Over the past couple weeks, I learned about the Keystone XL Pipeline in my World History class. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a project that the company, TransCanada is trying to complete. This pipeline will be 1700 miles long and is estimated to carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day. While learning about it, I noticed that there were many different perspectives about the pipeline. There are people who thought it would be good, people who thought it would be bad and even people who do not care at all. We were assigned to write a 3-5 monologues. I worked with a partner for this project and we tried to make our monologues have many different perspectives, not just from people's perspective but of objects also. We tried to put ourselves in the position of these people and objects. Overall, I learned that we can not just look at something from one perspective but we have to look at it from many so that we could have a better understanding. I hope that after you read these monologue, you will realize the other perspectives of the pipeline.
Monologue #1: The Indigenous Runaway
(Kneeling in front of suitcase, calls out) “Yes mom!” God, she’s so annoying of course I’m packing. She thinks I want to -, “In a second mom! I’m packing!” god I can’t wait to get out of this hell hole. To get away from her. “MOM STOP NAGGING! COME IN HERE IF YOU THINK I’M NOT PACKING!” (pause) Aww shit, “No, mom, I’m sorry. No mom don’t cry.” Ugh. (Slams suitcase)
She always does this. I don’t get why she’s so upset. It’s not easy living here. We finally have an excuse to leave but I seem to be the only one who sees it. That’s why I’m leaving tonight, not tomorrow, with the group, tonight. I can’t wait any longer, (re-opens suitcase) “Hey Mom! (pause) Yeah! I know I’m still sorry. Where’s my sock? (pause) Why are you crying?! IT’S A SOCK MOM CALM DOWN!”
I guess she has a point. I mean I never really did think about why we’re leaving. That fucking pipeline. I don’t even know what it’s about, just that there’s oil and it’s coming from here. So we gotta leave. It’s dumb really. I don’t even get the idea of transporting that much oil. Like why? Especially if it’s causing this many people this much pain. That’s all. It’s killing my family and I don’t want that to happen but.... (Closes suitcase), “MOM! (pause) No sorry I’ll stop.” I start thinking like her and then she goes and says something like that. Thanks mom, glad I’m annoying and ask too many questions. Shit though, she’s gonna make so hard to run away. Shit brain, I don’t want to see that. She’s gonna cry isn’t she, she’s gonna cry hard.
She shouldn’t. I’m not worth it, and this is my only chance. I may never be allowed to leave again but, (pause) well I’m taking advantage of a bad situation. It’s not a good thing. At least, that’s what they told me. It just runs through everything and chops down everything. That’s what papa told me. That those other men just cut down all the trees so they can get all the oil out of the ground to use to drive their cars. I probably.... shouldn’t.... use that to run away but, but, but, I have to get out of here. No matter what. “MOM! ONE LAST QUESTION! (pause) Please mom? (pause) Would you kill me if I ran away?”
Monologue #2: One In Thousands
(Sitting down, Annoyed)Not many people know that my “kind”, the sensors exist in the pipeline but the people that do think that we are like superstars. (One sided conversation)“Pleaseee!!! Just shut up.” (Sigh) “Momma, stop yelling at me!” I should have never said anything. “Am I even your daughter? (Pause) “Then why are you yelling at me? I just...wanted to express my feelings towards our new home. I don’t like it. Is that wrong?” (Pause) (Roll her eyes) “I don’t care if we all need a new job. (Hand gestures)There’s plenty of jobs out there that won’t have such high expectations of us.”
(Pause)(Sound apologetic) “No, no. That’s not what I mean. I didn’t...” (Pause) Mom! I’m sorry. I’m not saying that you aren’t good enough. It’s just that, I’m just afraid that if we fail... you know. What will happen to us? The company already put in a lot of good words for us and made us sound amazing and if we made a mistake...all the other sensors will blame us. And not just them but everyone else also. Mom...don’t walk away, please...” (Sigh) “Dad.. where are you going? I just..” Great just great. My parents are having another “deep” conversation. I guess, I’ll just take a walk around the neighborhood.
(Stare to the right)Look at those kids. Laughing and playing without a worry in their mind. Little do they know what they are going to grow up having to deal with. All 16,000 sensors will have to go through years of pain and hate. The company? They don’t care about us. They only think about themselves and money. Greedy people. If something goes wrong, they’ll just blame us. “Oh, there’s something wrong with our sensors.” Pathetic. Why is it that I’m the only one that could see that we shouldn’t be here?
I always knew I was different. Ever since I was little, I would express my feelings and if I disagreed with something, I would tell people why. Suddenly, one of the kids starts to brag about how awesome they are. I can’t stand it anymore. I had to talk to them. “Are you guys not scared of working here?”
