Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 25: I hear play people

A conversation between Natalie and Frank.

Hi Frank.

(silence as Frank continues dealing a game of solitaire)

How you doing?

Been sittin' here a long time, nothin to do.

I know, I'm sorry. But I was kinda busy, putting on that short play with you in it. Don't you remember that?

You wrote that months ago. Nothin new there for me to concern myself with. (pause) Besides, you're not even sure that's my story.

What is your story?

You mean you don't know?

Frankly -- pardon the pun -- no.

Lord help us.

You stole that line.


Yes you did. I wrote that line for you in All in the Shuffle.

So it's my line. Can't steal what's already mine.

Oh, fine. (pause) So... what is your story? I'm still kinda new at this -- can't you help me out? Give me a hint?

A hint?

Or you could just tell me the whole thing, start to finish, that would make it a lot easier.



What's it about? Can you at least tell me that?

What's in it for me?

A finished play all about you, you crotchety old fart.

(Frank shoots Natalie a dirty look, then returns to his solitaire game) Loneliness. Choices.

Choices? Really? How so?

We all make choices, Natalie.

But how can a play be "about" choices? We all make choices, yes, but thousands of times a day, like do I eat a mini Snickers bar from the candy jar on the receptionist's desk or force myself to walk straight by it and have tea instead? That's not terribly dramatic. By itself, "choices" doesn't seem like much to hang a story on.

But how do we make those choices? What are the consequences?

Gee, Frank, those are awful lofty words and sentences coming from you. That doesn't sound like your voice at all.

Talk to the playwright.

Touche. So you're saying it's about facing up to the choices we make? How we make choices? Stubbornness?

Didn't say that.

It just came to me. Stubbornness. Tunnel vision. Balance. Consequences. Choosing to live for yourself or for other people.

Are you sure you're still talkin about my story?

No. But you are the one who said choices.

You said I said choices.

Oh no, let's not get into one of those meta things where the character is telling me he's just part of my brain so really everything that he's saying to me is really something I'm saying to myself... I'm trying to let you talk here. To hear what you have to say, not what I think you should say.

You think you can tell the difference?

As a matter of fact -- yes.

This oughta be good.

There are things that just.... feel right. There is some kind of fundamental truth to your story, that I just have to uncover. I wrote about that in my blog a few days ago -- did you read it?

(Frank rolls his eyes).

You know, you might want to take a bit more of an interest in the person who is creating you. I could just, you know, stop. And then where would you be?

How long are you going to let this drag on? I'm tired. What time is it?


Where's my ice cream?

You want your ice cream so bad you can just go back to scene one and get it from Shirley. Actually, that's where I last left you -- by my account, you have your damn ice cream right now.

Well lookie there.

(silence for a couple of moments as Frank eats his ice cream)

So..... what's next? I don't know what you're supposed to do next.

Supposed to? I'm 72. I'm not supposed to do anything. Except maybe watch tv, play some cards, drink a little hooch.

That doesn't make for much of a play.

Doesn't it?

You are so unhelpful.

(sighs) Look. Change is hard. Moving is hard. Losing someone is hard. Doing that with your body giving out on you is -- well, more than most folks ever want to have to deal with.

(smiling broadly) Got it. Thanks, Frank. I owe you one.

Damn straight. Now get to it. I'm gettin a cramp from sitting in this same damn chair for so long.

Yes, sir.


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