Monologeus for Teenagers

Montologues for TeenagersLooking for original monologues for children? Drama Notebook holds a monthly Monologue Contest open to kids and teens from around the world. Each month, we choose winners and publish many of the entries we receive.

Check back often to see new entries, and consider entering your own student’s work!

While the monologues in this collection are FREE, they are copyright protected. The monologues MAY be performed by children and teens in educational, competition and audition settings without requesting permission. The performer must cite the author AND Drama Notebook in his/her recitation. We are also building a collection of monologues on video. If you or your students would like to participate, please contact us with a link to the performance.

This collection, or any part thereof, may not be published online, electronically, or in book form without the express written permission of the publisher (Drama Notebook). You MAY share this collection with your students via Google docs or via email, but you may not post the monologues on any other website that is viewable by the public. For commercial rights and other inquiries, please contact us.

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Focus

First Place Winner!
By: Elise H., Age 13, New Jersey, USA
Description: A student with ADHD talks to her teacher about her struggles with learning.
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic

Thanks for talking about this with me Mrs. G. I know I’m struggling with focus. I’m sure you’ve heard about it from my previous teachers too. Every year, in at least one of my classes, I feel like I’m the “troublemaker.” I’m not trying to disrespect anyone or break any big classroom rules, I just can’t focus. A big distraction for me is drawing. I draw a lot. I’ll just be sitting there in class, and my brain will start creating a story, and I’ll feel like I have to draw the characters. I know I shouldn’t doodle, and I know I’m missing the lesson, but I just can’t help it. I think you should know that about three years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD. I wasn’t surprised. I kinda knew I had it all along. I figured it out when the teachers started pulling me aside and making special charts for me to help me finish my work. I eventually got medicine for it. Sixth grade, the very first year I took the medicine, was the best year of school I’ve ever had. But it went downhill in seventh grade. For some reason, the medicine just didn’t work anymore. Maybe it was the medicine, maybe it was me, but the seventh grade was worse for me than fifth grade when I didn’t have the medicine. They kept increasing the dose, but it just felt the same. I had been placed in all the advanced classes too. Everyone was so better than me at everything. I felt out of place. That’s why I was almost relieved when I was placed in regular math classes this year. I have no problem being average. In fact, that’s my dream goal. To just be an average kid. Instead, I stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes I feel like the only one in the whole class who has problems with learning. Honestly, I’m starting to develop insecurities.It’s easy to think that everyone’s always watching you when sometimes, everyone is. Like when the teacher announces to the whole class that you got a frowny face on your chart for the day. Or when the teacher reads your hall pass out loud and your whole class knows you spent half of the period in the guidance counselor’s office. People start to ask you questions, like “Why do you have a chart?” and “Why were you in the guidance counselor’s office?” And they don’t say it, but you know they’re thinking “Is something wrong with her?”. I know that I have problems, and I know that I’m different, but these problems are internal, and they don’t have to be shared with everyone in the class. That’s why I really appreciate it when teachers go out of their way to talk to me privately when I’m struggling with something, like you are now. I would also really appreciate it if I could be seated next to friends, or at least surrounded by people that I’m friendly with. I think the main reason I draw is that I feel lonely. It might sound weird, but when I feel excluded or unwelcomed by the people sitting around me, my brain kinda wants to distract me from how I feel, which is why it’s so hard for me to pay attention while doodling. I’ve found that in the classes where I sit next to a friend, I do much better. Well, I appreciate you listening to me, Mrs. G. I really want to make sure this year is different.

Evil Reflection

Second Place Winner!
By: Alexis P., Age 11, Austin, TX, USA
Description: A girl talks about her frightening experiences with her evil mirror reflection.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

You’re not going to believe this bit of advice, but I’d be very careful of spending too much time looking in mirrors if I were you. I learned my lesson last week. It all started when I woke up and began my morning routines. I was looking at myself in the mirror when my reflection started to waver. I stared dumbfounded at the mirror, thinking “I’m not moving, so why is my reflection moving?” Suddenly, out of nowhere, my reflection reached out and grabbed me. I couldn’t believe I just got pulled into my mirror by my own reflection! I was freaking out. Hey, don’t blame me. I think you’d be freaking out too! The inside of my mirror looked nothing like what I expected it to be. It was a big white room. I walked around and realized my mirror self was gone! I think when she pulled me in, she swapped with me out in the real world! Oh no, I thought, what if she’s evil? She must be. She pulled me in here. I have to get out! I started banging at the mirror and shouting “Someone help me! My reflection has switched with me!” After a while, I gave up and slumped against a wall. I started to wonder if I would ever get out? It turns out, in the middle of my most desperate moment, my mirror self was wreaking some serious havoc in my life by being mean to everyone and destroying my reputation! And I could do nothing. Finally, my mom entered the room, so I shouted to her, “Mom! Help me get out of this mirror!” Low and behold, she heard me and looked at the mirror. I told her the whole story and that I didn’t know how I could get out. I didn’t know, but my mom, she is a genius. She said if my reflection had pulled me in, maybe she could pull me out. She stretched out her arms, and my arms barely made it through the mirror surface, but my mom pulled me out! I started laughing and crying at the same time. Mom comforted me, and then she planned what we would do about my mirror self. We caught that evil reflection when she came home from school, and together we pushed her inside of another big mirror. She pounded and tried to get out, but she couldn’t. We took the mirror to the landfill, and I was so relieved that she was gone forever. Eventually, I repaired all my friendships, so nothing was lost on my reflection’s havoc. Just remember this the next time you look in the mirror.

Iceberg

Third Place Winner!
By: Alex Tuzov, Age 8, Thailand
Description: A merchant ship captain has a conversation with the president of an African country about the iceberg he is towing back from Antarctica for $1 million.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Hello, president’s office? This is Captain McGrady. Can I speak to President Mumumba, please? Thank you. (beat) Oh, hello, Mr. Mumumba. How are you doing, sir? Well, I’m great! Everything is going as planned. I have this huge iceberg. Yes, my ship is tugging it. And I am steaming full speed to the east coast of Africa. (reporting excitedly) You are going to have 100,000 tons of ice in a week! Yes, ice-cold crystal-clear water for the whole country! (asking, a bit uneasy)Yeah… uh…Mr. President, I need the money. $1 million as stated in the contract…
(disappointed, frustrated) Wha… what do you mean it can’t be done? But we have this agreement! The contract says $1 million for an iceberg from Antarctica. I have the iceberg. Why can’t I get the money? (confused) What? Coronavirus? Quarantine? Borders closed? The port is closed,too? But why are you only telling me about this now? You could have informed me before… I’m in the middle of the ocean, Mr. President! (angry) Wait? I can’t wait! The iceberg is melting and in three weeks it’s going to be a popsicle. (trying to joke) You are not paying $1 million for a popsicle, are you? (demanding desperately) Well, then open the port, let the Iceberg in. (beat) No? (giving a new idea, hoping desperately) Then let’s sneak it through a smaller port. (beat) (disappointed) Oh, I understand, it is too big… (selling again, inspired, excited) I still think you should do it, Mr. President. It would be the greatest thing ever to happen in your country. Tall and beautiful mountain of crystal-clear ice! Enough to provide drinking water to cities and villages for a year! Green fields and happy farmers! (brightened with a new idea, excited) Oh, did I tell you about the penguins? The iceberg comes with penguins sitting on top! Put them in the zoo and charge people three dollars to look at them. You’ll get your million dollars back in no time. The zoo is closed? (frustrated again, panicking) Well, sell them as pets. The best seller of the year! Who would not want to have a penguin at home? (beat) No? (panic) Uh…or …or…build a huge ice-slide and rent out sleds and skis! Or a skating rink! I can volunteer as a skating coach as soon as I get one million! Yeah, I played hockey. (excited, inspired with his new idea) It can be a huge ice theme park. With people skating, skiing, sledding, having fun in the snow, making snowmen, feeding penguins…! You know what, forget about it! You don’t want the iceberg? Fine. I’m keeping it! It’s worth so much more than just 1million!

Middle School

By: Avalon C., Age 13, Missouri, USA
Description: A teen reassures her younger sister that Middle School won’t be as bad as she things.
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic

(knock knock) Who is it? Oh, Anna. Come here. Are you still scared about tomorrow? I know.
The first day of middle school is written as scary in all of the movies, but it’s not that bad. You still have the same friends as last year, and the lunches are only a little different, so how can it be that bad? Choosing my outfit got harder in Middle School, and to be honest so did everything else. Friend groups got more complicated, so was lunch, seating choices, there was so much homework, and the teachers were really different. But different does not always mean bad. I made a lot of new friends in Middle School, some that I still have all the way to now, in high school. I learned to be more independent and even learned about money management. Plus, all the other things that you learn in school. Still, Middle School should be written off as neutral. Even though there are all of these scary things happening, all of these good things happen too. That’s why you shouldn’t be scared Anna, you’ll love Middle School, I promise.

Wish Me Luck

Second Place Winner!
By: Louis McCartney, Age 17, Northern Ireland
Description: Marilyn Monroe talks at her own funeral about three important moments in her life.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

I think I was twelve. Yeah, twelve. I was on holiday with my family. We were driving along laughing and joking. After a while, me and my stepdad started arguing. I can’t even remember what it was over, but things got pretty heated. My mum told my stepdad to pull into this gas station, stretch our legs and chill out a bit. I climbed out of the car and walked over to the public toilet. When I came back out again, the car was gone. My mum and stepdad had left me. I walked into the shop and asked the guy working there if he saw where the car went. He could barely look me in the eye. He said he saw me walk into the toilet and as soon as that door closed my parents shared a look, ran to the car, jumped in and drove off. You’d think I’d be surprised, but I wasn’t. My parents always liked their drugs better than they liked me. I had no money and no phone. It was getting late, so I started to hitchhike. I stood there for hours, until finally I got a lift into the city. For the first few nights I slept rough. If you’re ever looking for a nice, quiet, safe place to sleep rough in a city, try a graveyard. No one messes with you there. I started to steal cars, sell them for a hot meal and a cheap hotel. Got arrested and ended up in a juvenile detention center. That place was crazy; it was like a 24/7 dogfight. The guards used to lock us in our dormitory at night and not show up again ‘til the morning. The savagery that took place there was unbearable. After I got out of there, it was back to stealing cars. Got arrested again and it was rinse and repeat with juvey. That’s where I took my first hit of heroin. You know, heroin will give you everything, but you’ve got to be prepared to give everything to heroin…and I did. This is the first day I’ve been clean in four years. But the only time I feel happy and content is when I’m on heroin, so I don’t know if I’m ever gonna’ get off it. But God loves a trier, so here goes nothing. Wish me luck.

Moment #2: Marilyn Monroe productions Meeting Milton Greene + Escaping Fox

Can I be honest? Fox wasn’t so wonderful. It did give me a lot. Movies. Magazines.
Marilyn Monroe was a celebrity. Whoohoo! But I didn’t have a friend. Not until I met Milton Greene. One day I saw a beautiful portfolio and wanted to meet the photographer. When I saw him I was surprised by how young he was so I said. ‘Oh, he’s just a boy!’ and he replied with, ‘hmph she’s just a girl.’ I liked him because he wasn’t scared of me. Without Milton, I would never have escaped to New York. I wasn’t going to sign another contract for anybody but me.

Moment #3 New York / Kennedy’s birthday

In New York I found love. I was pushing myself again thanks to the actor’s studio and UCLA. But the opinions were still so loud. The most deafening moment was JFK’s birthday in 1962. I heard the voice of James Dougherty ‘Marilyn Monroe is a stranger.’ I saw the jealousy on Joe DiMaggio’s face. He didn’t want anyone else to look at me. I felt the disappointed glare of Arthur Miller. I wasn’t what he needed me to be. Everyone who ever loved me took a part of who I was. But Kennedy. Charming Kennedy. Possibly the only man who would be considered as my equal. Kennedy was the worst of them all. Because loving him took my life. I was getting better. Until I was killed, making it look like a clumsy mistake of my own hands. Even in death, I’m the dumb blonde. Who else could it happen to? There was Dorothy Kilgallen. A journalist. Who was maybe a little too good at her job. Dorothy and I had too much knowledge. And a woman with knowledge clearly, can’t be trusted.

Wedding Jitters

Third Place Winner!
By: Astra Baker, Age 16, New York, USA
Description: her wedding, a bride is in her head overthinking what forever would mean.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

(Actor is holding a bouquet and standing as if facing a groom in a wedding ceremony. Pulls away to face the audience.)

Until death do us part? That’s a long time. Like, forever. Forever. Like forever, forever? So many things in life take me forever. Like picking out this wedding dress. THAT took forever. Or, or picking out the wedding cake. There were just so many favors and different stores with different bakers and don’t even get me started on the fillings! But forever…with just one person? This is the biggest day of my life and I’ve been talking about fo- for- FOR LIKE FOREVER, or at least since I was able to talk and watch TV. I’d watch all those beautiful brides walk down the aisle, looking so beautiful in their elegant gowns, hair done so perfectly, holding the loveliest flowers just below their glowing faces, bursting with joy, faces decorated with the biggest smiles, bright as jewelry, every one of them feeling like they’re the only girl in the whole world. And now that’s me. (pauses, looks at groom) I love him. I truly do. From the moment we met dancing together at that festival a year ago, until the moment he surprised me on the beach, written in the sand, a proposal pulled straight from the movies. He’s the one for me. I feel love when I look in his eyes. But…forever? Oh, just look at him, with that smile that melts me. He’s my prince, for sure… but am I his princess? Can I be that for him, forever? I’ve been practicing all week. Those two little words, “I do.” Everyone in this church is staring at me. Waiting for my answer, and he is looking so longingly at me. Oh, what the heck. (turns to face the groom) I DO! (turns back to the audience) I wasn’t supposed to shout it. Now everyone is laughing at me. Oh, what the heck. I gotta get my kiss now. I’m his princess…FOREVER. (turns back to groom).

Moment #2: Marilyn Monroe productions Meeting Milton Greene + Escaping Fox

Can I be honest? Fox wasn’t so wonderful. It did give me a lot. Movies. Magazines.
Marilyn Monroe was a celebrity. Whoohoo! But I didn’t have a friend. Not until I met Milton Greene. One day I saw a beautiful portfolio and wanted to meet the photographer. When I saw him I was surprised by how young he was so I said. ‘Oh, he’s just a boy!’ and he replied with, ‘hmph she’s just a girl.’ I liked him because he wasn’t scared of me. Without Milton, I would never have escaped to New York. I wasn’t going to sign another contract for anybody but me.

Moment #3 New York / Kennedy’s birthday

In New York I found love. I was pushing myself again thanks to the actor’s studio and UCLA. But the opinions were still so loud. The most deafening moment was JFK’s birthday in 1962. I heard the voice of James Dougherty ‘Marilyn Monroe is a stranger.’ I saw the jealousy on Joe DiMaggio’s face. He didn’t want anyone else to look at me. I felt the disappointed glare of Arthur Miller. I wasn’t what he needed me to be. Everyone who ever loved me took a part of who I was. But Kennedy. Charming Kennedy. Possibly the only man who would be considered as my equal. Kennedy was the worst of them all. Because loving him took my life. I was getting better. Until I was killed, making it look like a clumsy mistake of my own hands. Even in death, I’m the dumb blonde. Who else could it happen to? There was Dorothy Kilgallen. A journalist. Who was maybe a little too good at her job. Dorothy and I had too much knowledge. And a woman with knowledge clearly, can’t be trusted.

The Life of Marilyn Monroe

First Place Winner!
By: Jasmine Scholz, Age 17, Australia
Description: Marilyn Monroe talks at her own funeral about three important moments in her life.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

Moment #1: Funeral of Marilyn Monroe August 8th, 1962 Opens with the funeral presenter.

‘We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Norma Jean, better known as Marilyn Monroe.’ Actress transforms becoming Marilyn. I kinda hoped to live up to more than this. But didn’t I have everything anyone could want? It was 1946, and I had been signed by Fox. I was going to be a movie star! My husband James didn’t like it. He said I was becoming a stranger to him. (Apply red lipstick.) I never wanted to marry him. I stood there, 16 years old and I thought, ‘Dear God, please don’t say those vows.’ He said em, and then I thought ‘Maybe I could run away?’ Then the priest said ‘Speak now or forever hold your peace.’ I said nothing. That’s when I became Norma Doherty. Thank god I changed it to Marilyn.

Moment #2: Marilyn Monroe productions Meeting Milton Greene + Escaping Fox

Can I be honest? Fox wasn’t so wonderful. It did give me a lot. Movies. Magazines.
Marilyn Monroe was a celebrity. Whoohoo! But I didn’t have a friend. Not until I met Milton Greene. One day I saw a beautiful portfolio and wanted to meet the photographer. When I saw him I was surprised by how young he was so I said. ‘Oh, he’s just a boy!’ and he replied with, ‘hmph she’s just a girl.’ I liked him because he wasn’t scared of me. Without Milton, I would never have escaped to New York. I wasn’t going to sign another contract for anybody but me.

Moment #3 New York / Kennedy’s birthday

In New York I found love. I was pushing myself again thanks to the actor’s studio and UCLA. But the opinions were still so loud. The most deafening moment was JFK’s birthday in 1962. I heard the voice of James Dougherty ‘Marilyn Monroe is a stranger.’ I saw the jealousy on Joe DiMaggio’s face. He didn’t want anyone else to look at me. I felt the disappointed glare of Arthur Miller. I wasn’t what he needed me to be. Everyone who ever loved me took a part of who I was. But Kennedy. Charming Kennedy. Possibly the only man who would be considered as my equal. Kennedy was the worst of them all. Because loving him took my life. I was getting better. Until I was killed, making it look like a clumsy mistake of my own hands. Even in death, I’m the dumb blonde. Who else could it happen to? There was Dorothy Kilgallen. A journalist. Who was maybe a little too good at her job. Dorothy and I had too much knowledge. And a woman with knowledge clearly, can’t be trusted.

Little Racist Things

Third Place Winner!
By: Thandie C., Age 12, USA
Description: A middle-schooler talks about racism among children/kids from their point of view, in front of their class for an English assignment.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

It’s the little things that are racist. Like for example, there’s that coloured pencil, which is a peach colour, that everyone calls ‘skin colour’. That’s racist, but you never realise that until you’re older. Peach isn’t the only skin colour to exist, or maybe people just say it’s ‘skin colour’, because they think it’s the only one that looks good on their drawings. Or the only one they think is pretty. Not black. Not brown. Or when the lights are out and someone yells for your name, and you’re black, and everyone is like ‘where did you go’, ‘it so dark I can’t see you’. Again (pause), that’s racist. Just because I may be darker doesn’t mean you can compare me to pitch black. If a black person happens to wear braids to school, some say ‘you have to wear your real hair’, ‘you’re not allowed extensions’. Some of the kids pull on it, touch it, pat your hair, flood you with questions, and that’s just annoying. It’s just little things that don’t seem racist as a kid, until you’re way older, and then you realise, wow (pause), the world sucks.

Genie Blues

First Place Winner!
By: Ethan Roberts, Age 12, Plymouth, England
Description: The genie in ‘Aladdin’ vents his frustrations
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Yes, I’m a genie. It was supposed to be a secret. But now everybody knows about me because of Aladdin. You’ve got the book, the film, the stage production and of course the merchandise. There I am, Aladdin’s big fat comedy sidekick. Well, let me tell you something, life isn’t all what you see in the movies. For a start, look at me. Do I look oversize to you? No, I’m very slim actually. The director, Bob, comes up to me and says he needs a genie of ‘gigantic proportions’. Fair enough I say, puffing out my chest, I can work out … This was when I found out they didn’t want me to appear as myself in the film. Bob comes to me the next day and says, ‘I’m envisioning you in blue’. I say, ‘no problem, blue has always suited me, it’s my signature color. Of course, he wasn’t talking clothing, he meant skin tone. So now I’m a big, blue blob! Great!… Deep breathe … After I calmed down, I thought, never mind, it will still be my story, I’ll just look a bit different. ‘Come and visit the set, ’Bob says, ‘See how we’ve brought your story to life.’ Well, I walk in and there’s sand everywhere and it looks like a holiday brochure for Tunisia. ‘Not very Devon is it?’ I say. ‘About that,’ says Bob, ‘We were looking for a more ‘exotic’ location.’ ‘But you’re never going to find a grocery store around here are you?’, I reply. ‘Hmm,’ says Bob, ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you about that.’ Apparently, the true story…that I came out of a milk carton in the local supermarket when Alan unscrewed the lid, wasn’t ‘exciting enough’, it didn’t scream ‘blockbuster’. ‘We’re going with Aladdin rubbing a magic lamp to summon you instead,’ says Bob.(Sighs, head in hands.) I consulted my solicitor. He said that because I signed over my rights, I have limited input on how my story is told. Something about artistic license. Of course, by this point, it isn’t my story anymore anyway. Apparently, they thought ‘Aladdin’ was the standout character. Handsome guy gets the girls and all that … and by the way she was actually called Sandra, not Jasmine, and she was no oil painting, let me tell you. Anyway, it’s Alan’s, I mean ‘Aladdin’s’ name in lights and I’m there in his shadow providing the cheap laughs. The very cheek of it. I’ll have you know I did method acting in my youth; I’ve had calls from the RSC. I am not and never will be a joke act!

Pasta on Trial

Second Place Winner!
By: Joel C., Age 16, Melbourne, Australia
Description: A pasta maker defends himself in a murder trial.
Gender: Any (can be changed to the wife on trial)
Genre: Comedic

Actor should be quite emphatic, triumphant even, in his delivery.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, neither myself and nor my company, nor pasta had nothing to do with the untimely death of my wife. I beg for this case to be dismissed before my company suffers further. For almost a decade, our company has held the largest market share for pasta in the world. We have been through thick and thin, (and angel hair) fighting our adversaries and overcoming hurdle after hurdle. It has been a long and treacherous, unforgiving path, especially with the invention of keto diets. But we have made it, and we stand here together, today, in defiance of the odds, in unity. And it is of my utmost pleasure to announce that we are becoming more than pasta manufactures, today – we are pasta pioneers. You are all familiar with ravioli, we have been bred and raised on the stuff, the epitome of pasta. And tomorrow, if I am not imprisoned, our company will honour our ancestors, and our nation, by unveiling our sausage filled ravioli, sausoli, patent pending. This revolutionary step in the world of pasta will forever unite the Australians and the Italians, with a cuisine that will outlast societies. I would like to dedicate this concoction to my late wife, whom we all adored. Yes, she died by choking on pasta. But it was not my fault or the poor linguini’s fault. Linguini is innocent! My wife LOVED pasta. She literally loved it to death. The poor woman gorged herself on it and that’s what killed her. I believe that I’ve made my case clear. You cannot convict me or my linguini. It will bankrupt us. Please vote to acquit. Do it for the children. Do it for the children who need their macaroni. I rest my case.

