Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ELLEN- The Little Dog Laughed (Douglas Carter Beane)

Later this afternoon I’ll go back to Williamsburg with Alex. I’ll be cold on the subway and he’ll take off his leather jacket and put it over my shoulders. It will be the kindest gesture anyone will do for me for the rest of my life, and I have a sense of it, in that moment. Once we’re back in his horrible apartment, we will begin to make love. And even though he’s three inches from my face- And he’s looking directly into my eyes. I can see that he is miles away and is thinking of someone else. And he feels so good. And I feel so good. And he holds me. And he holds me and he holds me and he holds me. And he holds me for a long time. And he holds me until I hear his long deep exhale that I’ve come to know means that he is asleep. And he is asleep and I am awake and- OK the thing with guys, when they make love to you it’s like they’re running into your arms. And if you look really close at their faces, you can see if they’re running towards you or running away from something else- and you just got in the way. And I got a good look at Alex’s face and- he was definitely fleeing someone or something and I was road kill. I mean beautiful road kill… I sneak out of bed and go to my laptop computer, get on line, and quickly type in the name, “Mitchell Green” and look at this photograph of this guy next door for a very long time. And then I find the sleek new gimp bracelet I made- which is just so orange- and I, with the merest suggestion of pageantry, slide it on his wrist. And I go to sleep just content as like a…’cause I know- wherever he is. Whoever. Whoever he’s with. He’s wearing that bracelet and. I’m with- I’m. So, you see, a lot can be said about the psychologically healing powers of jewelry.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DOCTOR- Agnes of God (John Peilmeier)

There was a lynching mob that came before a judge who accused them of hanging a man without a fair and objective trial. "Oh, your Honor," the leader said, "we listened very fairly and objectively to every word he had to say. Then we hung the son of a bitch." I wanted to maintain my objectivity, but Mother Miriam wouldn't believe that. Oh, she couldn't have known about Marie, but she must have suspected something. Marie was my younger sister, who decided she had a vocation to the convent when she was fifteen. So my mother sent her off without a second thought, and I never saw her again. I received a message late one night that Marie had died of acute, and unattended, appendicitis because her Mother Superior wouldn't send her to a hospital. (She laughs.) Well, no, I guess at heart I couldn't be very fair and objective, could I? But I tried. I remember waiting to view Marie's body in a little convent room, and staring at those spotless walls and floors and thinking, my God, what a metaphor for their minds. And that's when I realized that my religion, my Christ, is this. The mind. Everything I do not understand in this world is contained in these few cubic inches. Within this shell of skin and bone and blood I have the secret to everything. I look at a tree and I think, isn't it wonderful that I have created something so green. God isn't out there. He's in here. God is you. Or rather you are God. Mother Miriam couldn't understand that, of course.

SALLY- You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Clark Gesner)

A 'C'? A 'C'? I got a 'C' on my coat hanger sculpture? How could anyone get a 'C' in coat hanger sculpture? May I ask a question? Was I judged on the piece of sculpture itself? If so, is it not true that time alone can judge a work of art? Or was I judged on my talent? If so, is it fair that I be judged on a part of my life over which I have no control? If I was judged on my effort, then I was judged unfairly, for I tried as hard as I could! Was I judged on what I had learned about this project? If so, then were not you, my teacher, also being judged on your ability to transmit your knowledge to me? Are you willing to share my 'C'? Perhaps I was being judged on the quality of coat hanger itself out of which my creation was is this not also unfair? Am I to be judged by the quality of coat hangers that are used by the dry cleaning establishment that returns our garments? Is that not the responsibility of my parents? Should they not share my 'C'?

BETTY- Cloud Nine (Caryl Churchill)

I used to think Clive was the one who liked sex.  But then I found I missed it.  I used to touch myself when I was very little, I thought I’d invented something wonderful.  I used to do it to go to sleep with or to cheer myself up, and one day it was raining and I was under the kitchen table, and my mother saw me with my hand under my dress rubbing away, and she dragged me out so quickly I hit my head and it bled and I was sick, and nothing was said, and I never did it again till this year.  I thought if Clive wasn’t looking at me there wasn’t a person there.  And one night in bed in my flat I was so frightened I started touching myself.  I thought my hand might go through into space.  I touch my face, it was there, my arm, my breast, and my hand sent down where I thought it shouldn’t, and I thought well there is somebody there.  It felt very sweet, it was a feeling from very long ago, it was very soft, just barely touching and I felt myself gathering together more and more and I felt angry with Clive and angry with my mother and I went on and on defying them, and there was this vast feeling growing in me and all around me and they couldn’t stop me and no one could stop me and I was there and coming and coming.  Afterwards I thought I’d betrayed Clive.  My mother would kill me.  But I felt triumphant because I was a separate person from them.  And I cried because I didn’t want to be.  But I don’t cry about it any more.  Sometimes I do it three times in one night and it really is great fun.

