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Jago`s monologue

by Elizabeth 

Posted: 14 April 2005
Word Count: 607
Summary: I wrote this as part of an Ou course on playwriting. Please note that Jago is a deliberate inversion of the "Iago" character from Sh's "Othello"!
Related Works: Bella • 

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<Beware, Master! A black ram is tupping your white ewe>

Remember that line?

The old "Swan of Avon" wrote that.

See, we Blacks ain't all "ignorant savages" like you White folks seem to think.

Like a bit of old Shaky, me!

No, not that t**t "Shakin' Stevens", neither. Another talentless white b*****d!

Yeah, but he's WHITE, so what the F**K!.....shower him with cash and praise and admiration, whydoncha???
But if he was Black...man, that'd be quite a different story......

Why do I hate Whites?

What they ever done to me?

I'll tell ya what they've done to me:

When I was a little kid, right, my ma had to go "on the game" cos she needed money to keep me in shoes for my chilblained feet.....

Ma was a beautiful woman....I mean, REALLY beautiful, so she done quite well, moneywise....Kept us alive, anyways, and no need to go askin' the whiteman for handouts an' time to pay the rent on our stinkin' flat....only place they'd take "blacks, dogs and irish" in that neighbourhood, see!

Ma used to try to work on the streets: in cars, up alleys...didn't want me seein' her "at work", you understand?

One night, tho'....I'd been ailin' an' grizzlin' all day, so ma didn't want to leave me alone, like she usually had to-well, who'd baby-sit for a Black, French-speaking whore?-

But we also needed cash ....rent due again: landlord makin' threats he'd put us BOTH on the streets if she didn't pay up.......

Think he might've also been her Pimp, lookin' back, an' I was growin' into a fine young blood for the Meat Market trade, so......

So Ma broke her rule an' brought a punter back....big white guy....funny accent....later realised it had been Mississippi Delta-guy was a real "redneck"...a real "Good Ole Boy".....

So, after he'd had my Ma-back door and front-he took out a big penknife he had and scored her back....Three letters he cut into it....K.K.K.

Ma was screamin' an' screamin'...bleedin' an bleedin'.....I wanted to help, but I was frozen there, inside the wardrobe where she'd pushed me when she first opened the door...before she brought her trick inside.....

Guy got pretty p***** with her, all her cryin' an' all...only wanted to "teach her a lesson", he said.-For what???-I wondered- what did my sweet Mamma do to this guy to make him want to hurt her so???

Shut up, you black bitch!!! he screamed at her, as she lay there on that dirty bed, all shakin' an crumpled an' bleedin'.......

"Shut the hell up or I'll kill ya!!"

She didn't.

He did.

Then he picked up his knife, wiped it on the bedclothes an' ran.
I didn' follow.
I couldn'.

When I did, finally, get the strength back I knelt by my dead Mamma an' held her han' an kissed her.

For a long time.

Then I run out in the streets, screamin an' bloody!....
eventually a cop took me back inside, checked out my Mamma....
"Another tom dead," he said into his little radio. "Yup, signs of violence, no drugs I can see....Got a kid here...send Social services too will ya? Kid seems to be on his own here."

Then that white policeman pulled me away from my sweet Mamma an' I never saw her again. They took me to a "home"
an' they beat me for cryin' for my Mamma in the night, an' for bein' the black b*****d son of a whorin' black bitch who deserved to have her sweet flesh all cut up an' mutilated an' tore, because she sold herself to men for a livin'....

THAT is why I hate white people.

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Comments by other Members

EmiliaDG at 11:15 on 29 April 2005  Report this post
Hi Elizabeth. This is a very powerful monologue where you have created an intriguing character. Jago's voice is very strong and this is definately a character I would want to hear more from. When I'm reading a piece of work by one of students, I know very quickly if a character is a character I could spend time with - a character that could sustain a full length piece and I think you have that in Jago. I'd like to know what happens in his life and forgive me if you've posted this and I've missed it, but I'm guessing this is part of something bigger. A full length play?

With this glimpse into Jago's past it would be so interesting to see where he goes with his life, what he does and how this terrifying and traumatic experience affects him as an adult.

I love the 'She didn't. He did' moment and the way you use those two simple lines to tell the audience this man murdered Jago's mother.

Without seeing this in the context of the whole play, it is difficult to suggest how you could develop this further. I'd love to know if you have written the whole play of if this is a launch pad into it so I can make some suggestions. I wouldn't like to suggest where you could take this character if you have already made that voyage yourself (in which case please post more and I will read it). If this is all you've written so far, do you have an outline or synopsis of the whole play? Maybe you haven't thought that far ahead yet?

I would be interested to know if you did any research for this piece in terms of language and speech style and location, historical period etc.

On a technical note because I have spent my week marking my undergraduate playwriting student's final assessment pieces and have technical grammatical stuff filling my head...

When you use ellipsis (that is the dots that denote a missing word or words or more commonly in playwriting a tailing off of speech) always use just three dots like this...

Us creative types get tempted to go !!!!! or ??? crazy too but only ever use one ! or ?. Using lots looks unprofessional.

I would love to hear more so please do let me know your plans for this piece.

Mr B. at 16:22 on 07 June 2005  Report this post
Despite being a short piece it was emotionally draining: I alternately liked and disliked Jago, was drawn to and repulsed by the narrative. I love this kind of 'theatre on the edge'. It's a fine line between power and rant, which so far you are treading well! Look forward to reading more.

Nice one,


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