Talking Heads monologue
The two monologues I am going to be writing about are two elderly women who are lonely and trapped in their own homes. I will be talking about how Doris, one lady from ‘Cream cracker under the settee’ and Irene, the other lady in ‘Lady of letters’ are suffering from loneliness.
Doris and Irene both live alone. They don’t seem to have any special friends. For example, Irene doesn’t like being people calling her Irene. People who come across Irene must call her Miss.Ruddock; nobody has called her Irene since her mother died. Only real friends may call ‘Miss Ruddock’ Irene.
But both Doris and Irene have people who do you look out for them like the policeman who calls in to check on Doris from time to time.
Both monologues are talking, and looking directly into the camera, at many different angles. This gives a great effect, as the person talking in the monologue seems to be talking to ‘YOU’, in the audience.
In the monologues the women mainly talk about the past and by comparing the day they were ‘kiddies’ to the days of today. This is how monologues are a lot different to dramas. Monologues are an interesting way for the people in the audience to see the opinions and thoughts of another person, maybe older or maybe younger.
Both these monologues don’t have a grouped name such as, action, horror or comedy but if I had to catorgise these monologues, I would say they are ‘real life tragedy’s’.
There are the little side comments which the author for both monologues, Bennett, has made to make the make the audience giggle but the whereas the individuals in the monologue, in this case Doris or Irene, aren’t aware that whatever they are doing is quite amusing. For instance, when Irene is complaining about the smallest things and turns them into some massive horror. Like when she complained to the council about a curb being cracked, little things like this are quite amusing to see such an intelligent women making a fuss.
Irene and Doris also have some things in common. They both have lost loved ones in their lives. This is an important story line in both monologues, as I will explain later on.
The music in these monologues feels the emotions of what the characters are feeling. When there is a scene where Doris or Irene is happy, the music will go along with the expressions. I could tell when the topic came up on the ‘loved lost ones’ it was a very dramatic time for Irene and Doris. The music drained out the room with a slow deep beat of a bellow. This makes the monologues more realistic with the different types and style of music, and with the pauses where no music is played at all.
‘Cream cracker under the settee’ and ‘lady of letters’ are both set in houses. Which are very stereotypical houses for the elderly, with the dull colours, except in these houses they have horrible bars on their windows that couldn’t make Doris and Irene feel very comfortable.
There are a number of things I could write for Doris and Irene, imprisonment, lack and loss and the endings of the monologues. But I have chosen to go in deeply about the loneliness and how it has affected them. I feel that this topic is one of the main structures of the monologues.
Starting with Irene, Irene is lonely so she is imprisoned but she is lonely because of the loss in her life.
Irene is lonely because when her mother passed away she felt she was left with nothing, apart from a pen that her mother gave to her. This pen plays a big role in Irene’s life.
Because Irene is lonely she deliberately finds faults in the world, whether it that someone across the road doesn’t have table clothes on their dinner table or whether its about a dog that had excreted outside Buckingham palace. This is how Irene also makes good use out of her pen, which Irene calls a ‘true friend’, to write to whom it may concern. This is Irene’s main contact with people and the outside world. Apart from the occasional time when she will go out to stock up on her writing paper and buy some sausages.
Nobody understands Irene, or Irene just doesn’t want people to understand her. Irene likes her own independence, so she tells herself, and she talks her mind, which can cause a lot of trouble at times. This doesn’t bother Irene because she feels that she has nothing to loose. People could get to understand Irene, but Irene doesn’t want to know due to her stubbornness. When the priest came round to talk to Miss Ruddock, Irene just cut him short and told him she was an atheist because she doesn’t trust anybody. Irene always has to be right, nobody but Irene is good people as far as Irene is concerned.
Irene’s hobbies of writing letters are a cause of her isolation and nobody understands this. Irene’s mother is the cause of her isolation and loneliness. This is obvious by the way Irene speaks very highly of her mother and speaks very lowly of others. Irene’s face is very sweet and content when she talks about her mother.
