Kristen Palmer Monologues

Once upon a Bride There Was a Forest (Josie)

Josie says

What happens when you lose your voice.

Instead of talking you choke up. Like you’re going to cry. All the time.

Just to relieve the pressure of all the things you cannot say.

And you can’t even remember why it is that you cannot say them.

You tell yourself they were stupid anyway.

Probably they would have revealed you as the fool you are.

Unfit for human understanding. Unfit for human conversation. Unfit for human anything.

So. Better to be silent. Better to go and stick your head in an oven. Or in a bowl of water. Breathe in water instead of air. Or in a pillow. Fill yourself with something different. `




Anything to fill this awful empty.


Things You Can Do (Fiona)

Fiona says

You’re not just anything. None of us are — my boy — my boy talks the same way — as if he doesn’t matter. As if they gave up. I didn’t raise him that way — he talks about TV. He talks about TV all the time — I don’t know what to say to him.

You don’t get it — back in the days before satellite defense systems, before ‘trickle down,’ in the days before the strip malls, in the days before fleece active wear — we thought we could change things — I felt like I mattered. I felt like I belonged — really belonged to something bigger than myself —

And since then I’ve spent all this time playing their rules and gathering with the other concerned citizens and writing letters and attending the hearings and the marches and you know — I know you know — it doesn’t matter. We say — wait! Stop! How about the park? How about the wild spaces? the air, the water, the children — We need to preserve those — those are important too. And they say ‘thanks, that’s nice, you’re right, we should’ and they bull-doze it. And now I’m out of time. But you aren’t. You are not. You.

Things You Can Do (Fletcher)

Fletcher says

Awww — she gets high. I know all the kids in this and the five surrounding counties that like to alter their reality through various chemical reactions — Now, I don’t know the ones who do it through starvation, binging & purging, hypochondria, cutting, compulsive exercise, plastic surgery, fashion, shopping, over-achieving, reckless sex (unless they are high) or internet addiction. I’m familiar with some conspiracy theorists and I relate, but that’s not really my bag — vegans, dieters, acupuncture, hmmmm piercers, S&M, umm LARPers, gamers, clique obsessed schemers, twelve-steppers, workaholics, perfectionists, therapy junkies, religiosity of any stripe, oh and like anybody into getting shit or pissed on — I don’t know about that.

Things You Can Do (Stevie)

Stevie says

Here. The way the earth is going to change — the climates — microclimates — water scarcities and floods — new lakes, rivers, streams — running unfrozen — all into free flow — all will be in free flow and maybe it will take so long for it to happen but so long to us is nothing compared to geological time — like nothing — so I don’t know why people find that reassuring. I don’t know why any one finds anything reassuring. Except maybe they think they will be dead. But what about us? And what about our kids?

And you know when you are buried in the ground and that ground goes underwater that water will sink in and long fingered unloose your corpse — and bloated you, full of rotty rotty water, you will taint all you are in contact with and you’ll still be contributing to the mess that your grand children will be dying from.

Better after all to burn.

Things You Can Do (Stevie)

Stevie says

The Cryosphere refers to the portions of the earth’s surface where water is in a solid form — sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets and frozen ground, like permafrost, like in Canada and Siberia where the ground never thaws or we thought it would never thaw…The cryosphere effects all aspects of the global climate system, primarily through its interaction with other elements. It is changing radically throughout the world. The river here is ice — partly ice. It is part of the cryosphere. It’s the part that I study — the thickness, depth, the wind patterns frozen in water. I thought it would hold me. It looked like it would hold me. Anyways. It’s not the first time I fell through…

There was the blankness of snow extending into forever. There was the comfort of work, of routines and rituals. There was a sense of purpose, a sense of importance, a sense that I couldn’t work fast enough — that I couldn’t hold on to anything — and then — then — I —

Then the ice broke.

Things You Can Do (Clara)

Clara says

Things you can do…

Bake cookies — healthy ones. No trans fats, whole grains, honey, no refined sugars.

You can make lists. Carry a notebook. When you can’t keep track you can write down what bothers you. Contain it. You can create a schedule. Fill it in with places to be — with meaningful places. Work. Activities. Meetings. Anything to get out of the house.

Anything to get your mind off it for an hour. For a second you can hold your breath. You can hold your heart still let it pass let it pass.

You can get a routine. You can forget where you are. Forget what you are doing.

You can do what everyone says and not ever think of what you want.

You can tell your doctor that you cannot sleep and your doctor will prescribe something that no one should be ashamed of needing these days. Some help. Sometimes everyone needs a little help.

You can continue.

You can.

And it will never be the same.

You’ll adapt.


Once upon a Bride There Was a Forest (Belle)

Belle says

BELLE enters. She carries MAGS who is screaming. BELLE is glowing with anticipation.


Josie! Josie! Hold this wretched baby.

Hands MAGS to JOSIE. The crying ceases.

You are like magic. What did we ever do without you? Now listen — You’ll never guess. You’ll never ever guess. In fact don’t. Don’t guess. Just look!

BELLE holds out her hand to display a sparkling engagement ring.

