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Ben and Joe's Monologues



Ben and Joe's, a 40 minute one-man play by Martin Foreman, features a man in late middle-age talking about the gay bar in Los Angeles that he used to frequent and the men he used to drink with. The description turns into a story about the relationship that developed between one of his friends and a young man who was a stranger to the bar - a relationship that had serious consequences for all the bar's regulars.


A good example of a monologue for an actor who can hold his audience with a simple story and illustrate with voice and gesture all the characters portrayed.


Conditions of use


The monologue and extracts on this page may be used without charge for auditions and teaching only. They may not be used in any public performance, whether paid or unpaid, in any medium, without the written approval of the author.


If used in auditions or teaching, the author would appreciate being informed here.


To apply for performance rights for part or all of the play, contact the author here.
Californian Lives by Martin Foreman


one of three one-(wo)man plays in Californian Lives
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pp 21 - 22 Opening scene


Did you ever go to Ben and Joe's?


It was a reasonably popular bar in the Valley at the far end of Van Nuys, beyond the radar of the West Hollywood crowd. Mostly locals, although a few would come from as far away as Pasadena or Silverlake.


It wasn't everyone's idea of a trendy gay bar. I'm sure some people who drove up to the Art Deco front, with a tired flamingo on the door and peeling paint, did a quick u-turn, convinced that it held only a handful of solitary middle-aged men who no longer expected their prince to come.


They were wrong; most evenings the place was full. Twenty- to fifty-year-olds, half of whom had already found their prince and the other half too busy to look for him. Typical Valley men - supermarket managers and haulage contractors, IT technicians and flight attendants, and the inevitable studio wannabees, drinking, laughing, flirting and dancing till the early hours.


It wasn't my scene. I was one of the afternoon shift. We were the older generation who strolled in an hour or so after the daily routine of lunch, shopping or the gym. We'd perch on stools around the crescent-shaped bar, watch old films on the tv and pass judgement on politicians, film stars and anyone else in the day's news. Our favorite game was encouraging Richard, the impossibly handsome twenty-three year old barman, to invent outrageous cocktails. We would stay until the early evening, when we were surrounded by more strangers than acquaintances and the door swinging open showed that the last of the stores across the road had closed. Then by ones or by twos we drained our glasses and returned home to a lover, a pet or a memory.



pp30 - 31 the "event"


Then one day, when the sky was gray and the wind was dry, a reminder of a time when the streets outside had once been desert, four or five of us were in the bar when the door opened and Christopher came in alone. Had we seen Jack? he asked. No, we hadn't. Did we know where he might be? No we didn't. The boy was on edge. Jack's cell was switched off and he was not at home or his one-man office. We asked what the urgency was. If Steve had been there, or perhaps Eddie, Christopher might have replied, but confronted by older men who usually treated him with disdain and suspicion, he only shook his head and left. As the door swung to behind him, we saw him standing on the sidewalk, looking left and right as if not knowing where to go, what to do, as if the future scared him.


In the half light of the bar, Frank called Jack and left a message. It was two hours before Jack phoned back, by which time others had drifted in and were brought up to date. On the surface we appeared as laid-back as ever, but each was on edge, unsettled by the weather and Christopher's appearance and mood. When Jack's call came, we listened to Frank's monosyllables and brief questions. Then Frank calmly sipped his vodka before announcing that Jack was with the police, alerting them to the fact that Christopher had taken his car and a considerable amount of property from his house.




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