Five Year Break

Florence (actress), Walter Craig Farbaton (actor) and Gene (director) are rehearsing a play.

Stage. Evening. Nightmare. 

Florence: Did I start this off too strong?
Gene: No, that was fine. Let’s run it again.
Florence: You sure I wasn’t being a little over the top, just a smudge?
Gene: No, you were fine. Let’s, go through it again.
Florence: Okay. (beat) Just…was—I think when I say the line, “I’m gonna bash your face in.” I think I went too hard with it, with that line.
Gene: I just want to run it again rather than try to intellectualize it because I think you will find it through the doing.
Florence: Yeah. That makes sense. The doing, I mean, through the doing, right?
Gene: Yes. So, let’s run it again and—
Florence: But I like to analyze it, too.
Gene: Right.
Florence: And, you know, it’s how I work.
Gene: That’s right. I completely agree. I only wanted us to go through it again because I see that things are developing, things are starting to happen but if you want to discuss some stuff now, we can.
Florence: No, no, no, I was just saying, I was only saying that I only thought I was being a bit much, a bit strong in that, with that one line, the bash your face in line.
Gene: It wasn’t too much.
Florence: It wasn’t. Okay. You know, when he, when he says to me, oh what’s his line? When he says to me, OH, “I’d like to see you try it, bitch.” On that line, shouldn’t he be more aggressive with me?
Gene: I don’t know, should he?
Florence: I feel like he should smack me.
Gene: Smack you?
Florence: Or grab me and shake me or something, at this point.  Rrrright?
Gene: …This is a love scene…
Florence: A who scene?
Gene: A love scene.
Florence: …Did you guys give me a different script?
Gene: It’s all in the script.
Florence: I thought this was a fight scene.
Gene: Fight scene? Can I see your script, please?

Florence passes her script over to Gene. He looks it over.

Gene: It’s right.
Florence: It’s right?
Gene: It’s right. Same exact material.

Gene hands script back to Florence.

Florence: But isn’t this a violent scene, Gene?
Gene: Not really, actually.
Florence: Well, why do I put a knife to his throat and kick him in the balls not once, not twice but three whole times (reading from script) “because her life depends on it.”
Gene: We are going to dumb all that physical activity down.  Don’t worry.  You see, that’s just the way it came to me when I wrote it but it’s actually violent beauty. I want to paint a violent beauty, sort of like the ocean’s waves slamming against rocks.
Florence: I’m absolutely confused.
Walter Craig Farbaton: We tryin’ to show…we tryin’ to show the, the, the, the, the, the PAIN of, of, of, of this man’s inner love for, for, for, for this…woman.
Gene: That’s exactly spot on.
Florence: So, in other words, he’s playing a man who has his love stifled inside himself in some twisted whacked out way and the only option he can take is to express his love by being violent?  Does that make sense?
Gene: You got it.
Florence: I got it? What do I got? This completely changes the entire play for me.
Gene: How so?
Florence: How so? For starters I thought this was a fight scene. I mean, there’s blood, guts, agony, screaming and he dies and you’re telling me this is a love scene? Where is this a—
Walter Craig Farbaton: The man! He, he, he, he, he, no, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s his last stand.
Florence: I’m sorry, but really this is—
Gene: It’s his final stand.
Walter Craig Farbaton: YES!
Gene: Yes. You see, Flo? It’s his only way out. Death. He needs her to kill him because he isn’t capable of being more civilized. His love is limited, so you see therefore, he must perish.

(pause.)

Florence: Can we take like a five year break or something?  I need to completely reprocess this whole thing now and—
Gene: Don’t think. Don’t overanalyze it, it can ruin your experience.
Florence: What experience, Gene?
Walter Craig Farbaton: F,f, f, f, ffff, fffff, ffffffff, (coughs)  Fffflo, let it fffflow.
Florence: Right. I’ll be over there crying in the corner.

Joseph Arnone

Joseph Arnone is a filmmaker and founder of Monologue Blogger.

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