The moment I saw him I knew. I knew it. He would be my own. My dearest darling. The one who would cradle me to sleep every night. And you know it wasn’t easy. You know he loved some girl who left him. Left him? Can you imagine! But. Last night — listen. Listen to what he said, he took my hand — like this.

BELLE takes JOSIE’s hand.

And then he said, “Belle, I want to marry you. I want to put a ring on your finger and wait for you at the end of an aisle and see you emerge all white dressed and flowered and I want to dance with you while our family and friends watch us and I want to love you for ever and ever until we’re old and we bicker and we smell and our apartment deteriorates around us and we fall asleep with a kiss and grow cold in the bed and everyone agrees that we had the best ever love because we died together.”

BELLE falls over in a fit of joy.

Beautiful. Isn’t that just the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to anyone ever? I mean really? Can you imagine? I said yes. I said yes immediately and he said, ‘Promise you’ll never leave me.” And I said of course I’d never leave him. I have everything I need right here. I have a wonderful family and now I have a dear husband. Why would I ever leave! I will love him and stand him and bear his children and everything! Everything! Ach! There is so much to do. We’re getting married in a fortnight! I need a dress and a cake and flowers and a party and some bridesmaids, and Mother! Mother!

BELLE exits.

Once upon a Bride There Was a Forest (Eugenia)

Eugenia says

EUGENIA appears, stopping JOSIE in her path.


Why so glum my dear? I’d say things are going swimmingly. Everett is very fond of you. He said just the other day what a lovely nanny you were. He is worried that you spend too much time in the house. He thinks you should get out more.


What? Don’t look at me like that. I was only trying to help. You wanted this. How was I supposed to know your fiance would turn up and flip over our Belle? I’m no future-predictor type. Oh you dear girl, I know this must be difficult for you — but, you know. The choice is made and the chips fall. We make the bed and lie in it. Dig the hole ourselves and all. He said that he’d asked a girl to marry him — you? I suppose you. And that she left him the very same night, promised to return and never did. Not a call. Not a word. He said he’d been asking her to marry him for years and she always said no. So, I’d say. I’d say you’re crying over the milk you spilled yourself. Best to sop it up and get on with things. Right? Pull yourself up your bootstraps. Buck up. Commit to your choices. Tuck your doubts in your heel. That’s something there’s not enough of these days. Self-reliance. That old stick-to-it-‘ve-ness. That’s the only way anyone gets anywhere.

JOSIE nods, walks up to EUGENIA, puts BA MAGS in her arms and exits.

Josie! Josie — where are you going?

MAGS starts to cry, softly at first.

Josie — I can’t take her today we’re tasting cake! We’re auditioning bands! We’re choosing paper! Napkin rings! Centerpieces! Doilies! The Doily Lady will be here any minute!

Once upon a Bride There Was a Forest (Josie)

Josie says

This is my father! This is my Warren! Warren — remember? Remember me? Josie? We live in an apartment an expressway? Sometimes it seems like it’s poisoned? But we won’t be there forever. You wanted to marry me but I kept saying not yet not yet but not because I didn’t love you — I loved you — I love you — but I thought I was missing something I thought I was missing my father — But now I’ve found him and it’s him but it’s not him and he doesn’t even know who I am — I don’t know — I don’t know if he’ll ever remember me.

JOSIE turns to look at EVERETT.

He looks through me. I don’t look like I used to — I’m taller. I’m changed. I’m grown and he doesn’t even know me. How could he? I’m not the kid he left. I’m a stranger standing here. And you left. You left me. Never even looked back.

Local Story (Betsy)

Betsy says

(The sound of a highway, a warm red desert sunset, heat and dust. BETSY speaks from a great distance. BETSY is transparent.)

This field is endless. In every direction. It swallows me. Gulp. It swallows me whole. Doesn’t even bother to chew.

One year the water stopped. There was a drought and all the melons died. That was when Jimmy was here. Now it’s just me. If there were trees I’d watch them change ó there are not so I watch the melons grow. I’ve been growing too. Getting bigger. I think I want to go east. I think I will go east and when I get there, I think I will look for him, till I find him, and when I find him, then I think I’ll stop.

The sun sets. Night falls deep indigo blue and a starless sky. BETSY sticks her thumb out. Holds out a sign that says “Jimmy.”ù Headlights come up bright on her.

I can see him dreaming. In the morning he’s dreaming. In the morning the sun comes up and he dreams he wakes up and sees my head on his pillow. And he thinks in his dream “if I roll over I will touch her face so gently, so she won’t wake up,” and he moves to do this. He rolls over and opens his eyes to look, and when he opens his eyes I am not there. The space is empty, and his fingers send a wish ó bring her back ó as they rest on his thigh with a sigh and their wish brings me closer.

(Car lights approach. BETSY looks straight at them.)

There’s a knock. He opens the door. It is not me and his belly says, “Betsy” and his mouth says, “hello” and “how’re you doing?” and “come in.” All the while his belly whispers, “Betsy, her, Betsy” sending out a wish, and I get closer.

(A car stops. A radio playing classic rock is barely audible. Sound of a car door opening. BETSY gets in. Sound of a car driving off. Crickets.)