Start Talking: Conclusion

And here's the conclusion:



PLAYWRIGHT
I don’t know, Pat. I really don’t remember. Why don’t you tell me? What are you doing in my head?

PAT
Jesus. Search me. You’re in charge, right? Supposed to be anyhow.


ALEX
(To Playwright.)
 Maybe you need her. I mean, maybe you need somebody like Pat in your head. Like Demeter and Hecate, right? When Demeter was all like “I don’t know what to do” Hecate helped her, right? So maybe that’s what you need and your brain’s just telling you that.

JOAN
Alex, love, you have been paying attention to all those myths I’ve read to you.

ALEX
Well, yeah. How could I not? They’re pretty great.

PLAYWRIGHT
So you think I made Pat up because I need her?

ALEX
Yeah. Maybe. Whatever.

PAT
I sorta like that.

PATRICIA
So, Playwright, my question is, Why do you think you need Hecate in your head? What is the witch at the crossroads saying to you?

PLAYWRIGHT
Oh crap. All I need is for my characters to start psychoanalyzing me. Come on, you people. I MADE YOU ALL UP. Sure there’s bits of me in all of you, but I made you up. You’re not real. You aren’t. I made you up. 

GRANDMOTHER
Then what are we doing here?

LAURA
Yeah, Playwright. Why did you invite us here and tell us to talk if you don’t want to hear what we have to say?

PLAYWRIGHT
Once again, Laura, for the record, Laura, I did not invite you. Your being here, however, shows me really clearly why you and your mother did not work out in the novel, or in the play. I had an agenda for you. I was being preachy. Subtly, or so I thought, but it really wasn’t, and at some level, I knew it. It turns out, now that I hear you out of your context, that you’re both stock characters and vehicles for my preachiness. So thank you, and good-bye. You, too, Annie. Good-bye.

LAURA
But. . . 

PLAWRIGHT
Go. I said go. Do not darken my computer screen again.

LAURA
This is worse than being shot by that clown.

ANNIE
(Stands.)
Come on, Laura. She’s done with us.

LAURA
(Breaks down in a childish temper tantrum.)
No! I don’t want to!

(Annie takes Laura firmly by the hand and bodily drags her offstage.)

PAT
(Calling after them.)
Well done, Annie!

PATRICIA
(To Pat.)
Wait a minute. Why are you still here? The Playwright said she’s done with your play or novel or whatever.

PAT
Yeah but. She didn’t say she was done with me.

PLAYWRIGHT
No. I didn’t, come to think of it. Because I’m not. You’re the only one in that play who isn’t a stock character. I think. Let’s see.
(Looks around the table.)
Okay. What have I got? Two grandmothers who do their own thing—

PAT
Three. I do my own thing too, right? 

PLAYWRIGHT
(Revelation.)
Oh. Yes. Of course. Sorry, Pat. You do. Your divorce and the kid you disowned and the greenhouse and speaking your mind. . . 

PAT
Yeah, yeah. I am a tough old bitch. Huh. Maybe I am a what you say is a stock character?

PLAYWRIGHT
No, no. I don’t think so. I’ll think about that later. So now I’ve got three grandmothers, two colluding grandchildren and one difficult daughter.

GRANDMOTHER
Two. Mine’s just not on stage.

PLAYWRIGHT
(Typing while she talks.)
Yeah, yeah. Good. So now the question is: Do I want to keep going with Red Riding Hood and/or the whole tree business, or do I want to do something else with you?

JOAN
I like the tree business, but that’s not surprising, is is?

ALEX
Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why not write about a bunch of old women sitting around talking about things? Like their grandchildren, or their daughters, or whatever.

PLAYWRIGHT
Hm. I guess that’s a possibility.

PAT
What the hell do you call this? Here we are.

PLAYWRIGHT
Oh. Oh, you’re right, Pat. Here we are.

PAT
You could stretch it out some, I guess, if Joan and Grandmother. . . hey, do you have a name? I mean, “Grandmother” isn’t exactly a name, you know, and I really don’t want to call another old lady “Grandmother.”

GRANDMOTHER
I don’t have one, do I? Why not?

PLAYWRIGHT
Well, you see, in the play, you’re basically just Grandmother. It’s what Red calls you. You don’t actually need a name because. . . 

GRANDMOTHER
Defined by my role. Despite your idea that I would be a so-called “good example” for a grandchild?  That makes me a stock character, doesn’t it? Well, I’m out of here. If you can’t even be bothered to name me, forget it. I’m not going to be in any of your plays.
(Stands to go.)

(Playwright is speechless.)

JOAN
(Stands.)
I’m with you. That’s appalling. (To Grandmother.) You and I do have to talk. What do you want me to call you, since you aren’t Grandmother?

GRANDMOTHER
How about Amelia? I like the sound of that.

JOAN
Amelia. Excellent. 

RED
Wait! Grandmother! Can I still call you Grandmother?

GRANDMOTHER
Huh. I don’t know. It depends on where you end up. Joan, where shall we go?

PAT
(Stands.)
Mind if I come, too?

JOAN and GRANDMOTHER
(Assenting sounds.)

PAT
‘Cause I know a nice greenhouse. At a crossroads. Coffee’s on.

JOAN
That sounds perfect.

(The three women link arms and exit.)

PLAYWRIGHT
(Stands.)
Hey! Hey!

RED
(Stands, looking after the grandmothers.)
Grandmother?

ALEX
(Stands and puts an arm around Red.)
Let ‘em go, kid. They were pretty good grannies, but we’ve got stuff to do. How about we head back to your gram’s studio and make our own coffee and do some art?

RED
Sounds good to me.

(They exit.)

PLAYWRIGHT
Well, damn it all. Now what?

PATRICIA
(Stands.)
I suppose I should go, too. That is, unless you need me.

PLAYWRIGHT
Yeah, you might as well go. Go ahead. Go ahead. 

(Patricia starts for the exit.)
Oh, but wait!

PATRICIA
(Turning.)
Yes?

PLAYWRIGHT
Maybe you should stay. I might need help getting things re-organized. There is some stuff in here I might be able to use, I think.
(Sits at the computer again.)

PATRICIA
Oh. Well. I guess I could. All right. Let me see. . .
(Stands behind playwright and looks over her shoulder at the screen.)

PLAYWRIGHT
(Looks up at Patricia.)
Well? Any thoughts?

(Curtain.)

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