Monday, June 26, 2017

THE REGISTRY: For-Like-Ever


For years now, I’ve been thinking 3-4 projects ahead, as I continued to experiment with something Bonnie Marranca calls, in Plays for the End of the Century, “a theatre of the first person.” Personal. Addictive. Cleansing. Basically therapy (why pay for therapy when you can stage it?)

Long before starting Noir, I knew that a love story with the Angel of Death would take me to Chekhov’s world of unrequited love, and then to the biggest idealist of them all, Quijote. These were the plays of the trilogy called The Falling. Then followed the most autobiographical play ever, Revision, and its finality, its irreversible nature, ended the first person cycle.

While working on Revision I tried really hard not to think of the next play. I failed. I was writing scenes for The Registry in my head while learning lines for Revision. The whole thing felt like imprisonment or self-sabotage. Days after Revision closed, I had the character files for The Registry complete.

So what is the Registry? A slippery bureaucratic empire, a potentially fantastical organization in charge of people’s souls. The branch we get to see in the play is in charge of love affairs, romantic encounters, soulmate scenarios. Ideally, everyone on file should be paired with the perfect partner, but the place is understaffed, and its clerks are overworked, so mistakes are made quite frequently. Grim angels in a suit, the clerks of the Registry work inside a place that looks like Kafka for lovers or Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Imagine The Castle with a coke machine. Or Metropolis with an artist's model, and a psychiatrist on staff, for voluntary (mandatory) art and therapy sessions.

The Registry understands the century and has adapted to it. It has a vigorous social media presence using a Facebook-like network called Skyway.com to advertise its services (and secretly follow the private lives of its employees). It assigns multiple case workers to the more difficult files, and maintains a page called soulcrush.com where people can advertise their desires and expound on their unique qualities such as the fact that they enjoy long walks on the beach, and would like to consume cheese in the company of attractive and intelligent people. “Who is the crush of your soul?” is the network’s tagline and many of the Registry’s employees believe it to be truly catchy.

The characters are: Ada G. Ash, a Client in search of a modern day Mr. Darcy; Gianni Cassanova, the Artist’s Model (with a Ph.D in Philosophy); Suzi Might, Director of Accounting and an Expert in Risk Management; Betty Grail (Baby), a Registry Records clerk and Initial Interview Specialist; Athena Drake, Psychiatrist and Closet Romance Novelist; Vitto Salieri (Sal), Chief Human Resources Officer and Chair of the Committee on Committees, and God whose employment file is entirely classified.

The story has to be simple: a misplaced piece of paper, a detail, will get someone killed.

The subtext is simple: of love and bureaucracy – something as elemental and easy to comprehend as death and taxes.

The paratext is what I’m most excited about. If I get to stage this play downtown and have access not just to the stage but to the corridors and some gallery space as well, the world of The Registry will start to unfold weeks before the show, as the offices of soulcrush.com and Skyway Enterprises (“Our way or the Skyway” is another catchy motto) will invite future spectators to play. They’ll be able to describe their perfect partner, leave notes, take selfies inside the Registry Headquarters, post them online, receive responses to their inquiries, and so on and so on…the possibilities are endless.

As usual, the cast is perfect, and being completely familiar with their inflection, presence, walk, idiosyncrasies, and talents, I am writing lines with their persona in mind.

So these are the people. This is the plan. I am using real bureaucratic correspondence – emails and memos I have received whose content I will adapt to the needs of The Registry – that convinced me that bureaucracy has indeed the power of life and death over us mortals, and that its language can often annihilate sentiment. What happens to our more and more pallid understanding of love and relationships under the lens of a bureaucracy of the Registry’s proportions?

The stage is set. Rehearsals begin in August. The Registry has opened its doors.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

I see you, Mr. Gehry!




I have burns on the tips of my fingers from attaching strips of satin to the wires of a crinoline, with the help of a glue gun. The crinoline cage is now the exoskeleton of a killer mermaid, a cage of metal and fabric that contains and sustains her body – an anatomical impossibility even in the realm of fantastical beings.

I’ve always been more interested in the inner life of things - inner structures, complex architectures, scaffoldings. The skeleton, not the body. The armature, not the sculpture. The truth, not the padding. For some reason that I couldn’t explain before, I wanted the mermaid in Revision to wear her skeleton like a garment, on the outside. Forget improbabilities, think of the beauty of the thing. For the Milena Theatre Group, this isn’t a new tendency. An early attempt at a short film (Elsewhere) and one of our first productions (Scar)  featured breastplates and other molds of the actors’ bodies, empty, beautiful carcasses made of wire and tissue, inside which the actors crawled, for safety, thus managing to transform the shapes of their bodies under the eyes of the audience.

