Jose Rivera’s play, Sonnets for an Old Century, is a collection of monologues spoken by strangers gathered in one place at the end of the twentieth century. The audience knows nothing about why they are gathered. Each character is given one chance for voice. I particularly like one attributed to Anne O’Sullivan, though she doesn’t sound the least bit Irish to me.
I learned a few things while I was there
Wherever there is.
Is that what I should talk about?
I don’t know if I can talk about no sex.
What I learned.
Children contain all the necessary wisdom
to create a civilization.
Evil is unexplainable.
So don’t even try.
If you suddenly don’t understand the words
And actions of your family members or best
Friends, think drugs.
Money fouls relationships.
That one’s obvious.
All straight men are attracted to all straight
women all the time.
Rice and beans are better than potatoes.
You will never be able to fully forgive your
Dreams are the earth’s telepathy.
Eat as much as you can, a famine is coming.
Baby boomers have completely run out of
Strong moonlight is healing.
Let people know when you’re in love with
Them. Lies make your lips smaller.
Pay bills a day late.
Strangers are opportunities for mischief –
Paint a classroom.
Wash all your dishes by hand and
Contemplate the value of water.
Sins are man-made.
Never trivialize the Supreme Being.
Good prayer is biofeedback.
You can’t love a child too much.
Don’t mess with people who believe in you.
Anger is contagious,
So be careful who you sleep with.
Rice and beans are better than pasta.
Grow one edible fruit or vegetable to
Supplement your income.
Baseball is a game not a metaphor.
Life is neither a dream nor a cabaret.
You don’t have to choose between passion
There are many parallel Americas and the
rich have the better one.
Listen to your jealousy.
I was shot in the head and I think, to satisfy
The Second Amendment, all Americans should
own one eighteenth-century musket and
Religion and spirituality are two completely
different things in America.