Thanksgiving Acceptance

Third Place Winner!
By: Genevieve B., Age 15, New Jersey, USA
Description: A teen nervously reveals to his/her grandmother that he/she is gay.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

I’ll be out in a minute! Just…Hold on, just warm up the car! (beat) Hey, Grammy. I love you too, yeah; this has been fun. It was great seeing you. Look, I need to talk to you before I go. No, no mom and dad know I won’t be out for a minute. Don’t worry, they’re waiting for me, yeah. Look, I really have to tell you this. No! No, I loved dinner. The turkey was great. It was the best Thanksgiving yet, Grammy. Yeah, it was really fun to see everyone again, but uh, Grammy, please, just let me talk!Thank you. Now, I’ve been thinking for a long time. Do you remember when you always told me that the boys would be chasing me, because of my amazing good looks? Yeah, well, I’ve kind of been running away from them all. I’m not … scared of them. I’m just interested in someone else. Yeah. Someone special… Well, it’s not actually a- (beat) What’s his name? His name. Well, I don’t think I need to say. Embarrassed? I’m not embarrassed; it’s just not what you’re going to expect.Well, if you really want me to say it. I’ll say it. Eve. Her name is Eve. (beat) Oh, thank God, the wishbone worked!

No One

First Place Winner!
By: Chloe Cramutola, Age 16, New Jersey, USA
Description: In a world where everyone has gone missing, one teen remains, imagining that he/she is a radio show host.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

(Monologue can be delivered at a desk with a prop microphone, simulating a radio broadcast, or in front of a laptop, as if the person is livestreaming or recording a video.)

Well, good morning world. The walls are still white, the food still canned, and the people still gone. It’s day 47 of absolute isolation, loneliness, and complete and utter boredom. Listeners—of which, there aren’t any—and I don’t mean to start off on such a low note, but I’m gonna go insane if I have to be stuck with myself for another two months. Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t driven myself up a wall yet. The routine’s the same, the weather’s the same—if anything’s not the same, it’s me. I’ve learned to somewhat cope with the silence and to, rather reluctantly, live on my own in a house I could never call my home. Things are… bad, to say the least. Nowadays, conversations consist of tousling with stubborn thoughts or barking back at my Pomeranian, whose name is, fittingly, Wilson. At least he hasn’t left me behind. (pause) Man. I miss my family. My friends. Just, talking to people. Saying “hi” on the way to class. Those three-hour calls only just starting at midnight. Heck, even the dreaded small talk, the awkward interactions no one wanted… Right now, I’d give anything to mess up one more embarrassing presentation, one last really bad attempt at asking my crush to prom. I mean really, you don’t know how annoying you are until you’re talking to yourself and only yourself 24/7, trying to pretend you have some semblance of a purpose. Frankly, this whole show is pointless. What I’m doing now is pointless. No one will ever hear it. No one will ever care. Because, there is… no one.

Psychologist

By: Ava Reis, Age 12, St. Louis, MO, USA
Description: A teenager is forced to go and see a psychologist by their parents.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

How do l feel about it? You seriously just asked me how I feel about it? Classic. Ya know, this whole psychologist thing in general is kind of corrupt. You sit down, listen to my problems, (supposedly) and ask me how I feel? Look, I know my parents gave you the rundown of my whole life story or whatever. I heard you from the waiting room. You know I was bullied. You know I have bipolar. You know my grandma died. How does that make me feel? Not great. But I don’t let that stuff define me. I’ve moved on. I’ve dealt with that stuff on my own. To be honest, you guys are just reopening those wounds. Last night I googled stuff about psychologists. All I have to say is wow. Y’all get paid a pretty hefty salary considering you just sit down and listen to people go on, and on about their problems. But I mean, let’s be honest here. You don’t actually listen. You’re just thinking about going home, watching tv, what you’re going to make for dinner. Look, I’m not stupid. You guys are still regular people. You have your own problems. If you ask me, I don’t think you want to spend your time engulfing yourself in some randos life. So, I’m just saying maybe asking me how I feel isn’t the best approach. Cause, I’m pretty sure I just told you how I feel. Let’s just cut this short okay. You can have that power bar you’ve been eyeing on your desk, and I can go ride my skateboard for the next hour. That’ll make us both feel better. (gets up and exits)

Zombies

Second Place Winner!
By: Naia Thethy, Age 11, Washington D.C., USA
Description: A person calls a government agency and admits to starting a zombie apocalypse.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

(Speaking into a cell phone with great urgency.)

Hello? Have I reached the pandemic response team? Oh good. My name is Chris Johnson and I have something important to tell you. I know who started the zombie virus (pause) it’s me. But I can explain everything. I work in DiCor Labs, I had been working on a medication to cure bad skin. Now, I believe I accidentally added some of the other substances that we had been mixing. One was a mild antibiotic that was shown to reduce the effects of aging. I don’t think that was it, though. The other one was a chemical that has been shown to bring people back to life. (pause) Yes, you heard that correctly. That’s why I’m calling. Our test subjects are the ones who first turned into zombies. I came back from my break, and everyone was missing, and I saw on the news that they were zombies. It started in our lab. Now, I think I know the cure. It’s as simple as mixing part A and part B, and in theory, it should work. But if it doesn’t, I can add in some of the confidential ingredients. (pause) No, don’t hang up. I’m serious. (pause) Arrest me? No, you don’t understand. You can’t lock me away; I alone can cure this. I know I made a huge mistake that could cost hundreds of lives, but if I can fix it, then it’s not the end of the world. Look, I have loads of promising chemicals in my lab and I’m even willing to test them on myself. (pause) Okay, yes. Send someone over. Your scientists will want to work with me on this. I’m the only one who knows the formula. (pause) Okay. Bye. (hears someone at the door-maybe a loud crash) That was quick! (moves toward the door and offstage and starts screaming) Noooooo! Zombies!

Vote for Me

By: Sami Taylor, Age 15, Austin, TX, USA
Description: A teen running for Student Council President delivers a terrible campaign speech.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Class of 2020, I have something I need to say to you. Vote for me. Not for President, I don’t even think I’m old enough for that. For the Student Council, I mean. I wanna be your class president cause like prom sucked last year. And I think you all know I throw a killer party. A vote for me is a vote for a better prom. Also, the guidance counselor, Ms. Beiste, said that if I want to get into college, I’m gonna need extracurriculars like Student Council, so here I am. Apparently, my GPA is record-breaking which I is a good thing, but apparently not enough to get into the college of my choice. Without the curriculars, you know. But yeah, so vote for me. I’m supposed to tell you why I would be a good fit for the job but let’s be honest. You’re gonna vote for me anyway. Why? Cause I’m popular, and I’m running unopposed. But just to fill the time, I guess I’ll go ahead and tell you another reason why I’m eligible. I babysat a lot last summer and I feel like I was a really good leader. I got the kids to go to bed, only a couple hours after their bedtime, and I supervised when they cooked my dinner so. Yeah and also, it’s true that I ran for Student Council last year but there was a miscommunication. Apparently you can’t just run to be Student Council, you have to run for a certain position. So, I guess you could say I’m ambitious. Oh, well. Time’s up. So remember, vote for me for President. Of Student Council not the government…obviously.

Supernatural Computer

By: Ian Shin, Age 16, Austin, TX, USA
Description: A kid tells a friend about the time he thought his computer was possessed and speaking to him.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

I know! Alexa is always listening. But you want to hear something even more strange? My computer has been speaking to me. No, I’m serious. (pause) Yes. That computer right there. It happens at random times, like at night when I’m in bed and looking at my phone. At first, it was just saying things like “turn off your music,” or “turn off your light.” But then it started to get more complex; it started asking me to do favors for it. Like it told me to buy this new computer game and have it shipped to the house. Of course, I didn’t do it because it’s a computer. What’s it going to do to me? Well, the next day, my room was a complete mess and something smelled like it died in here. And on the screen, it said, “You should have done what I asked.” That was the last time I messed with my “supernatural” computer. The next day when the computer asked me to order it food, I didn’t question it and ordered that food right away. I ordered it from my house, but it never arrived. The doorbell never rang, and my app told me that it arrived. I don’t know where it went. Maybe the app and the computer are working together. Wait. Did you hear that? Shhhh. (pause) You heard that, right? See, I’m not crazy. It just asked me to write a three-page paper about the civil war. (realizes something) Wait a minute. My little brother is supposed to write an essay about the civil war. Oh, he is so dead! (yelling) Jackson!

Storytime

Third Place Winner!
By: Lauren Reese, Age 16, Austin TX, USA
Description: A parent tries to get their crazy energetic kids to go to bed.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Ok, kids. Seriously. It’s time to go to bed. Lights off, no more talking! (pause) Ok, fine. I’ll tell y’all one more story. Hmm, what is trendy now? Popsockets? VSCO girls? TikTok? What, those are already getting outdated? Whatever. Okay…once upon a time, there were three sisters, just like y’all. One who was obsessed with VSCO, the other who would not stop making TikToks, and lastly one who actually went to bed on time. They decided to go on an adventure because they had been bored at home all day. They wanted to go to a treehouse they had seen a couple of miles away from their house. One sister asked if the oldest could drive them but she said, “Don’t you remember Brittany when I was taking my driver’s test I was eating a banana and then threw the peel out the window, which someone immediately slipped on. Now that I say that I’m realizing that’s why I don’t have my license.” So, they had to walk. Along the way, the VSCO sister found a great spot to take some pictures for the gram. So she made her sisters stop and take pictures of her. They then continued and found an awesome hammock that one of the sisters wanted to take a nap on but her other sisters insisted that they keep moving. When they finally arrived at the treehouse the last sister forced the rest of her sisters to do the renegade with her for TikTok but what they didn’t know is that they were in a magical treehouse that didn’t like TikToks so it made the girls shrink and they were sucked into the pop socket on one of the girl’s phone never to be seen again. The end. Now go to bed for real!

Throw it Back!

By: Drew Evans, Age 12, Austin, TX, USA
Description: A kid playing baseball gets confused after catching a home-run baseball.
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic

(Actor should be over-the-top enthusiastic, acting out the pitches, bat swings, and catches.)

Dad, I wish you could have seen it! I understand. You’re sick, and that’s okay. Let me tell you exactly what happened. It was the top of the 8th and the LG Twins led by four. The Doosan Bears had the bases loaded and no outs. I could smell the pizza in the air, and I couldn’t help but smile when the Twins hit a bomb to center field earlier in the game. “Strike one”, yelled the umpire, and everyone cheered. The pitcher had a no-hitter going and even though he just walked three batters the whole team wanted him to pitch the full no-hitter. The pitcher throws the ball. “Strike two”; everyone cheers. The pitcher winds up and throws again. With a loud crack, the ball pops off the bat and the announcer says, “High fly ball deep to center field. Kimoto is back at the wall it is … caught he robs the home run!” Everyone goes crazy. Even though a run scores, it doesn’t even matter. We also got the double play. The pitch…the crack of the bat the stadium goes silent he dives out and catches it! Wooo everyone goes insane. In the bottom of the 8th, the twins scored two runs on a home run. Top of the ninth the no-hitter is still alive and crack!!! It is way deep. It’s a no-doubt home run and it’s coming right for me, and I caught it! I actually caught it! Woohoo! Wait. Oh no! Everyone is chanting, “Throw it back! Throw it back!” What should I do? I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna throw it back! No! It’s a home run ball, but it broke up a no-hitter alright. I’m throwing it back. Three, two, one, rrrrr aaa! I threw it back. Hahaha, I’m such a mad man. The twins ended up winning that game but still, I can’t believe I caught a home run!

The Sleepover

Second Place Winner!
By: Natalia Santos, Florida, USA, Age 13
Description: A teenage girl tries to convince her strict mother to let her go to a sleepover.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

Hey, Mom! (Pause.) No, I don’t want anything at all. Well, just one, teeny, tiny, little, insignificant, totally no-big-deal favor. (Pause.) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, WITH A CHERRY ON TOP, AND SPRINKLES, AND WHIPPED CREAM: CAN I PLEASE GO TO KATHY’S SLEEPOVER TONIGHT? Wait! Before you say no, just hear me out! First of all, I cleaned my room from top to bottom, and it’s so clean, you could eat off the floor! I know you shouldn’t do it, but it’s a metaphor – just roll with it. I also mopped the tile floor in the living room, washed the dishes, bathed the cat, polished all the mirrors, took out the trash, finished all my homework for the next week, and booked your next appointment to the, the… podiatrist. Secondly, you’ve met Kathy’s mom, and you guys totally hit it off! I know you haven’t gotten the chance to check their wall paint for dangerously high amounts of lead or check her bank statements, but I think she’s pretty trustworthy! She keeps a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and everything. Also, she doesn’t have any big dogs in the house, or any other risk factors that could result in injury. So, what do you say, my loving, supportive, most amazing mother in the whole, wide world?

The Receptionist

Third Place Winner!
By: Iris Barrera, California, USA, age 13
Description: A chatty receptionist scares off a person who comes to interview for a job.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

Hello there, dear. I’m Janice P. Nelson. The “P” stands for Penelope, it was my mother’s name. Everyone just calls me Nancy though, I’m not sure why. Mr. Rupert will be with you shortly. Why don’t you go ahead and take a seat hon. Oh! No. Not there. Mr. Rupert sits at that table for his lunch break, and trust me, you don’t want to sit there. Mr. Rupert is very intimidating and you don’t want to do anything, even accidentally that could destroy your chances of getting this job. Oh, here. How about this armchair here, the green velvet really compliments your eyes… I remember the days when my eyes were that bright… You look a little nervous dear. I would be too if I had to go in there. Here, have a cup of tea. I know, it’s decaf, sorry that’s all we got right now. There, feeling better? I’ve always found that a nice cup of hot tea can settle my nerves. You know, when I got married to my first husband, Charlie, I was so nervous. I was practically shaking as I walked down the aisle… Oh Charlie. He died almost exactly two months after the wedding. Mysterious heart attack, you know? Well, I just married Charlie’s brother after that, he was the richer one anyway…Are you married, dear? No? Well, you better hurry up with that, you’ve only got a few years left before you turn practically into prune, and then no good man will want you. Take it from me, Charlie’s brother died of a heart attack too一I think it ran in the family一 and after that I couldn’t find another husband. And I was left with absolutely no fortune at all, since the brother seemed to have a gambling problem. That’s why I had to take this job… What’s it like? Well, working for Mr. Rupert has its challenges. For one thing, he’s quite particular. He’s obsessed with colors and well, if you show up one day wearing a color he doesn’t like, that puts him in a foul mood all day. I mostly stick with brown, that seems to suit him. Also germs. Never, ever touch Mr. Rupert. I made that mistake one day, and trust me, I will not repeat that. He also has a lot of crazy ideas. He calls them ‘big ideas.’ If he brings one up, its best to just agree with him, no matter how absurd it sounds. But other than that, it’s a great place to work. If you’re done with the tea, dear, you can just set it on my desk. Feel free to take a few of the peppermints, I saw you eyeing those. You know what? I think Mr Rupert will see you now. His office is right down the hall, third door on the left. Don’t touch the edges of his carpet, he really doesn’t like that. Wait, where are you going? His door is over here. Come back. Mr. Rupert will see you now!

Feral Cat

By: Lauren Connally, Texas, USA, Age 17
Description: A girl tries to persuade her best friend to release a feral cat Hannah had captured.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

Look, Hannah, I know you love him, but you have to get rid of that cat. I know you keep telling me, “But Fiona, I rescued him!” No, you did not. That’s a feral cat if I’ve ever seen one. He constantly runs away from you, scratches up everything you own, and attacks your face if you get too close. Trust me, you’ll both be happier if you let him back into the wild. Especially the cat. That thing is not meant to be indoors or near people. Trust me, I’m doing you a solid here.

Bad Day

By: Lauren R., Texas, USA, Age 16
Description: A teen tells a friend about the worst day of her life.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

Talking to a friend on her cell phone.

What did I do today? You’re going to be sorry you asked. Today has been the absolute worst day of my entire life and it’s only 1 pm. I had so many things planned, and it was supposed to be the best day ever. This morning, I went to Starbucks to pick up muffins and iced vanilla chai lattes for me and Haley and Jessica, but the barista spilled one of the coffees all over me. After that, I was still determined to have the best day ever, so I decided to drive home real quick to change out of my coffee-stained shirt. On the way to go meet them for some morning shopping, I got a flat tire. But I decided to call roadside assistance to get my car towed and have Haley come pick me up and not let it ruin the day. We met Jessica there, and we were having fun shopping until we went to a really expensive store to try things on for fun and I accidentally tore a dress I was trying on. That was definitely a costly mistake. At that, I asked Haley to drive me back home because frankly, I could not handle one more mishap. But she insisted that it was all just coincidence and Jessica said that she would help me cover the cost of the dress. Then they talked me into going over to the zoo to see the new habitat for the turtle that had been just added. But I was worried because there were so many things that could go wrong at the zoo. So, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I was at the zoo and a monkey pooped on my head. Yes, I’m serious. It came from out of nowhere like I don’t even know how the monkey got where I was so it could poop on my head specifically. I decided that was it, that was the last straw. I walked six miles home in my new heels because I knew that if I ever stepped foot in a car it would probably explode. (pause) Tomorrow? What am I doing tomorrow? You’re out of your mind if you are considering going somewhere with me.

The Ex

By: Melany M., Florida, USA, Age 13
Description: A dramatic Hispanic girl complains about her ex-boyfriend to her new best friend.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

I still can’t believe that Esteban did that. He left with Brittney’ to America y me dejo! Well, I don’t want to focus on him right now. He wasn’t even that nice-looking, anyway. I don’t know what I ever found in that guy. Oh, who am I kidding? He’s gorgeous, he’s adorable, he’s…he’s…I can’t keep doing this to myself! It’s been two weeks. I should be over that “Prince Royce-wanna-be” by now. Pero, I just can’t get over him – he’s all I think about! (Pause.) Is that–oh…my…oh…my…TAMALES! No puedo… it’s…it’s a pimple! And it’s HUGE! No wonder he left me. That little Americana – she must have perfect skin. I could never. And this pelo! Who in their right mind would EVER find me attractive?! I knew from the moment he left he was disgusted by my ugliness! (Pause.) Well…now that I think of it, he did call me dramatic and loud. He thinks I’m dramatic?! Oh, sweetie, no, HE’S the dramatic one. And, I’m Hispanic, so I don’t know what quiet is! He’s the one missing out on the future “Miss Universo.” (Pause.) Oh…is that the new neighbor from next door? He can shoot hoops? Hay, he’s guapo! Just look at those muscles! That’s it, I’m out. Brittney, you can keep Esteban. I have bigger matters to attend to!

Courage

By: Sophie S., Texas, USA, Age 16
Description: Tommy, 18, is going away to college, and saying goodbye to a tiger who has been his imaginary friend his entire life.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

Actor can use a stuffed tiger as a prop.

You’ve been with me for so long, through everything, the ups, and downs, and during all of the struggles that come with growing up, you have been my best friend. What a childhood I’ve had, with a tiger by my side! You listened to the stories about the bullies, you rescued me when everyone else in the house was yelling out of hurt and anger. You stayed up late with me looking at the stars. You pushed me to be brave and to stand up for myself, and through it all, you were there. Like no one else in my life, you were always present. No late-night work, drunken moods, or angry fits could change you. You never changed, you were a patient listener, my courageous sidekick in every battle, and my trusted confidant. And now, there is something I need to say to you. I’m going off to college next week, and I can’t take you with me. I know you’re not real, I know that you are my imaginary friend. That was never a problem, because I didn’t want to go a single day without my Tiger by my side. But I’m growing up, heck I am grown up, and grown-ups can’t go around talking to a friend named Tiger. So, from now on I will call you Courage.

Thinking

By: Josh K., Texas, USA, Age 14
Description: A teen wrestles with trying to stop thinking so much.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

Please don’t ask me what I’m thinking, mom. I have nothing to say, like literally nothing, the fact that my brain is so empty right now astonishes me. I cannot believe that there are even words coming out of my mouth, it’s almost as if my mind is full. Full of emptiness however, like invisible metal, weighing me down and inhibiting me from saying anything other than that I have nothing to say. I am thinking about thinking about not thinking and that might be enough make you think about thinking, which is a lot of thinking. That gets me thinking what is thinking? Now I’m thinking about how not thinking about thinking made me think about thinking about not thinking. That’s enough thinking, time for some television. What? You want to know what I thought of last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy? Ugh, I told you…NO MORE THINKING!

That Which Carries On

By: Lizzie T., Texas, USA, Age 14
Description: A depressed teenager assures her friend that she will be alright…and her reason is surprisingly simple.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

What keeps me going? It’s a weird answer, but I’ll tell you. Water. (pause) No, really. Hear me out. Scientifically, lonely and sad people love rain due to the negative ions it releases, which bring feelings of comfort and happiness in the midst of the positive ions coming from most other things in the world. That’s the only thing I learned from chemistry class this year, but I’m not sure I agree. That water has been everywhere: icebergs from the ages before humanity, the river Caesar crossed, a poisoned well from the Middle Ages, the glasses on the Titanic. Water brings a sense of peace, not only because of the scientific explanation, but because I know it will travel on despite my failures. If I fail my chemistry test today, or spill Pepsi on my dress at prom, or flunk my first job interview, or anything else that can and will go wrong in the next week, the same rain that is soaking through my socks right now will carry on. And if something as simple as that can keep going, I’ll tell myself I can too.

Identity Crisis

By: Hedy Z., Texas, USA, Age 17
Description: A utensil in a kitchen drawer has an identity crisis.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

You know the times when you lie in the dark and ponder upon questions about life? Well, this is one of those moments. Since we are both stuck here for another good moment, I figure I will tell you a little about myself, whether you are interested or not. Really, I just have to get these words out of my system. You see, they all say I am “one of a kind.” I thought that that’s what people said when you were strange, and they wanted to be nice. Where I come from, there are basically two groups, and I realized that I don’t belong to either of those groups. One group, the group to my left, said I was too “round” for them; and the ones on the right? Apparently too “spiky.” Now, young one, like everyone else, I wanted to fit in. It I was desperate to be accepted by either group. But it never worked. When I tried to sneak into a group, I’d get found out and separated pretty quickly. I think I had decompression…no, what’s it called…depression. There you go. I think that’s what it’s called when you are sad all the time. But yeah, it was some dark time… until one day. One day, someone from the group to our left said, “Do you realize you get to work every day?” Working frequently is like the greatest honor we could ever have, by the way.” So I started to think, why… if I don’t belong to a group…I get to work the most? And it struck me like lightning. It was because I was me. My roundness and spikes are what made me stand out. And if I would take those away, I wouldn’t be there for our masters and serve them well. It really is a journey to maturity…you’ll get it someday. So now, with no shame and in full confidence, I can announce to the world: I am one of a kind. Yes, I am a spork!

The Coolest Kid in School

Third Place Winner!
By: Mikala Southern, Georgia, USA, Age 12
Description: A student tells a story about how a daredevil stunt helped him become the coolest kid in school.
Gender: Male
Genre: Comedic

The stupidest thing I’ve done? Yeah, I’ve got a story for ya. And it wasn’t the time I stole a hotdog cart in Times Square. That was stupid, but I have one better than that. The day started off like any normal day. I grabbed my lunch, and my dad yelled goodbye and just like always, he says, “Don’t do anything stupid.” It’s like my old man’s motto, and normally, I don’t listen. But I should have. So, I get to school and this kid, Elroy, he’s kinda like my arch-rival. Elroy comes up to me and says, “How’d you like to be the coolest kid in school?” Move out of my way, I tell him, but he says, “No, really. I heard about this kid over at West Union High who was a real nobody, and then one day, he jumped onto a moving train and now, like all the girls are after him, and it’s like he’s some kind of daredevil superhero. Just sayin. There’s a train that comes out under the tunnel behind the bowling alley every day at 4:00. Think about it.” The rest of the day seemed to last forever. I couldn’t focus on anything my teachers were saying, I was too busy thinking my plan through in my head. As soon as I got home, I ran over the bowling alley and climbed up onto the top of the tunnel. When I heard the train coming, I noticed Elroy and a group of his friends. This would be my moment! The train burst quickly through the tunnel and I jumped! And that is the story of why I am laying in a hospital bed with a full body-cast. But hey, there’s a rumor going around that when I get back, I’m going to be the coolest kid in school!

