April 11, 2007

A Play A Day #362



Setting: Living room and entry way of Sally and Aaron's home

(lights up, Sally and Aaron are just seeing Betsy and Marcus out the door)

Sally: It was so nice to see you two again; we'll have to have you over again.

Aaron: Definitely. A lot of fun. Glad to hear the honeymoon was so enjoyable.

(Sally moves in to hug Betsy, Marcus joins the hug, so that all three end up hugging awkwardly at the same time)

Betsy & Marcus: (while embracing Sally) We had a great time, Sally.

Sally: (a little uncomfortable laugh) Ahh, both at once. (another giggle to soften the awkwardness, Betsy and Marcus do not laugh)

(Betsy and Marcus break off the hug, turn to Aaron)

Betsy & Marcus: (hugging Aaron at the same time as well) It felt so good for us to get together with you, Aaron.

Aaron: Yes. Yes. I enjoyed it.

(hug breaks off)

Betsy & Marcus: Well, please call us soon.

Sally: We will...

Aaron: We will...

(they laugh at repeating each other)

Betsy & Marcus: Good night.

Aaron: Night.

(Sally closes the door, leans against it, Aaron turns and moves to living room sofa, sits down, he is obviously confused and bemused, they both stay where they are and think about things for a while, finally)

Sally: Was that... was that...

Aaron: Real?

Sally: (at same time) ...real?

(loud laugh from both)

Aaron: It must have been. They couldn't have been acting, could they?

Sally: I don't see how.

Aaron: They were completely straight-faced the whole evening, you know? Right down the middle the whole time.

Sally: It was like headphones at times.

Aaron: Yeah, Betsy and Marcus in surround sound.


Sally: What happened to them?

Aaron: Whatever it is, it definitely happened to both of them!

Sally: They get married, spend two weeks in Mexico... and... and what?

Aaron: I'm not sure, but it must have something to do with the Aztec ruins they saw.

Sally: An ancient curse?

Aaron: Sure, why not?

Sally: I don't know.

Aaron: You have a better idea?

Sally: Tropical disease?

Aaron: Ohhh, hadn't thought about that... some bug that only bites newlyweds?

Sally: I mean, seems more plausible. I'm not sure anyone can actually do something like that in the absence of some bizarre pathology.

Aaron: Or perhaps, it was simply an evening beset by a staggering sequence of coincidences.

Sally: How so?

Aaron: Well, I guess, it's conceivable - and, believe me, I mean 'conceivable' in the most remote sense possible - but it is conceivable that every time one of them had to speak the other just, coincidentally, had to say the same thing (pause) at the exact same moment (pause) for three hours.

(pause, then they laugh)

Sally: It was amazing and scary at the same time.

Aaron: Like an unexpected circus.

Sally: Boo! (grandly) In this ring!

Aaron: We didn't help matters that much.

Sally: I know, I wanted to say something right away, but once they had done it a few times.

Aaron: Exactly, how do you step in then?

Sally: We were totally stuck.

Aaron: Ahhhhh!! Don't use that word!

Sally: Which?

Aaron: "We"

Sally: Oh, right. Yeah, it does have some sinister associations now, doesn't it?

Aaron: What happened to them?

Sally: They were perfectly normal a month ago, before the wedding.

Aaron: Could we have missed something? Was there some clue?

Sally: No... no... nothing I can remember.

Aaron: I thought, you know, I thought everything was going to be the same; I certainly never expected this sort of freak show.

Sally: What compels two healthy people to give up their individuality so completely that they almost completely cease using the word "I"?

Aaron: Societal expectations?

Sally: Does society really expect that kind of love in our marriages?

Aaron: Sure. I call it Oprah love: this unrealistic belief that you will have romantic love that is so deep, so permanent, ao abiding and omnipresent in your life that most women, and some men, end up feeling horribly disappointed and unfulfilled by their spouses when they find out that it just doesn't happen that way.

Sally: It doesn't?

Aaron: No. Why do you think divorce rates are so high? Because love isn't like that; it doesn't work like that.

Sally: What is love like?

Aaron: (missing the angle of her question) It's messy, filled with thorns and jealousies, grudges and doubts. It may be true that marriage is two people loving, laughing and growing, but it's also two people complaining, nagging and crying.

Sally: Well...

Aaron: So these fresh lovers like Betsy and Marcus. They fall in love. They get married, and in a desperate, wholly misguided attempt to live up to these unhealthy beliefs, they literally throw away their own identities in exchange for this idealized notion of love - this... this, wedentity.

Sally: Hmmm, I see that Betsy and Marcus have deluded themselves with this "we" ploy, but don't you think there might be some merit in chasing that ideal of love?

Aaron: You saw the merit of that approach tonight. It's impossible, and it's dangerous.

Sally: Maybe they just took it too far. That doesn't mean that romantic love doesn't exist for other married couples, does it?

Aaron: Well, sure it exists. It's a possibility. Most marriages have it to start, but it disappears with time.

Sally: It would be nice, though, if someone fought to recover that vanishing love.

Aaron: It might be nice, but... wait a second... you're not suddenly in favor of this sick, cinematic fantasy of endless romantic love, are you?

Sally: I just think that maybe it's something worth fighting for.

Aaron: I don't even believe it exists.

Sally: Maybe you don't need to.

Aaron: And I don't.

Sally: Maybe, it's not so important that you believe in it, or that I believe in it.

Aaron: And you don't either.

Sally: Maybe not. But maybe... maybe it's much more important that we believe in it.

Aaron: You do?

Sally: Yes. We do.

(Aaron pauses, he can tell there are unspoken dreams in Sally's tone with which he must not trifle)

Aaron: (contritely) Yes. Yes, of course.

(long pause)

Aaron & Sally: (both standing up) Time for bed.

(exit together as lights fade out)



bright said...

one of my favs!

Bleeet said...

Thanks, Bright.

I'm not sure who I sympathize with most in this play. I hate those marriages that seem to subsume the individual identities of the partners (what Aaron was focused on), but I also admire those marriages where there is that strong sense of "we"dentity as part of each identity (what Sally seems to be pining for). It's a narrow line between the two.

I like it when I can stump my own expectations with a play, because this one started out very differently in my head.

Also, I like the phrase "unexpected circus" - just came out of nowhere and seem to fit.