PART ONE:
INTERIOR – MY BRAIN
Not particularly crafty, but particularly optimistic and simultaneously particularly stubborn, and even, perhaps, particularly naive. Recently decided to make a dress to wear to cousin’s upcoming wedding. Set design should make it clear here that said cousin is particularly awesome and the most boss woman who exists in this world and should get a medal for how much freedom she’s giving with this whole bridesmaid thing.

ENTER:
NERVOUS EXCITEMENT
Childlike individual with bright eyes and a dazzlingly adorable summer dress. Wearing saddle shoes and those little socks with the ruffles if possible.

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT –
Oh man. I’m going to go to the craft store, which I love, pick out fabric, which I love, look at the patterns, which I love, and text my seamstress aunt and my cousin the whole time, which I love! I just hope I can keep myself pulled together in public.

ENTER:
ANXIETY
A familiar character who is obviously NERVOUS EXCITEMENT’s younger sister; they look almost identical, except that Anxiety is wearing a heavy, shapeless, black velvet cape. She rocks it, by the way. Very Renn Faire.

ANXIETY
Okay, so fabric is expensive, and so are patterns, and I just remembered I hate texting.

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT –
(determined to be louder)
Yeah, sure, but my aunt is pretty good at responding quickly to answer my questions, and I was able to avoid a mild panic attack over the confusion brought about by the word “interfacing,” and all I had to do was pet the faux fur and pretend it was my dog. All good signs pointing to “This will be great!”

ANXIETY –
(dubious and, it goes without saying, obviously worried)
For now….Nevertheless, I am going to have to sit drinking tea for a while and actually pet my actual dog to recover. No getting around that.

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT –
(dismissive)
Sure sure. Wouldn’t miss out on an opportunity to do that anyway.

FADE TO BLACK

PART TWO
NTERIOR – MY BRAIN – SOME TIME LATER
The trappings here have noticeably changed, but only a little: in the same way the outside of a building appears to change as it dries out in the sun after a heavy rain, the differences in the setting here may only be obvious after stepping away for a bit. The colors are less saturated, the light is a bit harsher, the subtle décor, while identical, feels somehow more worn and tired than it had. NERVOUS EXCITEMENT and ANXIETY are still present (one gets the sense that they’re very rarely separated and very rarely inactive) but they are also joined by LOGIC and COMMON SENSE. These two new sisters—for they are also clearly closely related, both to each other and, somehow, though distantly, to the original pair—seem cool and detached, in several meanings of the word. They’re dressed in some seriously Pinterest-ready outfits from Anthropologie and are standing slightly apart from their cousins, observing. It’s clear that they were totally the it crowd in high school and one feels an instinctive desire to be friends with them.

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT –
I’d really like to get started on this as soon as possible because it’s all just so fresh and I’ve got a hundred ideas bouncing around in my head—

ANXIETY –
Not to mention I am running out of time to finish this project. That’s so typical of me: biting off more than I can chew. I’ve done it since I was a kid—

LOGIC –
(not mean, per se, but definitely quick to cut in)
Nope. Nope. There simply doesn’t need to be any of that right now. Just laying out some fabric and cutting out some pattern pieces. Let’s not try to salvage any sunken emotional ships here.

COMMON SENSE –
Can’t cut out the pattern pieces until I know what size I’m making this dress. Let’s take a look at the sizing chart and grab this measuring tape.

All the characters go to what they seem to think is a window DOWNSTAGE, like a family getting too close to a television screen. As they watch, the mood decidedly tenses, even darkens. Their faces turn grim, and NERVOUS EXCITEMENT and ANXIETY draw closer and closer together until they are clinging to each other in panic. LOGIC and COMMON SENSE also look decidedly less calm.

LOGIC –
(unbelieving)
Well, clearly there’s just been some sort of mistake. I always buy size 10 dresses at the store. Maybe size 12, depending on the style. There must be something this sizing chart isn’t telling me.

COMMON SENSE –
(diplomatic)
I hear you, I really do, and I want to agree with you. Only, I can’t help but think that there are those among us who will not see it that way.

LOGIC –
Seriously, though, size 10 in the store can’t really be size 22W on a pattern without some explanation. Maybe it’s because I’m taller than the average woman? I mean, I know I’ve got my dad’s round belly, but–

ENTER:
EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME
Some might call the cut and color of her clothes bold and loud, while others might use the word “garish.” She looks like a direct descendant of both Ann Coulter and Bill Maher, if their descendant a) existed and b) dressed like a sexy librarian. Her entrance onto the scene–she seems to explode out of the ground CENTER STAGE, turning over furniture, breaking things, and generally causing a great disturbance–makes it hard to understand why the other four characters turn to look at her with such apparent lack of surprise, as if they fully expected her to show up. Or, as if she had been there all along.

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME
(maliciously delighted)
Size 22W? Good God! That’s horrific, absolutely horrific! How embarrassing! How disgusting! I thought it was bad enough to go from a size 6 just five years ago to a size 10 last week. I mean, that’s gaining a dress size a year! But to think that it was actually more like four or five sizes a year! That’s (pauses, as if struggling to find the words) well that’s just heartbreakingly sad.

LOGIC –
Well, actually, dress sizes in the US are notoriously non-standardized so–

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
And to think I’ve been this fat, horrendous creature all this time and no one’s bothered to tell me! They must all have been thinking it all along and talking about my repulsive girth behind my back! Everyone knew and because they hate me so much, they would rather laugh about it and make fun of me than buy me a gym membership!

NERVOUS EXCITEMENT bursts into loud sobs, still clinging to ANXIETY for comfort. ANXIETY wraps her thick dark cloak around her sister and proceeds, herself, to weep.

COMMON SENSE –
Wait a second, why would anyone care if I were a size 22W? I don’t look any different than I did just a couple minutes ago, and I didn’t feel gross or horrendous or any of that then.

LOGIC –
Moreover, I’ve been to the doctor quite recently and she said that I was fantastically healthy. She didn’t tell me to get a gym membership or eat more salads or anything, and she has every professional reason to tell me if that would be a good idea, whether she hates me or not.

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
(whirling around the room like a happy ballerina, apparently unaware of the other two talking)
Oh, look! And now I’m crying! Now I’m just sad and dejected and alone, crying in my bedroom. I had better not go talk to my husband! Then he’ll know how much of a fat pig I am and he’ll know just how much I care about my weight and he’ll think I’m weak and too sensitive!

ANXIETY-
(through painful wails and tears)
He’ll finally get that divorce I know he’s been thinking about, ever since I roped him into marrying me!

COMMON SENSE –
Uhh, I don’t think that makes any–

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
And how awful is it of me to care about this sort of thing, anyway? Weight shouldn’t matter! All that matters is health and safety, not some arbitrary measure of feminine beauty set by the culture around me that varies every hundred years or so.

LOGIC –
(somewhat perplexed)
That’s what I just–

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
How pathetic I am! How sad and disgusting and alone—

COMMON SENSE –
(defensive)
Hey now, that’s not going to do any good.

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
—unstable, uncharitable, unloving, judgemental

LOGIC –
(to COMMON SENSE)
It’s no use, I think.

EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD AND ME –
—short-sighted, stereotypical, unlovable—

Stage goes dark suddenly.

PART THREE:

COMPLETE DARKNESS – CENTURIES EARLIER

VOICE –
stop right there.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

post calvin direct

Get new posts from Mary Margaret Healy delivered straight to your inbox.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!