E. Jack Williams --Upon graduation from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in 1969, Mary and I moved to Waseca, Minnesota to accept a teaching position in media, speech, and theater which included directing plays. I’ve directed elementary, junior, and senior high school productions as well as community theater and after 43 years of directing, I am often asked which play is my favorite. The answer is always, “The one I’m working on.” Now I’m busy writing plays. In 1991 I was the recipient of the Minnesota Arc of Excellence Community Media Award for writing a play on bullying called CARL.
Mr. Williams has provided the following FREE monologue relating to his one-act play, "Carl."
SPEAKER: There aren’t many things about my high school days I would do over. I loved every minute of it. We had the greatest time: the dances, dates, games, everything. We all had fun. (Pause) Almost all. There isn’t much I would change about high school, not much ... just one thing ... Carl won’t be here ... Carl was one of those lost souls. The guy everybody loved to pick on ... I remember as if it were yesterday. I’ll never forget the time he was called on to give his Pet Peeve Speech. He walked slowly up to the front of the room and started his speech.
As CARL: “My name is Carl ... my pet peeve is this ... I don’t like it here ... I’m not having any fun. I don’t like school. You don’t know what it’s like to be alone, to have no one to talk with. When people talk to me, it’s only to tease, never had a friend, a buddy ... and it hurts. I see you with your friends before and after school. And I ask why not me? You knock my books to the floor. I’m different I know it. But, why do you have to tell me I’m different? I’m not stupid. I’d like to wear nice clothes, but this is all I have. You live in nice homes with your moms and dads ... I live with my father ... My mother died a long time ago. I miss her. She loved me. The worst part of school is being laughed at. I don’t want to be laughed at ... Do you? “
SPEAKER: There was dead silence as Carl walked back to his seat. Some students bowed their heads unable to look him in the eye. Miss McCloud wiped away a tear. Carl was self-conscious of many things especially the way he looked, walked and talked ... That’s why he surprised us when he actually read his manuscript. As it turned out, that was the only time he ever talked in front of the class. The only thing he seemed to care about was a small piece of paper he kept tucked in his pocket. As bad as school was for CARL, things didn’t get much better at home ... he could never seem to please his “old man.” Nothing he did was good enough ... nothing. The summer after graduation, Carl’s lifeless body was found hanging in the shed next to his house. Not many attended Carl’s funeral. Few heard about his death. Fewer even cared. His obituary simply read, “Carl Chapman died, suddenly, on August 12. Arrangements are pending.” We will never know what caused Carl to take his own life, but we do know this ... everything he learned about life, we taught him. Everything he experienced in life, we showed him. Everything we did to him prepared him for that moment. When the police discovered Carl’s body, they found him clinging tightly to a crumpled-up piece of paper. I’d like to tell you what it said, “If they could hear my prayers – I may be relieved of some of my pain.” THE END