Mellen (absentmammoth) wrote,
Mellen
absentmammoth

"Make it sound like sex..."

That's part of the instruction given to me on my monologue for theater class. It's such a neat piece, I want to share it.

As stated before, Paula Vogel writes a damn good play. My first monologue was from one of her plays called "And Baby Makes Seven," about two lesbian lovers, their gay roommate, and the child they'll be having, of which the roommate is the biological father. As good as that play actually was, this one is even better, if a little touchier.

"How I Learned to Drive" is the story of Lil' Bit, and the sexual abuse/relationship she had with her Uncle Peck, and uncle by marriage, from ages 11-18. Going from different points in her life, it's not a typical, sappy abuse play at all, but addresses the issue in a most unique way. In this monologue, Lil' Bit is 25, and hasn't seen her uncle since her eighteenth birthday.

A long bus trip to Upstate New York. I settled in to read when I young man sat beside me. "What are you reading?" he asked. His voice broke in that miserable equivalent of vocal acne, not quite falsetto and not quite tenor either. I glanced a side view. He was appealing in an odd way, huge ears at a defiant angle springing forward at ninety degrees. He must have been shaving, because his face, with a peach sheen, was speckled with nicks and styptic.

"It's for a class tomorrow," I replied.

"You're taking a class?"
"I'm teaching a class. I'm an instructor. Actually, I haven't finished my thesis yet."

He concentrated on lowering his voice. "I'm a senior. Walt Whitman High." The light was fading outside, so perhaps he was. With a very high voice.

I felt him thinking hard, what casual question to ask. "What do you teach?"

"Theater," I replied. Now, when one, as an older woman answers such a query with "public policy," do you think young men on buses think, "Oh boy, easy lay"?

I felt his "interest" quicken. Five steps ahead of the hopes in his head, I slowed down, waited, pretended surprise, acted at listening, all the while knowing we would get off the bus, he would just then seem to think to ask me to dinner, he would chivalrously insist on walking me home, he would continue to converse in the street until I casually invited him up to my room--and--I was only into the second moment of conversation and I could see the whole evening before me.

And, dramaturgically speaking, after a faltering and slightly comical "first act," there was the very briefest of intermissions, and then an extremely capable, forceful and SUSTAINED second act. And after the second act climax and a gentle denouement--before the post-play discussion--I lay there, a passive spectator and thought about you, Uncle Peck. Oh. Oh--this is the allure. Being older. Being the first. Being the translator, the teacher, he epicure, the already jaded. This is how the giver gets taken.


I have to work out the blocking a little more, and make sure I hit all the key points correctly and get the timing right...but it's a great piece. And that's only a little slice of what this play has to offer. It's great fun to act, and a very thoughtful play.
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