Some might ask how can I do this? (I know my sister thinks I'm crazy!)
Well, I've always been a fast writer onto the page - because I think about what I am going to write for a long time - edit in the head, I guess you might call it.
And, starting last year, after my husband's stroke in Sept 2012, I started writing 5 minutes a day, almost every day. When I missed, I would catch up on subsequent days. The result was a lot of finished work - TIME TRAVEL CAFE ( a winner in their contest and produced by the New Play Cafe at THE BIG KITCHEN in Aug. 2013) TALES FROM THE CRIB (winner in the Scripteaser New One-Act Contest 2013 - Honorable Mention, THE ANGINA MONOLOGUES (first read Feb 2013, produced Dallas,Texas for Senior Theater) and THE BOOK OF TEAS (play and novel)
My goal for this year - to be able to finish these monologues - and several collections, as well as BEN (excerpt below) and a few other pieces. I would love to see actors get to video these - youtube is an amazing audition tool for everyone in the theater - and it would be great to get some more productions in new countries. (I have an old, very partial list - click here -click here - of where all my plays have been.)
Small print - A few words about 'free' - I mean that these are free to read, free to perform and video AS LONG AS NO MONEY IS CHARGED. Once you want to charge admission or a donation, or include my work in an anthology, you need to contact me at email@example.com for royalty info. These monologues - and all my writing -are protected as follows - All rights reserved under the Berne and Pan-American copyright convention.
But I will be happy to give permission to do a video for youtube, as long as I receive credit - like Tori Langley did (Click here for THE TOWEL LADY THE TOWEL LADY.)
Today's monologue is from a longer piece, not yet finished, (which I am hoping to complete this year) about one of my best friends,.......Ben Franklin.
In this scene, Ben talks about how no one realizes which day is Lincoln's or Washington's b-day
Feb. 19, 2014 Day #7 When Was President's Day? by Janet S. Tiger
(c) all rights reserved firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
(from my soon-to-be-completed BEN - a one-man show about Ben Franklin, not the rat)
Hello. My name is Benjamin Franklin, and I have a question for you - yes, you, who used to know when Washington and Lincolns birthdays were - and you, who have never known.
Think quickly now - do you remember who these people were? George Washington, a dear friend of mine, was this great nation's very first President, a man who honestly believed he was invincible in a battle. And he was. Horses were shot out from under him - he once showed me a coat he wore during battle and it had no less than four bullet holes in the tails - and yet, not a scratch on George.
It never surprised me that he died of what you now call a bacterial infection - something from the inside.
Now my friend Abraham - we all knew he couldn't last. Too many out to get him - there were over 500 attempts on his life in the four years he was President. George and I watched with great sadness when Abe joined us, but now he is a wonderful partner at ......poker. You thought I was going to say dinner, but no. No dinners here, no food......because we have no bodies! So we just play games! Poker, parchesi.... Abe likes jenga, and we all like Nintendo. But our favorite games are the guessing ones.
Like about why people like to argue about God - and whether it is one nation under him or not.
And like how many people have forgotten when our birthdays are.
Just so that we can keep this a bit educational - George Washington's birthday is Feb. 22nd - as changed in 1752, when we all agree to the new calendar - and Abraham Lincoln's is Feb. 12. Quick - you know George was the first president...but what number was Abe? Can't remember? .......It was the 16th! Sweet 16!
(He looks around furtively)
Abe just loves when I call it that!
(Calling out to the heavens)
It's just for mnemonic purposes, Abe!
(He laughs as if he has heard something, then looks back at the crowd.)
Abe reminded to tell about how no one knows when the birthdays really are. On January 1, 1971, for some very important reason involving vacations, all of you wise people shifted the federal holidays honoring George and Abe to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This date places both birthdays between February 15 and 21, which makes the names "Washington's Birthday" and "Lincoln's Birthday" even more strange, since neither can ever occur on Washington's actual birthday, either February 11 or February 22, or on Lincoln's uni-birthday - Feb. 12!
So no one knows these birthdays anymore - except now, all of you - and for that reason, I will leave you with a last question - what was my birthday? Yes, go ahead, look it up on your iphones! Incidentally, I'll bet you all know who Steve Jobs was - a strange man, very bright. And he likes poker, too.
Did you find it? (Listens) Yes, that's right,Jan. 17th - -old way, Jan. 6 - that's the one I celebrated when I was still having birthdays in your realm. No, I did not eat birthday cake, that did not happen until after my passing. Shame, I know I would have loved birthday cake! and the candles, a nice touch, reminds me of fireworks. I am so glad that I lived to see George become President. Oh, he so did not want to be President! But the fireworks for his inauguration! That was almost worth it, he wrote to me. From one end of the land to the other, the sky was lit and the sound echoed to the heavens - this nation was going to survive.
There's an idea - more fireworks for the President birthdays! If you will excuse me, I'm going to go whisper in the ear of some of those Congressman of yours......most never listen, but all I need is one to get this started......
(He tilts his head, listening again.)
Why should we remember these birthdays? Yes, that is a good question. (Thinks for a moment, much more serious now) Is there any real reason? I believe so. And it is a good reason. We may all be long dead and buried- but, the point is, that if we are dead but not forgotten, perhaps the ideals that we loved so dearly, that we lived for and fought for ....and died for, that have made this nation and this world a better place....those ideals will never be forgotten - they will live on in the minds and hearts of countless generations to come.
(Listens again, irritated this time)
All right, I know I'm not trying to get them to sign the Constitution! I just wanted them to remember our birthdays!
(He turns to leave)
Last question- who knows which number President I was?
(He starts to walk off)
That wasn't too hard, was it? I was...... noneteenth - never a President, just the man on the 100 dollar bill. You go tell all your friends! Or better yet, send them a text!
(He walks off, laughing.)
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8