Start Talking, Part 3

The first speech is overlapped from part 2.

PLAYWRIGHT
Shit. Okay. (Calling to stage hand.) Another chair!
(Stage hand appears with a chair, opens it. Annie sits next to Patricia.)
As I was saying. Annie is Laura’s mother. Laura was a character in a novel, a long time ago, in which she ran away to the circus and was shot by a clown. I should have left her there, bleeding in the sawdust, but no, I resurrected her in a play that did not work. At all. And now for some reason known only unto Laura, Annie, her poor mother, has to deal with her again. Annie, I’m sorry.

ANNIE
I still don’t know what’s going on, but then, I guess I never did. Who are these people?

PLAYWRIGHT
Characters from plays I’m working on. I’m not working on yours, so I didn’t invite you. Or Laura.

ANNIE
Oh. Or Pat? Is Pat coming? Pat?

(Pat enters, carrying a chair, which she sets up next to the grandmothers.)

PLAYWRIGHT
Geezum. Is there no such thing as creative control?

PAT
Yup, and we’ve got it. Introduce us, please.

PLAYWRIGHT 
Okay. Pat, Annie, Laura, meet Grandmother and Red from one play I’ve started, and Joan and her daughter Patricia and her grandchild Alex from another. This is Pat, everyone. She ran the greenhouse that Annie worked in. She kept tryng to talk sense into her. Huh. Come to think of it, that stupid play was an attempt at mythology, too. It was so long ago, I’d forgotten.

PAT
Mythology? You mean like some fairy tale? I thought all our stuff was pretty real.

PLAYWRIGHT
Not exactly a fairy tale. It was about Demeter and Persephone. You were Hecate.

PAT
Who?

LAURA
Oh wow! I’m Persephone!
(Stands and starts dancing.)

PLAYWRIGHT
Sit down and shut up, Laura.

ANNIE
Persephone didn’t die in the myth. She just went underground for half the year. I mean, back when I was a Classics major, I. . . 

PLAYWRIGHT
All right, all right. Let’s start again. You all now have a basic idea of where everybody comes from, right? Laura, sit.

LAURA
(Sits.)
Wow, you are so demanding.

PLAYWRIGHT
Right. I am. So, everybody keep talking. Except Laura and Annie. You know all you need to about them.

PAT
Three grannies, three kids, two daughters. Looks good to me.

PATRICIA
I really want to hear what Laura and Annie have to say. And Pat, of course.

ALEX
Me too.

(The sound of general agreement,)

PLAYWRIGHT
From the land of the dead. Oh, whatever. I give up.

LAURA
Well, if it’s all grannies and daughters, this is about you and your daughter, isn’t it?

PLAYWRIGHT
I don’t have a daughter. I said that already. Before you got here.

LAURA
Oh. But you are a daughter, right? So it’s about you and your mother.

PLAYWRIGHT
No. No it isn’t. My mother was nothing like yours. She was strict. Nothing at all like Annie. 

LAURA
But I still think. . .

PLAYWRIGHT
You know what, Laura? I don’t care what you think. You’re wrong. Whatever you say is just plain wrong.

ANNIE
I don’t think that’s fair to poor Laura. I mean, you created her.

PAT
She has a point.

PLAYWRIGHT
But I want to listen to the other characters here, the ones I actually invited. Patricia, help me out.

PATRICIA
I agree with Pat. Look, you’re making three plays. . 

PLAYWRIGHT
Two, damn it. The one Laura’s in is trashed. A failure. It’s in the wastebasket. 

PATRICIA
Well, however many, they’re all about mothers and daughters.

PLAYWRIGHT
No. They’re about grandmothers and grandchildren. The mothers are incidental.

RED
That’s what you think.

PLAYWRIGHT
What? Really? 

RED
Yeah. I mean, if it weren’t for the mothers, we wouldn’t be, like, so attached to our grandmothers, right?

PLAYWRIGHT
But your mother isn’t in the play at all. 

RED
Yeah, but. Grandmother’s an artist, right, and she does whatever she wants. And my mother isn’t an artist. She’s like, very sensible, or something, in an organic kind of way. And she doesn’t get how it is with me and Grandmother. And that’s why me and Grandmother get along so good.

ALEX
Yeah, yeah. Like me and Gram. Mom doesn’t get it at all. I mean, look at her. 

PATRICIA
You have no idea, Alex, what it’s like to deal with a mother like mine.

ALEX
Nope. Just what it’s like to deal with a mother like mine.

PAT
Jesus. And I thought our play was complicated. But at least ours doesn’t have a grandmother in it.

ALEX
But you’re a Gram, right? I mean, you’re old enough, no offence. Were you kinda like a grandmother to Laura?

PLAYWRIGHT
I really, really don’t want to talk about Laura.

LAURA
Why not? Do you find me threatening?

PLAYWRIGHT
This isn’t about me.

GRANDMOTHER
Of course it is. All art is about the artist.

JOAN
You wanted us to talk, so we’re talking. How about we ask you some questions?

PLAYWRIGHT
Great. Make-believe people asking me questions. Okay. Go ahead.

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