free solo stage play script monologue


A Hysterical History of the American Revolution


by D. M. Larson



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Time and Place: 1775, An undisclosed meeting hall in the American Colonies.


Abigail Adams is at a podium with a gavel surrounded by many woman in 1770's clothing sitting at tables scattered around the podium. 

ABIGAIL

I call to order the first Women's Continental Congress...

MARTHA W

What? You told me this was going to be a sewing bee.

KITTY

Shush.

ABIGAIL

I, Abigail Adams, will act as president.

MARTHA W

President?  Now Abigail...

ABIGAIL

The floor recognizes the honorable Martha Washington.

MARTHA W

I find this whole gathering... to be improper.

ABIGAIL

Well, I find the fact that our husbands excluding us from participating in the Continental Congress improper.

DEBORAH

She's a hot head like her husband.

ABIGAIL

What's that Mrs. Franklin? 

DEBORAH

Nothing, dear.  Carry on.

ABIGAIL

Don't you all find it ironic that our husbands are demanding a voice for America from the British parliament but they will not give us one?

MARTHA W

We know our place, Abigail.

ABIGAIL

And our husbands do not.  They rise up while they push us down.

Martha Jefferson's slave woman, Sally, jumps up.

SALLY

Amen sister!

JEFFERSON

Sit down, Sally.

MARTHA W

I'm sorry Abigail, but if you'll excuse me.

KITTY

Martha, please wait.  Stay and listen.  You don't have to agree, but Abigail has a right to be heard.

Martha Washington sits reluctantly.

ABIGAIL

Thank you, Kitty.

KITTY

I, for one, think this is all so exciting.  Perhaps where our husbands have failed, we might succeed.  They fight and argue but we all get along quite nicely.

DEBORAH

Do we now?

ABiGAIL

Come, Mrs. Franklin.  This whole idea should appeal to you.  Do you enjoy quietly doing all your husband's work for him, running the entire United States post office, managing his affairs, while he flitters about Europe wining and dining potential allies.

KITTY

Oh, the stories I've heard about Benjamin Franklin in the French courts.

DEBORAH

So much for getting along... I believe I'll be going.

KITTY

No, no. I'm so sorry, Deborah. I thought you might find it humorous.  I didn't mean to offend.

DEBORAH

I will not stay here and play with silly girls such as yourself, Kitty Greene.  I must excuse myself... Madame President.

Deborah starts to go and then Ben Franklin appears.

BEN

Deborah... what are you doing here?

DEBORAH

Plotting a revolution of our own it seems.

BEN

I forbid you to participate in this... silly session.

DEBORAH

You what?  You forbid me?

Ben

I refuse to see you be a part of this foolishness.

DEBORAH

Really?  Well, too bad.

BEN

What?

DEBORAH

I'm staying. 

BEN

Deborah...

DEBORAH

Don't Deborah me... why don't you go fly a kite.

Ben leaves annoyed.

Abigail

Shall we continue then?

DEBORAH

We shall.  My apologies for the interruption.

KITTY

Oh, this is so exciting.  I move that we do some open act of protest.

JEFFERSON

Please nothing as messy as that awful tea party in Boston.  Imagine dumping all that lovely tea in the harbor.

KITTY

We could burn our petticoats?

DEBORAH

That is way too 1760's.

KITTY

How about a symbol?

JEFFERSON

A symbol?

KITTY

A woman that symbolizes what we stand for!  Ladies!

Two women enter.  One carries a pitcher of water.  The other is a redneck looking woman with a hatchet.

KITTY (CONT.)

First we have Molly Pitcher.  She is the brave woman who ran pitchers of water to the canons to cool them during battle.  When her husband fell under enemy fire, she took his post and fired the canon!

Women applaud politely.

KITTY (CONT.)

And over here, we have Molly Hatchet...

Molly Hatchet (redneck girl) does a dramatic pose and looms over Martha Washington who lets out a yelp.  Abigail stops her.

ABIGAIL

All in favor of adopting Molly Pitcher as our symbol.

ALL

Aye!

ABIGAIL

Opposed?

No one says anything and tough Molly Hatchet suddenly bursts in to tears and runs out crying.

PITCHER

I shall not fail you ladies. 

DEBORAH

Okay, can we do something important now?

ABIGAIL

My goal is to do something quickly.  Already our husbands have formed the SECOND continental congress and haven't come to any solutions.  Without my husband, I've had to handle all our family affairs.  Without him working, I've had to go around collecting unpaid debts from clients of his law practice, take of trading, find any way possible to keep our household in order...

DEBORAH

Yes, while the men play politics, someone needs to keep the money coming in.  Which is why I should go.

KITTY

Even us women of better means have had to make sacrifices. 

DEBORAH

Such as?