Counting Calories

First Place Winner!
By: Nugwa Usman, Canada, Age 16
Description: A girl struggles with her relationship with food, and with her desire to fit in.
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic

Mom. Why did you have to bring home pizza? Yes, I know that I can have salad instead, and salad is only 200 calories. It has vegetables and it’s good for me. But if I only ate one slice of pizza, that’s only 300 calories. (pause) Right, plus what I had morning. (pause) Well, I had four pancakes. There are 175 calories in one pancake, times four. Wait a sec. (does calculation and is shocked) 700 calories. I ate 700 calories worth of pancakes. Oh yeah, and then syrup, which is about 100 calories, plus butter, which is 80 calories a teaspoon, then milk, 130 calories. That’s 1010 calories. Then I had four cookies at lunch. 180 times four, which is 720 calories, plus breakfast (does calculation) so 1730 calories. If I eat that pizza, I will have eaten more than 2000 calories. So, salad, or pizza…salad or pizza. That pizza would taste sooo good, and you hardly ever bring home pizza. 2000 calories isn’t even a pound. I could be healthy tomorrow. Just look at all that goody goodness. The warm mouthwatering softness of the bread, smothered in rich beautiful tomato sauce, with the essence of pepperoni delicately intertwined and caressed in a beautiful blanket of cheese. (has a sad realization) But, I am a fat ass. (pause) No, mom. It’s true. That’s why those girls keep calling me names, and everyone keeps sneering at me any time I walk by. Even my best friend won’t talk to me anymore, the humiliation is probably too much for her. Or maybe she just got tired of defending me. But seriously to just wake up one day and end a friendship because of how popular someone is. Who does that? I mean aren’t we in a day and age where it’s okay to be different? Why can’t people talk to me and get to know me instead of talk about me and make up stories. But who am I kidding if some kid accused me of eating seven times a day they wouldn’t be wrong. I have done that before. What is wrong with me? I hate my body. I hate being able to grab into the folds of my stomach. I hate getting on a scale and feeling like it’s screaming at me to get off. And I hate these lines that rip through my body. I hate every part of me. (pause) No, mom. I have to say it. I have to say it out loud. I’m starving…but I am not going to eat that pizza. I’m going to be healthy. For me. And I’m doing it today not tomorrow. Give me that salad.

The GoodLife Interview

First Place Winner!
By: Tristin Fuller, Washington, USA, Age 13
Description: A job interview goes awry when it’s revealed that the company is a cult.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Hello… (looks down at paper) …George. Welcome to GoodLife, my name is Anya. We are what you would call a lifestyle brand. I understand that I am interviewing you for the accountant position here. Now as I can see on your resume, I understand that you used to work for our rival company, Bath and Body works. So, if you do want a job here you will have to make an oath that you will never step foot in a Bath and Body Works ever again. But I’m sure you’ll find that we have a great environment here and we are all just the nicest people. You will get some special perks for working here we offer dental and medical, and we consider your mental health a top priority. In fact, we provide a wide range of self-help books that are mandatory reading if you choose to work here. Also, we believe that those who are drawn to GoodLife are kind of chosen people. Do you get my drift? (Samantha enters the office) Samantha, get out of my office now I’m not dealing with you today. Don’t you look at me like that, I do not want to have another shrimp incident. Yes, sorry George, yesterday my boss Samantha ran at me with a shrimp cocktail the size of a Clydesdale. She knows that shrimp is the one thing I’m scared of. Ok Samantha what do you want? No, I have not told him yet, I was just telling him about our medical and dental plans before you interrupted me. (pause) Why would you say that Samantha?! George I’m so sorry about her. We are not a cult. Samantha, you shouldn’t call your own business a cult. Now Samantha please leave before I make you. (Samantha leaves the office) God I hate that woman. Now George I’m gonna be honest with you, we are a cult. (pause) Samantha created this and I think it’s starting to drive her, well…crazy. Not to worry. We have a team of people and an unlicensed doctor who delivers shock treatments working on her. She should be back to herself in no time. (pause) Are you suffering, George? It’s okay to tell me. We, here at GoodLife have the solutions to all of life’s problems. (holds up a book) This here is the GoodLife Life Guide. In 1,000 simple steps, you will find the key to everlasting happiness. (pause) Where are you going, George? Was it something I said? Wait! (pause as Samantha reenters) Okay, so I lost another one. But it’s not a big deal. Samantha, oh my god, that man must be the most depressing person I have ever met. Not even GoodLife can save him. (Anya turns to a random employee) HEY YOU, yeah you right there. Go run the sales counter. I’m sorry did you just ask me why, because I’m heading to the beach to relax. Well I’m also going there to watch people get sunburns and then sell them GoodLife sunscreen and a promise of a better future. (Anya leaves the office)

Stars

By: Dakota Stranger, Georgia, USA, Age 14
Description: A kid dreams of an odd encounter that has a real-world complication.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

I remember seeing stars. Stars everywhere. Not regular stars, but the Jewish star, worn around necks and stuck on jackets. They were rushing past me. Star after star. I heard men with heavy guns yelling at people to get in line. There were women screaming for their children. I covered my ears and ran inside and closed the door. I looked down at my sister and felt as if the world was ending. And of course, it was. I yelled at my sister to get in the basement, and for the first time, she listened to me. I looked out the window and saw a man getting shot, blood ran down his neck as he fell. I jumped back in shock and then I heard it. Boots approaching our door, and loud knocking. I raced down to the basement and huddled with my sister. We held our breath as the footsteps above grew closer and closer. The door to the basement flung open and the sliver of light shone on us. The man raised his gun and pointed it at us. I raised my hands instinctively in front of my face, and I prayed. And then I saw stars. The last thing I saw was stars.

Obsessed? I’m not Obsessed!

By: Jayden Buitt, Mississippi, USA, Age 14
Description: A teen has a conversation with a stranger on a plane.
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic

Yeah, I’m in high school. (pause) What are my interests? Well, my friends say I’m obsessed with celebrities. I just want to say to them, “Look you little two-timing molded fruit cakes, I am NOT obsessed with celebrities!” The truth is, I only in love with ONE! Theo James! I know his age, address, full name, where he lives, and where his entire family lives! I mean we’re basically married. If you ever get to meet his family, you will love them! I sure will! I plan on paying them a little visit. You know, just to ask them a few questions like where’s the nearest hardware store, oh and if Theo has any cameras at his house. That is the basic questions you ask your husband’s parents, right? Yeah, I know this flight to England costs a lot of money, but he is worth it, anything for my hubby! I’m sure that he has gotten the hundreds of letters that I sent. He’s just too busy to write me back. Oh, I know he will be so excited to see me, well, when he regains consciousness anyway! What’s that? You are calling the flight attendant to call the police? Oh, don’t worry! He totally knows I am coming. I gave him a little call the other day. I guess he thought I was some obsessed teen off the street, but I am SO not obsessed! What? you think I am obsessed too? No ma’am! I am in LOVE! Anyway, here we are! I am so excited! Wish me luck!

Killer Cat

By: Meredeen Smelser, Washington, USA, Age 13
Description: A crazy cat lady thinks that one of her cats is trying to kill her.
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic

Karen, listen to me. I know this sounds crazy, but…. I think Max is trying to kill me. (pause) Yes, my cat. Can I stay here for a couple of days while I figure out what to do? It’s not funny! I’m not kidding! Okay, you don’t believe me? The other night, he was waiting for me at the top of the stairs. He tried to jump on me when I got to the top, but I got out of the way. Barely. He was trying to kill me, I swear! He’s always hiding in piles of things and jumping out at me! Look at all these scratches! (shows hand and points to both ankles) No, I don’t know why! I feed him every day, I give him treats and lots of attention, everything. Maybe I let him watch too much TV… I woke up the other night, with the feeling of being watched. Now, Max is always in the living room at night, but I saw two glowing green eyes at the bottom of the bed near my feet. It was Max! He was watching me while I slept! Okay, that doesn’t sound that bad, but my door is closed at night. He opened it! My door has a knob instead of a handle! HOW DID HE DO THAT?!? HE’S A CAT!! Wait, Max heard me talking on the phone before I left. He knows I’m here. Is your door locked?

The Hospital Visit

By: Rylee Budke, Washington, USA, Age 14
Description: Kendall is seeing her mom in the hospital while her mom is in a coma.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

(Character sits at the edge of a hospital bed.)

It has been a hard couple of weeks without you. Me and Luke still aren’t used to the house being so quiet, we miss all the fun times with you. I’ve been really trying to keep a happy face for Luke, but it’s really hard. He (starts to tear up) tells me how much he misses your laugh almost every day. Before I put him to bed, we talk about all our memories (wipes tear) that we had with you. Oh yeah, I just had my birthday. I’m 17 now. I also took up a part time job to help pay for rent and food. To try and get our minds off of you in the hospital (grabs her hand) we started to watch the videos that you made of us on Christmas; it always makes Luke laugh. Well, I can’t stay long. I have to get Luke from daycare. I just wanted to say, I love you and we miss… I hate seeing you so pale. It’s so weird seeing you with all these machines around you. I promise you that I won’t let Luke see you or remember you like this. Now I have to go, but I promise I’ll be back on Thursday.

Lost in New York

By: Erin Case, Washington, USA, Age 14
Description: A teen asks a stranger for help after missing a train stop while running away.
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic

Excuse me…excuse me… can I please use your phone? I promise that it’s not really a big deal. Yeah, I’m okay. I know, you’re wondering why but I promise I’m fine. Okay, three days ago me and my mom got into another big fight, and trust me it isn’t the first time we’ve gotten into a fight. She’d been yelling at me almost every day for the littlest things too. It obviously wasn’t my fault because why would I do things that would upset her on purpose? Since she wasn’t really around much with her work and everything, I decided that I could take the train from Ohio to Pennsylvania, to stay with my aunt because that seemed like my only option as long as I was away from home. I just couldn’t take it anymore, you know? It seemed okay, but I slept through the night on the train and had no choice but to get off when the train stopped in New York. I figured everything would be okay and I could find a cab to take me to my aunts’ but then I realized that I left my bag on the train which had my phone and all of the money that I could bring. New York always seemed nice too I guess, but now that I’m here, there’s too many people, and it’s crowded everywhere I go. I didn’t think that I would miss home, but I really do. I miss my friends, my dog, my house, and even my mom. So much and I would do almost anything to get back to it all. I know that she’ll be really disappointed, and I am too, in myself. The only thing I can do now is go home, because I can’t stay here. So, if I could just use your phone…

Dear Diary

By: Scarlett Longo, Georgia, USA, Age 14
Description: A teen tells her diary about her worst day yet.
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramedy

Dear diary,
A lot happened today, so get ready. Okay, so this morning, my nine-year-old twin sisters, Rose and Emile, just walked into my room, without knocking, stole my cardigan, lipstick, necklaces, and mascara, then walked out. I told them that they couldn’t take my stuff, but Emile said, “We don’t care,” and Rose ignored me. Then, when I got on the bus this morning, none of my friends were on, and I had to sit with a stranger! Talk about awkward. That’s not even the worst part of today. At lunch we had meatloaf, so I went hungry. Normally one of my friends has a lunchbox and shares with everyone, but not today. Then I forgot to finish my math homework so now I have to redo it for half credit. Finally, I got home expecting to eat a snack and relax… until my mom said that she and dad needed to talk to all of us. Even my little sister, who is only five. I had no idea what they could need to talk to us about, but we all sat on the couch anyway. That’s when they told us that they’re having another baby! Can you believe it? Another one? And the worst part is that it’s a boy! We are a family of all girls. Boys are so gross! I have no idea how I’m going to live with one. Mom and dad say I’ll be happy when he is born, just like I was with my little sisters, but I highly doubt it. In any case, I’ll keep you posted.
Until next time, Anna.

The Mystery Club

First Place Winner!
By: Marwan Lahbabi, California, USA, Age 14
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A troubled teen tells his story to a new psychiatrist.

(A boy walks in and sits on a sofa in his psychiatrist’s office.) So, Dr. Broomfield is gone, huh? Just as well, I guess. He was what? Like eighty? But then again, I gotta be honest. You look too young to be a psychiatrist. (pause) Alright, well, I’ll give you the backstory. You might want to get a snack. So, last March. I was a sophomore, and this whole high school thing? Trust me when I tell you that I despised all of it. The people, the lunches, the drama. But home wasn’t much better. I’ve always been really smart. Practically a quantum computer, and my two brothers were jealous of this, which led to my being bullied by my own family. So, no friends at school, and treated like crap at home, I guess I was set up to be more prone to fighting and self-harm. Then, I guess it all came to a head on March 2nd. You probably read that. About me going to the rooftop of the school and being ready to jump? Yeah. I had a note, but couldn’t think of anyone to give it to. So, I’m standing up there, and this guy I barely knew, Mark Holmes, appears out of nowhere and yanks me down. Of course, I immediately punched him in the face, but he stayed up there and just kept talking, and after a couple of hours, I felt better, and actually started to like the guy. He asked me to join his club which he called the Mystery Club, which had nothing to do with mysteries at all. It was more like a hangout spot for him and his friends. A boy named Conan Doyle. He was British and personality-wise he’s pretty eccentric. Madman, actually. Julie Paretsky, she was and still is the delinquent of the group. And a girl named George. I know, it’s weird. But she’s great. She’s energetic and very optimistic and able to see the best in everyone. So that’s how I got into that group. Now to talk about why I was in the hospital. It was a normal day at the club, or what we call normal. We had just left a party. Well more like we were kicked out of a party. Yeah, Julie had punched someone because he was being rude. She can be scary sometimes. But anyway, that was the day George started seeing this guy. His name was Alex. He acted like a nice guy around her, but I could tell he wasn’t a good guy. I tried to warn her. She didn’t believe me. Soon enough, Alex confronted me in private tried to fight me. Little did he know that my history of self-harm made me tolerant to pain and my terrible upbringing made me a great fighter. So, it didn’t end well for him. Turns out because of that little scuffle he started to verbally abuse George, but she still wouldn’t leave him. So, me, Mark, and Julie decided to take matters into our own hands. First, we trashed his place. Put graffiti on the walls. Destroyed his TV. That was fun. After that I went to George’s house to tell her about it. I saw her on the edge of her balcony. As soon as she saw me, she jumped. I ran and caught her hand as she was falling and tried to pull her up. I used all my strength to save her. She put her hands on the ledge to pull herself up, but by that point my arms were done and when she pulled up, I fell down. Right off the balcony! I thought it was funny ending up right where I started. It felt like time was slowing down. I saw George’s horrified expression as I was falling. You know, I though falling to your death would be scary, but it was somehow soothing knowing it was all over and I was about to die. After I fell, I was in a coma for two weeks. My family is pretty much done with me, but hey, I’m alive. Oh, that’s the end of our session? Great. I got somethings off my chest at least. Well, got to go. The mystery club is waiting. I heard Julie hit someone with a bat.

Bitter Eulogy

Second Place Winner!
By: Zoe Marner, Ontario, Canada, Age 17
Gender: Any (can be changed to be delivered by a son)
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A daughter delivers an honest eulogy at her father’s funeral.

(A teen delivers a eulogy at a podium in a packed church.)

Wow. A lot of people here today. No pressure, right? (Pauses, unfolds paper, takes deep breath.) They say the worst things happen to the best people, but I disagree. My father was a great person, at least to most of you. He told stories and did impressions every chance he got. I hated them. They were never accurate anyway. His impression of Daniel Day Lewis doing Abraham Lincoln sounded more like Al Pacino. Those of you who were his students knew a caring, dedicated, and hilarious teacher. Sounds like a great guy. It’s too bad I never got to meet him. The man I knew was short-tempered, distant and narcissistic. The day I found out he was going to die, I was unfazed. That’s bad, I know. Sounds like a horrible thing to say, but he didn’t love me. He’d ignore me when I asked him questions or shared my opinion. I was his daughter; he was supposed to care. His work occupied all his time. I didn’t see why it mattered so much, he was just a teacher and they were just students. I was the one who deserved his time. I was the one who deserved his care. I was his daughter. As I watched him fade away in a hospital bed I thought for once, just once, I would have his undivided attention. I didn’t. Even in the last days of his life all he could think about was you. His bloody students. He wrote some of you letters. They weren’t just any fair-well letters though. He wrote you to tell you what you meant to him. I never got any letter. It’s selfish really, I know, but I deserved one. I did. I thought it was okay, though. I thought he would surely change in the end. He was dying. Maybe things would be different. He was going to tell me that he loved me, and he would mean it. He never did. I read some of the letters he wrote, one was to a boy named Jacob. Maybe you are here today. My dad told Jacob that he had made him see the world in a different way. Opened up his eyes, he said. Shifted his perspective, he said. My dad was a phony and a liar and I hated him. As my father took his last breath I cried, but I wasn’t sad, I was angry. Where is my letter? I deserved it, didn’t I? I was his daughter! But he was dead. You can all go on and mourn the loss of a “great” man, but I knew the real Albert Scott. He had you all fooled. (Throws paper on ground and leaves the podium.)

Girl Who Cried Wolf

Second Place Winner!
By: Amber Rothberg, Massachusetts, USA Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager tells her therapist about the day her sister disappeared.

You ask me this every time, and it’s been a year, so yeah. I guess I’m ready to talk about it. (pause) I think I’ve told you before about how my sister, Katherine and I would play pranks on each other. Like, we would pretend we were dying, or possessed or something. It was really stupid…but you know, we had fun with it. I would hear her screaming in the kitchen, and I’d run down and see her holding a knife and covered in blood. I would start screaming too, until I saw the can of spaghetti sauce on the counter and realize it was a joke, and she would laugh so hard that she would fall down. It was just a thing we did, you know. But that day was different. That day, we had just gotten home from school and our parents were still at work. Katherine and I were in some sort of fight. I don’t really remember what is was about, probably something dumb, like her borrowing something and not returning it. But anyway, I didn’t feel like talking to her, so I went up to my room to do homework. All of a sudden, I started to hear Katherine scream and yell my name. I was annoyed because I assumed that it was another one of her pranks. She would always prank me when I was mad at her, so that I would laugh and forgive her. But I wasn’t in the mood to play her games…. and so I ignored it. The screaming went on for a while…and then it stopped. That’s when I started to get worried, so I went downstairs to check on her, and…she was gone. I never saw my sister again. I guess I don’t have to tell you the rest. You know. My parents know. Everyone knows that my sister is DEAD because of ME. Katherine Rivers was the girl who cried wolf. And I was the girl, who ignored her cries.

Watch a video of this monologue here.

Chores

Third Place Winner!
By: Austin Walker, Iowa, USA, Age 14
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager complains to a friend about household chores.

I can’t come over tonight. It’s garbage night. Which means that I will be slaving away filling up the yard debris bin and the recycling container and dragging all the bins to the curb. Yes, they make me do all that. (pause) I know you don’t have to. I have more chores than any of my other friends. My dad also makes me mow the lawn, AND take care of the lawn mower, which at first, I knew nothing about. But he said that if it broke down because it wasn’t properly maintained, I would have to pay for it. I spent three hours on Google and YouTube figuring out where the oil goes and how to keep the blades clean. (pause) I know you don’t have to do anything like that! None of my friends do! Last summer, I had to help my dad build a fence while you guys were at soccer camp, and this weekend, he is forcing me to stay home and help him stain the deck. It’s like I’m a prisoner. You know, like those guys who used to have to break up rocks when they were sent to jail? (pause) Oh, I can’t complain to him! It’s not worth it! He’ll go on for an hour about how he is doing me a favor by giving me responsibility and teaching me how to be a man and that one day, I will thank him. Can you believe it? He thinks I’m going to thank him for making me do so many chores? He’s out of his mind! (pause) Anyway, what are you doing tonight? Video games again? I’m jealous.

Pretty

Second Place Winner!
By: Jen P., Tulsa, Oklahoma, Age 15
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager complains to a friend about household chores.

You… you think I’m pretty? Really? Wow. I haven’t heard that in so long. I-I mean, of course, my parents would always tell me I’m pretty. But they’re supposed to. When you hear it from them, it… it doesn’t matter as much. And sometimes you know you’re pretty, so it doesn’t matter. Like if you wear makeup, you know you look good. It doesn’t matter as much. But some days you don’t hear it. And that matters. Some days you think you look nice and no one says anything. Or you put on your favourite pair of jeans and nobody notices. And you think, “do I always look bad? Am I not pretty?” That’s when a “you look nice” seems to matter the most. I’ve never been the victim of bullying. No one’s ever told me I’m ugly. Because, well, actually, no one… cared enough to tell me I’m ugly. No one sees me. Even if I was pretty, how much does a pretty face matter when it’s covered by a sheet? A blanket of obscurity. A pretty nothing. What do you think is worse-being known as ugly, or not being known at all? Sometimes, I wonder why people don’t say it more. Just a “you look pretty” could change someone’s day. Then I realize I don’t say it very often. I don’t tell people they’re pretty when they are. And it’s weird, because it’s not like it hurts to say that. It helps someone else and you. You feel good by making other people feel good. But I guess people just can’t admit that someone looks better than they do. They don’t realize it, of course. They just know it, deep down, they don’t feel pretty. And if they don’t feel pretty, why should anyone else feel pretty? (sigh) You’re very pretty.

Amnesia

Third Place Winner!
By: Jessica G., Age 16, Calgary, Alberta
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A young woman tries to help her sister regain her memory.

I know it’s not your fault, but Allison, it’s me. Your sister. Maybe if I tell you about all the things we did, and who we used to be together, you’d remember. Yes? Let’s try. I promise that my feelings won’t be hurt if this doesn’t work, but I have to try, okay? (pause) Okay, when we were kids, we always got into trouble together. We used to sneak out of my window when it was clearly past our bedtime. We’d create imaginary worlds, complicated worlds, under the moon. One time, we pretended to be in Atlantis, beneath the sea. You were a princess, and I was a talking slug. If you remembered anything, you might remember that, right? Anyway, we always got caught, and we always got in trouble, but that didn’t stop us. (laughs…sees that she doesn’t remember.) It’s okay. Let me keep going. You and I were very close…we’d tell each other secrets and talk behind Melanie’s back. She’s our other sister. And if you regain your memory, I hope you don’t suddenly like her better than me. (pause) We were a force to be reckoned with when we were together, we were partners, not a hero and her sidekick. During the summer we rode our matching blue Schwinn bikes everywhere and we’d try to hold hands while riding. One time, we even planned out how we would make a business together. My favorite idea was fashion design. You’d sew and I would do the finance. Even when we fought it wasn’t so bad, because we loved each other, and we couldn’t stay mad for too long. Depending on the rare cases it did last longer than a couple of days, we would pause the fight so we could still vent and talk. That’s pretty funny isn’t it? You wrote me a note on pink paper saying that you HAD to tell me something, but then we had to go back to being mad at each other. (laughs) We never should have fought in the first place, and sometimes I wish we could’ve paused the whole world for a bit longer, so we could’ve made more memories. (pause) I’m sorry I went away to University. I should have stayed here in town, at least until you were ready to leave too. Maybe then, this wouldn’t have happened. You wouldn’t have gotten into that car with your friends that night because I would have come to get you. I should have been there for you. Well, I’m here now, Allison. And I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay until you either remember me, or you learn to love me all over again. I’ll never be mad at you again. You have my word. Whether or not you ever remember who we were, I will be here. I’m your sister.

