powerful and urgent!”


Marj O'Neill-Butler: “This monologue is almost painful to read. No, he didn’t ask for it. Yes, he said no. And yet the monster forced himself on him and turned a life dark; a life that was always guarded. A life missing real love due to this assault. Powerful and moving.”


Lee R. Lawing: “ Wow! A gut-wrenching and oh so powerful monologue about something that none of us should have to face and the consequences of that crime and violence that most would never be able to shake completely as is evident by Timothy. ”


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The Boys Across the Street

SYNOPSIS

4-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. Mabel's fervent prayer is that the Supreme Court will overturn Obergefell as they did Roe v. Wade. But when she whips up a batch of her special brownies and takes them across the street to welcome the new neighbors, she discovers they are an interracial same-sex couple. She hightails it back home and enlists the help of her preacher to organize a protest to show those "abominations" they aren't welcome in her neighborhood. But meanwhile, she has to decide what to do with those uneaten brownies. They're too good to throw out. After all, she made them with love.

CHARACTER (1W)

MABEL--An older White woman 

SETTING

A small town somewhere in middle America

TIME

Now

PRODUCTION

Produced on Facebook by Stage Left Theater of Spokane WA, March, 2022.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Jack Levine: “The Boys Across the Street” is well-written, powerful, and deserving to be a featured piece in a Festival. Prejudice is ugly and needs to be called out.”

 

Vivian Lermond: “A wonderful, hard-hitting monologue that captures the core of white supremacism and the hypocrisy of pseudo- Christians. A terrific performance piece for an older woman.”

 

Rachel Feeny-Willliams: “Despite the contents of what Mabel is saying to be ugly for the most part, the writer has given the character such a unique voice that you can almost see her, hidden behind her door. It’s a very poignant commentary about the elements of society we see every day and to see it standing up on a stage for the world to see I think would be a good thing. It’s a very well-constructed piece and the way the writer has created the character so she twists so fast from friendly to not and back is very well done.”


Christopher Plumridge: “If this ‘outburst’ by Mabel wasn’t so rude and prejudiced it would be quite funny. Donald depicts the lady across the street to the new neighbours so acutely that you wish the new couple will politely knock on her door the next day and be friendly neighbours just to make her feel uncomfortable! We can only hope that this prejudice shown in some older folk is diminishing.”

 

DC Cathro: “The button on the end of this monologue is so perfect… A rough, harsh look at racism and homophobia through the eyes of a “good Christian” woman. Really, that last line could not be more brilliant in summing up this piece and the character.”

 

Marj O’Neill-Butler: Too bad there are still “Mabel’s” in our midst. A loving couple moves in across the street from Mabel and as she discovers their differences, she turns on them. So well written. So pathetic that this piece is so accurate. Now we need a monologue about how the men come to her rescue.

 

Peter Dakutis: “Baker brilliantly illustrates the old adage ‘Give people enough rope and they’ll hang themselves’ in this excellent monologue. Homophobic Mabel, going on about the interracial same-sex couple across the street, may be offering brownies to her listeners, but Baker gives Mabel her just deserts. Delicious!”

 

Bruce Karp: “What a perfectly awful character brought to brilliant, yet horrible life by Mr. Baker. I am quite sure that this type of woman is living all over our country. She’s as much a queen as any gay person she hates - namely, the Queen of Hypocrisy. Well done and needs to be part of a monologue festival.”

 

Marcia Eppich-Harris: “The racist and homophobic woman in this monologue still exists in America, sadly. She is all over America, in fact. Donald E. Baker captures the hypocrisy of American Christianity and shows us that progress hasn’t caught up with nearly enough people around here. Her rejection at the end allows a bit of hope to bleed through -- that not everyone’s morals have been so stunted.”

 

David Patton: “From her use of the old Jim Crow description of ‘Coloreds,’ the tone is cleverly set in a word as to this racist Karen’s view on life. Typically, she justifies herself by referring to her bible and specifically, Leviticus in her lack of tolerance. Donald perfectly sums up the double standards of this old hypocrite by her lightening change of attitude as she sweetly offers her cookies. Perfectly captured in a short, sour tasting display of intolerance. Still, at least she wasn’t quite so offended by them being a mixed-race.”

 

Glenn Alterman: “In a short monologue Donald E. Baker reveals a great deal about prejudice in America. Without giving it away there's quick shift and our feelings go from one place to another in an instant! There are "Mabels" all over America! Short and powerful!”

 

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Dad and Uncle Mark 

(Who Was Not Really My Uncle)

SYNOPSIS

7-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. Doug, now in his seventies, recalls his thirteen-year-old self spying on Dad and "Uncle Mark" when they were supposed to be building birdhouses down in the basement workshop. What he sees through a knothole begins his own journey of sexual awareness but results in the destruction of his father's relationship with his oldest and dearest friend.

