The Playgoer: A Playlet

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Playlet

Ok, imagine this.

X and Y meet and fall in love. They date for a while and then one chilly day in--say in November/December, 2005--they discuss moving in together. X suggests Y should move in with X. Both are really into the idea! They want to show the world how much they love each other.

They agree on a date. Let's say March 22. Round about late January, Y starts picking up on strange signals from X, who keeps talking about making "preparations" for Y's arrival, but not the nice kind of preparations like cleaning the bathroom. Preparations like making sure no one X knows interprets Y's moving in as a sign that X feels Y is a great, great person in every single way and endorses all of Y's views. Meanwhile Y proceeds with the move. X seems to be telling no one about the impending co-habitation. But Y tells all Y's friends back home, goes about changing magazine subscriptions, throwing out stuff Y won't need in the new place, even turns down a sweet pad someone offered Y for nothing! Then in mid-February (let's say Valentine's Day) X makes a surprise phone call to Y...

X: Hey Y. I've been thinking about this "moving in" thing, and what do you think of postponing it?
Y: Excuse me?
X: Well, you see, I've been doing some more research on you.
Y: Research?
X: Yeah. You know, just on the internet. And I started getting concerned about some groups they said you joined, like communists or something...
Y: I did what?
X: No, don't worry. I found out that wasn't true, 'cause I hired a private investigator to track it all down.
Y: You what???
X: Yeah, can't believe everything on the internet, don't ya know. But there are still some questions people have...
Y: What people?
X: Hey, I still love you, Y. It's not me, ok? I think you're an inspiring example of passion. It's all my friends and my neighbors here. They're real suspicous of some things people are saying about you. Anyway, once I get the report from the investigator I know I'll be able know, contextualize it all, so all will be cool.
Y: You hired an investigator? Why didn't you just ask me???
X: It's really no biggee. And I'm not breaking up with you. Hell, no! And I still want you to move in. Just later.
Y: Ok, when?
X: Like, later.
Y: Like next month?
X: Uh. Not sure. How 'bout next year? Yeah. Next year looks real good. I could print up some stuff, pass it around, give it to people to read. Maybe invite some folks over to, sort of, take the other side. Maybe someone else--like my friend Z, the neocon?--maybe he can, like, live with us for a while? You know, balance things out?
Y: (beat) I don't think so, X.
X: Hey: I just want you to know I'm really, really committed to this relationship. And all I care about is showing everyone how much I love you.
Y: Good bye, X.
X: Hey, hold on! So you're still moving in next year, right?
Y: (click)
X: 'Cause I am so looking forward to living with you. I mean, once everyone knows you're cool and all..... Hello? (beat) Hello???

Do you see why X would look kinda ridiculous at this moment?


Larissa said...

Haha! touche.

Anonymous said...

That's a really good play. You should make it a little longer and try to get it produced. You know, NYTW has an open slot.

Anonymous said...

January 28, 1949:

A potential Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" an acclaimed drama about the dark side of the American dream, has been postponed because of concerns about the show's political content.

The production had been tentatively scheduled to start performances at the Morosco Theatre on February 10. But yesterday, Elia Kazan, the play's director, said he had decided to postpone the show after polling local Republican party and community leaders as to their feelings about the work.

"The uniform answer we got was that the fantasy that we could present the work of this writer simply as a work of art without appearing to take a position was just that, a fantasy," he said.

In particular, the recent atomic test by the USSR and the upset victory of President Harry Truman had made "this community very defensive and very edgy," Mr. Kazan said, "and that seemed reasonable to me."

The play follows the story of Willy Loman, an aging salesman who is beginning to lose his grip on reality.

The play was written by playwright Arthur Miller. And while the show had not been formally announced, Mr. Miller said yesterday that he had already arranged for relatives to fly in for the production.

"I was devastated and really surprised," Mr. Miller said in a telephone interview. "And in my view, I think they're misjudging the New York audience. It's a piece of art, not a piece of agitprop."

But Mr. Kazan said he was less worried about those who saw the show than those who simply heard about it.

"I don't think we were worried about the audience," he said. "I think we were more worried that those who had never encountered his writing, never encountered the piece, would be using this as an opportunity to position their arguments."

Mr. Kazan said that he still hoped to produce the play during the 1950-51 season but that he hadn't heard back from Miller.

"It seemed as though if we proceeded, we would be taking a stand we didn't want to take," Kazan said.

Anonymous said...

The playlet is good, but of course the real situation is far worse. X's sole purpose is (to extend your metaphor) to have Y move in. X lives to have Y move in -- there is no other reason for X's existence.

That's why NYTW's actions have a self-destructive, almost suicidal tinge. They are negating their own mission in interview after interview. They will be left with communities, voices, points of view -- but no art!!!

Anonymous said...


And it brought one of my questions about this affair into focus for me: How is this going to affect the more general relationship between the Royal Court and the NYTW? Corrie is far from the first play to be developed by the RC and then moved in with the NYTW... will it be the last? Considering that the NYTW is now complaining that the RC won't return its phone calls and that, anyway, the Workshop dumps half their productions from the schedule so they don't see what the fuss is about, it's hard to see that this relationship has much of a future.

Playgoer said...

After watching the Democracy Now interview again, I feel like adding a short Epilogue:

Cut to: Y, happily moved in with someone else.

Cut to: X still on phone, holding. "Hello?...Hello?"