Academic journal article TheatreForum

Smudge

Academic journal article TheatreForum

Smudge

Article excerpt

CHARACTERS

COLBY: Late twenties. Female. Married to Nick.

NICHOLAS: Late twenties. Male. Married to Colby.

PETE: Mid-thirties. Male. Nick's older brother.

SCENE 1

Colby and Nicholas are in a strange, sterile hospital room. Something about the scale or dimension of the room is a bit askew-maybe it's all a bit too large, swallowing them up. Colby is pregnant. They stare at a small slide, motionless. [Photo 2] Long pause.

COLBY: Maybe it's upside-down.

NICHOLAS: Breech? Colby looks at him.) I think they float around a lot, so you don't have to worry. I mean, how it's positioned right now probably doesn't matter with regard to

COLBY: I meant the picture.

NICHOLAS: ... Right.

Nicholas turns the picture around. They stare with renewed interest. Pause.

COLBY: No. Right?

NICHOLAS: Right. Yeah. No. It's all... grainy.

COLBY: Like a blob.

NICHOLAS: Like it's hiding.

COLBY: Awww...it's our first time not seeing our baby together. (They smile at each other.) Well. It's okay.

NICHOLAS: Yeah?

COLBY: I mean...frustrating.

NICHOLAS: Yeah.

COLBY: We could do it again. Come back in a couple of weeks.

NICHOLAS: You know, I think it is okay.

COLBY: Yeah?

NICHOLAS: We can be surprised.

COLBY: Yeah.

NICHOLAS: I mean, we can be old-fashioned about this.

COLBY: Sure. Paint the room green. Buy her yellow clothes. Neutral.

NICHOLAS: You said "her."

COLBY: What? No.

NICHOLAS: No, you did. "Buy her yellow clothes."

COLBY: Oh, shit! I did. What does that mean? Maybe she's telling me something. Signaling.

NICHOLAS: Or maybe you'd prefer a girl.

COLBY: Or maybe it's because I didn't see a penis.

NICHOLAS: You saw a fetus?

COLBY: No. But I also didn't see a penis.

NICHOLAS: Yeah, I'd be much more worried if you only saw a penis. I'd hope the two were attached.

Pause.

COLBY: Maybe it's a piece of cheesecake.

NICHOLAS: In your uterus?

COLBY: I've eaten a LOT of cheesecake recently.

NICHOLAS: Three in a week.

COLBY: You counted?

NICHOLAS: You ate them!

COLBY: Ugh. I don't even like cheesecake and I can't stop thinking about cheesecake. It's like, I walk down the aisle in the supermarket and I feel it pulling me toward things I would never touch. And making me buy them. And eat a LOT of them. Ooh! Which reminds me. A woman in Manchester went into a coma. She was like forty. We need to get bananas.

NICHOLAS: ...Were any of those sentences related?

COLBY: Lack of potassium. They discovered, when they did the autopsy or something. Nothing else was wrong with her. One banana, she would have been okay.

NICHOLAS: Food's notoriously bad in England.

COLBY: Manchester, Vermont.

NICHOLAS: We'll get bananas.

COLBY: Write it down?

NICHOLAS: I can remember it.

COLBY: Okay, but

NICHOLAS: Writing it down, look. "Bananas."

COLBY: Put a check next to it.

NICHOLAS: There's nothing else on the page. It stands out.

COLBY: Nick, just

NICHOLAS: Okay. (He does.) Look.

COLBY: (Sexy) Now make it into a chart.

NICHOLAS: ...What kind of chart?

COLBY: Pie.

NICHOLAS: Of course. Large circle. Tiny slice. Statistical probability of lack-of-potassium induced coma for baby Mary...

COLBY: Mary if she's plain. Cassandra if she's beautiful.

NICHOLAS: Jake if she's a boy.

COLBY: She's a girl. She's definitely a girl. Nick? I had another one last night.

NICHOLAS: Nightmare?

COLBY: She came out inside-out. Two-dimensional. I got papercuts.

NICHOLAS: Sweetie, it's nerves.

COLBY: Flat little cut-out paper doll. She looked like a gingerbread baby. Oooooh-gingerbread....

NICHOLAS: Writing it down. …

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