a monologue crafted for Erin McCarson, to be performed by a Tourist in Cherry Capri Pants:
A tourist speaks:
‘I like theater, I like theatrical things. Comedies and dramas, I like both. Sometimes I like to laugh, and sometimes I just like to think and cry. I especially am always amazed at the actors and all their facial expressions, I mean, how do they learn all that? They got the right face for everything and I close my eyes and listen and I am taken somewhere else. Lights go down and I get goose bumps and everybody’s in there together and the same thing is happening to everybody. I think to myself, God is in this room.
I think it’s very important that the kids respect the arts too so I take them to the Ice Capades at least once a year. I think it’s important for them experience live art things. You ever been to Medieval times? It’s real theaterical, they got one at Myrtle beach, kids love it. It’s got a story and everything, it’s real Medieval.
And I always make Jimmy take me to the little theater downtown whenever they got something new. It’s hard for him to get off work sometimes but I’m like goddamnit, take me to the theater already! So he does. Last Christmas they did A Christmas Carol and I cried all over Jimmy’s brand new red sweater that I had got him from Land’s End and given to him early so he’d have something nice to wear. They did such a good job. I cried so hard cause Tiny Tim was just so good and good natured and I cried cause he was crippled cause it’s always the crippled people that seem to have the most God in their heart. Me, I try to be good, I try real hard, but sometimes I’m weak and I can feel the devil crawl up my throat, I think dark things that shouldn’t be thought. Next thing I know, I’m yellin at Jimmy and telling him to go to Hell cause if you don’t take out the fuckin trash already I’m going to kill myself!
(Pause. She Gathers herself.)
So when I won two round trip tickets from the Subway Sandwich I knew it’d have to be New York, I’ve always wanted to go, see all the lights and see all the people doin whatever it is that they do. I said, I gotta go see a play on Broadway. So Jimmy and I get there and I think, this is not earth, we’ve gone to another planet. People movin so fast, good thing I brought my tennis shoes. Lights everywhere like a drive-through movie, all the time. How you walk around without lookin up? Kept bumping into people. I said I was sorry, though. We’re havin a late brunch at the hotel, we got a great deal at the holiday inn. That’s what people do there, they have brunch. I looked in the New York Times to see what’s what. You ever held a Sundy New York Times in your hands? Thing’s heavy like a brick or a baby. You could kill someone with it if you wanted to. Drop it on somebody’s head from a five floor walk up. That means you gotta walk up the stairs. People sittin around in nice pants, having brunch with their murder weapons. Hell, I liked it for a visit, if I lived there, I’d kill somebody. I’d plant a tree in my house or I’d go crazy. But up there they don’t really have houses, they live in closets. Sometimes the shower is in the kitchen I heard, or the home don’t come with any AC and you gotta buy one and put it in the window and every now and then, one a them’ll fall out and kill somebody mindin his own business, walkin down the street towards Starbucks or wall street I Guess.
I’m lookin at all the pictures of all the different plays and musical plays – that’s a play but with music where they sing – Jimmy wants to see The Lion King and that’s that. He’s real into animals, or mainly yellow labs, I guess, and rabbits and raccoons, and other kinds of dogs. He just likes them. I, on the other hand, want to broaden my horizons in some way. I’m lookin through the ads, and there it is – HARRY POTTER HIMSELF! He’s in a play! I am beside myself ! There’s a picture of him and he’s huggin a horse with a metal head. It looks very serious and interesting and it’s called Eckwoos. I just gotta go. Jimmy has no interest whatsoever in seein a serious drama play, so that night he goes to the Fridays in Time’s Square to watch the game, and I go to see Harry Potter do something with a horse, live, right in front of me.
I was so excited. My knees pressed against people I don’t know on either side. Read the program, front to back. Lights go down and my heart stops. At first it’s this old guy in a suit talking about this young boy who we all assume will be Harry Potter so we’re all just waitin for him to come onstage. And then finally, he does and he’s glowin and I start clapping but no body else does. He’s got lots of problems with his Mom and his Dad and some horses cause he stabbed out their eyes. His Mom’s a Christian and his Dad’s not, which is always bad, you gotta be equally yoked when you get married, spiritually I mean, or you’ll confuse your kids and they’ll grow up and kill people or write mean books about you. Harry Porter didn’t look like Harry Potter, instead he looked like a grown up person who wasn’t really a man but wasn’t really a woman. The story moved forward and he said all of his lines and so did his doctor who was sad because he felt like there was no meaning in his life. At one point Harry Potter takes off all his clothes but it’s not like lookin at a naked person, I wasn’t embarrassed. Everybody looked.
I come to understand that Harry Potter wants to make love with one of these horses and this is why he stabs out their eyes. It’s not his fault, he’s confused, it’s not his fault, he tries to be good. And when I understand this, I gasp outloud and my heart floods up and I remember bein seventeen and how that felt and all of the things I felt that I thought were wrong to feel, and how bad that hurt, to feel wrong. And it’s near the end of the play and Harry Potter is hypnotized and the doctor is tryin so hard to free him of his pain and guilt and he cries out Mine! Mine! I am yours and you are Mine! And I look around and everybody is there, and everybody is there together, watching, and everybody feels understood and I got tears in my eyes and I stand up and I yell THANK YOU HARRY POTTER!! GOD BLESS YOUR HEART!!!
I thought I would yell out what everybody must have been feeling but I guess it was the wrong thing to do, I guess. Cause everybody starred at me like they were killin me with their eyes. I’ve never been so red in my life. It was all I could to do sink down into my seat for the rest of it. And after, when everybody was comin out, I walked by some young people standin outside smoking cigarettes. They were wearing those skinny pants and nice sweaters. Fuckin tourist, one a them said under their breath. And then they all laughed.
I got back to the hotel and Jimmy was drunk and he wanted to make love but I didn’t feel like it.
(Pause. She thinks.)
I don’t know, I just guess that I thought a play was for everybody. I guess it’s not. That makes me sad, I guess. I don’t know, I guess I just think it should be for everybody.
(She forces a smile.)