CATHERINE- Suddenly Last Summer (Tennessee Williams)

At a Mardi Gras ball some--some boy that took me to it got too drunk to stand up! I wanted to go home. My coat was in the cloakroom, they couldn't find the check for it in his pockets. I said, "Oh hell, let it go!"--I started for a taxi. Somebody took my arm and said, "I'll drive you home." He took off his coat as we left the hotel and put it over my shoulders, and then I looked at him and--I don't think I'd ever even seem him before then, really!--He took me home in his car but took me another place first. We stopped near the Duelling Oaks at the end of Esplanade Street...Stopped!--I said, "What for?"--He didn't answer, just struck a match in the car to light a cigarette in the car and I looked at him in the car and I knew "what for"!--I think I got out of the car before he got out of the car, and we walked through the wet grass to the great misty oaks as if somebody was calling us for help there! He took me home and said an awful thing to me. "We'd better forget it," he said, "my wife's expecting a child and--."--I just entered the house and sat there thinking a little and then I suddenly called a taxi and went right back to the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom. The ball was still going on. I thought I'd gone back to pick up my borrowed coat but that wasn't what I'd gone back for. I'd gone back to make a scene on the floor of the ballroom, yes, I didn't stop at the cloakroom to pick up Aunt Violet's old mink stole, no, I rushed into the ballroom and spotted him on the floor and ran up to him and beat him as hard as I could in the face and chest with my fists 'till--Cousin Sebastian took me away.

CLAIRE- A Delicate Balance (Edward Albee)

Well, I had an adventure today. Went into town, thought I'd shake 'em up a little, so I tried to find me a topless bathing suit. Yes, I did. I went into what's-their-names', and I went straight up to the swim-wear, as they call it, department and I got me an eighteen-nineties schoolteacher type, who wondered what she could do for me. And I felt like telling her, "Not much, sweetheart"....But I said, "Hello, there, I'm in the market for a topless swimsuit." "A what, Miss?" she said, which I didn't know whether to take as a compliment or not. "A topless swimsuit," I said. "I don't know what you mean," she said after a beat. "Oh, certainly you do," I said, "No top, stops at the waist, latest thing, lots of freedom." "Oh yes," she said, looking at me like she was seeing the local madam for the first time, "those." Then a real sniff. "I'm afraid we don't carry...those." "Well, in that case," I told her, "Do you have any seperates?" "Those we carry," she said, "those we do." And she started going under the counter, and I said, "I'll just buy the bottoms of one of those." She came up from under the counter, adjusted her spectacles and said, "What did you say?" I said, "I said, 'I'll buy the bottom of one of those'." She thought for a minute, and then she said, with ice in her voice, "And what will we do with the tops?" "Well," I said, "Why don't you save 'em? Maybe bottomless swimsuits'll be in next year." Then the poor sweet thing gave me a look I couldn't tell was either a D-minus, or she was going to send me home with a letter to my mother, and she said, sort of far away, "I think you need the manager." And off she walked.

TERESA- Cradle Song (John Garrett Underhill)

Do you know how I would like to spend my life? All of it? Sitting on the ground at his feet, looking up into his eyes, just listening to him talk. You don't know how he can talk. He knows everything--everything that there is to know in the world, and he tells you such things! The things that you always have known yourself, in your heart, and you couldn't find out how to say them. Even when you don't understand, it is wonderful, his voice...I don't know how to explain it, but it is his voice...a voice that seems as if it had been talking to you ever since the day you were born! You don't hear it only with your ears, but with your whole body. It's like the air which you see and breathe and taste, and which smells so sweetly in the garden beneath the tree of paradise. Ah, Mother! The first day he said to me, "Teresa"--you see what simple thing it was, my name, Teresa--why, it seemed to me as if nobody ever called me by my name before, as if I never heard it, and when he went away, I ran up and down the street saying to myself "Teresa, Teresa"--under my breath, without knowing what I was doing, as if I walked on air!