I don’t think Irene is quite aware of her own isolation but that soon changes towards the end of the monologue. Irene can be very judgemental at times, which can turn the audience against her. But the audience can’t but feel sorry for her when she starts getting emotional. Such as when Irene was being nosey about her next-door neighbours, she realised that she wasn’t seeing much of the kiddie and so Irene jumped to the conclusion that the parents had abandoned the child. She didn’t think of the consequences of this allegation. Irene wrote another letter to the neighbours about her feelings for tem, which weren’t nice. However the audience didn’t know that Irene had written a letter at this precise moment. The audience only found out when the police had to be forced to Irenes house and confronted Irene. The police announced the little boy had not been abandoned, in fact much worse. The boy had been diagnosed with leukaemia and later died in hospital. Irene knew that she was in the wrong.
Irene was later sent to prison, for her inappropriate actions in causing disrupt in her letters.
In this monologue Irene talks about how people who go to prison don’t get the punishment they should and that they get it easy. But it’s a completely different story for Irene when she gets sent there. You would think that Irene would find it quite hard but in fact its quite the opposite. Irene becomes a lot more confident and confident, she even finds her own self-knowledge-People start to understand her and Irene’s has made friends who call her ‘Irene’. Prison is Irene’s way out of all her loneliness and troubles.
This monologues ends with hope for Irene, and Irene has even become a bit of a motherly figure for some of the prisoners, as she comforts her roommate, Bridget.
Moving on to Doris.
Doris is a very old deteriating woman. She has kind of the same story, as Irene along the lines of losing loved ones. Doris tells the audience about the time when she had a baby that died at birth. This is a very big issue for Doris, as it would be for anyone, but Doris has never really got over her babies death. Whilst telling her tragic story, Doris can remember every little last bit of what happened that day. From when she was buying the pram to when the baby was wrapped away in newspaper as if it was dirty.
This is very emotional for Doris. Later on her husband died. This made Doris very lonesome, as she no longer had anyone to talk to apart from her cleaner who Doris despised. Doris was alone.
Doris had been offered a place at Stafford House that is an old people home. Therefore she wouldn’t be so lonely and would have people looking after her and take her shopping etc. but Doris rejects the proposition as she feels that she wants her own independence.
Nobody understands Doris apart from us, the audience, because Doris is hiding her feelings from the outside world. She is stuck in her own home and can’t move, because her legs are to tired to move. She calls for help but when help comes, the policeman, she lies through her teeth and announces that she is okay because she doesn’t like the idea that people are running around for her and that she can’t help her self.
Like Irene, Doris has a hobby due to the loneliness. Doris has an infatuation with cleaning. Doris does have a weekly cleaner sent from social services but Doris despises her because Doris wishes that she could be her. This is why Doris can only ever make negative comments about her.
I think that Doris wants her own independence because she is afraid of death, the only people she has known have died or have moved to homes, and if she lost her independence then this is a sign that she is getting old and deteriating.
Doris is aware of her isolation but she doesn’t want to and so she denies it to herself. Although Doris doesn’t knows that she needs a lot more help than she thinks.
Doris is very emotional. Her past plays a massive part of her life. Doris only really thinks about the past. She does talk about the days of today but only comparing them to the days of her past.
The only way out of loneliness for Doris is if she goes to Stafford house but she doesn’t want to. Doris has no self-knowledge. She might if she acquainted Stafford house. Doris is very muddled up with her old age, she doesn’t know what she wants or what she’s going to do.
In ‘Cream Cracker under the Settee’ my emotions stayed practically the same all the way through the monologue, as for ‘Lady of Letter’ I felt a number of emotions for Irene, Happy, angry, sad. I felt a lot of sympathy for Doris when she was talking about her family but i feel no sympathy for Irene. As I said, my feelings stayed the same for Doris but I did feel frustrated at times, as it is frustrating when ‘you’ know what’s best for someone but that someone doesn’t understand. My feelings varied a huge amount for Irene mainly because Irene’s feelings varied an amount.
Both monologue were encouraging in there own ways. ‘Cream cracker under the settee’ did get a bit tedious at times and sometimes made me want to fall asleep due to the same tone of voice droning on and on. I had a lot more to write about for Lady of Letters because I thought there was a much better story line.
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