(Pause) “Of course I am. You guys won’t ever understand why.” (Pause) They’re laughing at me. I’m not going to waste my time explaining to them. No one ever listens. “Hey, don’t tell me to get lost.” (Pause) “SHUT THE HELL UP!” Gosh, they are so rude. Wait..get lost? Why not? That’s a brilliant idea. If I don’t wanna stay here, I don’t have to. I’ll make it. Find a new place to stay or even go back to our old home.
(Rrrrrring...) “Hello? Oh hey aunt Sally. What’s up?” (Pause) “Really?? Mom and dad would definitely be okay with it. Nooo, you don’t have to talk to them. I’m sure they’ll let me go. Okay, see you soon. (Hangs up phone and throws it away) Bye bye pipeline.
Monologue #3: Be Like a Tree and 'Leaf'(Holding arms straight at sides, look tired eyes nearly closed)
“Ahhh the forest, so peaceful. So quiet. So... so.. lonely.” (pause) “Jimmy shut up. I wasn’t talking to you. Yeah I know you’re ‘always there for me.’ Trust me, I can tell when you’re branches come flying into me. You don’t have a choice.” (pause) “I didn’t mean anything by it. Just that I’m kind of bored. Ooooh look people, Jimmy shut up.”
Who are they? Wait, what was that they just said? Pipeline what’s that? Oil? Oh is that what that taste has been. I hope they get it out. OH GOODY THAT’S THEIR PLAN! (pause twiddle thumbs) Wait hold on, what was that? Cut down all the trees? Hold on.. Wait. Cut down? I mean- well- It’d be different scenery. Well, no scenery. Doesn’t sound so bad I guess. It’d be quieter. Actually, it sounds great. (smile) I never noticed that this is what I wanted. (frown) But it all makes sense now. Wait hold on, but the rest of the forest, and the people- the natives. They’ll all have to leave, everyone else will get cut down.
Oh thank god they're gone, “Jimmy (pause) Yeah I know. (pause) Is it bad that I want- Is that what they said, 1700 miles long? That’s really long.” I’m not that important but if they don’t cut me down I could be here for another hundred years! I can’t last 100 years with Jimmy. I just can’t. Not that I really have a choice. I just feel like I need to have a side, “Hey Jimmy (pause) Wait I’ll ask in a second, more people are coming,” It’s the natives. (listening) Did he just say that this pipeline thingy thing would run through the aquifer? That’s not- that’s not okay. But gosh what it would be like not to have to live here anymore. Not to have to carry these branches or taste the oily water through my roots day after day after day. Wait hold on, spills? What kind of spills are they talking about? Wait like, like the oil here? Other plants, maybe even animals are gonna have to taste this?
That’s, not good. I don’t want other people to go through this. I don’t think I have a choice in sides. Oh and there go the natives. At least I have time- well maybe not. More people.. What is that their carrying? It looks like, ladders? A little ironic of them to be carrying wooden ladders. You know through a forest and all. Ow! Get off!! (flinch arm) No one said you could do that. Why the hell are you climbing up there? That’s my branch! (Glare at arm) Excuse you! Holy shit how many of you are coming. No, no let’s stop there. Oh, oh yeah, no let’s not kick the ladder down either. Ohh kay then. Guess we’re hanging out then huh. Guess my side has been chosen, pipelines are bad... apparently.
Monologue #4: Spinning Slowly
(Surprised)(Look over to the left shoulder) “WHAT??? YOU WANT ME TO DESTROY THE HUMANS? SAM, YOU MUST BE CRAZY!!!” (Pause)(Look over to right shoulder) “What do you think, Sammy?... Okay! (Angry) NEVER MIND. STOP FIGHTING!! (Sigh) (Cover ears) Will both of you just go away? (Whining) Please.. I need time to think on my own so would you please do me a favor and leave?” (Sigh)
(Frown and sound disappointed) What’s the point? Telling them to go away is the same as telling myself to go away. (Look straight ahead) Have you guys ever had that weird feeling...when you hear tiny voices inside you, that keep on telling you things? Oh, right it’s call your conscious. Well, I have 2 of them and they do not like each other. And when I say that they don’t like each other, (Slowly and out a lot of emphasis on the word “hate)I mean they absolutely hate each other. Sometimes I wonder how they both could be inside of me without destroying me. But that’s not what I should be worrying about. Well....at least for now.
For such a long time now, I’ve been very stressed and it’s all because of ruthless humans. If they could hear me, I would ask them why. Just why are they still trying to destroy me. I have given them a shelter for many, many years now and they just don’t seem to care about me. That pipeline is going to harm me and all living organisms on the planet. But they don’t care. (Look and sound evil) Maybe Sam is right. If I destroy them all, then I would be a much happier planet. I could live like all the other planets. It would work. (Trying to sound convincing) Yeah, I mean if they don’t care about me, then I don’t have to care about them right? I could drown them all and that’s what I’m going to do. (Sigh) (Frown and sound disappointed) Ahhh, but I... can’t. I want to do it but Sammy also has a good point. I could wait and just watch them slowly destroy themselves. (Sigh) I guess I’m just not heartless. I can’t do it. I won’t do it... well at least not now.