CONSTANCE-- King John (Shakespeare)

I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad: I would to heaven I were!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canonized, cardinal;
For being not mad but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son,
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

MADAME PERNELLE- Tartuffe (Moliere: translated by Richard Wilbur)

You, boy, grow more foolish every day.
To think my grandson should be such a dunce!
I've said a hundred times, if I've said it once,
That if you keep the course on which you've started,
You'll leave your worthy father broken-hearted.
And you, his sister, seem so pure,
So shy, so innocent, and so demure.
But you know what they say about still waters.
I pity parents with secretive daughters.
And as for you, child, let me add
That your behavior is extremely bad,
And a poor example for these children, too.
Their dear, dead mother did far better than you.
You're much too free with money, and I'm distressed
To see you so elaborately dressed.
When it's one's husband that one aims to please,
One has no need of costly fripperies.
You are her brother, Sir,
And I respect and love you; yet if I were
My son, this lady's good and pious spouse,
I wouldn't make you welcome in my house.
You're full of worldly counsels which, I fear,
Aren't suitable for decent folk to hear.
I've spoken bluntly, Sir, but it behooves us
Not to mince words when righteous fervor moves us.

JULIET- Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)

Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name
When I, thy three-hours’ wife, have mangled it?
But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?
That villain cousin would have kill'd my husband.
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring!
Your tributary drops belong to woe,
Which you, mistaking, offer up to joy.
My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;
And Tybalt's dead, that would have slain my husband.
All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?
Some word there was, worser than Tybalt's death,
That murdered me. I would forget it fain;
But O, it presses to my memory
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners’ minds!
‘Tybalt is dead, and Romeo banished.’
That ‘banished,’ that one word ‘banished,’
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt's death
Was woe enough, if it had ended there;
Or, if sour woe delights in fellowship
And needly will be rank'd with other griefs,
Why followed not, when she said ‘Tybalt's dead,’
Thy father, or thy mother, nay, or both,
Which modern lamentation might have mov'd?
But with a rearward following Tybalt's death,
‘Romeo is banished’— to speak that word
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
All slain, all dead. ‘Romeo is banished’—
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound,
In that word's death; no words can that woe sound.

MAGGIE- History Lesson (David Lindsay-Abaire)

And what's interesting about George Washington, and most people don't know this about him, he wasn't just the father of our country, he was also the father of the first septuplets born in the United States. Martha gave birth to seven children on October 5th, 1762. Five of the children were very badly behaved, so they were sold into white-slavery, while the remaining, Maxwell and Hortense, drowned tragically in the Potomac while trying to retrieve their father's wooden teeth, which had fallen out of his mouth while he was beating a seagull with a canoe paddle.
For those of you just joining the group, my name is Maggie, and today's my last day here at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. There have been some cutbacks at the National Park Service, so I've been let go, which in my opinion is a huge loss to tourists like yourselves who are hungry for history, because I happen to be what we in the industry call "a font of knowledge."
Now if you look to the right, you'll notice that the next head belongs to Thomas Jefferson, who, and this may come as a surprise to you was actually born without skin from the neck down. In fact, he spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals because of his susceptibility to disease, what with the exposed muscle and sinew and whatnot. But in 1772, his good friend Benjamin Franklin fashioned together a crude epidermis out of sheep bladders and carpenter's glue, held together by pewter hooks that Paul Revere forged in his silver shop. Paul Revere, you may have heard, was a smithy, which is one of my favorite words. He was also a eunuch, which was not very common in the 1700s, though there were a few. I believe Sam Adams was also a eunuch and... Nathan Hale, who I've been told had a wonderful singing voice. So that's probably something you haven't heard on any other tour today. It's interesting, isn't it?
Oh, by the way, if any of you happen to have a question, feel free to raise your hand and stick it up your ass. That's just the kind of mood I'm in. I see I'm losing some of you. Well that's alright. It's more intimate this way, isn't it? And I happen to be very comfortable with intimacy, unlike a certain Victor Collins, my direct supervisor here at the National Park Service, and my former lover. He's the man responsible for my layoff, as well as my monthly herpes outbreak.
Moving on, we have the esteemed Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, our twenty-sixth president, and a well-documented pederast. He spent much of his presidency traipsing through Cuba and Panama in search of little boys to induct into his Rough Rider Club, whether they liked it or not. Bully, indeed. He appeared briefly in a burlesque-house comedy titled "Tally-Ho, Kathleen!" He enjoyed playing chess, and long walks on the beach.
Coincidentally, so does my ex-lover slash boss, Victor Collins. Any complaints about today's tour can be directed to him. His office is located just past the gift shop, behind the glass doors. He'll be the fat fuck in the stupid hat and chinos. He's hard of hearing, so I encourage you to yell whenever speaking to him, and use as much profanity as possible. He's more responsive when berated and under pressure.
Next up, we have Abraham Lincoln, our first Jewish president, and the inventor of dirt. He was, of course, our tallest president, standing ten feet, two inches tall, he spoke fluent Mandarin and walked with a peg leg. A thrice-convicted arson, Abraham Lincoln grew up in an adobe hut and had X-ray vision. He was one of our greatest presidents and his wife was mentally unhinged. Speaking of mentally unhinged, let's pretend I'm Victor and you're me.