KITTY

We have given up the drinking of tea.

JEFFERSON

And started drinking coffee.  Horrid stuff.

MARTHA W

And we plan to make our own clothing.  No more imported British goods for us.  A total boycott of anything from England.

ABIGAIL

That's wonderful!  That will get their attention.

KITTY

And Mrs. Washington and I plan to keep the troops clothed and fed.

MARTHA W

The men are deserting at an alarming rate.  Our kindness, food and donations of clothing have made a difference.

DEBORAH

I hear Mrs. Greene keeps the men quite happy.

KITTY

What's that supposed to mean?

DEBORAH

I'm just saying there is talk...

KITTY

What is talking?  What kind of talk?

MARTHA W

I will vouch for Mrs. Greene.  Yes, she was seen dancing with my husband, General Washington...

DEBORAH

For three hours.

KITTY

It was a dancing contest.  He was quite good.

DEBORAH

I'll bet he was.

ABIGAIL

Ladies, please.  Order!

Abigail is pounding her gavel. Women are still arguing.

ABIGAIL (CONT.)

This was harder than I thought.  Order! Order!

The arguing gets worse despite Abigail's gavel banging and asking for order over and over.   Then a young woman (Emily Geiger) stumbles in, dirty and tired.  Martha Jefferson sees her and rushes to her. 

JEFFERSON

Come sit, my dear.

Kitty rushes to her.

KITTY

Aren't you Emily Geiger?  You're a messenger for my husband, General Greene?

EMILY

Yes, ma'am.

Martha Washington brings her some water.

KITTY

Emily is one of the bravest women I know.  Much braver than that other messenger, Paul Revere, that everyone talks about.  (mocking tone) "The British are coming. The British are coming."  Miss Geiger risked her life delivering a message that saved my husband's life.  He needed reinforcements but no man was brave enough to cross the British lines to deliver a message to Genernal Sumter asking for help. But this woman was brave enough.  She carried the message and when she was captured, she swallowed it down to avoid giving up the sensitive information.  Having no evidence, the British released her and she delivered the message verbally to Sumter and brought the much needed help my husband needed.  Thank you, Emily.

JEFFERSON

I believe she has a message for us.

EMILY

I come with news from Charleston.  Breed's Hill is lost.

JEFFERSON

Is that near Bunker Hill?

EMILY

Yes.  The men fought hard but they ran out of ammunition.  With a few bullets left, Colonel Prescott ordered his mean to wait to fire until the British were close enough to see their eyes... "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" he said.

JEFFERSON

Such bravery.

DEBORAH

Such stupidity.

ABIGAIL

And that is something else we can do.  We can make ammunition.

DEBORAH

I'd rather make peace.

ABIGAIL

We melt down all our silver and pewter and make bullets.

MARTHA W

Our silver?  Really?  Isn't there something else we could use.

KITTY

How about the statue of King George?!  It's made of lead.  Perfect for bullets.

ABIGAIL

All in favor?

ALL

Aye!

Except Deborah Franklin who is quiet.

ABIGAIL

Opposed...

They look at Deborah Franklin.

DEBORAH

I rather like the idea. I was just picturing the look on my husband's face when he finds out we did this.

ABIGAIL

Meeting adjurned.  Let's make some bullets.

Ladies happily exit.  Abigail gets some paper and pen.  Kitty pops her head back in.

KITTY

Are you coming, Abigail?

ABIGAIL

In a moment, I wanted to finish a letter to Mr. Adams.

Kitty smiles and leaves.  Abigail speaks as she writes:

ABIGAIL

"...in the new Code of Laws... which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make... I desire you would Remember the Ladies, ...and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation."

THE END




CAST OF CHARACTERS

Abigail Adams - Wife of John Adams and future first lady

Kitty Greene - Wife of General Greene and future co-inventor of the Cotton Gin

Martha Washington - Wife of General Washington and future first lady

Deborah Franklin - Wife of Benjamin Franklin who ran the American Post Office for her husband among many other things.

Ben Franklin - Husband of Deborah Franklin who did something... I don't recall.

Martha Jefferson - Wife of Thomas Jefferson who passes away before her husband becomes president.

Molly Pitcher - woman who was a symbol of the true revolutionary gal possibly based on the real life Mary Hays.

Molly Hatchet - redneck woman who carries a hatchet not based on anyone

Sally Hemings - Slave of Martha Jefferson (and rumored half-sister who become close to Thomas Jefferson after Martha's death)

Emily Geiger - a brave messenger who's quick thinking saved a message from enemy hands

More women extras are possible and encouraged.


SOURCES

"Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts

"Revolutionary Mothers" by Carol Berkin

"John Adams" HBO Miniseries

"1776" Peter Stone Musical



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