At my previous apartment, I only kept out my favorite books because I didn't have enough shelf space to display the entire collection. The remainder filled up the closet in the entry. For the new place, however, I purchased some bookcases from Ikea, and now the whole gang is back together again.
To mark this glorious reunion, I put together the following monologue, made up of the first lines of the volumes in the 20th/21st century drama section (in case you're wondering why certain important works aren't represented, it's either because I don't own a copy of the play in question--Death of a Salesman, for example--or the play appears second or later in a volume of collected works--as is the case with Long Day's Journey into Night, for instance--and for the purposes of this exercise I took the first line from the first play in the book only).
Squeezed into one paragraph, the first lines--spanning the years 1910-2004--read like the ravings of a schizophrenic recluse who has gone off his meds. For that reason, I have named the speaker "Zac."
ZAC: (stirring the fire in a futile attempt to start it into flame) I wonder what can be keeping him so long? (sighing heavily) Gosh, I wish we could sit this way forever! (calls back pleadingly) Aw, I'm full, Ma. And I said excuse me and you said all right. (calling) Elli, Elli dear, do come out. It's so lovely. You're so wrong I ain't laughing. This play is called "Our Town." How the hell can you line up a squadron in a place like this? (shouting above roar of water) One of those no-neck monsters hit me with a hot buttered biscuit so I have t'change! Dick! What are you doing up here? Pee Wee! (giving up again) Nothing to be done. (fixed gaze, tonelessly) Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. Why do I do this every Sunday? You wouldn't have known it, but something amusing has just happened. Hello! God, it's good to see you again! Come on now, boy, it's seven thirty! Sit down. Well . . . for example . . . he would stand over me and clench his fist. Jesus . . . I've been to the zoo. (An announcement from nowhere; to no one in particular) I'm ninety-one. (Calling offstage) What time are they coming? The term 'mystery' was already in use by the second and third centuries AD. Did you hear about Skippy and the new kid? So? By the rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois. John . . . John . . . John. (on phone) And what about the land. Lovely day dear. (seated, tossing glove on the table. Short pause) May, look. (Unwrapping the cupcake) Jessie, it's the last snowball, sugar. The Nature and Purpose of the Universe. Day One. Landfall. Weclome aboard Celebrity Slaveship, departing the Gold Coast and making short stops at Bahia, Port Au Prince, and Havana, before our final destination of Savannah. Butterfly, Butterfly . . . Philoctetes. Hercules. Odysseus. Hummmm. An then my my grandfather, N. Carnacion, uh, was a gringo hater 'cause he had run-ins with gringos when he was riding. HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH! (He speaks sonorously, with a heavy Eastern European accent, unapologetically consulting a sheet of notes for the family names) Hello and good morning. In the Hall of Deputies, The Kremlin. January 1986. Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov, the World's Oldest Living Bolshevik. "To stop too fearful and too faint to go." Da Da, Ma Ma, Ba Ba, Ba Ba. (to the audience) The designated mourner. Sometimes to tell a secret, you first have to teach a lesson. This is from De Profundis by Oscar Wilde. Oh, and this market she took us to! (In false familiarity, waving and nodding to the audience) Hi. How are you feeling today? Great. That's just great. But why? What? "Life is very long . . ."