PHEBE- As You Like It (Shakespeare)

Thou tell'st me there is murder in mine eye:
'Tis pretty, sure, and very probable,
That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee:
Now counterfeit to swoon; why now fall down;
Or if thou canst not, O, for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers!
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee:
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps; but now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

SAM- Some Girls (Neil LaBute)

No, I overheard it once, just a mention of it this one time in the store... you know, where you almost ended up. In your vision. I was in there, dropping off lunch for my husband and I was looking at something, I don't remember what now, some new thing on an end cap display -- cookies or whatever -- and I hear a voice, a women's voice that I recognize, this blast from the past. It's your mother. Your mom, standing in the juice aisle and talking to somebody, a neighbor lady or from church, and they're going on about the good ol' days, like women do, and somehow they get on the subject of proms. Of big dances. Maybe because her daughter -- not your mom, obviously, but the other woman -- her last kid is getting ready for hers, and off they go, chatting about this and that. I don't mean to, but I keep standing there and listening and, boy, do I get an earful! About you, and us, and, well, lots. Lots of stuff. And part of that "stuff" is how nice you looked -- how well you "cleaned up," she called it -- for your big night. Prom night. And imagine me, standing there next to this Hearty Fudge Crunch, and I'm thinking, "What big night? I didn't have a big night. We didn't go to any prom." But of course she wasn't talking about me. Or us. No, this was all about you. The night she was referring to was all about you. And her... some girl. (Beat.) She also said you don't call home enough. Your mom did.

JULIA- The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare)

A virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful
I hope my master's suit will be but cold,
Since she respects my mistress' love so much.
Alas, how love can trifle with itself!
Here is her picture: let me see; I think,
If I had such a tire, this face of mine
Were full as lovely as is this of hers:
And yet the painter flatter'd her a little,
Unless I flatter with myself too much.
Her hair is auburn, mine is perfect yellow:
If that be all the difference in his love,
I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.
Her eyes are grey as glass, and so are mine:
Ay, but her forehead's low, and mine's as high.
What should it be that he respects in her
But I can make respective in myself,
If this fond Love were not a blinded god?
Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up,
For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form,
Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored!
And, were there sense in his idolatry,
My substance should be statue in thy stead.
I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake,
That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow,
I should have scratch'd out your unseeing eyes
To make my master out of love with thee!

DIANE- The Little Dog Laughed (Douglas Carter Beane)