Our rehearsal process too begins with the skeleton of a play, an idea, a thought we think to its ultimate conclusion as rehearsals progress. Rehearsals are miraculous things: thinking herself free from the director’s gaze during a break, the actor will often do or say something surprising - a continuous movement, an elegant capitulation, an unusual turn of phrase – which are then incorporated into the performance. This is how each production takes shape.

I always feel strange trying to explain my process to outsiders, not because I believe they have no business learning about it, but because, most of the times, I see the misunderstanding in their eyes, as they’re trying to quantify and rename what we do in a way that will make them feel better about their own work. But there isn’t a set vocabulary for what we do. I work with the entire being, not just the bag of tricks the actor has to offer – that’s all there is to it.

I was thinking about the evolution of the Milena Group today while gluing satin to wire. Seventeen years of productions, sixteen plays all deconstructing the idea of theatre, all exposing what was once hidden: the skeleton upon which a production builds. I like the bare bones of things. The armature, the scaffolding, the skeleton – are like the desert: there’s no place to hide. I’m on the verge of a structural shift, I think. When I started the Milena Group, I promised myself never to settle, never to forget that what I do on stage is my research into a field that keeps changing in the telling. There is a need for new theatre vocabularies, and loud declarations of political principles or outrage at the state of the world changes little. In order  to focus, I’ve been trying to work small for a while. Revision does a little of that. The next play, The Registry, will be a departure from that principle, because each play chooses its format and methodologies, and The Registry will need ample space to unfold. But after that, I want to return to the idea of table magic. There’s a scene in Vanya on 42nd Street where, during a final rehearsal, a few friends of the director sit at a large table on stage. At the other end of the table, the actors, in street clothes, perform a scene oblivious to anyone’s presence. There is something terribly honest, stripped of pretension about doing Chekhov this way, around the dinner table, among friends or strangers who’ve gone through similar emotions and understand that what they are witnessing is life – unmasked, unspectacular, exposed.

I seem to have less and less access to a proper theatre, but at the same time, I seem to have less need of it. I would have simplified Revision much more, had the two films which are part of the play, not set the bar so high, visually. I didn’t want the audience to experience a disappointment, moving from screen to stage, had I not attempted to transform it.

Let’s not forget. I’m in a school auditorium, on a pale, narrow stage, surrounded by beige walls. My first reaction to the space was crying. But then I stopped that nonsense and looked to the work of that admirable guild, the Architects, who always inspire me because they manage to look at the body of a building and see its skeleton. So I’ll do what Frank Gehry did to another unfriendly interior meant to accommodate an opera: crumple paper and let it take over the space. Since the writer is also present in Revision, surrounded by hundreds of crumpled manuscript pages – writing is revision – why not turn the entire space into a giant discarded page?

So that’s the plan: a desert citadel made by a cardboard artist, a set overtaken by manuscript pages, a killer mermaid who discards her exoskeleton to make “snow” angels in the papers that litter the stage, and a woman carrying three bags and a chandelier through the desert, because one should never travel distances without a classy lighting source.

Faced with the prospect of hanging lights on ladders placed strategically throughout the room, the lighting designer suggested a return to the basics: installing “footlights” (read outdoor string lights) along the front edge of the stage. Why not?

In the process of working on Revision all sorts of reevaluations have taken place: of spaces, of possibilities, of relationships. As always, everything that appeared insurmountable at first, turned into the most creative of solutions. Reduced to their bare bones, interiors always prove friendly. The same cannot be said about people, but then again, I find that spaces keep memories better than anyone I know. “Memory: the space in which a thing happens for a second time.”



Frank Gehry's set for Don Giovanni







Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vivisections





"You whom we love, you do not see us, you do not hear us…We are messengers who bring closeness to those who are distant. We are messengers who bring the light to those who are in darkness. We are messengers who bring the word to those who question. We are neither the light, nor the message. We are the messengers. We are nothing.” (Far Away, So Close)

Wim Wenders’ angels look down at the busy streets of Berlin from an impossible distance, perched on the shoulder of a colossal statue whose head rests beyond the clouds. The lines above are from the opening of Far Away, So Close, a movie theoretically about angels, practically about our salvation through the belief in the fantastical as it exists in the people we love.