CHARACTER (1M)

DOUG--A man perhaps in his seventies.

PLACE AND TIME

Indeterminate

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Paul Smith: “Donald E Baker's monologue feels as authentic as it gets. A period piece with a period feel and with period attitudes. The observation of childhood innocence coming to an end is exquisitely detailed and totally believable. This is a beautifully written monologue with heart - wonderful!”

Jack Levine: “This monologue is powerful and thought provoking. As a seventy-seven year old straight male, I confess to my lack of fully understanding what a gay person has to endure. I have heard and read stories, but unless you ‘have walked in someone’s shoes’ the reality can never be truly known. I love stories that enlighten, like this marvelous monologue. We all need to better understand and fight against the horrible treatment of any one of our fellow human beings. “Dad And Uncle Mark (Who Was Not Really My Uncle)” is beautifully written. Bravo to Donald E. Baker!”

 

Julie Zaffarano: “Honest and heartbreaking. A man reflects on a time in his youth when feelings were often kept secret. A discovery about his father helped him better understand himself in his youth and the discoveries of his own feelings help him to better understand his father.”

 

Scott Sickles: “Adolescence is hell and when you’re gay (at least gay and over 40) you go through it at least twice. The first time, your body changes and you learn what you’re expected to do with it… eventually. The second time, you finally learn you can do the things you wanted to do the first time… but (if you’re a certain age, or if you live in certain places) you can’t tell anybody. Baker gives us multiple adolescences colliding with each other. Nothing happens at the right time and the repercussions are tragic. This one’s a heartbreaker.”


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The First Time

SYNOPSIS

6-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. Twenty-five-year-old Eddie fearfully questions his sexual identity.

CHARACTER (1M)

EDDIE--Small town blue collar type, age 25

SETTING

Indeterminate

TIME

1975

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Christopher Plumridge: “In The First Time, the playwright carefully takes us into the innermost thoughts of one man, allowing us to hear his most guarded secret. We watch as a flashback to this man's childhood is bought back to mind by a timely encounter, and we're left wondering if he'll take that card out of his wallet and make a call.  A great monologue!”


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Ice Box Cake 

and the Man from Lima

SYNOPSIS

10-12 MINUTE MONOLOGUE. Velma, a White woman "of a certain age" is shocked to see a person of color walking into her neighbors' house. Turns out the daughter of the White family next door encountered him in Peru during her junior year abroad and now she's brought him home to meet her parents. What if he comes peeking into Velma's windows? And what if he's out in the yard when "the girls" show up for bunco that afternoon? They'll be afraid to get out of their cars! And here she's gone to the trouble of making a special ice box cake for refreshments! The monologue uses gossipy humor to illustrate the casual racism of the 1950s and to demonstrate that fear of young Black men is nothing new in American society.

CHARACTER (1W)

VELMA--Age 60+, white, widowed housewife

SETTING

A living room in a small town in the Midwest

TIME

The 1950s

PRODUCTION

Ice Box Cake and the Man from Lima was produced as part of Masterpiece Monologues: New Works

by Stage Left Theatre, Spokane WA and presented on Facebook and Vimeo, October, 2021.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Andrew Martineau: “Velma is the kind of older woman from a particular time and place that can bake a sweet cake, but all the sweetness comes from her recipe and not from her. She seems sweet on the surface, but her prejudices and gossipy banter on the phone reveal a side to her that is shallow and close-minded. I saw a production of Baker’s wonderful monologue online presented by Stage Left Theater, and it was very well done. The monologue shows how racism can come out in unexpected, chilling ways, like a ice box cake with fake whipped cream on top.”

 

Bruce Karp: “I want to recommend this monologue which is both funny and sad. The main character, Velma, a white woman in the 1950’s South, allows all of her worst instincts and prejudices to show as she talks to a friend about cake, bunco and that dark-skinned man who’s dating her neighbor. Some of Velma’s statements are outrageous and funny, others are troublesome, to say the least. Recent developments tell us that while progress may have been made, we’re not there yet. Baker’s story exposes not only how life used to be, but how in many ways it still is. Worth reading!”

 

Doug DeVita: “What is both ingenious and horrifying about this short play is how funny it is; one could very easily see someone like Carol Burnett having a field day with this character, an unabashed busy body and racist; setting this in the 1950s may excuse the character’s ignorance but it does not soften the blows, nor should it. An exquisite piece of writing.”

 

Craig Houk: “What a fantastically charming and intensely humorous piece featuring an unabashedly bigoted white lady. Baker is hugely successful at addressing/amplifying ignorance and racism while simultaneously poking fun at hypocritical, pearl-clutching white folks. Nicely done.”