The beginning. Well, beginnings are always beautiful. Beginnings are-- OK-- do you know Breakfast at Tiffany's? The film, not the novella. I know, there's a novella, who knew? The beginning. Audrey Hepburn, the most beautiful person ever. Gets out of the cab. In Givenchy. Quadruple strand of pearls. And she walks to a window of Tiffany's. Again with the beautiful. And then the melody "Moon River" wafts in. Start with me. The beauty quotient is excessively high. Then beautiful Audrey Hepburn is sneaking into her Upper East Side townhouse away from the not-so beautiful older man, but the running away part is beautiful. And then. But then. Then the unspeakable happens. Mickey Rooney. Mickey Rooney in full-on novelty Hirohito glasses and buck teeth and-- (She imitates Mickey Rooney's Asian acting.) "Missy Goritry!!! I must plotest!!!" (Back to her own voice.) And we can never recover. She can gab on and about the mean reds and the cat not having a name, but. Sorry. It's too late. The beginning has been irrevocably ruined. But I digress. We're in New York, which we of Los Angeles love, accepting awards from critics, which we love even more so. My client, a rising young movie star who suffers from a slight... recurring case of homosexuality, informs me-- that as his date, are you possibly seated for this? As his date to this award ceremony, he would like to bring his mother. So that no one will know that he's gay? So I throw a flame retardant blanket on this potential brush fire, and volunteer myself as his date. I'm lesbian, he's a fag, we're in show business, we're a perfect couple. So we walk down the carpet, the flash of cameras. And I see his delight and warmth grow and flourish. The unmistakeable moment when the outcast is allowed indoors. And all it takes is a little deception. Later, during one of the inevitable moments of introspection that inevitable happen during an award ceremony, as I wonder just how much of my life has been spent sitting in these same ole gold bamboo chairs, I realize that my evening's date is leaving our table and strolling towards the dais. He has won. His acceptance speech is inspired. Yes, there is a slight stumble when he forgetst to thank the screenwriter who is credited and has just accepted the award not ten minutes prior and, oops, does thank the writer he brought onto the project. But-- who cares, it involves screenwriters. And at the end. The part where the name of a deceased parent, a recent world horror or a terribly popular co-star is evoked-- he calls to me, choked with emotion, and extends an open palm. "To Diane," my client states, significant tears finding their lazy way down his derma-braised face. "the woman who taught me... how to love. And how... to dream." And then. The silence. The vaccuum of doubt. The utter disbelief that pansy actually went there. But a roomful of show business professionals quickly recovers. Remembering that there are cameras everywhere, surely one of which will be broadcasting this moment because there are movies tars involved, the room obligingly produces a smattering of polite applause. And then, the realization that indeed, a dream must be kept alive, so-- Peter Pan to little fairy Tinkerbell's defense, the room bursts, no, explodes into applauding and cheering. And he walks down, presents his award to me, holds me in his masculine arms and kisses me full on the lips. And here's the part that is so luscious. I'm actually touched. I really like him, and he likes me and he's said that to everyone. And that kind of menas something. Later when I'm in my hotel and watching one of the inevitable rebroadcasts of the event, my only wish-- is that when he announced our love, I didn't have such a look on my face of fucking shock.

TAMORA- Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare)

Have I not reason, think you, to look pale?
These two have 'ticed me hither to this place:
A barren detested vale, you see it is;
The trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,
O'ercome with moss and baleful mistletoe:
Here never shines the sun; here nothing breeds,
Unless the nightly owl or fatal raven:
And when they show'd me this abhorred pit,
They told me, here, at dead time of the night,
A thousand fiends, a thousand hissing snakes,
Ten thousand swelling toads, as many urchins,
Would make such fearful and confused cries
As any mortal body hearing it
Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly.
No sooner had they told this hellish tale,
But straight they told me they would bind me here
Unto the body of a dismal yew,
And leave me to this miserable death:
And then they call'd me foul adulteress,
Lascivious Goth, and all the bitterest terms
That ever ear did hear to such effect:
And, had you not by wondrous fortune come,
This vengeance on me had they executed.
Revenge it, as you love your mother's life,
Or be ye not henceforth call'd my children.

ANGIE- Patter For the Floating Lady (Steve Martin)

There is a dream inside me and a corona surrounding me. The dream is of a bright star in eclipse, and its corona shimmers magnetically. You saw it. I loved you for seeing it. It drew you to me, into the dream. But I needed time, and you didn't have time. Everything you said and did, every touch at night in bed, every act of kindness, every generosity, every loving comment had this sentence attached: Maybe now she'll love me. And it made you weak. And if I'm not going to love someone strong, why love at all?

You should have seen that to let you in hurt me, because you wanted the part of me you cannot have; you wanted the part that no one should have of another person. And I will have my dreams remain inside me, for me, and if you had let them be, they would have been for you, too. So now I wait for a man who will stand before me at arms length, and I will hand him unimaginable joy, and he will not move forward, or move back. Then I will hand him unimaginable pain. And he will stand, moving neither forward nor moving back. Then and only then, I will slit myself from here to here (she indicates a vertical line from her neck to her abdomen), open my skin, and close him into me.