TONI from Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

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Role Description

Originally female, has a child, likely 35+. This piece could easily be played as a younger woman or a man by removing some lines. Excellent overall dramatic monologue.

Full text with punctuation

TONI: I remember holding both of you, staring at you Bo, just looking down on this… helpless little thing trying to figure out the world. You, too, Frank. But there’s no one alive who’s held me. There’s no one left in this family who might have told me about the whole me. You know, I used to think that family was an obligation, because the people that shared your blood—they knew you before you know you and family could be the place you could come back to find yourself when you were lost. Though what does it matter? No one in this family is interested in finding themselves. They just want to be lost, lost, lost, lost, lost—Family is just a story you tell yourself when it’s convenient isn’t it—when you need an excuse to explain how trapped you feel or broken or unable or cheated. What story are you going to tell about this weekend, Bo? What is Rachel going to say? That I kicked her ass? No. She’s going to say I was crazy. And, Frank, what are you going to go back and tell whoever it is you know about the time you asked for forgiveness? That I refused you? That you took it? I’ll tell you the story I’m going to tell. This is the weekend I died. Maybe you could tell this story, too. If anyone asks, I want you to tell them that this is the weekend your sister died. Because I think—I think you’re dead to me. I have to resign from holding on to you people. I never want to see you two again. Don’t expect me at your wedding Frank. Don’t be bothered inviting me to your children’s graduations, Bo. You can invite Rhys, if you want, but I’ll never ask him about it. And if anything ever happens where you wonder where a certain memory or feeling or emotion is coming from, don’t call and ask me about it. Make something up—for yourself—because that’s what I’m going to do. Lie to myself. That’s all I have to say. I’m going to say goodbye now, go finish packing with my son, get in my car, and drive away. By the time I come back down, I really hope that, out of respect, you will not still be here.

A level only

I remember holding both of you. But there’s no one alive who’s held me. I used to think that family was an obligation, because family could be the place you could come back to find yourself when you were lost. Though what does it matter? No one in this family is interested in finding themselves. Family is just a story you tell yourself when it’s convenient isn’t it? What story are you going to tell about this weekend, Bo? This is the weekend I died. Because I think—I think you’re dead to me. I never want to see you two again. That’s all I have to say. By the time I come back down, I really hope that, out of respect, you will not still be here.

A & B

I remember holding both of you, just looking down on this… helpless little thing trying to figure out the world. But there’s no one alive who’s held me. There’s no one left in this family who might have told me about the whole me. You know, I used to think that family was an obligation, because they knew you before you know you and family could be the place you could come back to find yourself when you were lost. Though what does it matter? No one in this family is interested in finding themselves. They just want to be lost, lost, lost, lost, lost—Family is just a story you tell yourself when it’s convenient isn’t it—when you need an excuse to explain how trapped you feel. What story are you going to tell about this weekend, Bo? What is Rachel going to say? That I kicked her ass? No. She’s going to say I was crazy. I’ll tell you the story I’m going to tell. This is the weekend I died. If anyone asks, I want you to tell them that this is the weekend your sister died. Because I think—I think you’re dead to me. I have to resign from holding on to you people. I never want to see you two again. And if anything ever happens where you wonder where a certain memory is coming from, don’t call and ask me about it. That’s all I have to say. I’m going to say goodbye now. By the time I come back down, I really hope that, out of respect, you will not still be here.

Memorization text for isolations

I remember holding both of you staring at you Bo just looking down on this helpless little thing trying to figure out the world you too Frank but there’s no one alive who’s held me there’s no one left in this family who might have told me about the whole me you know I used to think that family was an obligation because the people that shared your blood they knew you before you know you and family could be the place you could come back to find yourself when you were lost though what does it matter no one in this family is interested in finding themselves they just want to be lost lost lost lost lost family is just a story you tell yourself when it’s convenient isn’t it when you need an excuse to explain how trapped you feel or broken or unable or cheated what story are you going to tell about this weekend Bo what is Rachel going to say that I kicked her ass no she’s going to say I was crazy and Frank what are you going to go back and tell whoever it is you know about the time you asked for forgiveness that I refused you that you took it I’ll tell you the story I’m going to tell this is the weekend I died maybe you could tell this story too if anyone asks I want you to tell them that this is the weekend your sister died because I think I think you’re dead to me I have to resign from holding on to you people I never want to see you two again don’t expect me at your wedding Frank don’t be bothered inviting me to your children’s graduations Bo you can invite Rhys if you want but I’ll never ask him about it and if anything ever happens where you wonder where a certain memory or feeling or emotion is coming from don’t call and ask me about it make something up for yourself because that’s what I’m going to do lie to myself that’s all I have to say I’m going to say goodbye now go finish packing with my son get in my car and drive away by the time I come back down I really hope that out of respect you will not still be here