Monologue #5: A Brand New Job
(Standing stage right as if just got home) “Shut up!” (storm stage left and lift two bundles out of cradle) “You’re always crying.” (begin to rock bundles) “I guess I would be too. Living in this house” (walk to seat stage right, sit) “But don’t worry sweeties (smile) I got a job now. That’s right (pride) you’re big ol’ dad went and got himself a job. A good job too, pay me good and keep my mind off things. Awww don’t worry Lil, (stop rocking one child) Mama will be home with you. Mama works at night. That’s right. She gets to play and I gets to sleep.
Oh but let daddy tell you about this new job. (stop rocking both kids, hold out) Daddy’s building a pipeline, that’s right. For all the oil way up here in Canada to get all the way down to Texas. Probably the longest pipeline in history. I don’t start just yet. Got to get the okay from the big man down south. (pause) That’s right Lil, Obama. He ain’t approved it yet but I don’t know why he wouldn’t. It’s a damn good thing for them to get the oil from us, they don’t need nobody elses. Anyways its cheaper up here. And you know what the man who hired me said. He say that the pipeline gonna lower gas prices. Mmmmmhhhhmmm. I mean, I heard some rumor that this oil is tons dirtier but rumors are rumors. (Sad, worried) But der sure are a whole lotta rumors. People keep sayin’ it’ll spill or that it’s all corruption. (Smile) But ne’er mind all that.
Awwwww babies why you gotta start crying again? It’s a good thing! Daddy gonna get us some real money, to buy a real house. That’s right, (begins to rock again) We gonna get ourselves outta here right when that pipelines through and we gonna get ourselves down to the U S of A. Aww yeah that’s right Joe, you stop crying cause you know things gonna get better
(pause calls out) Naw honey! I ain’t talking to the kids again. (pause) Aw shit Bertha, you make it sound like I’m crazy when you know I ain’t (pause) They were crying is all I was tryin’ to comfort ‘em. (pause) Ain’t no reason for you to be all snippy. (pause) Now hold up! I went and got myself a new job just today so you ain’t got no right to keep callin’ me that! I ain’t lazy anyways. (pause) I know it don’- (pause)
Aww shucks sweetie I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you or nothing. (puts babies down) Aww girl you know I love you. (pause) Yeah I know. (pause) I could drive you if you want. (pause) The twins will be fine. (pause) Alright, you almost ready? (pause) Mhm yeah I can wait.(from here on out move more freely sits down puts feet up reaches for remote, clicks on t.v.) Naw I don’t want to listen to the news right now, let’s find a show huh kids? (looks to the left, smiles clicks remote a few more times) Oh look here’s that show you guys love, Curious george is it? Nah. Oh you ready? (pause) Alright lemme just grab the kids. (pause) Yeah, I know. (pause) Hey sweety (short pause) I’m sorry I got a little angry with you. (Stands taps pocket as if checking for keys walks stage left, picks up kids, one in each arm, waits, walks off screen stage right).
1. We’re running this pipeline right over the biggest freshwater source (Aquifer) on our continent. (PBS Newshour)
2. The U.S. CO2 emissions have gone down and other countries have increased therefore the problem is not the U.S. but are the other countries. (PBS Newshour)
3. It is the cheapest, most effective and safest way for transportation of natural gas and oil is by pipeline. (PBS Newshour)
4. It would destroy the life and livelihood of family farmers throughout the midwest. (PBS Newshour)
5. It will be carrying the dirtiest oil on the planet. (Canadian Broadcast Corporation: Keystone Pipeline)
6. The company claims that the new route will bypass the environmentally section of Nebraska. (The Undead Pipeline Returns)
- "Video: Tar Sands Pipeline Plan Renews Energy vs. Environment Debate | Watch PBS NewsHour Online | PBS Video." PBS.org. PBS Video, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2110582932>
- "Video: Environment, Economy at Heart of Keystone XL Pipeline Debate | Watch PBS NewsHour Online | PBS Video." PBS.org. PBS Video, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://video.pbs.org/video/2151198168>
- Davison, Janet. "The Keystone Debate: Forget the Pipeline, This Is about the Oilsands."CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/09/23/f-keystone-xl-pipeline-oilsands.html>
- Ostrander, Madeline. "The Undead Pipeline Returns." YES! Magazine. N.p., 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/madeline-ostrander/the-undead-pipeline>