Struck by Lightning

First Place Winner!
By: Kennedy L., Columbus, OH, USA, Age 17
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen recounts his/her experience of being hit by lightning.

No, it’s not a tattoo, it’s a scar. It’s lightning….yes, I’m serious…. well, it’s hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. It was summer. Not like tonight. It was one of those summer nights when rage-filled clouds obscured the sky and the night birds and the cicadas were silent. I had gone outside to bring my bicycle in before it rained. In the distance, I could hear the familiar hush of the ocean. Shhhhhh. And everything else was quiet. I grabbed the handlebars of my bike, and then came the roar. A clap of thunder so loud it shook the very ground beneath my feet. What happened next felt instant and slow motion all at once. I had barely moved my bike, when the BOOM came. A white-hot flash far away and everywhere, and my body in the air and then nothing. And then lying on the grass, my body like lead, my head splitting with pain, and the sweet, overpowering fragrance of grass. My mother was screaming over me, but she sounded far away. In the hospital, they told me that I had been struck by lightning. My mother had seen it from the kitchen window. Lightning broke the sky outside and traveled along the ground and through my bicycle. I was lucky. They call it ‘fractal.’ A few more feet and I would have died. I still have headaches, and I cannot hear in my left ear. And this scar? At first it was blisters. A white-hot searing that bled and pussed and crusted over. And now it’s this. This beautiful pattern like a willow branch. Forever trying to reach the ground, and not quite making it. It will never go away. And to be honest, I don’t want it to. My eyes are open now…to the richness…and also the impermanence of life. I am here. With you. On this warm summer evening. The night birds are singing and the cicadas are humming along. (Looks down at arm.) It’s a wonderful scar, don’t you think?

Cat Lady

Third Place Winner!
By: Niesha M., Fort Worth, Texas, USA, Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A wife tells her husband about a stray cat she’s taken in.

I should probably tell you now, before you notice it. And I need to point out that in no way did I encourage this. I was just minding my own business. And there’s no way I’m going to get rid of it today (under breath) or maybe ever. What? Nothing. What I mean to say is that I will do my best to find her a home as soon as possible. (Reacting to yelling.) I know! I know, but it’s not my fault. I was out in the garage taking off my boots, and she just wandered in. So skinny. And she was meowing like she was hungry, so I just gave her a tiny bit of food. You should have seen how fast she ate it up! So, I might have given her a little more. She doesn’t have a collar, and honestly, I don’t think she belongs to anybody. But I will look online and see if someone is missing an adorable little black and white cat. Oh, oh, here she comes. Look at how friendly she is! Martin, I’ve never seen a cat so friendly. I know, I know. We aren’t going to keep her. Just pick her up, will you? She loves being held. So unusual for a cat…I said, I know that we aren’t going to keep her…of course, I realize that we already have sixteen cats. But she’s so cute…and really…(flirting) what’s one more?

Jealous? I’m not Jealous.

First Place Winner
By: Lyena Monis, Age 12, California, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A jealous girlfriend expresses her views on her relationship with her boyfriend.

You know, my boyfriend tells me I’m an (does air quotes with fingers) “overprotective and jealous” girlfriend, but he just doesn’t understand. It’s a girlfriend’s job to watch out for girls who want to steal him away. The other day I saw him hugging another girl. When I confronted him, he said it was his mom. Excuses, excuses. I didn’t talk to him for a week after that incident. I just trying to protect him, you know. He interacts with so many girls, you never know who may be eyeing him. I even quit my job just so I could keep my eye on him. He often pleads with me to trust him and whatever, but that always leads to arguments. Another time, I hacked his phone and looked through his mail and messages. He’d been talking to so many girls! Someone named Jenny and another named Mrs. Switzer. An older woman! He claimed that Jenny was his science partner and that Mrs. Switzer was his piano teacher. Yeah, right. How could he do this to me? When he caught me looking through his phone, he was a little mad, and he explained that just because he’s talking to women, doesn’t mean he’s cheating on me. Then, he said the next time that I do something like that, he’ll break up with me. He just doesn’t understand what a good girlfriend I am. I’m just being there to ward off any girls who want to take my man. Right now, I’m hiding behind a bush, keeping my protective watch on him. Wait, here comes a girl. Gotta go!

Coming Out

Second Place Winner
By: Jessie Stevenson, Age 13, California. USA
Gender: Female, but can be changed
Genre: Comedic
Description: A teen girl comes out to her family in a comedic way.

Hey parentals, siblings, comrades. How are you? How’s your day? I hope it’s been good. Thank you all for being here. Well I think it’s safe to assume that I have something to tell you all. I am…. Not… exactly…. Straight. Yup. I like not just boys but also girls. So yeah…. I know it may be a shock to some of you and others might have guessed it but yeah. If you want to ask if it’s a phase or a fad. No, it is not. If this new information is a shock to you, I have one question. HOW? I mean seriously how did you not see this coming, look at me. How did you not question it when I cut my hair super short, or when I would talk about LGBTQ+ issues which was… A LOT. Or when I put a giant pink triangle on the door to my room, or when I bought a rainbow bow tie and suspenders? I mean c’mon people. Well now you know. If you can’t accept me, then that’s your issue. It took a lot for me to come to terms and accept myself and I’m going to be myself no matter what anyone thinks. Questions? Nope. Didn’t think so. So, whew. That’s over. Who’s up for pizza?

Fearless?

First Place Winner
By: Lilly Johnson, Age 13, Missouri, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenage surfer narrowly escapes a shark attack and it changes her view of the ocean forever.

You’re scared of the ocean? Yeah, I understand that. The ocean seems scary to many, even dangerous. People fear of drowning or being attacked by creatures from below. But this does not apply to me. I’m as fearless as it gets when it comes to water. Or, at least I was. There are some things that I’ve seen happen in the ocean that would normally scar you for life. I’ve heard about shark attacks, but they never really scared me…didn’t seem real. Until one day last summer. The morning sky was clear, not a cloud could be seen for miles. The sun had already risen, its heat overbearing. Seeing the waves reach all the way out from the deep to the shore, I couldn’t help but think of what a perfect day it would be for surfing. I grabbed my surfboard and broke into a sprint across the beach; I could feel the ocean spray before I reached the water. I waded through the water, trying to keep from being pushed back by the rising waves. After about two minutes, the water was above my waist. Right about that time, unfortunately, a huge wage was forming, and was starting to come my way. I grabbed my board and tried to pull myself onto it, but it was too late. I opened my eyes, only for the saltwater to flood them. Now, some people would have panicked, but that’s not who I am. As I attempted to swim up, a huge object pushed against me, sending me farther down. I looked around. What I saw was terrifying. A shark, at least fifteen feet long, was staring at me the way a barn owl stares at a mouse. With all my might, I swam upward. It seemed like forever until I reached the surface and swam towards the shore. I used to brag about being fearless, but I can’t imagine what would have happened if I didn’t get scared that day. Being scared saved my life. Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m a little scared of the ocean now too.

Hey, I Miss You

Second Place Winner
By: Karina Robles Leyva, Age 14, California, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Caroline writes a letter to an old friend.

Actor finishes writing the letter, then begins to read it. Soon after, she puts the letter down, and continues as if she were really talking to her friend.

Dear Mya,

We haven’t talked in a long while. The last time we texted was when you sent me a message wishing me a Happy Birthday. Thanks for remembering. The day you left we said we’d text every day. And we did, for a while. I still have all the gifts you gave me, the fluff ball, the coloring page, the paintings, and that terrible ceramic dog that sort of resembles mine. Do you still have everything I gave you? Probably not, maybe you threw those away a long time ago. Remember when you first came to visit? I didn’t talk when we first met, I felt weird with strangers in my house. It was the day before Valentine’s Day, and we were making chocolate dipped strawberries when we invited your family over. Then you made me laugh and after that you always came back. You were my first friend you know? When you moved in next door, I was so happy. I used to be sort of an outcast and suddenly I had my first best friend! That’s why it hurt so much when you moved away. We used to know everything about each other. I miss those days. After you left, I never asked how your new friends were, or how your new school was because I didn’t know what to say. Now I’m here reminiscing and missing the times when we went to get frozen yogurt daily. Wishing for those times when you came over and we became like sisters. To be honest, I don’t really remember why you left, I think it was because your mother had to go somewhere for a better job. I don’t really remember why, just that you were next to me crying, red faced when you told me you were going away. And how’s your father? Do you know? I know him being in jail far away from you must be hard. I don’t think you’ve visited him in a while. I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for many things. I’m sorry I never texted you enough, I’m sorry that you left, I’m sorry, and I still miss you. We haven’t talked in a long while, and I thought about not sending this, but we swore to be friends for life, and I am keeping my promise. I’m here, if you need me…and I need you.

Love,
Caroline

Babysitter’s Rules

First Place Winner
By: Jazarae Robinson, Age 12, Ohio, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: Babysitter is not who Mom thinks she is.

Don’t worry, Linda. I will take great care of your kids. I have lots of experience with kids, so I know what to do when they misbehave. Bye.
(Turns to kids after Linda leaves) Now listen, you little brats! I am the boss here, so you will do everything I ask you to do exactly when I say it. Here are the rules:
Rule #1 You don’t question, you just do it.
Rule #2 Never tell your mom anything that I do. Always tell her I’m the best babysitter. You wouldn’t want me to lose my job, would you?
Rule #3 You eat what I make, or you don’t eat at all.
Rule #4 If I have company do not talk to them and go into the basement.
Rule #5 If I make a mess, you clean it. I’m your guest, not the other way around.
Rule #6 No crying allowed.
Ok, those are the rules. Go have fun! (rolls eyes and whispers) Little brats.

The Darkness

Second Place Winner
By: Yulianis Pesante Quinones, Age 14, Virginia, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen reflects on the concept of darkness.

I wish I was scared of the dark. I mean most people are, but I always find comfort sitting in it. Get home, shower, lay in bed. Don’t turn the lights on. My daily routine. Sit in the dark and listen to music. A vampire. That’s what my mom calls me. It’s not that I don’t like the light, you just think differently in the dark. You find comfort in it like a big black blanket wrapped around you. You just let go not knowing what could happen. Your mind travels to so many places and everything’s fine. Until you realize you’re alone. The feeling of loneliness hits you. You have no one to talk to. Everyone’s asleep. You’ve thought so much that the big black blanket is now suffocating you. So, tell me is the darkness safe or dangerous?

No Feeling

Third Place Winner
By: Ryan Dosa, Age 16, Colorado, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Character is numbing themselves by using drugs. They are telling their friend who wants to help what they feel and why they still; continue to use drugs.

I don’t think you get it, one day I can feel like I have the world but the next everything can change, it’s as if you have had everything one day but then have nothing. This is the most heart-wrenching feeling in the world I can feel all my happiness fall into the black pit that lives inside. As my entire body becomes numb all I am able to process is the never-ending question of why. People forget who I am and don’t recognize me anymore for I have “changed”. I no longer have the right to feel sad, the sadness has been stripped from me leaving me open, I’m empty, I have no emotions, no love, no feeling, and no reason. But as everyone says it’s all okay because I can still throw on a smile, and the one thing that makes this all go away are the drugs.

The Mall

By: Carley B., Age 11, Ohio, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A teen girl has a frustrating day at the mall.

Omg, I had the worst day at the mall today. I went into Pink, right? The first store of the day. I tried on the cutest things. Girls, you know how most of the time things don’t fit right, and you leave with two things out of ten? Not today! Everything I tried on fit perfectly! I went up to the counter to pay. The line was soooo long! Like I’m not even joking, it was all the way back to the clearance racks! She had everything rung out and everything was going great, until I reached into my purse to grab my credit card and it wasn’t there! I didn’t know what to do! I panicked and left all those sweet clothes on the counter. I just decided to leave and go to my car. I opened the door and guess what? My card was sitting right there! On my seat!

They Won’t See it Coming

By: Amelia M., Age 12, Ohio, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: Kid is jealous of older brother who gets more screen time.

I hate my brother, period. Yes, yes, I know. “Hate” is a strong word, but I mean it. Trust me on this one. The only thing that understands me is the virtual world, and my family tries to take that from me. They say it is an addiction and that I am in denial. Yeah, no. My family has limited me to an hour on the computer a day, and that’s definitely not okay. My brother gets the whole day on the internet. He has completely taken over the family computer. He even gets away with rubbing it in my face. Favorites much? I am putting my foot down, and I have decided I will take over the family computer. I will snatch it and all of its accessories and I’ll barricade myself in my room! Sounds foolproof, right? I will strike at midnight, and they won’t see it coming. Wait…I think that is my mom now! Act casual.

Selfish Samaritan

First Place Winner
By: Hannah Chaffin, Age 16
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A conceited high school girl who volunteers to visit a disabled boy, is called out for actually being selfish and egotistical.

Yeah, we’ve all heard it, Penelope. How great you are for helping out that disabled boy. Give it a rest. Honestly, I don’t think you’re doing it for him; you’re doing it for yourself. You must feel such a thrill, having him watch you like you’re some kind of savior. I’d guess you like to feel that way; some kind of all holy, selfless being. But in my opinion, you’re the most selfish person I know. You walk around thinking you are a one of a kind, holy mastermind. Plenty of people volunteer, and the good ones, the really good ones don’t yak on and on about it. You like to believe that people think you’re a little miss pink perfect cake pop doll, but you’re not that. Hard to hear ain’t it. That you mean far less than little to someone, someone who doesn’t kiss the earth below you. He doesn’t need you. You could die today and he’d still breathe the same, suffer the same. You aren’t his medication, so stop acting like some prized jewel that can’t shatter to the ground. Test me one more time Penelope. You’ll see, one day, you’ll be nothing more than another grain of sand in the ocean of nobodies.

The Dancer

Second Place Winner
By: Mina T., New York, NY, Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: An elderly woman tells a young artist to pursue her dreams and shares the story of her broken dreams.

Oh, what did I do? Funny question, you see I was a dancer. Once upon a time, that is. Right here on this bench, as you watch me feed these hungry little pigeons, I want to change your life, by sharing mine with you. When I was your age, I loved to dance. I wore silky dresses and flirted with the gentlemen, but mostly I danced. I would never stop, and I couldn’t, I thought. One gloomy day, my dad came to visit. Now, he only came to visit when he meant serious business. He sat me down on the couch. He said, “Sweetie I’ve enrolled you in college. You’re going to major in accounting.” I was petrified; I mean my lifelong dreams could be ruined, but In the weirdest way I felt some type of relief. I didn’t understand what I was feeling, I loved dancing, but I was always told that I would never make it. I agreed to go. I was only 18 at the time. That first day, when I walked into the school, I looked around and I realized I didn’t belong there. I’d made the wrong decision. And then, I spent fifty years wishing I had had the courage to say no. Dancing brought me so much joy! Leaping in the air, I had the feeling that I could do anything in the world. Now, I’m 95 and I can hardly walk. I’m never going to be a dancer; I’m never going to do the only thing that I was meant to do. I regret the decision I made. I could blame it on my father, but it was me who took away the only thing I loved, the only thing that truly made me happy. Sweetie, don’t waste your life as I did. Be an artist. Live the life you are meant to live.

English Class

Third Place Winner
By: Justin Kyzar, Mississippi, USA, Age 15
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A frustrated teacher deals with a rowdy class.

Alright class! Listen up! Because of last weeks’ “events,” we are going to try this again. Everyone get out your pencils. And no throwing them this time! Jane, put that cell phone away! I will not hesitate to take it! Shawn, stop trying to light Cindy’s hair on fire! There is barely any left from last time! Jason! Don’t you dare throw that chair out the window! Jaaasssooon… Jason! Ugh! you guys are worse today than yesterday, and now I have to replace that window! I am calling the principal! (picks up phone) Hello Mr. Sanchez? We need you in the fifth-grade classroom. What do you mean you are busy? There’s no way those kindergartners are worse than these kids. oh…oh… They did that? Oh well, I hope Mrs. Smith recovers. Those kindergartners should be ashamed for doing that to her. Well, stay safe, and I hope the pencil wound in your arm heals. (hangs up) Okay class, new test! We are going to see how good you are at finding a new teacher because I quit! I am going to be a janitor! I rather clean up other people’s messes than teach you! Adios!

Me, Myself and I

By: Cecily W., New York, NY, Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A young girl tells her mother that she doesn’t want to be famous anymore.

Mom, there’s something I need to tell you. It’s, it’s hard for me to say. The last thing I want to do is disappoint you. You’re so kind and supportive of me. I love you so much. I’m, I’m just going to say it. No matter how hard it is for me to admit, because I love my life. But hon-hon-honestly sometimes wish I wasn’t famous! Acting is an amazing thing. Most people would love to be me. It just tires me out so much. Starting at seven– I don’t think that was meant to be my path. I had an idea when I was younger, and you were amazing to let me follow it. But I was seven! I didn’t know all of the pressure that it would be. Again, the last thing I want to do is disappoint you. You’re my role model, my hero, my everything. Sometimes I’m scared I won’t be enough like you when I grow up. It’s just that I feel so insecure and overwhelmed. People always stopping and staring. Taking pictures of me, invading my privacy. Not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I just want me, myself and I. Not surrounded by paparazzi and obsessive fans. Sometimes I just wish for a normal life! I know that sounds selfish, I mean, I have everything. Money, designer clothes, loving family. I shouldn’t ask for more. But, I’m technically asking for less. I love all the fun trips and traveling, and this loving and kind family, I just don’t think a sixteen-year-old should be held to such high expectations. I love you. Thank you for always being there for me. I hope you understand.

A Mother’s Wishes

By: Annelise M., New York, NY, Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A mother tells her teenage daughters to stay in school and to not make the same mistakes she did.

No, no, no, no, I am not going to let the two of you drop out of school! Trust me, I’m not trying to convince you school is fun and all that other stuff, but that is no excuse to drop out. I know because I was once in that situation and went down the wrong path. When I was young, I had this dream about how my life would be, my ideal perfect life, two kids, a husband, a house. I would be rich and have my dream job. I wanted to lie in the grass in my backyard and give my kids advice and teach them life lessons. But it’s not that simple and dropping out isn’t the solution. One day 16 years ago I went into the doctor’s office and walked out with the news that I was having twins. It was an accident from a boy in school that I didn’t really know very well. I decided it would be better if he didn’t know. My first reaction was excitement and pure joy but didn’t last long when I realized all the problems and complications. I was scared to take on such a big role. This one change in my life would have a ripple effect on my life forever. Because in the months that followed I, I dropped out of school to take care of you. Until you moved away, I knew I would have to take care of you alone. All of the financial issues fell on me and it was very overwhelming. My parents did not take the news well at the time, and they didn’t really help. They told me to give you away, but I refused. Don’t follow in my footsteps and drop out because I did it. It derailed my life and yours. You both should get back to school and when you guys have left home, I will too. We can all have a new beginning.

Outside

By: Eleanor H., New York, NY, Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A young girl seeks help from a therapist about her fear of going outside.

I know why my mom asked you to come. I have a problem. Every time I want to go outside, I think about how the outside world is scary. The loud cars, big trucks, the constant noise surrounding me, the germs, the animals… the people. I really want to go outside. I have dreams about leaving this small apartment and I long to walk around the city and see things, learn in a school and not be homeschooled. Go to a park and have normal experiences but …I can’t. Every time I think about leaving, my heart races 100 miles an hour, my palms get sweaty, I get dizzy, and I picture the accident that left me without an arm … The one moment that changed my life forever. Everyone tells me I’ll be fine. But how do I know for sure? I could get hit by a car, robbed, kidnapped, attacked by an animal, or contract a disease. I have spent my whole life living in this house. I was even born in here, I know it’s safe. That’s why I have a special connection to this house. I am tired of being cooped up, but I can’t help it. I just want to be a normal kid. Can you… can you help me?

Watch a video of this monologue here.

I Remember

First Place Winner
By: Karina S., Baton Rouge, Lousiana, USA, Age 15
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A daughter remembers things about her mother who passed away.

Oh yes, I remember her. The way her hair smelled like cinnamon and every time she bent down to pick me up, it brushed against my face. I remember the way she laughed often and easily, her voice a chime of happiness. I remember that she seemed to always be awake. She wasn’t one of those moms who liked to sleep in late and have breakfast in bed. One night, I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. There she was, a cup of tea in her slender hands, staring at the moon. I watched her in silence for a moment. She was so still. As if she were contemplating something. I had the overwhelming feeling that I didn’t really know my mother at all. But then, she saw me. “What are you doing, mommy?” I asked. She snapped out of her trance. “Just looking at the moon, June Bug. Do you need a glass of water?” She always knew what I needed. She was just that way. People are amazed that I remember so much about my mother, because the cancer took her when I was only five. I think her love for me pressed those memories into my heart and mind forever. I remember her telling me, right before she died, that she will always be with me, watching over me like the moon. Oh yes, I remember her. I remember.

Spritey O’Doodle

Second Place Winner
By: Cameron F., El Paso, TX, USA, Age 13
Gender: Male
Genre: Comedic (In an Irish accent.)
Description: A leprechaun outsmarts someone who has found his pot of gold.

Listen, ye squirrely would-be crook…it dunnot work the way ya think. Da. I am a leprechaun, and indeed, we stand at the end of my rainbow with da pot ‘o gold right about here. What they dunnot tell ye is that my gold is buried deep below. Ya think that I would work away, makin’ shoes and boots for all da rich uns, just to let a theivin’ scud the likes of ye, come long and snatch me riches? Too bad for you, I’m Spritey O’Doodle. I’m no eejit. I’m the smartest of all da leprechauns. And you can go get a shovel. Ya have da right to dig for me treasure. But by the time ye return, who knows where me and me rainbow have buggered off ta. (Laughs.) Ye humans are bleedin’ thick! So, run along, ya gombeen. I’ve me work to do!

(The leprechaun goes back to his work making shoes and sings this song.)

“Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade.”

You’re Melting

First Place Winner
By: Amber Leanne Rothberg, Age 12, Massachusetts, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A friend consoles another friend after a death.

