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Wednesday, June 8, 2011


LaVonne Mueller, an international playwright came to Elizabethtown for a week. During her stay, I attended a play writing session she held. I had never even attempted writing a play, so needless to say, I was panicking. This was our prompt: Write a story where only one person talks, and their monologue is an attempt to remove a person/object from something. I had a fair amount of ideas...this was my somber one. I'll post my humorous one later today.



[Couple at a rest stop; woman is in the phone booth, not visible to the audience through the swirled glass; husband is pacing outside; he is middle-aged]

Man - Grace? Grace, come on, honey. How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?

[he approaches the phone booth, gazing into it through the marbled, swirled glass; speaks to the glass]

Man - Grace, just listen to me. I’ve tried telling you this before, but you just don’t get it. Work has been terrible. I don’t know how much more I can take it. The administration…they hire people, and I have no idea why. They are complete idiots; the way they stare at me when I ask them to do something, I can tell they have no brain. I’m just so stressed, Grace. I know it’s not an excuse. I’ve been a shitty husband for the past few months and I know that I don’t give you the attention you deserve. I know we have to work this out; it’s just when you say you want to go to counseling, I don’t have time, not with all the overtime they shove on me. I have to do my work plus all of the work the screw offs don’t get done. Grace, come out of the phone booth.

[no answer]

Man - Grace, come out of the phone booth. Please.

[Man leans his head exasperatedly against the glass.]

Man - Grace, I swear if you come out of this phone booth, I’ll talk civilly. I won’t yell this time. Hell, I shouldn’t have yelled in the first place. I shouldn’t have snapped like that back at the hotel when you told me we’d be late to pick up the kids. But with work… It’s like I can’t separate my life.

[shuffles his feet in the dirt.]

Man - You know, we should probably get some ice for your cheek… It’s probably going to swell. I have some aspirin in the car if you want some, too. That would probably help with the swelling, but you have to come out of the phone booth, Grace.

[glances back at the three people conversing behind him; leans in close to the phone booth and whispers audibly through the crack]

Man - Grace, I promise I’ll never hit you again. I know I’ve said it before, but this time I mean it. We’ll get through this just like we always have. Maybe I will go to counseling like you’ve asked. You just have to realize I’m stressed at work; you can’t expect so much of me, Grace.


Man - You know, I remember when we first met. I saw you across the room at McManus Gallery in town. We were both there for our friends who were doing a co-showing together. You reached out to touch one of Milly’s ceramic pieces, and your hands: God, they were beautiful. I knew at that moment I had to have you, had to feel your milky skin and hold those beautiful hands.

[pauses again, waiting for a response]

Man - Grace, are you even listening? Open the damn door. Come on, this is childish. We have to get home to pick up the kids from your Mom’s house. We told her we’d be there at noon, and it’s already half past. Come out of the phone booth.

[no answer]

Man - Christ, Grace! All you ever tell me is that you want attention; here I am, wanting to talk to you, you’re too busy hiding in some stupid phone booth at a rest stop! I just took you on the day trip you’ve been begging me for months to take you on. I even took off of work for you! And you pull this over some petty argument, ask me to find a bathroom, and then I have to go searching for you all over because I have no idea where you went. For God’s sake you could have been kidnapped! You’re so stupid! You never think about the repercussions of anything; you just go ahead and do whatever you want, you selfish bitch.

[he’s become unconscious of how loud his voice has become; strangers start to stare]

Man - Grace! Come out of the phone booth! Now!

[the small section of clear class on the door becomes fogged with the woman’s breath; she writes backwards so the audience can see clearly: NO]

[whir of approaching sirens in the background]


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