Wenders, like me, is partial to very cool-looking angels, in long, black coats, and dusters that catch the wind at every turn. There is something obsessive about the way they listen to everyone’s thoughts in a crowded library, on a bus, or in the street. The chorus of voices, a polyphony of sorts, is the only connection between the inhabitants of the city.

Why am I talking about angels? Because angels have the courage to love, and ever since I started working on this play, I’ve been thinking about elemental emotions: love and hate, love and exile (is exile an emotion?), love and its anatomy, its archaeology, its rhythms. It was Wim Wenders who said, “Everything I loved, I’ve had to defend.” I understand him completely. (Should Revision be called A Defense?)

Here is my dilemma: since a love declaration creates no sense of obligation, why aren’t more people confessing to it? Is it the fear of ridicule, of vulnerability, or does it take less effort to be indifferent? To hate?

I love the desert. I love the sea (parts one and three of Revision). Saying it exposes me to sandstorms and hurricanes. In other words, confessing could kill me. But NOT confessing would kill me too. So the question is, how would I rather die: telling the truth or lying?

In Q I say “Every play is a hostage negotiation. Even if we survive at the end, we’re never the same.” But every play is a love declaration as well. Does this mean that every love declaration takes hostages? (And why does “a declaration of love” and “a declaration of war” use the same noun? Should we call it a love advisory instead?)

Remember Wenders’ angels. Now pause that thought.
Think of Mallarme’s Livre – the book of books, the project he worked on for years without ever truly explaining or finishing it – an impossibility. A book to capture the nothing of the nothing that we are, a book about the love of that restful, pulsating void.

Revision terrifies me. It is my play of plays (The Play) about everything I love and have to defend. It is about the courage to confess to loving impossible things, and impossible people, and never giving up on them.

What separates tragedy from melodrama? At times, the absence of a door through which one can make a dignified exit.

 I want my play to devastate. I want to have the courage of angels in every sentence. I want to watch you watching it, like Hamlet watched Claudius (though Hamlet asked Horatio to watch the king for him – why would he do that? Delegate? Ah, how far we are from scopophilia…)

I think we are experiencing a different kind of Fall – the Fall of language, tied to an inexplicable fear of sentiment, of contact, which renders us speechless when it comes to caring. Oh, the vocabularies we have for hate, for outrage, for malice. Not for affection (that I can say “I love cheese” and “I love you” using the same verb is pitiful).

I am at an impasse. I say: never start a play with a mission, with an agenda. To be relevant, one has to expose a detail, not the universe. My dilemma: inside me a universe is raging and I don’t know how to turn it into a casual occurrence. 

I think I’m writing a manifesto. I’ve split open a circumstance and words are pouring out. But a play is not an avalanche. It is a controlled experiment, a place where patients are treated but not cured, the safest and deadliest of quarantines.

I want you to be my eternal spectator.  I want to live importantly so I can understand your relevance. I want to change the course of your destiny. I want the world to go blind when you close your eyes.

...but if I said that to an audience, who would ever come to the theatre?


I am the playwright. I am the messenger. To you, I am nothing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Fantastical Skin

There’s a moment in the documentary China: Through the Looking Glass (I don’t remember if I talked about it here or in one of my regular Facebook posts which lately have taken the form of flash essays – you know, like flash fiction only essay) when employees in the Costume Institute at the Met open a giant crate and take out a super heavy, bejeweled cape with a train, one of those designer affairs that took months to stitch and costs more than I’ll make in a lifetime. They approach the piece wearing white gloves and disposable lab coats whose opacity makes the employees look rather esoteric, like extras in a sci-fi film where no expense was spared in the costume department, and everyone moves silently, with creepy splendor, behind huge panes of glass, attending to some experiment that might wipe out the human race.

There was something strange and very beautiful about people in white coats (the asylum of fashion?) touching the most lavish fabrics and designs, and it made me think of the impossible task of the costume designer in the theatre. The director has only words to communicate shape, color, symbol (all costumes should be extensions of the characters), when in reality there are so many more things that need to be talked about: the three hundred shades of the same pigment, the rustling of the fabric, the way it trails, holds its composure, moves with the light…I love costumes. Not costumes that wear the characters, but costumes that become a second skin, a better skin, and allow the body underneath to discover movements that were not possible before.