Do you ever think about how being alive, and actually living, are two completely different things? Well, they may sound like the same thing to you. But trust me, what you’re doing now Ray, it’s not living. Yes, you are alive, but sitting around in your house all day, starring at a tv, you’re not experiencing anything except for “what’s next on Fuller House!” You need to wake up from your fantasy world Ray. You know, I miss her too. I miss her SO much. It’s the good times that hurt to think about. Like when our families used to go to the beach together. And you, Lila and I would have sandcastle competitions. Or feed the seagulls, even though we knew we weren’t supposed to, we didn’t care. When the lifeguards yelled, we would just nod and laugh it off. It’s okay to have memories Ray, but you can’t live inside of them. Sometimes you have to move on. And this is one of those times. Lila had her turn to live, and then she had her turn to melt. Everyone melts eventually. We will too. And when we do, we will see Lila again. But right now, it’s our time to live, and not our time to melt yet. But that’s what you’re doing Ray. Your melting. And you can’t melt because…because I need you. You can’t live a life, if you’re not willing to live it. You can’t just sit around all day and wait for things to get better. Nothing is ever going to chance unless you change it. And you need to try. I promise you…the moment you decide to get up out of your chair and take a walk or go to lunch with your friends that you haven’t seen in ages, then you will feel better. I’m not asking you to forget about Lila, because that’s not possible. All I’m asking is that you try to live a life without her. And accept that she’s gone, and that she’s not coming back. You just need to live in your current reality and in the moment. Because these moments are all that you have.

You may see a video of Amber performing her monologue here!

Homeless Goldilocks

First Place Winner
By: Anastasia G., Vancouver, BC, Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedy
Description: Goldilocks defends her reputation.

Yeah, I know. I know. You recognize me. “Aren’t you that blonde girl who trashed the Bear’s house?” Listen, I hear it all the time. That was a pretty low point for me, I gotta admit. But look, you really shouldn’t make fun of the homeless. And technically, I’m not homeless. Never have been. I think of myself as more of an adventurer. Sure, I could get a job and rent a dumpy little apartment, but what would be the fun in that? Since the bear’s house, I’ve stayed in some of the finest places in the world! One time, I went on a tour of the White House, and hid behind the curtains in the Oval office. I stayed up all night reading classified documents. They’re a lot more boring than they sound. Another time, I crashed at Buckingham palace while the Queen was out doing some Queenly stuff. I tried on all her crowns. She may or may not be missing one. My favorite place was Santa’s workshop. Yeah, I know. Everyone thinks that those elves never take a vacation. But a snowman told me that’s not true. I got him to tell me the dates…cost me a carrot and I headed on up there. Seven days of playing with whatever I wanted and eating cookies and milk for every meal…now that’s a vacation! So, don’t be hating on homeless Goldilocks. I’m livin’ the good life. And remember, if you have something cool inside your house, remember to lock up when you leave!

Big Girls Get Dates Too!

By: Saturn Davis, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Age 17
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedy
Description: A heavy girl gets asked to the homecoming dance by the finest boy in school.

Ma! Ma! I’ve got a date. I’ve got a date. And do you know the best part? All the skinny pretty girls at school like him! (Singing) But he is mine, he is mine. Oh, did I mention…he is fine, he is fine. Oh, you should have seen their faces when Frankie asked me to the homecoming dance. They were all standing by their lockers: Missy, Claire and Prissy. And all of a sudden, Frankie just walked up. He was still in his football uniform. Man! I love a guy in uniform. And he’s carrying his helmet too. Uh! He’s so strong! And right there in the hallway he says, “Saturn, I have something to ask you, but it’s kind of hard so, I wrote it on my helmet.” So, in the middle of the hall, he gives me his helmet. Missy, Claire and Prissy were about to die, then he goes (kneeling on one knee) “Saturn will you go to the homecoming dance with me?” It was so cute!
So, of course I said “yes,” and when he gave me his ring and his helmet hit me on the head. I have five stitches. It was so romantic ma! He’s coming to pick me up this weekend in his Camaro. I can’t wait! I just hope he doesn’t bring his helmet.

Lights Out

By: Alexander S., Los Angeles, CA, Age 15
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A person discovers a love of reading during a power outage.

The scene opens with the actor pantomiming playing a video game. He/she talks on a headset.

There he is! Ha! Gotcha!… Hurry up! There’s another one! …Pick that up, we’ll need it later… (Suddenly surprised. The controller stops working and the screen is black.) What the heck? (Taps headset.) Hello? (Looks around.) …Oh man. The power is out. I gotta find my flashlight. (Fumbles around in near darkness.) Here it is. Great dead batteries. I think we have some candles. (Moves as if in the dark, opens a drawer. Finds a candle. Lights it.) There. That’s better. (Looks around the room.) Now what? Maybe I’ll just watch some TV. Oh yeah… Microwave some popcorn? …Nope. Oh my God, I might starve. …Keep your cool, Chris. Mom and dad will be home soon. Okay, okay. People used to live without power all the time. Jeez. How did they do that? I’m not going to starve, I’m going to die of boredom first. Let’s see…let’s see (looking around). Oh, there’s that book I’m supposed to read for English class. Homework. Great. (Sits down, opens book and begins reading.) It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. (The lights come back on!) Cool! The power’s back! (Starts to get up. Hesitates.) I might just read a little bit more. (Opens book and begins reading again.) He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawnof the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.

Whippin Boy

By: Carl S., Memphis, TN, Age 17
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager plans an escape from an abusive father.

Never in my life have I deserved a whippin.’ But don’t tell that to my Pa. He can tell ya there’s lots a reasons. I talk too loud. I don’t talk at all. I took too long walkin’ the dog. I didn’t walk ‘im long enough. I left my backpack on the floor. I put it on my bed. Yeah, there’s all kinds of ‘scuses for whippin’ me. Happens mostly when he comes home late, stinkin’ of whiskey bottles and ashtrays. I hear his truck roll up, and the crunch of gravel under his feet. My stomach goes all turvy and I try to keep quiet and to myself. But he finds me. Red eyed and close-fisted, he finds me alright. Sometimes I wonder why he ever had a kid. Other times, I think he had a kid cause he likes whippin.’ Whatever the reason, I’m makin’ plans. I got my own plans. Got a two hunderd and five dollars so far. When I get to four hunderd, I’m headin’ north. I’m takin’ Trout. That’s my dog. I can’t leave without ‘im. There’s this thing called emancipation. I gotta be 16, and that’s in seven months. Even if he tracks me down, he got no rights. But he ain’t gonna track me down. Too much trouble. Good riddance, he’ll say. And I’m gonna be okay. I know it in my bones. I don’t carry no hate around like a bag a rocks. We’ll have a good life, me and Trout. And one day, I’ll have me a kid, and I will love him, and always treat him good. The young ones ain’t no real trouble. They made of love. Unless ya whip it outta ‘em. I still got love left. I got plenty of love left.

Lovestruck

By: Josie C., Albuquerque, NM, Age 14
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Cupid aims his arrow at the wrong person.

Oh, no you don’t! Don’t you be pointing that thing at me! I am done with love. Go find someone else you can trick into going all mushy and stupid only to have his heart torn out and smashed like a wine glass at a Jewish wedding. Ugh. Why did I even say wedding?! Love is like getting a puppy. At first, it’s like heaven opened up and sent you this thing, this incredible, furry, loveable thing. And two years later, it gets run over and your parents try to tell you that he ran away, but you heard them talking about how nice the man was to come tell you. He wasn’t nice. HE WASN’T NICE! He killed my dog! And now I wish that I never had a dog in the first place. Love is like that. Happiness, that ends up dead on the side of the road. So, kindly point your arrow in another direction. Find someone else to rip their heart to shreds.

Goddess

By: Matilda T., West Gosford, NSW, Australia, Age 8
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: The Goddess Persephone tells of her life with her beloved Hades in the underworld.

Chairete! That’s the Greek word for hello, for your information. I am a Greek goddess named Persephone. Oh, you think your life is tough, doing your homework, going to school, cleaning your room. Well, welcome to my world. I have to live in the Under World for six months of the year as, um… Queen of the Dead! My mother is the Goddess of Harvest, so she makes all the flowers grow and that sort of thing. I’m living in dirt, surrounded by dead people! At least I have the King of the Dead for company. When I come back above ground, I transform into the Goddess of Spring. Wanna hear my story? Once upon a time, when there was only Spring and Summer, my father, Zeus, King of the Living, thought I should have a husband. So, he sent his brother Hades to marry me. That’s right, I married my Uncle. A little bit gross. So… just to recap, I, Persephone the Goddess of Spring, married my Uncle Hades, the God of the Underworld. Then he took me to his Underworld, which meant everything stopped growing on the top of the ground. Yep, no more pleasant Spring weather for everyone to enjoy.
So, turns out my mum wasn’t so happy about all of this, and she went looking the whole world over for me. Meantime, Hades, my new husband, persuaded me to eat six pomegranate seeds. Just six little seeds. What a mistake that turned out to be! So then… wait, are you listening? Great… It’s just that I have not spoken to anyone in ages. Right now, I want all ears please… there was a prophesy – that means a prediction by the Gods – that if anybody ate anything from the Underworld, they would have to stay there. Now I never knew this, so here I am warning you after all this happened. So, my mum and I finally found one another again… and she asked me if I had eaten anything and I said, “Just six pomegranate seeds.” Then she said “No! Persephone you have been tricked! Darling, listen to me. You now have to stay there for six months of the year.” But the thing is, I love Hades. Sure, he might be a King of the Underworld and the pomegranate trick was a bit wicked, but we seem to be a perfect match! Anyway, back to the seasons. So now- when I go to see my wonderful Hades, my mother stops letting plants grow and becomes Winter, because she is so sad I am going. So that is my story, and also the story of how we have the seasons. Ya Sah! That means goodbye. It’s all Greek to me!

Mind Reader

By: Thalia O., Lakewood, CA, USA, Age 16
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Comedy
Description: A teen shows off an ability to read minds.

Okay I know this might sound crazy but just hear me out. You see the thing is… OK don’t freak out but, I can read your mind! Ahh I know crazy right. Like seriously I don’t know how this happened, it just did I guess. Oh my gosh… ughh I know what you’re thinking. Man, I knew this would happen, you think I’m going insane aren’t you? OK you do you know that I just told you I can read your mind so basically, I know what you’re thinking, as in I know you’re thinking I’m a total lunatic but I’m not, trust me. I can totally prove it to you, but then that means I’ll have to read what you’re thinking out loud and I wouldn’t want to expose you like that, but then again, you’re asking for it. Like seriously, don’t try me because I will do it. (Pause) All right don’t say I didn’t warn you. Basically, I know you have a crush on me. Ha! You didn’t expect that did you… Yeah, I didn’t either. It explains a lot actually. Like seriously, no wonder you’re always so clingy, no offense. Anyways I’m truly flattered but I mean, it ain’t going to happen.

I Hate Performing

By: Amber D., West Gosford, NSW, Australia, Age 14
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student describes their day at school.

(Pacing back and forth.) Oh, why did I even sign up for this class? I didn’t know we’d have to practice auditioning. It’s not fair. Everybody will be looking at me, judging me. If I do one thing wrong everybody is going to notice, and laugh at me, and I’m going to be so embarrassed. The lights will be beaming in my eyes and my hands will start shaking like crazy. My throat will get really dry and I’ll stutter like there’s no tomorrow. I’ll fidget and play with my hair. I’m so nervous, what if I suck? What if I’m horrible? What if people start throwing things; or worse, tell everybody about my performance, and how much I sucked. I’ll be embarrassed everywhere I go. I’ll have no escape. People are always going to remember me as the person who couldn’t perform, the person who can’t ever talk in front of a crowd. I don’t want to do this, I hate performing. If I was confident I could just stand on that stage and nail it, but I’m not. I’m terrified, in fact I’m petrified. I would use any excuse in the book to not have to perform. I know what you guys are all thinking, just pretend to be sick. Well, unfortunately I’ve tried that already and they didn’t buy it. Use a doctor note, well I tried that one too, and as it turns out I’m not very good at forging signatures. They didn’t even buy the dead pet excuse. You know what; actually maybe I can do this. I’ve practiced for hours. I know all my words. All I’ve got to do is go up there and perform it the way I know I can, the way I’ve rehearsed it dozens of times in the mirror, and if I do that I’ll be fine. In fact, I’d be better than fine, I’ll be amazing. I just have to stay calm and relaxed. And the point is just to have fun, right? I don’t have to be the best, I just need to do the best I can. Alright, I can do this. I’m ready. Hey, I’m… I… I… I can’t do this. (Walks off-stage.)

No Cell Signal

By: Robert L., Los Angeles, California, USA, Age 11
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student tries to carry on a phone conversation with terrible cell service.

(Student is speaking into a cell phone and pacing about the space; leaning over, crouching down, standing on tip toes, shouting, etc. Actor can come up with a variety of challenging and funny physical antics and facial expressions.)

Hello? Can you hear me now? What about now?…Dangit. Leslie? Leslie? Are you there? Oh, okay. (freezes in place) It seems to be working fine. You can hear me, right? Yeah, this is my new iPhone 6. My mom just bought it for me. It is so LAME. I swear, I have to run all over the place, pushing people aside in order to get a signal. What’s that? Oh, yeah. I can hear you now. It’s important?…Well, go ahead. (pause) Wait, what happened?!!! I didn’t catch that last part. Leslie? Dangit. (resumes pacing, etc.) Can you hear me now? Shoot. What about now? Oh, I can hear you. You did what? Hello? Ugh! (practically throws phone) Leslie? Leslie! Okay, I’m walking until I get a clear signal. (pacing, pacing) Let me know when you can hear me. (to self) I’m going to drop this phone in the toilet ‘on accident’ when I get home. Okay, you can hear me? I can hear you. Finally! (stops moving) So, what happened? YOU KILLED PATRICK AND YOU WANT ME TO HELP MOVE THE BODY? (someone nearby speaks to her) Hold on. (covers phone with hand) What? I’m where? (looks around then talks into the phone while running offstage) Oh my God, I’m in the library!

The Things at School You Hate

By: Nikki D., Los Angeles, California, USA, Age 12
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student describes their day at school.

(Student is speaking into a cell phone and pacing about the space; leaning over, crouching down, standing on tip toes, shouting, etc. Actor can come up with a variety of challenging and funny physical antics and facial expressions.)

How was my day? Well, imagine this. You’re in the classroom and the one kid you absolutely detest, walks up to you and asks to borrow your pencil. Of course, your first thought is, “Eww! No way am I loaning you my pencil, freak.” Only, something takes over your mouth and you hear yourself actually say, “sure.” You can’t take it back. It’s out there and now you have to give it to him and so you do. At the end of class, you remember you loaned the troll your pencil. You only have two pencils so you have to get it back or your mother will nag you for losing it and costing her a small fortune in school supplies. You take a deep breath, approach the troll, and ask for your pencil back. The troll grunts something unintelligible and pulls your pencil out of his pocket. You are horrified. What used to be a brand new No. 2 pencil, has been clearly mauled by Troll teeth. You reach for it and realize it is covered in something sticky. Troll spit. You want to scream, “What is wrong with you? That was MY pencil you ate, Jeffrey Dahmer! That’s disgusting!” Instead, you drop it back in his trolly, swollen hand and say, “uh, you can keep it.”

In your next class period, you slip a piece of chewing gum in your mouth. Unfortunately, the weird kid next to you saw you do it and now he wants a piece. You tell him no and hope he gives up. He doesn’t. In fact, he says that if you don’t give him a piece, he’s going to tell the teacher. You’re already on thin ice in this class so, you give pass him a piece while also giving him the stink-eye. This alerts the obnoxious kid sitting behind you who loudly says, “Oooh! I want a piece!” You firmly mouth the word no over your shoulder and turn back around. Obnoxious boy pauses a moment and then says, “Fine. I’ll just tell everyone you eat your boogers.” In frustration, you offer him one, hoping no one else is witnessing the exchange. They don’t. What they do see is weird kid and obnoxious boy blowing gargantuan bubbles during class. Before you know it, everyone is asking where they can get a piece. Needless to say, you’re officially out of gum, unless you count the piece stuck to the bottom of my shoe. So how was your day?

Grim Reality

By: Becca L., Los Angeles, California, USA, Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Drama
Description: A young girl describes her experience living with cancer.

My name is Beatrice. I am 13 years old and I live in this hospital. When I was 10, I was diagnosed with brain cancer and I’ve been here ever since. When you are waking up, going to school, attending parties, hanging out with your friends, I’m stuck here in this room with white walls, a white floor, and white ceiling. While you are out experiencing life, I lie in this hospital bed. I try not to think about it too much ‘cause if I do, my head hurts, a lot. I have a window in my room. This man comes down the outside of the building every week to wash it. I look out the window when I’m bored, which is all the time. The hospital is right next to a middle school and I can see kids my age talking, playing sports, and eating pizza for lunch. I’d give anything to trade bodies with them. No one would want to be me, though. Sometimes, when I see the nurses running by with patients on gurneys, or when I hear heart monitors making that long beeping sound, I wonder if that will happen to me. If my brain fails, will I even know it? I often wonder how long I have left. My mom says everything will be okay, but I overheard my dad saying to her that it won’t. It’s not really as sad as it sounds. My sister is my very best friend. When she is with me, I feel less alone, more normal. I’d give anything just to be a regular kid.

Punctuation Society

By: Sophie W., Los Angeles, California, USA, Age 11
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: Exclamation Point is upset about Comma, who talks too much.

Welcome everyone to the Punctuation Society! This is our first, of many weekly meetings. As you may have noticed, Comma is not here. I specifically did not invite her. This is a Comma-free society. Hey that rhymes! (Smiles but then frowns again.) I, Exclamation Point have finally found something NOT to be excited about. COMMA! She keeps talking on and on and on! When you finally think she is done she just links what she is talking about to something else! It is so annoying. And when I am annoyed, I leave, and everything gets pretty boring. Question mark, Period, Semicolon, and all the rest of you, I know you’re with me on this. No, ellipsis, we will not be taking a vote! I am the President. I have final say. Parentheses…stop whispering. Do you have something to share with the rest of us? Oh, you like her? I don’t care if you like her. She will make it impossible to get anything done. Hey, you in the back, quiet down. Stop shouting! Wait…how’d a bunch of capital letters get in here. Get out! This is for punctuation marks only! Okay, now, back to business. No, Period…the meeting is not over. Sit back down. Ugh. This is exhausting. No wonder people don’t use Exclamation Points very often.

I Can’t Stop

By: Ayomide A., Age 14
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Drama
Description: A homeless teen talks about her destructive behavior.

I hadn’t been out there very long when they got me. Some kids are out there forever. They learn how to survive. I didn’t. They gave me a choice. Come here to the Happy Rancher or go to jail. Sarge even came down to visit with me. He told me about this place and, despite the stupid name, it sounded kinda cool. He did something most people never do for me. He asked me what I wanted. He really wanted to know what he could do to help me. I just broke down and cried. It seemed like I cried forever. I’d finally found someone who actually cared about me. (beat) Oh, man, what am I saying? You must think I’m a total dork. Real sob story, huh? That’s me. Sad and pathetic. I have been most of my life, until now. I finally had something good but then I went and destroyed it. I’ve ruined everything with Sarge. How could I be so stupid?! Why do I always do this? Why do I always mess things up? I just try to have a little fun… but… I don’t know when to stop. I always hurt someone. My daddy left because of me. He did. I found a letter he wrote my mama. He said he didn’t want to be tied down by a kid. Mama said it was for the best. I ran her off too. She had better things to do than play my games. I should have listened to you. You’ve got a good head. Adults always like you. Me? I get them to hate me. Get ’em so worked up they want nothing more than to have me gone. You gotta admit, I do it well. (beat) I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than to listen to me. I wanna be alone anyway, okay? Please. Go. Get far away. Like everyone else.

If I Were Him

By: Mckenna S., Lynden, Ontario, Canada; Age 13
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen wanders down an alley to discover a homeless man, forever changing their perspective.

Imagine walking down a dark alley-way lined with brick buildings, garbage and junk. Then, at the end, a light turns on, flickering. Under that is a man dressed in old clothes with holes, no socks or shoes. He is sitting on a grocery bag. He has a beard and scratches on his face, bruises too. He’s crying. He has a dog with scraggly fur and only three legs. I walk to him. He waves at me but with only three fingers. He smiles with black teeth. I ask about the scars. He says it was a cat. I ask why he is not on the street asking for money. He answers that he does not want money from people. I slowly take a green twenty-dollar bill out of my pocket, my week’s pay. I tell him that he is the only person on the street that I’ll give money to. Then the light starts to flicker again and the man crawls back into his box. The light turns off. I think what my life would be like if I was him. As I walk away, I think about how this man had changed my life.

The Day My Brother Left

The Day My Brother Left
By: Sarah M., Lynden, Ontario, Canada, Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description:When a young man heads off to university, it has a big impact on everyone, including his younger sister.

Imagine walking down a dark alley-way lined with brick buildings, garbage and junk. Then, at the end, a light turns on, flickering. Under that is a man dressed in old clothes with holes, no socks or shoes. He is sitting on a grocery bag. He has a beard and scratches on his face, bruises too. He’s crying. He has a dog with scraggly fur and only three legs. I walk to him. He waves at me but with only three fingers. He smiles with black teeth. I ask about the scars. He says it was a cat. I ask why he is not on the street asking for money. He answers that he does not want money from people. I slowly take a green twenty-dollar bill out of my pocket, my week’s pay. I tell him that he is the only person on the street that I’ll give money to. Then the light starts to flicker again and the man crawls back into his box. The light turns off. I think what my life would be like if I was him. As I walk away, I think about how this man had changed my life.

How it actually went

By: Yoselyn H., Edinburg, Tx, USA; Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: She is a dreamer that has wishes.

This is how I imagined my first breakup would be: (dramatic pose, Girl imitating boy voice) I’m sorry. It is not you, it is me. I feel our connection has been lost and I have fallen for someone else. I want to breakup with you. (Girl dramatically cries) What?! Why?! Why me?! (falls dramatically to the floor) I thought you loved me. I guess I was wrong! This is how it actually went: (Girl imitates boy voice; calmly) So… um, I want to breakup with you. (Girl being calm) Uh, cool. And this is how I imagined my marriage proposal would be: (Girl imitates future husband’s voice; kneels on the floor, romantically) You are the love of my life. You are the one. We belong together forever. You make me happy every day. I love you. Will you marry me? (Girl acts melodramatically) OMG! OMG! OMG! Yes of course! I love you! This is how it actually went: (turns head from left to right) Yup, that’s right. I’m still waiting for it. I hope my life will take a big twist, because at the pace it’s going, I’m going to end up like the crazy old lady across the street – with forty cats and zero husbands!

Fight for Light

By: Sarah Catherine M., Madison, Alabama, USA; Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A girl’s battle between darkness and light is abruptly interrupted by her mom.

I can’t help but feel protective. I am everything. I am nothing. I cannot see myself. I can only see them, my children. My magnificent, shining sources of love. They are as inviting as the smell of warm cookies wafting from the oven. My stars. I can see everything in the universe. Gliding through the galaxy, faster that hundreds of times the speed of light, I can see in all directions. My goal is consuming – to balance the raging war between good and evil, between darkness and me. I am the embodiment of all that is good in the universe. My purpose is to defeat the dark matter plaguing the universe. As I defend my stars and fight for all that is good in the universe, my opponent withers and shrinks, folding in on itself. It is reduced to the purest form of darkness, shadow-light. It draws me toward it, sucking the light out of my soul. With a mighty heave, I launch myself toward it, overpowering the dark being and…and then I hear her. “Sarah? Sarah?!” It’s my mom calling. “Mom!!! I almost beat my game!” I pull my VR goggles off. I set them down on my bedside table and gaze up at the sky, imagining myself soaring up through the atmosphere into the deep ocean of space. I can picture myself zooming through everything, surrounded by color and light…and I vow that I will one day go into space. Further, even. As far as my dreams will take me!

