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TABLEAUX VIVANT

 

"MUTUAL NARCISSISM"

By Jim Neu and sk dunn

AT THE KITCHEN

New York, March 1 - 3, 1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUTUAL NARCISSISM

 

 

SCENE ONE - by sk dunn

 

A RESTAURANT

 

(Jim is seated at a table, Roberta enters and sits with him)

 

ROBERTA:     So then he says, youíre the only one who can run the espresso machine if Sally is not going to be here, and I said Look, Harry, we can show Hilda how to run it and if she canít learn it by this weekend, then you cover for Sally and Hilda will be able to run it by next weekend.  Then he says ďHilda will never learn to work the espresso machine.Ē  Heís got this thing about Hilda!  He thinks she too spaced out to be functional.  He thinks that anyone who reads Tarot cards canít possibly wait tables or something.

 

JIM:                 Do you believe it?

 

ROBERTA    And so I said, Look, Harry, then youíre just going to have to cover both weekends because Iím doing my show.  I set this up a long time ago and thatís that.  Jesus!  Just because Sallyís show gets held over, Iím not canceling my show to run his fucking espresso machine.  Really!

 

JIM:                 Really.

 

ROBERTA:    Really.  I mean it wouldnít kill him to work down here once in a while.  You know he never shows up once the garden is closed.  He just wanders around dreaming about next season.  And now he wants to put in a fountain!

 

JIM:                 A fountain.

 

ROBERTA:   Yeah, a fountain!  I said, Harry, forget the fountain, what about the waterfall we get down here every time you take a bath up there?

 

JIM:                  A bath.

 

ROBERTA:    This whole place is falling apart, and the roaches, donít get me started about the roaches.

 

JIM:                  I wonít.  I wonít.

 

ROBERTA:     I must have taken about a million out of the drawer today and when he came in this morning I said, Harry, look at all these roaches, and you know what he said?  Youíre not going to believe this.

 

JIM:                  Iím not going to believe this, right?

 

ROBERTA:    Right.  He said, Iíve just bought a stained glass window for the back wall.  Youíre going to love it.

 

JIM:                   Incredible.

 

ROBERTA:      I mean, a stained glass window!

 

JIM:                 Really.

 

ROBERTA:    Really.

 

(enter Lydia and Russell)

 

JIM:                 Well.

 

ROBERTA:    Well.

 

(Lydia and Russell sit at a table)

 

LYDIA:            Is this OK?  Are you happy?

 

RUSSELL:     Iíd rather sit outside, wouldnít you?

 

LYDIA:            The doors seem to be closed.

 

RUSSELL:     Itís so dark in here.  What time is it?

 

LYDIA:            Four oíclock.

 

RUSSELL:     Itís so dark already

 

ROBERTA:    Well.

 

JIM:                 Well.

 

(Roberta steps to the table)

 

ROBERTA:    Do you need a menu or do you know what you want?

 

LYDIA:            Weíd like to sit outside, please.

 

ROBERTA:    The garden is closed.

 

LYDIA:            The garden is closed.

 

RUSSELL:     The garden is closed.

 

ROBERTA:    Iíll come back.

 

(She walks back to Jim)

 

ROBERTA:    Hey Dave, you want some more coffee?

 

JIM:                 Sure.

 

(she exits)

 

RUSSELL:     I had somehow pictured us out in the garden.

 

LYDIA:            I know, Iím sorry.

 

RUSSELL:     Such pleasant memories.  Sometimes I wish I was somewhere else,  sometimes I wonder.

 

LYDIA:            Letís just wait and see.

 

RUSSELL:     Yes, of course, letís just wait and see.

 

LYDIA:            Maybe they didnít mean us anyway.

 

RUSSELL:     Maybe not.  (he takes out his agenda)  Thursday looks good.

 

LYDIA:            Afternoon or evening?

 

RUSSELL:     I donít care.

 

LYDIA:            Itís important to care.

 

RUSSELL:     Fridayís out.

 

LYDIA:            What a business

 

(Roberta steps to their table)

 

ROBERTA:    Do you know what you want yet?

 

LYDIA:            Would it be possible for us to sit outside?

 

ROBERTA:    Iím sorry.  The garden is closed.

 

RUSSELL:     This is very painful for me.

 

ROBERTA:    I can see that.

 

LYDIA:            We are concerned about the light.

 

ROBERTA:    I know.

 

RUSSELL:     The light fades so quickly these days.

 

ROBERTA:    I know.

 

LYDIA:            Perhaps, Ö?

 

ROBERTA:    Iím sorry.

 

LYDIA:            Thank you.