As usual, I have very little money (I mean, I have more money than I had for previous productions, but in the grand scheme of things, I have very little money…) and yet the girls need to look spectacular. Girls. Plural. Yes, they’ve multiplied. But no one’s really shocked, are they? All my plays grow in the telling – I wouldn’t know how to write otherwise – and a play about me finding a purpose in exile (purpose = theatre) has to pay homage to the second skin, the fantastical skin, the outer personality layer: the costume. And how can I do that and not show respect for the item of clothing the actor puts on, ideally in a movement that resembles a ritual?

And so fictional me (the girl) acquired a dresser on stage, an esoteric figure in white, whose face is covered by a gauzy layer of fabric, whose hands are protected by white gloves, a silent figure who glides through the space carrying the girl’s clothes the way the believers carry the relics of saints. I imagine a series of beautiful tableaux vivants in which the dresser and the dressed pause to admire each other’s work. The pause is very important. At the end of each choreographed moment, they have to hold the image, so that the spectators can fill their eyes with its beauty and significance.

I see the girl as a reluctant mermaid (“here, by the rocks, in the foreground...”) behind the scrim, on her platform –  while the dresser reaches for her in front of the scrim, a figure frozen in longing. One hidden, in silhouette, one revealed by the light, exposed.

I see the girl dancing with her dresser – a waltz distorted by the excruciating lingering of Butoh, each step deconstructed, each turn a longing for stillness. I think of Butoh as the regret of movement. I think of it as a complement to silence. I think of it as hiding in the light.

The presence of the second girl allows me to do what I do best: to step back and look, to manipulate silhouettes so that their interaction tells a story without the need for language; to delight in the possibilities of light, the fading of a single sound, the substantial complexity of a blackout. This way I can remain on stage as I truly am: a voice, a body of work, a narrative frame. I can’t lie: I also enjoy immensely that my fictional self now has a fictional self. I love stagings into the abyss, I like the open-endedness of it all.

In profile, the dresser has to look a little menacing. Something about her headpiece has to communicate the possibility of terror because there is a very thin line separating the horrific from the sublime. This is why we can move so abruptly from love to hate (and back?), this is why truly fantastical monsters are always beautiful. For the dresser I’m thinking of a headpiece similar in shape to that of Pyramid Head in Silent Hill, but white and semi-transparent. Or antlers. I mean, if we are to dream big, there’s always Alexander McQueen.



I remember reading, as a child, fairy tales about self-sacrificing mermaids or serpent maidens ready to shed their skin for true love. I remember thinking no, don’t do it. Don’t hide your skin where they can find and destroy it. He who is meant to love you, will love you with the serpent skin, with the mermaid tail, with the fantastical layer that protects you from the real...But the girls never listened and the fairy tales never saved them, and so with burnt skin and broken hearts they always returned to the sea, to the forest.


Well, not this time. This time we keep the real contained, behind bars. This time the fantastical skin stays on, in all its glorious terror.

Friday, September 23, 2016

An Inventory



REVISION Part III (The Sea)

I care about you because you are beautiful the way cities at night are beautiful.
It’s an image I understand only as a falling, an adventure into spaces I fear I have no business occupying, and yet inhabit for the simple reason that I care about you.

You see me, and this opacity allows me to feel safe in a way that I haven’t felt (safe) in a very long time. It’s not a safety of objects but of location – a place I call home, an arrival.
I care about you because although you understand nothing, you understand me on an elemental level (of each thing ask what it is in itself – its nature) in a way that doesn’t require a mapping of my deficiencies: an inability to live small, to feel less, to hold my tongue.
I care about you because you represent a harmony - like Hieronymus Bosch’s perfect spheres: the ultimate correspondence of content and surface.
I like the transgressions reflected, singularly, in the way you look at things.
I care about you because, in your presence, I speak of acts whose memory is enough to sever me. (Looking at you I remember two things: that idiotic discussion of Madame Bovary’s eyes and the fact that they constantly change color – like Flaubert didn’t know what he was doing, and kept giving her dark eyes, blue eyes, hazel eyes - Nobody thought: it’s a reflection of the fireplace; and that I would lie if I said I didn’t want to keep looking at you until the world dies)
You are kind, endangered, and vague - an anomaly compared to others - and I care that you care about the discarded, the underdogs, the sad.
I care about you because you feel whole in a way only the damaged feel (whole). You are comprehensive.
I care about you because you remind me of everything I used to love (the act of loving, prosthetic memory; endearment).
I care about you because you contain the landscapes you find necessary - the mountains, the water - the way Whitman owned the rooftops of this world. (I love everything)
I care about you in a way that bends me around obstacles like sound waves bend around corners.
I care about you despite rumors to the contrary (and the pettiness of the just), in a way that reminds me that I am alive, still human, and very, very sad.
I care about you. This is the reason.                     