The Assignment

By: Oren S., Age 15, Pennsylvania, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student complains about having to write a monologue.

A student sits at a desk, agonizing over a blank piece of paper. He/she gets up, addresses the audience.

See here’s the thing. I don’t… like monologues. But, two weeks ago Mrs. Rolanda, my English teacher, announced that we were all going to write original monologues. This was her idea of a “fun” assignment. Fun. There are 36 people in my English class. Only one person thought this would be fun. And the kid thinks everything is fun. Literally everything. One time he was excited when we were assigned a 35-page essay on Millard Fillmore, who is the most boring person in history. Who really wants to know that much about the 13th president of the US? The only thing interesting about him is his name. 35 pages! His Wikipedia page is half that many pages, and that has pictures and headings and stuff! At least the monologue only has to be a page. I used to like English class. That was before 5th grade. In 5th grade, Mr. Fartherman ruined it for me. He hated the English language. He hated to talk in it, hated to write it, hated to listen to it. If you hate English so much, then why did you become an English teacher? When we came into the class, he would give out a worksheet with instructions on the board. He hated to write in English, so they were always in a different language. He would never tell us which one. So, every day, the class would figure out what language it was, type it into google translate, and read the instructions. By the time we did all that, the period was almost over. I don’t think I learned a single thing in his class. Come to think of it, I think he would have been a great World Language teacher. Still don’t know why he decided to teach English. So anyway, he ruined the subject English for me. Every teacher I got after him kinda sucked. I’m pretty sure my 4th grade English teacher made sure I was with the worst English teacher for the rest of school. She probably still holds a grudge from “THE MISHAP”. It’s kind of a long story. (Beat.) You know what? It actually isn’t. We gave out Valentine’s day candy, and I went into everyone’s bag and ate everything. (Beat.) Well I guess I have to go write my stupidmonologue thing now. What should I write about? (Beat.) Wait. Everything I just said. That was a monologue! Yay! I wrote a monologue! Who knew It could be so fun? (Sits back down at desk and starts writing.)

I’m an Artist, not a Thief

Third Place Winner!
By: Sam M., California, USA, Age 17
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A thief is interrogated by the police.

Wait, did you guys call me a thief right here, did you really just call me a thief?! Ok you know, that hurts. How could you say that? Well you know what? It’s ok, cause you can say whatever you want about me because I don’t really think of myself as a thief, I think of myself more as an artist. I take pride in my skills. To me, it’s more of an art. No one can match my skills or mastery. Listen up guys I can break into any house anywhere, anytime, take whatever I want, in and out ten minutes no prints no evidence nothing. If it wasn’t for that stupid roadrunner trap that the old man had I’d be in Brazil by now instead of here talking to you idiots. I could be on the beach right now tanning like a churro with a margarita in one hand and a woman on the other sitting on my lap! Do I feel bad about what I do for a living, no. So, you can say all you want about me, but I know for a fact that I’m more of an artist than I am a thief.

Rudolph’s Older Brother

First Place Winner!
By: Trequan D., Mississippi, USA, Age 17
Gender: Male
Genre: Comedic
Description: Rudolph’s brother tells him not to forget where he is from.

Hey man, bring ya red nose over here… AYE MAN, I said bring ya RED NOSE over here! I see you’re all excited about being Santa’s new favorite reindeer, but never forget where you came from. Yeah, I understand it’s nice to finally laugh, not get called names, and to play in all the reindeer games with everyone else besides just me… but can’t you see they’re just using you? Santa never gave you any attention until last Christmas when he couldn’t see any farther than he could spit. Huh? What do you mean he said, “you’re the light of his world”? He was being serious, that wasn’t a compliment! He taped you to the back of his car because his tail-light was out. Now explain to me why you’re okay with that. Matter fact nah, I don’t wanna hear it. Now you’re chilling with Dasher and Dancer acting like you’re a big star just because your nose glows up red, WE HAVE 50 THOUSAND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS THAT DO THAT SAME THING- you know what Rudolph, do what you wanna do, but never forget where you came from.

A Burger Cook’s Ramblings

Second Place Winner!
By: Lauren B., North Carolina, USA, Age 12
Gender: Male
Genre: Comedic
Description: Rudolph’s brother tells him not to forget where he is from.

My life sucks. Every single aspect of it. Terrible. From my friends to my neighbor to my job, it’s all bad. So, first, my best friend and neighbor is not the sharpest tool in the shed, to say the least. I moved into my neighborhood in 1999. Even though he’s my best friend, we have sort of a love/hate relationship. His lack of intelligence gets in the way of everything, and I have to act dumb with him just to make him feel better. The only time I have fun with him is when we gang up on our other neighbor. Now, that guy…he’s a huge pompous jerk, and the exact definition of a delusional artist. He constantly is trying to harm us in some way, and has spoken about three kind words to me total in the years that I’ve known him. And my job? My job is a living nightmare. I work in an unsanitary kitchen as a cook. I’m probably just one rotten burger away from getting cholera or salmonella. My jerk of a neighbor works there, too, and only complains about everything. I pretend to love my job, since I work for less than minimum wage, and my boss would fire me if I even suggested a raise. I’ve tried to get another job, but every time I do, it lasts about eleven minutes before I’m crawling back to my money-hungry boss. There’s a girl that doesn’t live too far from me, and she’s pretty nice. But all she cares about is doing dumb science experiments, mostly tests on me! One good thing…I have a pet. But it’s a snail. And guess what? Even my pet snail hates me. It’s run away a few times, too. Yeah, pretty sad. And as if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s one last cherry on top. I’m constantly blowing my money on repairs for my house, because it’s always rotting away. I guess it’s not all that surprising though, since I live in a pineapple under the sea.

Listen up, Doggie-O

Third Place Winner!
By: Chelsie K., Alaska, USA, Age 12
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A cat tells a dog who’s boss.

Now listen up here doggie-o. I’m the one who calls the shots around here, see? I was here first, and as a feline, I have the advantage in the smarts department. See that bowl there? That’s mine. I catch you so much as sniffing around it, you’ll be sorry. I may be smaller than you, but I’ve got powerful weapons in these here paws. You ever tangled with a cat before? Well, don’t. You’ll find out mighty quick that I’m a force to be reckoned with. Now, over there is my bed. It’s the one that says ‘princess.’ Yours is the one that says ‘woof.’ Which rhymes with goof. As in goofball. Which most dogs are. See, the humans, they respect me. I don’t slobber all over them and wag my tail like a moron. I have dignity and poise. I even keep myself clean, and I would never, ever roll around in stinky stuff in the yard, or chew on dirty socks and then lick the humans. Gross. I don’t perform tricks for treats. That’s degrading. What are you trying to do? Hey, what are you trying to do back there? Go find a dog’s butt to sniff! Ya better watch it, doggie-o. Remember, I’m the boss around here!

How are You?

By: Ellie K., Age 12, North Carolina, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager shares too much information when asked how he/she is doing..

How am I doing? Well, if I’m honest, numb. It’s the best way to describe how I am feeling. I’m moving through each day basically feeling empty and alone. From the outside looking in, it seems as though I have a lot of friends, but no one knows the real me. My family is great, but I feel I don’t belong. I see a couple of therapists, and I’ve been prescribed all sorts of medications, but none of that is really helping. I feel as though I am slowly fading away from reality. Medicine is not magic, I guess. It just sort of covers up all the hurt and emptiness. I mean, I’m not suicidal or anything. Well, not any more than the next person, I guess. Everyone thinks about it at one time or another. Doesn’t mean I am dangerous or that I need protecting. The medicine is a temporary fix, but temporary isn’t forever. I will eventually break…a lot of people do. In the meantime, I’m just numb. (Pause.) I’ll bet you’re sorry you asked. (Pause.) Well, then. How are you doing?

Sorry I’m Late!

First Place Winner!
By: Lisa Iordache-Stir, Age 13, California, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description:An employee explains why they were late to work.

I know I’m late for work, but you would not believe the morning I’ve had! Last night, I put all my clothes into the washer and dryer since most of them were dirty. To my surprise, they were all shrunken about three sizes after taking them out of the dryer! I only had my pajamas I slept in, so I wore them, as you can see. Then, when I went outside to get into my car, my car door wouldn’t open. I put my hands onto the freezing car window and saw that my keys were inside of the car! I had no choice but to walk to work. As I walked down the street, I heard something come from a nearby alleyway. Out of curiosity, I went to see what it was. Let me tell ya, big mistake. There were about ten, no, about twenty ferocious street cats staring me down. I slowly backed away, but it was too late. They chased me down the alley. About five jumped onto me and attacked me. This is why there are a ton of scratches on my body. See? By some miracle, I was able to escape. I thought to myself, how can this morning get any worse? Trust me, it did. I was a block away from the work office when I went to the coffee shop right around the corner and got some hot coffee. I realized that I was about to be late for work. I hurried to get out of the shop, and of course, I tripped and spilled the coffee all over the place. My work bag, my pajamas, my shoes, were soaked! I tried to wash off as much as I could in the bathroom, but it’s still there, as you can see. So, that’s why I’m late. I’ll try not to let it happen again. What? It’s daylight savings time? Oh, I’m an hour early? Oh, then never-mind.

Trapped in an Elevator

Second Place Winner!
By: Sophia M., Age 13, California, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A terrified person is trapped in an elevator.

(Actor mimes getting into the elevator, pushing the button, and having the elevator start up and then lurch to a stop.) No. This isn’t happening. This is it. My nightmare has come true. I’m going to die. The cable is going to snap and I’m going to fall hundreds of stories. (Rapidly breathing.) I’m running out of air. I’ve got to get out of here. Which button do I press? This red one is for emergencies, right? Or is it the blue one? NO. Probably the red one. Use your head. Think. Think. Oh heck, I’m just going to press all of them. (Presses the buttons. Waits.) Nothing’s happening. There should be a siren or something. Help! Help! I’m trapped in here! Anyone? Where’s my cell phone? (Digging through bag, checking pockets.) Oh my God, I left it charging in the car. Okay, calm down. Just calm down. What do I have to eat or drink. (Rifling through bag.) Two sticks of gum. Gum covered in lint. I’m going to die. (Slumps to the floor.) No one knows I’m in here. They’re not going to find me until my rotting corpse starts stinking up the building. This is a dream, right? (Pinches himself/herself.) Nope. I’m awake. I’m having a nightmare, but I’m awake. So, this is the way it ends for me. I’ll never get married, or have children, or finish my snake skin collection or fulfill my life-long dream of being a fortune-cookie writer. (Lies down on the floor.) Okay God, take me know. I’m ready. (Hears noise.) I can hear the angels. They are coming to get me. Wait a minute. (Sits up.) That doesn’t sound like angels. It sounds like a blow-torch. (Jumps to feet.) Hello! I’m in here! I’m still alive! (Elevator doors open. Actor leaps out, pantomimes hugging rescuers.) You found me just in time! I’ve been in there for days! What? It couldn’t have been just five minutes! Fine. If you say so. But from now on, I’m taking the stairs.

Elves on Strike

First Place Winner!
By: Jeremy K., Age 12, Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: The leader of the elves union rallies the elves against Santa.

As the leader of the Union of the Order of the North Pole Elves, I stand here today and urge you to say no to Santa! No more working from sunup to sundown without so much as a snickerdoodle break! What does Santa think we are, robots? No, we’re elves, and we have rights! Tinsel, remember when he made you clean Dasher’s stall after he got into that barrel of chocolate? Cleaning chocolate poo is not in the elf job description! And Snazzy, there was that time when he ordered you to let Mrs. Claus use you as a mannequin for the little girl’s dresses she was making. Humiliating! I mean, what the falalala was he thinking? I mean he makes us wear these ridiculous Pinnocchio outfits and sing while we work, while he sits on his big fat butt watching the weather channel. And on Christmas day, he takes ALL the credit. (Imitating children.) “Mom, Santa came! Ooooh, look what Santa got me! How did he know I wanted this?” Listen up children of the world: Santa is not the one who made your train sets, and your dolly houses and your walkie talkies. It was US, the Elves of the Order of the North Pole. We did it all. Santa is just a lazy guy with a wiggly belly who works basically one day a year. Nothing but a gloried delivery man if you ask me! (Pauses. Listens to someone in the audience.) What’s that? Santa is where? (Looks behind him.) Oh fudgesicles.

Chicken

Second Place Winner!
By: Kielle W., Age 16, Chesapeake, Virginia, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen wishes to overcome his/her fears.

I’m in the bird watching club at school. I’ve adored the little rascals since I could say the word. I even memorized the state bird for every place in America! They’re just impossible not to admire. Birds are so much freer than any person I know. There’s no one to hold them back and tell them what not to do. Birds aren’t stuck in moldy, rundown apartments. Birds don’t stop themselves from flying wherever they want because they’re scared. No, I imagine that birds are brave. Much braver than me, that’s for sure. See, that’s why I wish I had a pair of wings. I want to feel free. I want to scatter brightly colored feathers for little girls to find in parks. Sparkle up their day a bit. Mostly, I want wings so that I could take flight. Leave behind my problems and soar into the sky. It’s why I love to go out on the roof. The wind blowing in my hair, the sun shining its beautiful rays down upon me. I pretend I’m flying for hours when I’m up there. Sometimes I linger on the ledge, arms spread as wide as an eagle. And I know one step is all it would take for me to finally, truly fly. One little step but… I never do. I always get scared and go back inside. Chained to the ground by everything I’ve got going for me. One day though, I’m gonna fly. I just need the courage to take that first step.

The Bully

By:Philip G., Age 13, New Mexico, USA
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen wishes to overcome his/her fears.

Look, you’re new here, so I feel it’s my duty to warn you… there are a couple of people you’ll want to avoid. Skylar Morrison likes to thump kids on the head. He’s easy to spot because he’s the biggest kid in our grade. He used to be in the grade above us, but I guess he needed to learn more, so he’s in our class now. He’s mostly harmless beyond the thumping on the head thing. It’s Ross Sullivan you really have to watch out for. His real name is Roscoe and sometimes teachers call him that, especially if they are new. But make sure that YOU don’t ever call him that. He’s pretty good at name-calling. There’s this one kid he calls booger-licker or BL for short. That’s Julian Wynn, and he has really bad allergies. Ross also likes to do things like stuff mashed potatoes down your shirt at lunch. I know this from personal experience. If you tell on him, that will make it worse. He especially likes to pick on smart kids, and I’m telling you this because I can already tell that you are smart. (Pause.) What? Oh, I don’t know why he does it. If I had to guess I would say that he probably gets treated like that at home. That’s what my mom says anyway. Kids who torment other kids usually don’t have it so good at home. (Pause.) Yeah, me too. I have awesome parents. Hey, maybe we can try to be nice to him. Maybe he needs a friend. I never thought of that. We can at least try.

Pigeonpocalypse

By:Brooke E., Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, Age 14
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student finds an extra credit science assignment is going horribly wrong as overgrown dough attracts a wave of deadly pigeons.

(The speaker is on the phone, frantic, pretending to peer out windows nervously.)
Yes, this is an emergency. I haven’t been outside my house in three days. They’re out there-in throngs, herds, flocks: the pigeons. Okay, I’ll try to stay calm and explain. It all started because of fungus. See, my friend Tom and I were put in a group for a science project on fungus, and there was this… extra credit assignment. It was simple; we were given a kit, and supposed to grow yeast. To make yeast, you ferment sugar found in fruits, like grapes. I decided to do it; what could go wrong?… Everything. I bought grapes at the store, and didn’t pay attention to the fact that they’d been pumped full of special chemicals to grow big. When I tried to make the yeast from the grapes, I accidentally created a special, powerful yeast… a superyeast. I was so excited that I told Tom about it, and y’know what he said? He laughed and said he wouldn’t believe it unless I made the world’s biggest loaf. Well, y’know what? I was going to make that loaf. So I work for hours. I’m going to leave the loaf to rise under the skylight. Speaking of that nice, glass skylight… the sun coming through the big glass skylight is so warm, and cozy, and I… well. I fall asleep, and… hey, what’s-WHAT HAPPENED? The yeast-it’s-swelling! Growing! It’s so big it’s pressed up against the skylight! You gotta send help or it’ll break through the glass! My cat Ringo is coming into the kitchen, guess he heard me. Be a good boy, Ringo. Ignore the fresh, yeasty scent… RINGO, NO, DON’T POUNCE! THE BREAD! He’s chomping it! It’s bursting through the skylight, raining dough on the neighborhood! How am I going to patch that skylight, mom’ll kill me… wait… do ya hear that? Coo…coo… COO! Pigeons! PIGEONS! The pigeons are coming from the sky in a hurricane! They are like an unstoppable wave of feathered locusts, eating every scrap of bread they can get their pointy beaks on! I’ve gotta cover the skylight hole before they get in! GET BACK, FEATHERED FIENDS, GET BACK! (gulp) Hurry! Hurry! Oh, no… I think they’re ripping through the sheets I put over the skyligh! If I don’t make it, don’t let them write “devoured by gluttonous pigeons” on my tombstone.

A Place to Hide

By: Lillian Orr, Age 12, South Carolina, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Snow White explains her predicament to the seven dwarves.

Um, could you all stop staring at me please? It’s a little creepy. Look, I didn’t mean to trespass. I.I…was trying to get some rest. I was so tired last night. You see, my evil stepmother sent out her huntsman to try to try to kill me. What would you do if you were trying to escape with your life? I didn’t have a choice. I ran and ran and this was the first house I found. Honestly, this wasn’t what I was expecting. Everything is so tiny. Little beds, little chairs, little tables…. but, I don’t care, I just need somewhere to hide. My evil stepmother hates me because every time she talks to that stupid mirror, it always tells her that I’m the fairest in the land and goes on and on about my fair skin that’s white like snow and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, I guess she figured if I was dead, she would be the fairest and prettiest of them all. That’s why I’m here. I don’t even want to be the fairest of them all. I was so tired that I fell asleep in these beds. (Pause.) Maybe we can come up with a compromise. How about this: if you guys don’t tell anyone that I’m here, I will make meals for you, clean your cottage, mend your clothes, take care of you when you are sick, and this will be our little secret.

You’d Better Pay Me

By: Dillon Hammell, Age 12, South Carolina, USA
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic
Description: The Pied Piper threatens the townspeople if the Mayor doesn’t pay him.

What do you mean you aren’t going to pay me? I just got rid of those rats for you. They won’t be back for a long time, if ever. So, where’s my money? What? This is a joke, right? I have a family to feed you know. You need to pay me now! I just single handedly went from town to town playing my flute and had an army of rats following me. I got rid of them all, every last one! If it wasn’t for me, then you people would have gotten a horrible plague that would have killed almost everyone. You need to know that there are more things I can do with this flute of mine. Since you were smart enough to hire me to take care of the rats then you should be smart enough to know that you should pay me unless you want something terrible to happen. Still not going to pay, huh? (Starts playing the flute.) Do you hear that? That thunder and lightning surrounding us? That’s the magic starting to work. Say goodbye to your children. (He grins and starts playing the flute again.)

I’m not Sorry

First Place Winner
By: Kaheni Johnson, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Age 15
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen tells his/her side of the story to a police officer.

What were my alternatives, officer? You tell me. I mean how many times you guys been out there? A dozen, maybe? It’s always the same. You take him away, his breath reeking of Colt 45, and he spends one night sleeping it off and she springs him the next morning out of sheer fear. You ever know that kind of fear? Ice in your veins. She did try to leave. A couple times. One time we made it as far as Charleston. We ran out of money and he was calling, begging, his voice thick as honey. I tried everything I could to convince her to keep going. I would get a job. We could have a fresh start. But she turned that car around and drove straight through to daylight. I could feel the planet spinning that night. Did you know that the earth turns at 1,000 miles an hour? Most of the time you can’t tell. But you can always feel it when you are travelling in the wrong direction. That was only a month ago. And right away he started up again. Last night? Okay, you want to hear about last night? He was out as usual and I heard his truck sputter into the driveway. I could tell by the way the gravel crunched under his feet that he was drunk. Pretty soon I heard voices in their room. Not loud at first, but then there was a slam against the wall and there was silence for a moment. Something was different this time, I could sense it. I rushed to their room and saw him hovering over her, hitting her over and over. She wasn’t even conscious. I screamed at him to stop and he looked at me with white hot rage. It wasn’t even like there was a person there. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the gun. The one she kept hidden in an old toaster oven in the bottom cabinet. Her “just in case” gun. I didn’t even think about it, officer. I went back to the bedroom and I shot him. I shot him twice in the head. He didn’t even notice that I was there. He was too busy killing my mom. Last night it was going to be her or him, and I chose her. I’m not sorry about it either. So, you go ahead and do what you gotta do. Can I have a glass of water, or some fresh air? Hey, can you feel that? The earth stopped spinning.

The Interview

Second Place Winner
By:  Divya Manikandan; Karnataka, India; Age 16
Gender: Any (For male character, change the name.)
Genre: Comedic
Description: A teen prepares nervously for a college interview.

(On phone.) No, mom. I haven’t even gone in yet. I’m in the lobby practicing while I wait. Yes, I will. I love you too. Mom, I WILL. I have to go now. Bye. Now, where was I? (Coughs to clear her throat and smiles.) Good morning. My name is Jeanine Brefcyznki and I know that those are two very polar, funny sounding names but that’s just me! I’m a bit American and bit Polish! My mom always says that I have the benefits of the American dream, blessed with the Polish work ethic! (Rolls eyes and slaps forehead.) Jeanine what’s wrong with you? You sound like a cheesy infomercial. Actually, you’re worse than that, if you were selling a vacuum cleaner, no one would buy it because of how stupid you sound. (Stands up straight, pushes shoulders back and extends her hand for a handshake) Good morning, my name is Jeanine Brefcyznki. How’re you doing this fine morning? (Animatedly) Oh! That’s wonderful! Oh! No, I’m fine with just water. So… how’re you feeling today? (Slaps forehead again and makes irritated noise) Jeanine! You can’t ask your interviewer how they’re feeling! That’s for them to ask you, just shut up and sit down, you silly human being. (Sits down and takes a breath, places hands on lap.) Take three. You can do this. Oh! That is an excellent question. First off, the research opportunities at your university are mind blowing! The stem cell project? Pure genius… and the self-sustaining ecosystems… I would love to be around that kind of innovation. (Smile turns into an angry frown) Okay…. and now I sound totally pretentious. Come on Jeanine! Do you want to get into college or not!? Good god woman! Get yourself together! (Pulls flashcard out of her pocket and paces the room) Da da da da da…. Plato’s sympo…sympos… how do you say this word? Symposium? My favorite book is Plato’s symposium…and why you may ask? Well, because my mother told me that it’ll make me sound smart! Remember Jeanine, open body language and smile…. open and smile. (Smiles at audience. Looks at flashcard again and starts pacing.) Blah blah blah blah… I love to learn… something, something, something… I spend my summers attending contemporary art conferences in Europe… okay okay, okay… where’s the important stuff? (Flips card over.) Oh, right okay! You need to memorize this before the interview starts… (Phone rings. Jeanine jumps looking a bit startled but then angrily picks up the phone.) Mom. I haven’t gone into the interview yet, you don’t need to call me every two minutes! (Pauses for two seconds, mouth and eyes wide.) Oh! Oh my god! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to yell like that, I thought it was my mom… Yes of course I’ll come in right away! I’m so sorry!