 

Peter Dakutis: “Baker whips up a wonderful comedic creation in Velma, who would be a great role for women “of a certain age.” Baker uses the character to address racism, and there are plenty of laughs along the way. And, darn it, those rotary dial phones were difficult to use!”

 

Asher Wyndham: “This is more than a reminder of the past, a snapshot of privilege and racism in the 1950s. It’s a reminder that nothing much has changed in America. Women like Velma, seemingly harmless, seemingly nice, still exist and are ruining America. Not just a phone, not simply spying on a Black guest next door, it’s toxic, it’s un-American. You want to laugh at what she says, especially the dessert, but it shows you there’s something rotten - sick, hateful - beneath the whip creamy, sweet persona. A perfect role for an older actor.”


Morey Norkin:  “Don Baker’s writing is so pitch perfect you might think he time traveled back to the 1950s to record Velma’s side of the phone conversation. Velma’s folksy manner and dessert making might make her seem like everyone’s favorite aunt, and her casual racism likely went unnoticed in her circles. Today, most of us know better. But there are still too many who would find her to be a favorite aunt. A great monologue for an older actor!”



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Intestate: 

A COVID-19 Monologue

SYNOPSIS

7-8 MINUTE MONOLOGUE. Fifty-year-old Richard lived with David and worked in his store, but the two never got around to getting married or doing the necessary legal paperwork. Now David is dead from COVID and his homophobic mother has inherited everything. Richard finds himself unemployed and homeless, angry and bitter--and very afraid he may have given David the virus that killed him.

CHARACTER (1M)

RICHARD--Gay man, age 50

SETTING

Cincinnati OH

TIME

April, 2020

PRODUCTIONS AND PUBLICATION

Produced online by Talking Horse Productions of Columbia MO, May 2021.

Produced on stage by Magnolia Arts Center, Greenville NC, Feb. 2022. Named "Audience Favorite."

Published by some scripts literary magazine, Issue 4: “Outbreak” (July, 2021), pp. 208-09, July 2021.

 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

John Mabey: “Coping with illness and death is difficult enough without bias making a horrible time even worse. In Intestate, Donald Baker presents a powerful and moving monologue during the early days of Covid-19 and a couple battling both the virus and discrimination. Told with insight and empathy, it’s a piece that deserves to be performed as much as it needs to be understood.”

 

Alice Josephs: “When it happens, it’s always an ambush. A monologue that shakes palpably with fury and love. Richard finds himself suddenly bereaved - his partner in everything except on paper snatched away. A chance for an older male actor to bring this on- the-pulse piece to life as death robs him of everything that they built together. Gradually the audience learns in a few brief expertly handled brushstrokes a family history from which his partner escaped but which Richard finds himself entangled in. A raw and powerful piece.”

 

Doug DeVita: “An angry, gut-wrenching cautionary monologue from Donald E. Baker, proving the more things change, the more they stay the same, at least in terms of LGBTQ issues in this country – especially in times of a health crisis. Beautifully written, with a message that – while not preach ¬– needs to be taken to heart. Great role for an older actor, too.”

 

Matt Cogswell:Intestate is an incredibly moving, powerful monologue. All the related frustrations of the past year, told quite early in the pandemic, are here - the inequities in who gets access to patient information, the ignorance of individuals who contributed to the pandemic, and the frustrating state of quarantine when one’s loved ones are ill. The ending is tragic. Beautiful piece.”

 

Peter Dakutis: “This powerful monologue is a gut-wrenching reminder that LGBTQ progress is incremental and not always steadily moving forward. It also evokes memories of the nightmarish early years of the AIDS crisis. Baker deftly creates a story that will break your heart and leave you with a lot to think about.”

 

Robin Rice: The most devastating monologue can be one that doesn’t mess around with flowery descriptions or peripheral sentiments. Baker’s speaker tells us what happened directly, and it pierces your heart. Things we know about Covid, about those who deny it, and about those who deny gay people equal rights - all of this and more is here, but brought home in such a personal way it might even change some minds.

 

Asher Wyndham: “One of the most powerful, devasting monologues written during this pandemic. Baker has given us a fully-realized character that develops before our eyes, breaking our heart with his unanswered questions, his mistreatment by the hospital and his setbacks after the death of his loved one.”



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A Lynch Mob Foiled

SYNOPSIS

5-6 MINUTE MONOLOGUE. A besieged jail. A frightened Black prisoner. An angry White mob. A sheriff determined to uphold the rule of law. A daring escape in the dead of night. Julius August “Gus” Lemcke (pronounced “LEM-key”) was sheriff of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, in 1880 when a clash between overheated political partisans resulted in a Black Republican and a White Democrat shooting each other. The White man was cared for by his friends. The Black man ended up in the county jail, surrounded by armed and angry citizens determined to lynch him from the nearest tree. This monologue is adapted from Lemcke’s own account of this episode in his 1905 published memoir.