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Of Magical Transgressions

I was talking about E.T.A. Hoffmann the other day, about growing up with his utterly risqué fairy tales that involved nutcrackers, and mice, and slightly pedophiliac uncles who mended clocks and wore glass wigs, and students running through parks late at night, followed by serpent women with green eyes and promising lips...in other words totally appropriate bedtime stories for resilient Romanian children.

And yet his stories didn't damage me. On the contrary, they made me love the fantastical (and nutcrackers!), and made it very easy for me, I think, to accept the magical transgressions of a book like One Hundred Years of Solitude, in which a man bewitched by the beautiful Remedios is always followed around by hundreds of yellow butterflies...

The strange, and the beautifully pathological have always been my refuge. I’m attracted to other people’s damage like a bee to honey (in other words, like an insect to its regurgitation). This explains, perhaps, the central "freak" in all my plays: the solitary male character whose behavior fascinates and repels. He has no peer, no mate, no equal though he desperately tries for a normality which looks pathetic from the outside, and merely painful from within. In him, I gather the shadow-selves of all the damaged men I’ve known (and a few I wish I had encountered), in an attempt to capture, in one single character, everything I find beautiful: a tragic impulse reflected in the eyes, repressed violence, failure, vulnerability. I can’t help it: other people’s tragedy triggers in me an affection I cannot control.

I’ve loved, unapologetically, every freak in every single play I’ve done: Larry Tarkowsky shouting his loneliness from the perpetually live Habitat Radio in The Happiness Machine; Gray, whose emotions were triggered, then extracted with maximum cruelty by the staff of the Institute for the National Suppression of Emotion through Combined Technologies (I.N.S.E.C.T.) in The Silentio Project; Urmuz, who shot himself in the temple after completing his masterpiece, a three-page excruciating novel; S. Night, the Private Eye (Private I?) who set up shop in an abandoned lamp factory and fell in love with his second client, the Angel of Death, in Noir…and Kean…Kean, the Fool, Kean, the Magnificent, Kean the Forlorn in Q. Of all, I’ve loved Kean the most because he belongs to the theatre.

Thinking about Hoffmann, and heroic Nutcrackers, and Eternal Students lost in the contemplation of the Cosmic Female Sublime (I’m channeling Emily Dickinson tonight with all these caps), and the man accompanied by clouds of yellow butterflies…thinking about the fantastical world in my head without which I’d choke as if deprived of air, I realize the impossible task of a project like Revision. How will I say all this? How will I show it? A vivisection? (It’s been a long-standing dream of mine to split open a character on stage and take out of her body fantastical beings, one by one – Hieronymus Bosch is my god. I thrive inside his landscapes). But more to the point, how will I build a play in the absence of its male character? Oh, how my friends, the feminists, will scowl. Do not be angry, my friends: this is a legitimate question. I cannot write in the absence of the thing I love, and I love the freak. Revision is an agglomeration of exceptions: a play which is not a play, where the freak is me, not a man, not someone whose damage I understand completely, not someone whose tragedy inspires love.

There are days when colossal landscapes clash in my imagination, and out of that collision a figure emerges. Revision is not about that; it’s about the shards, the things the break in the contact between the two planes – reality and fiction. Perhaps this is a circular journey, and I have merely retraced my steps. One memory (that came up recently in a story), is of the day of my departure – leaving my country (the habitat?) after 30 years, with two suitcases and a four year old who had never tasted an orange. The memory: locking the door of my grandmother’s house lined with floor to ceiling bookshelves, placing the key under the mat for someone to find eventually, knowing I’d never go back, feeling the loss of those books in a physical way I will never be able to describe. Perhaps a more brutal Fahrenheit 451? My books, my loves, my library of Alexandria…I am Quijote. I am Alice. I am looking for Kean.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Conversation


Part II: Memory (fragment)

The phone rings. GIRL picks up.