Generation Gap

First Place Winner
By:  Caroline F. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, Age 15
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedy
Description: A teenager makes fun of his/her mom’s choice in music.

Note: Misheard lyrics are from the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Actor should play the song listening for the misinterpreted phrase and actually sing it during the monologue.

Do your parents make you listen to their music? Mine do. It’s torture, I tell you. Listening to my mom’s music especially. She likes this one band, Nirvana, and I swear you cannot understand a single word they are singing. There’s this one song and I think it goes like this, “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido.” I think maybe the band members were poor and couldn’t read or write because also, their clothes look like they came from the free box. My mom also likes this band called Aerosmith. She says that their music makes her feel like dancing and by dancing, I mean leaping and kicking and whipping her hair around in circles. It’s so embarrassing. I looked up pictures of Aerosmith online and the main guy doesn’t look like a guy at all. He looks like my aunt Sharon who used to look really old, but had her face lifted up and now she looks surprised all the time. But the lead singer doesn’t dress like her. More like a person who was going to a costume party and couldn’t decide between being a witch or an Indian Chief. All the other people in the band just look mad in their pictures, especially the skunk hair guy. And oh yeah, she likes the Rolling Stones. And I guess they are kind of cool…for ancient, mummified rock stars. I heard my dad once tell my mom that if there was a nuclear war, the only things left would be the cockroaches and Keith Richards, the skeleton-looking guy. She plays the Rolling Stones a lot in the car and has to sing along with every word. This summer the air conditioner broke in our SUV so she’s been rolling down the windows, but that isn’t stopping her from singing at the top of her lungs. I’ve spent a lot of time shrunk down in my seat. I tried to get her to listen to my favorite band, One Direction. She says they sound like embryos trying to put on a concert. See, I told you that she has terrible taste in music. One thing’s for sure. When I grow up and have kids of my own, I will play One Direction in the car and in the house in front of their friends, and I will for sure not embarrass them!

I Don’t Need Therapy

Second Place Winner
By:  Aamira Waheed; New York, New York, USA, Age 17
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager explains his/her reasons for being upset to a therapist.

I don’t see why I’m here. I’m not the one who needs a therapist. Yes, I’m stressed out, and maybe I’ve been a little emotional lately. You would be too, if you lived at my house. All they do is argue. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big thing or a small thing. I mean, the other day, they argued about how to cut the toast. Mom had cut it straight across and dad said it should go on the diagonal. Then my mom said that she wasn’t his mother and it was time to cut the apron strings. Whatever that means. When they realized I was in the kitchen, my mom flashed me her fake smile and passed me a plate of toast. I said I wasn’t hungry. Next thing, she’ll think I’m anorexic. So what if I stay in my room? It’s peaceful there with my earbuds in. Music makes me happy. I’ve been thinking about learning to play an instrument. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my parents. Right away, dad offered to get out his old trumpet. Mom said that he should shut up and let me decide. Then dad told mom that she didn’t have to be such a witch about it. I said I was finished with dinner and asked to be excused. And mom all of a sudden acted concerned and felt my forehead to see if I was sick. I went to my room and I could tell they were still arguing. They were doing that thing where they were trying to keep their voices down, but it’s totally obvious. They weren’t always like this. I mean, they used to be in love. If you ask me, they are the ones who need therapy. I mean, am I missing something here? (laughs) Thank you for saying that. I really mean it, I do. Most people don’t take teenagers seriously. (pause) Do you play an instrument? Oh, the cello is nice. But I was thinking more like drums. Drown out the noise.

No Burial

First Place Winner
By: Sarah K., Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, Age 14
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager visits her (or his) father’s grave with a friend.

I used to come here a lot. Maybe it was guilt. Or depression. Or just habit. You know he’s not buried here, right? It’s just an empty grave. Kind of ironic that they etched a mountain on his headstone. That’s where he’s actually buried. Well, not really buried. They never told us, but I watched this movie about Mt. Everest, and apparently, when people die up there, they just leave the bodies. Yes, I’m serious. There’s no way to get them off there. It’s too dangerous. After I saw that, I kept picturing him in my imagination, frozen. Tiny icicles hanging from his eyebrows and beard. In my mind, his eyes are open and he is reaching out. Stuck like that forever. Or at least until he’s buried beneath a snow drift. For a long time, I had dreams…well nightmares that he is somehow still alive up there and no one can find him. I worry that his soul is not at rest. My mom told me that she had begged him not to go. He had small children, she said. It was irresponsible. But my dad was an explorer, a conqueror. I don’t remember him much, but I can see it in his eyes when I look at pictures of him. He almost made it to the top. (Pause.) One day, I’m going to make it for him. I’ll do it when I’m still young. Before I have children. I’m going to take a rock from that mountain and bring it back here. Maybe then he can rest.

DNA

Second Place Winner
By: Eli J., Sarasota, Florida, USA, Age 15
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A student offers a melancholy explanation for why he (or she) keeps falling asleep in class.

I’m sorry Mrs. Trask. I’m trying. I just can’t stay awake in your class…yes, I think biology is interesting, especially DNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid. Kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking a lot about the double helix and how it reminds me of sacred geometry. Do you know about sacred geometry? Well, that’s okay. But I imagine the shape and structure of our DNA is related to some kind of larger thing in the universe. I mean, look at it. It’s like art. A turning ladder made up of tiny intricate colors. And the fact that no two are the same says a lot. (Pause.) Well, for instance, it means that each person is unique. Even if you are born of certain parents, you don’t have to turn out like them because you are different. (Pause.) No, I don’t really want to be like my parents. Well, maybe my mom. My dad, he’s just stressed out is all. There are five of us, and Spencer, he takes a lot of work. At the hospital, they said he wouldn’t live, but he did, and now my mom has to stay home to take care of him. My dad works a lot and I think that’s why he’s mad all the time. I just wish he wouldn’t yell, and…well, other stuff. I can’t talk about it. Anyway, sometimes I don’t get a lot of sleep. That’s why I fall asleep in your class. I’ll try harder, I promise. I like learning. I like learning that deep in my bones is a code that belongs to me and only me. Gives you comfort, doesn’t it?

The Promotion

First Place Winner
By: Isabel Parent, Calgary Alberta, Age 15
Gender: Male
Genre: Comedic
Description: A nervous Walmart employee makes a video tape of himself asking for a promotion.

Brock: Okay. I think I got it. Alrightie, (Mutters to self.) how do I start this? (Clears throat. Starts again in announcer voice.) Hi. I’m Brock Bruce, and I am here to tell you why I, Brock Bruce, your hardworking Walmart stock boy of 28 years deserves a promotion. (Exaggerated wink.) No! Aw heck. (Jumps off stool and moves off camera. Grabs weights and does a few exercises to calm down.) Okay. (Tries again. Adopts a more serious “sexy” tone.) Hi. My name is Brock Bruce. You may have seen me at your local Walmart. I have dedicated 28 years to that store, and the fine customers inside it. As a fellow, neighbor, worker, and citizen of this fair town I am here to tell you why I, Brock Bruce, deserves a promotion, and how together, we can make Walmart Great Again! Agh! Too Trump! Mama always said avoid the political talk. (Sit back down and smile.) Some of my skills include speed stacking, using candy to locating lost children, and peeling the smiley sticker off first try, no tear! Actually, in grade six I was voted most likely to end up working at Walmart, so who cares about skills when the people have spoken! (Pause.) My hobbies include fitness dancing, because you don’t get a (subtley does some body builder poses.) great body like this from just stocking the shelves. Well if you need any more reasons other than these that which I did just tell you, then I don’t think the Walmart smiley face could get this job! And not just because he’s just a head, I mean… (Talking to self.) Heck, I’ve worked here 28 years and I can’t get this darned promotion. (Speaking to camera.) And I really, need this. I mean, it’s not even for me. My mama needs a stair lift so she can get downstairs to the beer fridge; she hasn’t taken her pills dry since her twenties! Besides, I think I’m running out of time. But I swear, if I get this promotion I will be the hardest worker you’ve ever had. I’m Brock Bruce, and I will see you at work tomorrow. I’ll be there early. And stay late. Just in case you need to contact me. Brock Bruce. Any time. I’ll be there. Okie dokie. (Waits for a minute for camera to turn off.) Oh, I have to turn it off. (Attempts to turn camera off. Struggles and gets frustrated. Yells as he exits.) MAMA! HOW DO YOU TURN THE CAMERA OFF?

My Sister’s Song

Second Place Winner
By:  Payton Doerksen, Carman, Manitoba, Canada, Age 13
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A young woman overhears her sister singing alone at night.

Amanda sits on her sister Isabel’s bed.

I don’t mean to eavesdrop on you, but the walls are so thin. I can’t help but listen. I hear you singing at night and it’s very calming, but also kind of sad. It reminds me of an angel ringing a bell in the moonlight. It’s both soft and light, Isabel. I know you hate me for listening and that I’m just an annoying little sister, but I love listening to you. I love you. Sometimes I wonder if something has happened to you. I wonder and I wonder, and I know that you say it’s just my imagination. But your voice sounds so sad sometimes that it frightens me. There are stories in your songs. I know you have a right to privacy and you don’t have to tell me anything. But you would, wouldn’t you? Just please don’t yell at me again. I hate it when you do that, or when you stop talking to me. The only thing worse than yelling is silence. We’re sisters. We’re blood. And with things are the way they are, we’re sometimes all each other has. I guess we don’t have to talk about it anymore, but please don’t stop. It helps me fall asleep…the sound of you singing your heart out.

Younger Self

Third Place Winner
By:  Rosa Miillan, Los Angeles, California, Age 11
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A character talks to a younger version of herself (or himself).

This is me. (Shows the picture.) Sometimes I take out this picture and talk to her. I tell her about what’s going to happen in her future, and I tell her that I miss the past. I tell her that I miss the days when I didn’t have to go to school. The days where I would just eat and play all day. I tell her that I miss all the attention I used to get from people., the times when I didn’t even think to worry what other people thought of me. I didn’t judge myself and my imperfections then, I was happy. I think I was like four or five. That was before I realized there was so much sadness in the world. When I look at her picture, I can feel her telling me that it’s going to be okay, and I want to believe her. There were even times when I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore, but looking at her, I felt that things were going to get better…that I would come out stronger than ever. (Puts picture away.) I wonder what my future self will say to me one day. I hope I can give her strength when she needs it.

At What Cost?

By:  Olivia S., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Age 14
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description:  A beauty pageant contestant questions whether or not to continue competing.

Dolly Ransun is a 13-year-old girl who lives in Georgia with her mom. Her dad left before she was born. Her exterior is very stuck up and arrogant but internally she is very down to earth. The only reason she does pageants anymore is in hopes that her dad will reach out to her. In this monologue, she is running through her chorography for her up-and-coming pageant and slowly unraveling. She is talking to herself about all the things on her mind.
Walk, walk, walk and cupcake hands and left foot, two steps right foot, two steps and… (pauses) Shoot! What the heck comes after the right foot? Is it the turn or walking the other way? Ugh it’s turn, of course, it’s the turn Dolly. Get your act together! Okay, start again. It’s fine, it’s fine. You’re still gorgeous. “Ultimate Grand Supreme” is still yours. Okay. Smile, walk, walk, walk and cupcake hands and… left foot two steps and…right foot two steps and turn and back (rolls her ankle and collapses in pain.) Ah! My stupid ankle! I can’t afford for you to give out on me! You have one job, ankle, one job: Stay. Up. (Picks herself up.) Okay, let’s try again. Walk, walk, walk and cupcake hands and turn and heart face! (Stops. Realizing.) I can’t do this anymore. That’s it. I’m going to tell her I don’t want to do this anymore. The fake eyelashes, the hair, the nails, and starving myself. For what? A chance Dad might finally come back? No. If he didn’t want me before, he’s not going to want me now. I’m nothing to him. Nothing. But that’s okay. (Long pause.) I got mama and grandma and grandpa who love me and support me. No matter what. (Realizing.) What will they do when I tell them I’m done? I’m so tired. I’m tired of being someone that’s superficial. Tired of trying to get something that feels…. unachievable. My childhood has been taken away from me. I mean when was the last time I went to the park? Or went swimming my friends? Heck, when have I ever done something just for fun? Something just for me? This is not who I am. I have to tell her. I need to tell her. (Calling out.) Mom?

The Unknown Known

By:  Annika G., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Age 14
Gender: Male
Genre: Dramatic
Description:  A character talks to a younger version of herself (or himself).

Michael is a secret time traveler who owns a record store. In this monologue he’s talking to Jason, his best friend, about an important decision that lie ahead: Stay in the now and accept what you have, or leave this world behind for the unknown.Jason, I want to ask you something. We’ve known each other a long time and we’ve seen each other through life’s ups and downs. If you were to choose to go back, back to when we were young, back to when your hopes were still present and your whole future lay ahead, would you do it? Right now, if I told you that I knew how to time travel, would you go back to that night when you got drunk and ran naked into the pond behind my house? Would you make a different choice so that you didn’t go through high school with the nickname Streak? What about the time that you lied to Elizabeth about never having dated Joelle and she found out and broke up with you…breaking your heart, really. Would you go back and be at least honest with her? I think about this a lot. Mostly, I think about Thomas, and how if I would have been paying attention at the river, he would still…he would…be here. Would you do it all over again and have a chance to reverse doing everything you’ve regretted? Or… would you go forward and take the unknown future and be whisked away to a place where everything could be totally new… like a fresh start? Just stay here…and have that be enough.

No Regrets?

By:  Lindsey A., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Age 15
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description:  A character defends her choices to her former classmates.

Amber is a young woman living in Los Angeles. She dropped out of high school when she was 15. In this scene, she is attending her high school reunion and feels the need to defend her life choices.
I don’t regret my choices. I don’t. Admit it, I’m prettier than every single one of you. I’m probably the prettiest woman on the whole planet. It’s okay honey, we can’t all be winners. Losers like you only exist to make girls like me shine even more. Oh, that’s right. Did you know I changed my name? That’s right. My name is Amber Bethany Elizabeth Mary-Sue Katherine Windslow. Windslow is my 80-year-old husband. Of course, I married him for his money! But I don’t mind. I don’t. Billionaires are attractive at any age. He buys me anything I want. I shop on Rodeo Drive. I have my own chauffer and personal stylist. I have a hair and make-up artist and a personal trainer. I can afford implants…see? And liposuction and face-lifts…anything. And yeah, surgery totally sucks, but beauty hurts, right? It’s so worth it. Some girls call me a sell-out, but they’re just totally jealous. They wish they could be me. Sure, I’ll never actually get married for love. I’ll never actually be in a meaningful relationship. But it’s not like I need one. I try not to have any real friends; they just judge me drag me down. I dropped out of college because who needs a degree, right? I mean look at what I have. I’m laughing just thinking about it! The same goes for voting and leadership. That’s a boy thing. Girls can just sit back and watch from the sidelines. The dog’s life, right? It’s so much easier than actually doing anything. We’re just objects, wallflowers, property. Some girls like to think that they can be special snowflakes, but they’re all idiots! If they would just accept their place in the world… If they would just embrace it… If they would just be what society wants them to be… They would be happy! (Begins experiencing an emotional shift.) That’s why… that’s why… I-I-I already told you. I don’t regret my choices.

The Assistant

By: Lily P., Carman, Manitoba, Canada, Age 12
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A difficult boss rants about her assistant.

I know you’re probably wondering why I’m drenched in coffee, so I’ll start from the beginning. It all started when I left for work, you know where I work right? Yes, Kimmel and Becket on 55th. The law office. Okay back to the story. So, I left around 8:00 and got to work at 8:30 and my new assistant wasn’t even there. At 8:30 she is supposed to be there. I’m not a mean or impatient person so I just sat at my desk, tapping my foot, waiting for her. After about two minutes I was so mad I wanted to fire her right when she walked in the door. It’s so hard to find good help these days. Last month, I had to fire four slackers right after another because they were not what I was looking for. I just want an assistant who listens to me and doesn’t put cream in my coffee. So, after about four whole minutes of me staring at the door just waiting for that rat to walk in, she came running in. She saw how angry I was and started in with this ridiculous story about being mugged on the way to work, I mean that happens all the time in New York, but it doesn’t mean you have to be late! So, then she held up my coffee and acted all apologetic like everything was gonna be fine. I looked at her and told her in the nicest way ever “Leave now, your fired.” Then she looked at me like nothing and threw that coffee right at my face. It splashed all over my Ann Taylor blouse and onto my Jimmy Choo’s. Then she slapped me and ran out. I’m going to sue her and then have her banished from this country! I am never gonna let someone treat me like nothing and I don’t even care if it was her first day!

Paper Cranes

By: Jefferson T., Cupertino, California, Age 16
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A young man reminisces about his friend Sadako, and the thousand paper cranes she folded during the Atomic age.

I’m a liar… *huhm* Well I’m certainly something. It’s easy to get strange around here. So many grim faces, so many doctors, so many treatments. It all stops making sense after a while. “acute malignant leukemia of the lymph glands” sounds fancy, don’t it? ‘Atom Bomb Disease’ rolls off the tongue better. It was the course of governments that led to the most destructive weapon ever conceived, but it was the people who paid the price. No presidents no emperors, us kids. I wish I could sleep, I’m always tired in the morning, the nurses call me out for looking bleary. I think it’s funny, they know I don’t have anywhere to be. I’ve spent so many nights staring out this same window looking at this same street lamp. I blame the snores from the five other people in this room. I can never sleep when I want to. You think something so basic to living would come easier. Maybe if I fold some cranes, all my struggles would be solved (laughs). I shouldn’t joke about that. No, it’s wrong. It feels wrong to Sadako. Oh, Sadako. She’s in a better place now, outta this place at least. Only twelve in this hospital, this is no place for little girls, this is no place for anyone. Too sterile too gray too hopeless. I can’t stop thinking about Sadako, how she spent her last few week folding all those cranes. I had told her a while ago, jokingly of course, the legend that anyone who folded one thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Fold a thousand. Money? Done. Superpowers? Easy. Not dying? Easy. The poor thing spent her last months folding and folding and folding. Not taking in music or colors or flavors, but folding the same damn thing again and again. She only got up to six hundred something, before she (looks for word) went. It didn’t matter in the end, I knew it wouldn’t, paper cranes can’t cure cancer, I know that. I Shouldn’t have told her that. I’m a liar. Maybe it wasn’t the worst thing, hope is hope right? And she found that, had it. I think she realized it wasn’t gonna save her, she must have, she wasn’t dumb. I know she saw the end coming, but she kept folding. I can’t understand why she would spend all those hours on something so pointless. I messed with her head with, I’m older I shoulda known better, I shoulda done better. It’s good she spent her time doing something she wanted to do, that is that. But its, it’s weird to think she’s becoming a hero for it isn’t it, the cranes I mean? I hear them talking about how inspirational her story is. Really? They saw how it ended, how it ends for all of us, what’s beautiful about that? I can hardly bear to think about it. It’s not ok, it’s not right. It’s so helpless can’t you see? Folding paper and legends, that’s not enough to build hope on, but it’s all we get. It’s cruel. Nothing inspirational about it. Nothing more to say about it. She’s no hero, none of us are, we’re all just dying in our own ways. I really need to get some sleep, it’s so late. Nothing stops the morning.

Fencing 101

Second Place Winner
By: Brooke E., Little Rock, Arkansas, Age 14
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A snobby fencing instructor gets a comeuppance.

Hello, and welcome to Fencing 101. I’m your instructor, Archibald Atticus Vanderbilt Carnegie Harvard Dartmouth Stephens Columbia Car-wait, I already said Carnegie, where was I? Oh, stop looking at me like that! I’m sure you aren’t as capable of keeping track of your first fifty middle names. Now, the art of the sword is an art dating back to the earliest ages of reason, perfected during the Renaissance age, when a true Renaissance man knew not only the sword, but—stop chatting amongst yourselves, you urchins! I did not master the sword by ignoring my elders! The children of my day were civil hand-raisers who knew how to address their masters. For foil’s sakes, children, raise your hands! Yes, you, in the out-of-season blouse. “When will we get to stab people,” you ask? Ha! Stabbing people is not what fencing is about. Hey?! Where are you going? Get back here! I didn’t go to Charleston Maxwell Private Academy to be disregarded! STOP SNICKERING! Alright. Alright. All of you, in line. I will be giving you your swords. No stabbing…. What did I just say? Yes, you, the victim of the stabbing? What’s that? “Can I go to the nurse’s office?” I don’t know, can you? It’s may I go to the nurse’s office, child, not can. Say it correctly…. thank you. Please staunch your profuse bleeding and proceed directly there. Now, put your feet at right angles and spread them, bending your legs into a comfortable en garde position. (Go into the correct on guard position.) Oh for the love of-I didn’t say sit down! What?! You can’t bend your leg?! And why on earth is-oh, it’s in a cast. My apologies, young man, I didn’t realize-wait, why are you even here if your leg is broken?! Just… just leave. My patience wears thin with you ruffians. Alright, now you’ll want to take a step forward, then dart out like a majestic scorpion of the Sahara! Much like this-(demonstrate). Now you try. DON’T FACE EACH OTHER! Face the wall and practice hitting it with the tips of your swords. Yes, like that. What is it, girl? You don’t have room on the wall? Just hit that infernal metal box over there! (mocking her in falsetto) “Oh, Mr. Archibald, that’s a circuit breaker! We could cause a power outage! Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, do as you’re told! Stab the metal box, girl, or begone from this class! (Archibald nods, then shrieks, flailing his sword around). DEAR HEAVEN ABOVE, I’VE GONE BLIND! THE DARKNESS HAS COME TO CLAIM ME! THIS IS MY PUNISHMENT FOR SKIPPING THAT ONE LACROSSE PRACTICE-what?! It’s a… a blackout? But… oh. Erm… well, if you can find it in your hearts… respect your elders… follow the-class dismissed!

I Hate Disco

Third Place Winner
By: Payton V.P., Green Bay, Wisconsin, Age 17
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Teen rejected by her guy finds comfort where least expected–from her mom.

