mardi 9 octobre 2012

Poor Robert

This is a monologue I wrote a while back. I had completely forgotten about it, but I enjoyed re-reading it! It reminded me of a couple of things: how bad I am at finishing projects, and how the play Six Characters in search of an author is a direct inspiration for this piece.  

Robert :

            It just occurred to me that I could start talking. Even if I didn't have much to say, maybe I could come up with something. A lot of people seem to do that. But the thing is, I’m a character. I’m supposed to know what I’m saying. Or, at least, my assigned playwright is supposed to know. Ha! Well. Let me just tell you something about her: she has no idea what she’s doing. No idea whatsoever. She quite often leaves me speechless for days, weeks, months! When she does let me speak, she doesn't grace me with much depth of personality. When I try to argue – and it’s not so easy for me to do, since I only have a limited vocabulary of my very own – she says something about “the capriciousness of inspiration”. She says that it’s not her fault, that she didn't have a lot of time lately, very busy, etc, etc. My translation: she’s just plain lazy.
            So, today, I said, that’s it. I’m fed up being dissatisfied as a character. I decided to fight for my rights, and to be granted the honor of characterization. My playwright couldn't believe it when she started manically writing without even having to think. But don’t believe for even one instant that this is anything of your doing, pretty girl! No, no, no. It’s all me. I’m using you, to my advantage. I’m forcing you to tell my story. And, be warned: I will never listen when you will tell me – and I know you will – that it has all been written before. I know it has, but what can you do? We still should be able to express ourselves, however clumsily it may be. And we perhaps always do end up saying the same things, over and over again, because we are ultimately all the same. Perhaps. But how is it fair that the ancient Greeks got to say whatever they wanted because it had never been said before, whereas we twenty-first century people have to take into consideration the past thousand and thousand years of civilization?
            But wait a minute… I could… be an ancient Greek character! And I could start at the beginning. That is a very seductive idea. Very seductive indeed. Now, the question is, where to begin? Am I a character who witnessed the construction of Athens, or Sparta? Am I a friend of Homer? His accompanist as he sings the tales of the Odyssey and the Iliad?
            The problem being that I have no idea what I’m talking about. Do you have any idea, Miss Playwright? Of course she doesn't  I’m afraid that if I ask her to do some extensive research on Ancient Greece, I will never in a thousand moons become a real, fleshy character. Since I have to work with what I have – that is, a pretty flimsy writer – I’ll stick with being a twenty-first century character.
            Now that we have established that, I must embark on the gender issue. Ah, gender! Is it really that important? I could be a roaming spirit with no particular sex affiliation, now could I? Or just avoid choosing by being a hermaphrodite. Yes, but I have a feeling that wouldn't simplify things at all. I better decide now. I’ll just be a man. A talkative man named… Robert. Or a gossipy woman named Martha? No, no. Definitely not Martha. Madeline, maybe, but not Martha. Madeline?! What the hell am I thinking? I’m Robert. That’s it. I feel and talk like a Robert. Who wouldn't think of me that way? I perspire Robertness, I sweat Robertness!
- Hi, I’m Robert. Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you too, Robert! So, tell me a little bit about yourself…
Damn it. I don’t know anything about myself! My name’s Robert, isn’t that enough for you? You need more information? What, are you the FBI or something? Wait. My Playwright is saying that I’m starting to sound like Woody Allen, and that’s not good. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Woody Allen, but he’s definitely not me. And I need to construct myself, not use shortcuts provided by previous characters. Thanks, P., I appreciate it. My name is Robert, and I’m not Woody Allen. We've established that much. Good. We’re on the right track! Just keep on going. Don’t stop! No, P., don’t even dare think to let your grip off that pen. Don’t even entertain the  idea! 
Damn it. She stopped writing again. P! P! P! I need you! I need you to write me!