English for Beginners - A Solo

(Laura sits on the porch.  All around her are the things anyone would imagine a writer would have with them: a messenger bag, notebooks, a laptop, pens, old books, etc.  It's dark and everyone else is in bed.  There are no lights on in the house.  No lights on the porch.  No lights coming from a distant moon.  The stars only shine for themselves, they grant no light to those below.  There are no street lights.  There are no other houses.  No passing cars.  No flashlight or lantern.)

I dream about smoking.  I've never smoked in my life.  Well, no, that's not true.  I smoked once at a party I don't remember very well.  It was long and frantic and fractured.  I didn't enjoy it.  The party I mean.  I only took a puff or two on the cigarette. There wasn't enough time to enjoy it or not.  Another time I was on a walk in Brooklyn late at night after drinks, after singing, after celebrating and before eating.  My friend yelled at me "Laura, don't throw up!  I will kill you if you throw up." I didn't.  I just took a drag.  Why not?  It was there.  It looked attractive.  Anyway, my mother and father smoked most of my childhood.  When I'm stressed I dream about smoking.  When I want to feel tough or cool or smart or sexy I dream about smoking.  When it's hot and it rains, I dream about smoking.  When I hear lightning or smell a heavy dust on the wind, I dream about smoking.  When I look down at these empty pages, I dream about smoking.  I'm sorry.  I haven't earned this monologue.  If you don't know, this is my "I want" moment.  This is when I separate from the ensemble and exposition and let you all know that I'm the main character or the love interest or the villain and I tell you what I want.  Maybe I'll even tell you why I want it.  It's a solo.  Maybe the first solo.  Maybe it's where the theme will be laid in, maybe it will pick up the thread of the theme and it'll expand on it. Maybe I'll be joined without my knowledge by another voice.  It wants the same thing, this other voice.  Listen, do you hear it?

(There is no other voice.)

Well, that's not much of a surprise, now is it?


This would be a good moment to take a drag.


This is all starting to feel a little maudlin.


And why not?  It's my "I want" moment.


I really, really thought another voice was going to come in there.  Well, if its singing, I can't hear it.


I want to burn from the inside out.

(End of scene.)


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