CHARACTER (1M)

JULIUS AUGUSTUS ("GUS") LEMCKE--Age 50. A German immigrant who made good as a steamboat captain, politician, and businessman.

SETTING

Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail, Evansville, Indiana. However, the monologue requires no particular props or set pieces.

TIME

1880

CONTENT WARNING

The “N word” appears twice in this monologue. Lemcke himself disapproved of the term and makes clear, through his use of quote marks, that it was the mob that was using it to refer to the prisoner.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Scott Sickles: “A deep, dark, powerful look into American racism and white supremacy, made all the more stirring by the sheriff’s calm retelling of the incidents in question. The events described are horrific and suspenseful enough that they require no embellishment. It’s necessary history and Baker tells it with indelible clarity

 

Andrew Martineau: “This is a powerful monologue based on a true account of a sheriff who had the courage to do the right thing when justice was hanging in the balance. These stories need to be told, and theatre can make it feel immediate and necessary to be told, regardless of when it has taken place. Sadly, this story still has urgency. Well done, Donald.”

 

John Busser: “The more things change, the more they stay the same. As we listen to the impactful account of an elected official doing his best to ensure the safety of a prisoner from a mob, guilty only of having a different skin color, we can’t help but feel anger at realizing we haven’t learned a damn thing. These are powerful words, adapted from a real life event, and we can take comfort in knowing that there are still good people in this world, ready to uphold justice. A monologue that will stay with you. I know it will stay with me.”

 

Rachel Feeny-Williams: “Donald Baker has a true gift for writing powerful monologues, his characters equipped with unique voices and stories that you could probably see unfolding before you if you were listening while your eyes were closed. This piece is no exception to that. It’s a powerful and dark piece that explores the angry history of parts of America and the prejudices that existed within them. As a British person, I always find it fascinating to read the perspectives of American writers on their history. I certainly picked a great playwright to read for that reason. This piece should be heard!”

 

Charles Scott Jones: “This monologue is so powerful for the simple direct voice of Gus Lemcke, a Republican sheriff, in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, 1880 - from a memoir adapted by Donald E Baker. If current events lead us to believe that times are bad, a historical reflection like A Lynch Mob Foiled gives hope that we too shall persevere and prevail. The details of this piece are astounding, from the sheriff's family living under the same roof as the convicts in the jail, to the monologue's brilliant last line that I won't spoil. Please read this wonderful piece!”

 

Ian Donley: “The language is vividly clear. From the first paragraph to the last sentence, the story is giving its full complexity and nuance.”



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My Summer of Cypress Gardens


SYNOPSIS

9-10-MINUTE MONOLOGUE. A White man in his seventies recalls the childhood trip to Florida when the “saw” Black people for the first time--toiling in the fields, doing dirty jobs in cities, working on chain gangs, and elegantly serving meals at Cypress Gardens. It made a lasting impression on him.

CHARACTERS (1M)

JAMES--Age 75+, white

SETTING

Indeterminate

TIME

Now

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

Nora Louise Syran: “An honest, natural and crisp monologue which recounts a family road trip south. I love how the style captures both the voice of a young boy and an old man looking back and allows Baker to narrow in on some fine poetic moments which will stay with this reader. Well done.”

 

Andrew Martineau: “What a powerful monologue about a young White boy’s first experience in the Jim Crow era South. I was struck by how candid it was, and the details about such things as the fold-out map and the places suburban White families would visit in Florida in the mid-twentieth century brought back memories for me, having grown up in Mississippi in the seventies. Vivid and evocative storytelling. Excellent work, Donald Baker!”

 

Morey Norkin: “Don Baker takes us along on a family road trip to Florida through the segregated south. The vivid memories recalled by White septuagenarian James of a time when he was 10 are at once nostalgic and unsettling. Baker’s monologue is an important reminder of where America has been in terms of race relations and how much work remains. I hope this will be performed often!”


Asher Wyndham:  “For those who never grew up in the South during Jim Crow, Baker's monologue will leave a lasting impression on you.  A recollection of a family vacation before the days of Disney World, a white gay senior reflects on childhood along the countryside, down the highways, reflecting on the ugliness of segregation.  Honest, candid, all told with great description.”


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Yeah, I Have Regrets

SYNOPSIS

2-3-MINUTE MONOLOGUE.  Musings from a lifetime of experience.

CHARACTER (1, Any Gender Expression)


SETTING

Indeterminate

TIME

Now

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM PLAYWRIGHTS ON NEW PLAY EXCHANGE

John Mabey:  “There are many sides to regrets, and in Yeah, I Have Regrets, Donald E. Baker demonstrates how there's never one easy answer. Or, more accurately, how that answer might change and evolve over time. There's a deep emotional honesty to this monologue that provides peaks and valleys throughout, making it so rich for actors of any gender. Well done!”