I don’t like disco. I’m sure of that. But when I was messing around with Ricky, I told him I liked disco. It was that kinda, doe-eyed, sloppy lie you tell when you’ve got cherry marmalade in your heart about a guy. Ricky was the bee’s knees, even though he was a lil’ too old for us high school girls. Mom never liked that. She said he was gruff and that it probably wouldn’t last long. But, Ricky’s not as sand paper rough as he comes off. He told me that in elementary school all the kids poked at him for being short. He’d listen to disco and eat his maple ham sandwiches with the teacher, which made me sad. Couldn’t you see my little Ricky with his wide eyes and crazy raven hair as he munched on some dry bread next to a busty middle aged teacher? Ricky never really knew how to click with people quite like everyone else, I suppose. The part that made me ache was when Ricky told me ‘bout the day they served French toast sticks. The kids roughed him up, yanno, punches and kicks like little tykes do, and then poured syrup into the back of his sweater. Ricky got all teary-eyed just talking about it. Everyone called him Sticky Ricky. Still do. I only called him Sticky Ricky when I was angry with him. Ricky was irksome, but, boy, did he love disco. Not me. I didn’t mind some Donna Summers and some Bee Gee’s, now and then, but Ricky loved it. I told him I did too. I never really understood why girls do that for their dopey boys. It was just a tradition. It was a torch passed down on the back of the bus, along with dirty songs and the secrets to youth. My mom would nag at me for bending about disco. I used to always yap and moan about her Earth, Wind and Fire, but that’s just what girls do to their mothers. People tell me how much I’m like her, and it drives me crazy. “Lola! You’ve got your momma’s disco ball eyes!” I didn’t want her disco ball eyes! Or her disco ball hair, hands or songs. When I broke up with Ricky, he spit on my new Mary Janes and then I blurted out that I hated disco. My mom picked me up that night in the back lot of the drive in. We listened to Gloria Gaynor the whole ride home as I cried. I was mad ’cause she was right. Moms are always right. She rubbed my back and made me feel better. I still hated disco, but I didn’t mind it as much in that moment.

Blue Eyes

By: Lavender Payne, Cupertino, California, Age 16
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teenager survives the Columbine Shooting

I always wished my life was more interesting. I always wished something exciting would happen, something so big it would change my life forever… I had only been attending Columbine for about a month before it happened. I really didn’t have any friends, being the new girl and all, so I spent most of my free time at school aimlessly roaming the halls, or finding a quiet place to sit and read. I remember that day, I decided I’d go the library and work on homework during lunch, since I didn’t really have anywhere else to go, but I had only in there for about ten minutes when I heard this loud noise coming from out in the halls. These two students ran in, a guy and a girl, and the girl was calling for the librarian saying that the boy that was with her had been shot. At first I just thought it was a sick senior prank or something, since it was pretty close to the end of the year, so I just disregarded all the commotion… but then I heard Ms. Neilson shouting for everyone to get under the tables. When we heard gunshots, and screaming ringing through the halls, we knew it was real.
I panicked and looked for a place to go, and that’s when I saw a student I had never met before, crouched under one of the computer tables. I guess he noticed how lost and scared I looked, because he gestured for me to hide with him. It was so weird. In the midst of chaos, there was a moment where it felt like time had slowed down, and I got a chance to look at his eyes. They were this incredible shade of blue, so bright and full of life. He gave me a timid smile. There was a certain kindness in his expression that made me feel safe despite everything going on around us. That moment of silence was broken by the sound of more gunshots in the hall getting closer, and the boy I was sitting with grabbed my hand, and locked his ocean blue eyes with mine. “We’re going to be okay,” he said, “everything is going to be okay.” but then the doors burst open. Everything after that felt so surreal. Like it was all happening so slow, but all too fast at the same time. The voices of the two gunmen made my skin crawl. I shut my eyes tight and just kept hoping everything would just go away. Wake up Nicole. This isn’t real- no this can’t be real. Wake up… But it wasn’t long before the crack of several gunshots silenced my thoughts. I felt a sharp pain in my thigh, it took me a second before I had even fully realized what happened. I reached down to grip the source of the pain… blood…I looked to my left, and the boy with blue eyes had let go of my hand, and was instead gripping his stomach, he was bleeding too, and he was pleading with the shooter… begging for his life. I tried thinking of something to say, as if choosing the right words would save his life but. I could barely even form a complete thought when– no. no, no. I can still see it. there was just… so much blood. I remember grabbing his hand again, it was still warm. but his eyes- those gorgeous blue eyes of his- they were different now. Empty… The room was spinning and the pain from the bullet in my thigh was unbearable. I blacked out after that. I can’t handle the sight of blood. I remember waking up surrounded by paramedics and police. The sound of sirens echoed in the distance. They lifted me onto a gurney and this woman kept trying to ask me questions, but everything was just a big chaotic blur. So much pain from the bullet in my leg, and my head was just full of questions. Why did this have to happen? How did I survive this? Why didn’t he? He didn’t deserve this… he had a family, and friends, and a future, he had a life. Life…we take it for granted, don’t we? I always wished my life was more interesting. I always wished something exciting would happen, something so big it would change my life forever. Be careful what you wish for.

When I was Your Age

By: Hanna Collins, Cupertino, California, USA, Age 15
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A Chinese mother lectures her child about how easy her life is.

How dare you disrespect me like that. After all I’ve done for you; raising you, teaching you, feeding you, clothing you- you dare to talk to me like this? If I had grown up with the things you have now; the opportunities and resources that you take for granted, I would be miles ahead! Sometimes I think you forget what growing up was like for me, and what a miracle it is that I am here, because if you remembered, you’d never complain. When I was your age, I wasn’t in a wealthy little suburb- I grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution. I didn’t have time to argue for a later curfew, if I wasn’t indoors before dark, I would have gotten carted off to the labor camps by the Red Guard. If I had spoken to my mother the way you just spoke to me, she should have whipped me with a leather belt until I bled. Every time I see you refuse to eat what I put on your plate, I just want to smack you! When I was little, I was hungry. When I spilled a cup of uncooked rice over the dirt floor of our house, my mother smacked me across the face and the whole family spent the next hour picking every grain of rice off the floor. When I hear you talking about how bored you are, I remember the hours I spent playing with the mercury from a shattered glass thermometer; rolling it around my bare hands and thinking to myself how lucky I was to have found such a fascinating toy. I can’t stand the sound of you complaining how hard school is for you, and how not getting an A is fine. When I was in school, if my name wasn’t at the very top of the exam board, I would cry for the next two days. Hell, by the time I was your age, I was already in college! I did well enough in that college to earn a Green Card and a scholarship to Wesleyan University. I got my bachelor’s, two master’s, my PhD, met your dad, and then … I had you. I remember my father looking in every nook and cranny of our straw roofed house for every single cent that he could spare to give me. And then I look at you, spending hundreds of dollars every time you go out to the mall, and I am disgusted. But most of all- most of all … I am sad. I am sad that you look at me, your mother, and see an enemy; someone always criticizing, heckling, and yelling at you. Because when I was your age, my mother was gone. Yes, those were the days when saying the wrong thing to a neighbor or too loudly at night could be the end of you. Just a couple of words criticizing Chairman Mao, the leader of the Cultural Revolution, and she was gone. I just want to do for you what I wish my mother could have done for me, to teach you the lessons that I was never taught. If you could just look up and see me for who I am: your staunchest supporter, your most faithful ally, your greatest resource. Not your enemy. I am your mother, and I deserve your respect.

Struggle in the Land of Opportunity

By: Antonio Suarez, Cupertino, California USA, Age 16
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A boy describes the life of an immigrant worker.

No soy nada, but I want to be someone, someone better than what I am now. My familia came to California looking to better ourselves, but we always move from place to place to look for work on the farms. Every time we get to a new farm we set up a tent that we will live in. I know I`m young, I can’t talk a lot of English, Pero yo entiendo, but I can understand it. Over the years, I’ve started to realize that in life I need to work as hard as I can just to survive, even though we never get paid enough to even eat. Ever since we moved to this plantacion, I look at my reflection in the waters of the creek behind our little tent and I see the dirt on my face I look down at my worn clothes and think to myself, why are we so poor in the land of oportunidad? Por qué sufrimos tanto? Why can’t we just move into the city? When I think of the city I always wonder what better things could be in store for me, I smile at that, but then I realize there aren’t any better chances here in this country. Every day is the same. I get up in the morning feeling pain from yesterday’s strain. I get changed into the same old leather boots that my papá gave me. I slip on a pair of jeans, toss on a shirt and head off to work. Nothing changes but I try the best I can to put on a straight face and stay happy, never showing my true emotion. Today my family and I are packed up and are ready to move somewhere else again. The sun is as hot as ever during these summer days. Before we left I looked back to the place I called home, and looked at the creek and the fields across from it, I turned back to our carrito and looked at the dirt road. Here we go again. My papá told us that he heard of a nice farm in Fresno that is offering workers a place to live in a house on the farm. My mind rushes with thoughts as I picture a nice warm home with bedrooms, a kitchen, Baños, todo. I want things to change once we get our own house. For the first time, I feel like there is going to be a good change in our lives. I always make friends on the farms, but once I get to know them, the harvest is over and my family needs to move to find more work. I keep telling myself that I will never say goodbye ever again, it is hard for me to say adiós. Over time I have just stopped paying attention to the other kids and focused on my family, but maybe this time, maybe this time…it will be different.

I Know I’m a Freak

By: Nadine D., Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, Age 17
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen, whose looks have been damaged in a car accident, begs others to overlook her “looks.”

I know that I’m a freak. I know that. Do you think that I could forget with people telling me every day? They call me freak. Frankenstein. Monster. I’m sorry that the car hit me. I’m sorry that the doctors weren’t concerned with beauty when they saved my life. I am a monster, but I’m not one of the dangerous variety. There are plenty who are, though. I’m talking about the monsters who hide in sheep’s clothing and then rip out with snapping teeth. The monsters who hide curled up in a beautiful skin. People pass monsters every day. They eat with them, laugh with them, sit in their laps and let their teeth near their throats. They smile and laugh and pull people in with dancing green eyes. They’re wolves, they’re sharks, and make no mistake, there’s blood in the water. Most people don’t see what they are under their porcelain masks and red lips. They just see innocent brown eyes and a slim figure. They don’t see the scales and claws that they show me. They call me the monster, but monsters like me only look the part, and I prefer that to the false facades and double-edged words. I’m an honest monster. I bare my scars and my breaks and let people see what I am. No lies, no false fronts. I am what I appear to be. Others hide their pain and insecurities behind masks and barbs. They hide their scars by making others bleed. And for that, I pity them.

Apologies

By: Danielle Lippert, Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, Age 18
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen, because of her life experiences, is tired of hearing apologies.

I’ve heard you say sorry a million times. You say it when you bump into me, when you don’t hold the door open, when you don’t realize I’ve been standing right next to you. You say it all the time. I’ve never heard someone say sorry more than you have. It’s almost like you’re always doing something that needs apologizing for. My dad used to apologize a lot. He’d come home from work late with an apology. He’d leave early with an apology. He’d miss my game and apologize later. My dad was always apologizing. Until one day he left and didn’t come back. I never got an apology for that. Apologies have meant nothing to me ever since he left. You could be deeply, sincerely, insanely sorry for the smallest thing, and I wouldn’t believe you.
My mom told me one day this would all go away, and that one day I’ll be able to look at everyone with a smile again. That was ten years ago, and I still can’t accept anyone’s apology. My mom has apologized for my dad leaving hundreds of times. I’ll never accept my mother’s apologies or my friends or strangers who just bump into me on the street. I’ll never believe them because of what my father did. My mom and I are doing great, just me and her, and a part of me is glad my father left. I’m happy he left us. He could come back with the grandest apology anyone has ever heard, and I still wouldn’t believe him. You remind me a lot of my father. And it’s been in the back of my mind since you first apologized to me. I can’t have another person like my father in my life. So, no, I don’t accept your apology, and I never will.

The Test

By: Molly McKenna., Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, Age 17
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: A student panics while taking a test.

The white clock on the wall is mocking me. Counting down the minutes until I fail this test. It makes no sense. Hey, why aren’t there any posters hung up in Ms. Daniel’s room? I’ve never noticed that before. I need something to take my mind off this paper in front of me. This paper that will destroy my GPA. I’m grinding my teeth. I never grind my teeth. Wow. Look how interesting this pencil looks when I twirl it. Why is the second hand on that clock moving so slowly? And how is everyone else still working on this test? I can’t make sense of it. I read the novel, but this question doesn’t make any sense. Look at Hanna. Furiously scribbling. I hate her. She knows the answers to everything. Ms. Daniels is reading a book. Really? At a time like this, she is just sitting there reading? She’s mean. Whoa. There’s the bell. My paper is still blank. I think I’m going to have a heart attack. Great. Everyone’s getting ready to go. I’d better turn in my paper. But really, what’s the point? It’s blank. I guess I’ll just turn it in. Wait, what? Ms. Daniels is going to grade our papers right now? How can she do that? I think I’m going to turn to stone. She’s making everyone sit back down. Why is she shuffling through the papers so fast? Wait, she stopped on one. I think it’s mine. Here we go. My heart’s pounding through my chest. She’s going to announce to everyone that I’ve failed. Wait, what? I am the only one who passed? It was a test to see if we could read directions, and it said not to write anything down? Ha! Take that, clock! Take that, Hannah!

A Short Monologue

By: Lauren H., Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, Age 16
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A teen expresses the frustrations of being vertically challenged.

Last night my world was shattered. I realized that my younger brother, Colin, is taller than me. He was like “Ha, ha. I’m taller than you, little hobbit.” Shut Up Colin! No one understands the daily struggles of being short. People use your head as an armrest, like ALL the time. I’m not an armrest, I’M A HUMAN BEING! People also assume you’re like 5 or 6 years younger than you are. When I went to the Ferris wheel, they asked if I wanted the twelve and under ticket. TWELVE AND UNDER!!!! I’M SIXTEEN. People always feel the need to point out how short you are. Like “Wow, you’re like three feet tall.” NO I’M 5 FOOT ONE QUARTER, idiot. Then they’re like “Oh, you can just wear high heels” which is great advice because I love wearing shoes that make my feet feel like they’re on fire. People also taunt you by holding things above your head or putting them on a high shelf. I really want to strangle each and every tall person but to do so I would NEED A STEPLADDER!!!!!!

Best Friends

By: Rebecca S., Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, Age 17
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: A teen expresses her feelings about her best friend.

Best friend? Well, I’ve never been much for friends. My intense competitive spirit, social anxiety, fear of the cafeteria and awkward sense of humor tend to work against me. But strangely, the one friend I have come to entrust this weird title was once my arch nemesis. Of course, she had no clue. In fourth and fifth grade Angela had a cubby right next to mine. She had lots of friends and took the ‘Nicest Student’ award away from me in the fifth grade, and I was so angry that I squeezed glue in her cubby, which showed how nice I really was. Yeah, Angela deserved the award. She’s someone who has my back when I say, “back me up.” She laughs at my hilarious jokes when everyone else randomly forgets how to laugh. She takes me to a world where awkward moments don’t exist and jealousy is something to joke about and fights never happen (and if they do I don’t remember them). Best Friend? Nah. Angela and I are more like sisters.

Emergency

First Place Winner
By: Melanie T., Westminster, CA USA, Age 15
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: SMITHIE, 26, was hired last week as a 911 operator and is just getting the hang of her job. (Spoiler Alert: she isn’t very good at it.)

The police are on their way, stay calm and breathe sweetie you are going to be fine. I’ll stay on the line with you until the police get to your house. Are you okay? Hello? Hel-. Oh. They just hung up. What do I do when they just hang up? OH! 911, what is your emergency? Can you- Could you repeat that slower, sir? Do you have any idea of where you are located? Cerritos Mall… No, sir crocs are not a 911 emergency, however I do appreciate your concern because they truly are a real FASHION CRIME. AAAAH FABIO is that you?? Honey! I thought told you not to call me at work! Alright already, let the woman wear what she wants okay? Let it go. Okay. Okay, bye. 911 what is your emergency? Mom!? Stop it, MOM, you can’t call me at work anymore. Yes, the breakup was fine. I told you already. He said he still loved me, he just didn’t want to be tied down anymore and mom, I respect that and we’re still friends. I know. Yes, mom I know, I was there and you weren’t. He just called me. On my work phone. Look, I’m going to get in trouble. Let me call you back when I get home. I love you too. Buh-bye. 911, what is your emergency? FABIO?! Again? This woman with crocs thing is getting old and I have to work tonight! Wait, Fabio? Oh my god you’re not Fabio… I am so sorry, ma’am I thought you were my ex, um… I guess I could tell you if you want me to… No. No never mind it’s a long story. Please continue describing. You said someone stole your crocs? Where are you? Hmm okay, that’s funny. The mall. Crocs. Really? Do you REALLY want those back? Those crocs? Like THE ugliest shoes on the planet. That doesn’t concern me! Why don’t you just call the police then? (Realizes what she said.) Oh.

Emergency

Second Place Winner
By: Abby S., Alberta, Canada, Age 14
Gender: Male or Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: 30-year-old Sam is sharing a eulogy for their cat’s funeral.

I gather you all here today, to celebrate and remember the life of our dearest friend. I’ve gone through a lot this past week… I’ve lost my best friend, my soul mate. And it’s hard, it really is. I felt like I knew her for my entire life. (Pause, inner realization.) But she’s gone. Sometimes she would know when I had a bad day and would always make me feel better. It seemed like she took care of me more than I did her. I will truly miss the mornings waking up beside her. Sharing our time together, watching me in the shower, sitting with me on the toilette. Climbing the big birch tree was her favorite past time. (Holding back tears.) I would like to share one of my favorite memories of her and I, when I first met her and found the love of my life, I instantly knew that we were meant to be together, and I told that other man that was looking at you “Back off she’s mine.” And it was true. She helped me through everything and I can’t express my gratitude for our relationship. I will, and already do miss her so much. (Talking to box/coffin). Oh my Honey Boo Bear… I loved you so much. But it was your time. You were old. You were ready to go. It was me – I was the one who wasn’t ready. Those thirteen years together have blessed my life. Rest in peace little Missy, my pretty kitty, I’ll never forget you.

Every Flavor of the Rainbow

By: Georgia E. Alberta, Canada, Age 13
Gender: Any
Genre: Comedic
Description: An ice cream flavor is having an identity crisis.

Hi, I’m Neapolitan. (Smirks at audience, winking flirtatiously.) I come from a mixed family, my mom’s like half cherry, dad’s rocky road. Its makes me a whole lot of chunky, with a side of smooth. (Looks around, pause.) What was I talking about… Oh yeah, people ask what my biggest flaw is… I guess I’m just too strong. They just can’t take all this flavor, you know? (Gestures to entire body. Pauses.) It’s hard for me, you know? (Tone switches, slightly hesitant.) I have no idea who I am. My one aunt is certain I’m Vanilla, my uncle thinks I’m chocolate. But I’m strawberry too right? In the freezer section, the flavors pretty much stick to their own kind. Vanilla with Vanilla and Chocolate with Chocolate. They never accept me the way I am. That’s okay, though. I’m going to be myself even if they don’t accept me. I’ll scoop out my own sorta life. Maybe I’ll travel the kitchen, see the counter… visit the tower of pizza. We all need to accept who we are, like that Miss Strawberry chic. She’s natural, and I respect that. Even if she stalks me day and night. It’s kinda’ creepy… I can’t even re-freeze without being sure she’s not looking. But hey, at least she’s not one of those dairy-free flavors. I don’t buy that for a second.

Confession

By: Micaela E., Los Alamitos, CA, Age 16
Gender: Female
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Elena confides in a friend about a crime she committed.

Can I tell you something? It’s kind of a big thing, so I’m gonna need you to keep it quiet. You know Alex, right? Of course you do. Anyway, we kind of, uh I don’t know um robbed a bank last week. God, I know! I know it’s terrible, but I really needed to get that off my chest. To be honest I don’t know what drove me to say yes, but if I’m gonna be REALLY honest, it’s cuz Alex is REALLY HOT. I mean what else are you supposed to do when the most attractive guy you know finally gives you the time of day? Sure, it was only to rob a bank, but I guess I thought there would have been more benefits to doing something like that. Aside from the money. Anyway, last week, Alex just saunters up to me and is like “Hey Elena, I think you’re pretty cool, so uhh, wanna rob a bank tomorrow?” and NATURALLY I said, “SUREEEEE ALEX! That seems like a completely acceptable and not at all illegal thing to do!” But who just asks that? I mean take me to dinner first. So, the next morning it’s like four AM, we’re getting ready to do the thing. I’m pretty nervous. The most illegal thing I’d done up until that point was J-walked. Alex looks at me and is all, “what ya scared?? This is gonna be a piece of cake.” I tried to be brave and said “You’re right! It’s not like uh… cheating at tetherball!!” (beat) It’s WAY worse. So, we manage to get in without setting off any alarms. We were in and out SO quick and we got some good cash out of it. Like I said though, I thought there’d be more benefits to robbing a bank with a guy than cash. Turns out someone wanting to rob a bank with you does NOT coincide with getting married and having kids. So, so much for committing a felony in hopes of getting a date.

Renouncing God

By: Macy B., Los Alamitos, California, USA, Age 16
Gender: Any
Genre: Dramatic
Description: Camille is a young girl who is praying to God about her troubled family life.

(Gets on her knees and starts praying.) Dear Lord. Please, please make them stop fighting. I’m so sick of it. It’s every day, every night. From the moment I come home ‘til the second I fall asleep. I just want things how they used to be: when my parents were happy, when we were all happy. I remember we would all l hold hands around the dinner table and pray. We would thank God for the food on our table, the roof over our heads and our wonderful family. We would pray to YOU. But what did you give us in return? Nothing. Eventually, Dad stopped coming to dinner. He would come home late at night, drunk, if he even came home at all. He just wasn’t the same person anymore. He would lash out over petty things, like when mom forgot to wash the dishes. He would smash them on the counter and curse at her. And I was always the one to clean up the mess. I would go to my mom and ask what was wrong she would say it was “Nothing sweetie, don’t worry about it.” But of course that wasn’t true. So, one day, when my parents were fighting, I didn’t think it was anything unusual because my parents were always fighting. But this time it was different. Mom had hidden dad’s whiskey and he couldn’t find it. He screamed “Where is it? What the hell Suzanne!?” She tried to tell him to calm down, to think about what he was doing before he did something rash. He didn’t listen. He pushed her into the mantel, and I watched it all happen. I watched my own mother fall to the ground. (Getting angry.) Why do you do this to our family Lord? What have we ever done? What did I ever do to deserve this kind of pain and hurt? I keep thinking “Everything is in God’s hands. He will fix this. He will fix us.” but you never do. I’m scared to come home. I’m scared one day I’ll walk through that door and my mom will be hurt so badly that I can’t help her. I’m scared one day I’ll be the one that gets hit. (Softly.) I just want a quiet life, a peaceful, happy life. One thing is for sure, when I grow up, I’m not going to be like them. I’m not going to give my daughter false hopes about a God who does nothing. I’m going to be happy.

Crushed

By: Dajai T., Modesto, California, USA
Gender: Female
Genre: Comedic
Description: A teenager accidentally sends a very personal text to the school gossip.

Oh-My-God, OH MY GOD! I did not just accidentally send a text to Sky about the fact that I have a crush on Gaston. Oh no, this is bad, this is really bad. I’m going to die! Gaston is semi-popular and he is definitely going to find out. Why does Sky have to be such a gossiper with her amazing looks and gorgeous hair, although she is still a “four eyes”, but I guess I can’t say anything (points to glasses). Ugh, I am literally going to die. (Looks at phone) Oh, she hasn’t read the text message. Okay, Plan B, cover story, come on think of a cover story. Ummmm… I can text her that I meant “I like shakes but not protein ones. Those are bad for me. Instead of “I like Gaston, he’s so cute. But it is bad for me to as him out?” I will tell her it was auto correct. (Texting.) Please believe me. “Oh okay I believe you.” Yes, SHE BELIEVED ME!! …. Great, now I’m hungry.