GIRL: I thought I was a silent character. Now you’re calling me?
ME: Problem?
GIRL: I am you.
ME: Yes. Fictionalized.
GIRL: You are me.
ME: We’ve established this.
GIRL: You’re calling me. How is this possible?
ME: Do you watch Dr. Who?
GIRL: Time travel.
ME: Revision.
GIRL: Is this like a 12 step program? Are you calling to apologize?
ME: For what? I’ve been pretty good to me.
GIRL: What about the child?
ME: You’re not my daughter.
GIRL: No? I’m versatile. Besides, being just you is boring.
ME: Thanks.
GIRL: She forgave you? For leaving her with strangers, for forgetting her birthday, for always thinking of yourself?
ME: No…I don’t know.
GIRL: So you admit it.
ME: That’s not why I called.
GIRL: Why did you call?
ME: Is there something wrong with me? For not being able to lie? For calling things what they are? For demanding absolutes.
GIRL: Ugh, absolutes. Now you’re asking for trouble.
ME: Why? Why can’t I say, this is what I think, and this is what I’m going to do about it. Clear. To the point. Why can’t I say, I don’t believe you, I don’t understand how you can have two versions of the same reality, one euphoric, for the cheering crowds, and one meant to elicit concern. I don’t understand how you can be both annoyed and ecstatic. Both fulfilled and starved. Both glorious and insecure.
GIRL: What are we talking about?
ME: I mean, you’re either having dinner, or starting a revolution. You can’t do both.
GIRL: Why not?
ME: Because that’s how you end up with kitchen philosophy. You’re either consumed or complacent. Stranger or saint. Hero or traitor.
GIRL: But the hero always becomes the traitor in the end. You said that.
ME: But I didn’t believe it! I often say things because they sound good not because I believe every word. It’s called wit.
GIRL: Is it? Then what do you call the things you should have said but didn’t, so later, when you replay the conversation in your head and insert the lines that will crush your opponent, you feel even worse for not having thought of them at the right moment. What do you call that?
ME: Delayed wit. I have that too. It’s a disease, like nostalgia. (Beat) I often think I write plays to get back at people.
GIRL: Is this true?
ME: No…I write plays to have conversations I would never have otherwise.
(Pause)
GIRL: Okay. So what happened? You experienced a disappointment?
ME: More like a landslide.
GIRL: Well.
ME: What?
GIRL: That’s everybody. Everybody lets everybody down all the time. It’s like a law of physics only nastier. You start cherishing the people who only disappoint you on occasion. They’re your best friends. It’s not like we’re spoiled for choice or anything. Have you ever looked at people in elevators? Of course not. You don’t see anybody in a crowd. But people in elevators, all stuck together, so uncomfortable because their bodies touch, start talking nonsense, mostly about the weather, “Nice weather we’re having,” or “oh, isn’t it rather hot for this time of year?” and you think “rather hot,” first, who talks like that and, second, it’s 110 degrees, what the fuck are you talking about, of course it’s hot, and our bodies are in such close proximity, and this elevator never stops, and you smell. That’s how people really feel about each other. And if the elevator crashes, they’ll try to save themselves, maybe send a child up, out of shame. That’s what we call fellow-feeling. You think you’re the only one who’s disappointed? You want me to talk about driving, and honking at people doing insanely stupid things, and putting my life in danger because they felt like being assholes that day? I bet that’s probably why you don’t drive. Or, like, one of twelve reasons. (Beat) And I’m also mad at screenwriters. It’s like they’ve never been to college or took a writing class. All the professors in their films have insanely huge offices with Persian rugs and cappuccino machines, and giant windows, and they’re totally rude to their students, and teach only in amphitheatres - on the rare occasions they do teach – and if they’re poets or fiction writers – because nobody writes plays in movies – they forget to wear shoes on campus, and never direct a dissertation or go to a meeting. Where do those screenwriters get their material, that’s what I want to know? And when we get over it, and suspend our disbelief, and start caring for those absurd characters, the ending sucks. Like, hire someone good at endings if you suck at them, don’t put your audience through that disappointment at the end of each series. (Beat) And then there are the times when I compliment someone and say, I like your earrings, or your lipstick or whatever, and they tell me they like my shirt, I’m not sure if they actually like my shirt or just say that to return the compliment, because when I say, I like your earrings, I’m totally honest, but I don’t know about other people, because there are some compliment-returners out there. And I think, my god, what if everyone is like that? I guess I really just don’t like not knowing things, but also feel like you have to trust people at some point, but if you do it too often then you’re naïve, so how many times is too often and how many times is enough? All I’m saying is, I can’t win. (Beat) You can’t win. (Beat) What were we talking about?
ME: Men.
GIRL: Were we? I had no idea.