START TALKING part 3

This is being revised now because some of my playwright colleagues think it’s worth working on. But I’ll keep posting the original draft.

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



JOAN
Where did I come from?

PATRICIA
Yeah, that’s a really good question. I suggest you go around the table and tell each one of us where we came from.

PLAYWRIGHT
In what way will that help me with these—TWO—plays I’m trying to write?

GRANDMOTHER
Who knows? That’s the fun of art, isn’t it?

LAURA
And why didn’t you invite me?

PATRICIA
All right, all right. Playwright, where did we come from? And there’s three plays, whether you like it or not.

PLAYWRIGHT
Okay, okay. You win. But I’m not going to go around the table. I’m going to start with Laura because she’s the oldest.

LAURA
You’re kidding, right? I’m only twenty-four.

PLAYWRIGHT
No. I’m not kidding. You’re the oldest in literary time. So. I don’t have a daughter, right? I have a son, who never gave us any kind of serious trouble. So one day I got to thinking, if we’d had a daughter, what would she be like. The opposite, is what I thought. 

LAURA
So I’m your anti-son?

PLAYWRIGHT
Yup. 

LAURA
Really.

PLAYWRIGHT
Yup. Conceived on a journal page early one morning about twenty years ago.

LAURA
So I dropped out of school, did drugs, ran away, got pregnant by a street person, had an abortion. . 

PLAYWRIGHT
. . . you had the baby, remember, but he died. . . 

LAURA
Oh yeah. I forgot. Anyhow then you made me run away and join a circus and get shot by a clown. 

PLAYWRIGHT
Except in the play you weren’t going to get shot.

LAURA
I thought I would.

PLAYWRIGHT
I never got that far in the play. You only just ran away before I gave it up.

LAURA
I hope I get shot. It’s more dramatic.

PLAYWRIGHT
Well, if that’s what you want to believe, believe it. Because I’m not going to write it. You’re history.

PATRICIA
Could we please stick to the subject? What about Annie?

ANNIE
If Laura’s your anti-son, am I your anti-self? 

PLAYWRIGHT
Crap. I don’t know. I made you up. I just don’t know. 

ANNIE
I let Laura get away with everything. I thought everything she did was wonderful. I never disciplined her at all. After her father died. . .

PLAYWRIGHT
Well, yeah. The point, I mean, the point I was trying to make, was something about the unlived lives of parents. If you’d been a Latin scholar after all, if you’d had a life outside motherhood, things with Laura might have been different, don’t you see?

PAT
There it is. What-ifs. You can’t do what-ifs all the time. It’s what I kept trying to tell you. It’s why the damn novel didn’t work.

PLAYWRIGHT
Thanks, Pat. At least I got you right.

PATRICIA
What do you mean by that? You got me right, I think.

PLAYWRIGHT
Yeah, yeah, I guess so. You are a controlling bitch.

PATRICIA
Thank you. I do my best.

JOAN
Wait a minute, here. Are you saying that the rest of us aren’t what you call “right”?  I beg your pardon. We are absolutely doing what you created us to do, in the very limited space you’ve given us. Alex and I have had only four pages so far.

PLAYWRIGHT
I know, I know. Which is why I called this meeting. I need to know you better. I guess what I mean by Pat and Patricia being right is that their voices are really clear to me, and have been from the beginning. It’s the rest of you I’m not sure about. You, for instance, Joan. Are you ironic, or straight-forward? Stern? I was thinking you were rather stern, but now I’m not sure.

PATRICIA
Speaking of my being a controlling bitch, how about your going back to telling us where we came from. You could keep going with Joan.

PLAYWRIGHT
I could, couldn’t I? Okay. Let’s see. I think Joan may be the scholar I wasn’t. The anthropologist, folklorist, classicist. 

ANNIE
Oh. Maybe that explains me, too!

PLAYWRIGHT
Please be quiet, Annie. Yeah, I’ve always been interested in those things but never really did anything but dabble. And I’ve been interested lately in the connections between people, especially women, and trees, and looking for those myths. What intrigues me so far, is that in most of the cases, the woman became a tree to escape something. You all know about Daphne, of course, but then there was a woman in a San tale. . .

PATRICIA
All right, all right. We don’t need to know all this, do we? Just that Joan is a could-have-been of yours. Next?

JOAN
No, wait a minute. This is good for me to know. Now I’m wondering if you, Patricia, have a “could-have-been” in your past that makes you so bitchy. Did I hold you back from something? Did I fail to encourage you?

PATRICIA
Did you fail to encourage me? Mother! Are you kidding? You hardly even noticed me, you were so busy with all your research. Early on, I decided I wouldn’t do that stuff. I’d find a job that was just that, a job. Not a passion. And I’d be involved in my daughter’s life, and I have been.

ALEX
I’ll say.

One comment on “START TALKING part 3

  1. linda shere says:

    I absolutely love this. such a super idea

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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