December 20, 2003

The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 1

After a particularly difficult and emotionally heart wrenching day at work (is there no other kind?) I was listening to my iPod’s special “Get Over It” mix on the subway home, prepared especially for days like this.

While undoing I looked around me and observed a man I often see on this train. He reached into his pocket for his cell, popped his earbud into his ear and began to talk. As always with these devices people look like they’re speaking to themselves. They smile and react to someone unseen. It’s not as if the unseen person is “there.” The cell protagonist looks off-center and indirectly into the ether. Have you noticed? With my special mix playing the soundtrack in my own ear it is theater in it’s most wonderfully absurd early 21st century form.

After difficult days one strives for equilibrium: a place to comfortably sit without anxiety and distress. This position often spawns quirky creative trances in me. And so, today I launch The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable.

Every month I shall perform a piece on the subway, developing a repertoire of mobile phone conversations. Putting my finger to my ear (no one will look closely to discover I have no earpiece) I will produce what I call monodialogs® —pithy and topical urbane conversations. When my audience ignores me I will know I am a success.

My premiere performance just in time for the holidays:

Hi, it’s me. Did you tell him?
What’d he say?
Better hide his passport.

She’ll find it at the top of the medicine chest, behind the Paxil.
Ha! Yah, I know.
No, no, shave it off. Really. SHAVE IT OFF you fool.

He thinks he can get away with THAT?
[Looks at fingernails]
The Iraqis will never agree.
Tell him it’s his Christmas present.
[Laughs, looks down the aisle at the opposite end of the car]
No, I don’t think he’s here.

I hid it under the sink, behind the Draino.
Don’t let her see you. Right, shaken. Not stirred.

We just arrived at Cleveland Park
See you soon. Bye.
You’re funny. Yah, me too. Bye.

Other Performances:
The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 2
The Theatre of the Barely Socially Acceptable, Act 3

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