 

RUSSELL:     Thank you.

 

(pause)

 

ROBERTA:    Iíll come back a little later.

 

(she goes and sits with Jim)

 

RUSSELL:     What do you think?

 

LYDIA:            I think itís a dame shame.

 

JIM:                 Do you rehearse tonight?

 

ROBERTA:    Yeah, Sallyís coming in.

 

LYDIA:            (loud)  I donít understand why we canít just do what we want to do!

 

RUSSELL:     Watch your hands.

 

LYDIA:            What?

 

RUSSELL:     Watch Ö your Ö hands.

 

ROBERTA:    Well.

 

JIM:                  Well.

 

(she steps up to their table)

 

ROBERTA:    Do you know what you want?

 

LYDIA:            Yes.

 

ROBERTA:    Well?

 

LYDIA:            Thank you.  What we want is to be able to sit outside.  We donít want to be any trouble or anything, itís just that itís important.

 

RUSSELL:     I need to cool out.  If I could just stay here longer in the light and cool out.  Please, try to understand.

 

ROBERTA:    Look, itís not about that.  I mean none of us want to be stuck in here all winter, itís just that we have to make the best of it.  You know what I mean?  Look, let me get you a good strong cup of tea.  Youíll feel better.  Youíll figure it out.  Trust me.

 

LYDIA:            What do you think?

 

RUSSELL:     I donít know.

 

LYDIA:            What if sheís right?

 

RUSSELL:     I ... canít ... think.

 

LYDIA:            Youíre very kind.

 

ROBERTA:    Never mind.

 

(she exits)

 

LYDIA:            Never mind.

 

RUSSELL:     I know.  I know.

 

...

 

 

 

 

SCENE TWO - by Jim Neu

 

A PARTY

 

 

...

 

(sk enters, then Jim)

 

 

sk:       Did I meet you before?

 

JIM:     Not yet.

 

sk:       Now I remember.

 

JIM:     Youíd remember.

 

sk:       I didnít meet you.  You didnít meet me.

 

JIM:     Weíve got a lot in common.

 

sk:       Very movie.

 

JIM:     Thanks.

 

sk:       Do you practice talking like that?

 

JIM:     Whoís kidding whom?

 

sk:       Terrific.

 

JIM:     Youíve got a lot of detachment.

 

sk:       I get by.

 

JIM:     If it keeps going, it keeps going.  I mean thatís it, right?  If it does it does.  If not whatís to talk about?

 

sk:       Youíre right, Iíd remember.

 

JIM:     Just part of the big movie.

 

sk:       This isnít your first brush with detachment.

 

JIM:     Itís not where youíre coming from, itís where youíre not coming from.

 

sk:       Terrific.

 

JIM:     You call it.

 

sk:       Yeah.

 

JIM:     Yeah yourself.

 

sk:       And your face is so straight.

 

JIM:     You notice.

 

sk:       I notice plenty.  Donít get me started on what I notice.

 

JIM:     With me it comes and goes.

 

Both:   I see what I look at.

 

sk:       What a coincidence.

 

JIM:     Strickly speaking.  Donít get me started on what you call coincidence.

 

sk:       Do you believe what you remember?

 

JIM:     Do you believe what you look at?

 

sk:       Do you believe you remember what you look at?

 

JIM:     Iím getting dizzy.

 

sk:       You exaggerate.

 

JIM:     Whatís the difference?

 

sk:       You got me.

 

JIM:     I mean weíre just talking, right?

 

sk:       Well, thereís detached and thereís disoriented.

 

JIM:     Basic.  Basic.

 

sk:       I go, you go.

 

JIM:     Terrific.

 

sk:       Some people donít stop and talk about it.

 

JIM:     Some people donít do a lot of things.

 

sk:       Thatís easy for you to say.

 

JIM:     I couldnít resist it.

 

sk:       Do you resist much?

 

JIM:     All these questions.

 

sk:       Versatility is a virtue.

 

JIM:     I donít think Iíve heard that one.  I donít think Iíve heard that one but I get the idea.

 

sk:       Practice.

 

JIM:     Reflexes.

 

sk:       Hmmm.

 

JIM:     Hmmm.

 

sk:       I feel like Iím on the edge of a major moment.

 

JIM:     Quite a picture.

 

sk:       I donít know what to call it.

 

JIM:     A kind of detached involvement.

 

sk:       A kind of cool apprehension.

 

JIM:     A kind of nervous tranquility.

 

sk:       A kind of calm intensity.

 

JIM:     A kind of provocative passivity.

 

sk:       A kind of aloof anticipation

 

JIM:     A kind of casual obsessiveness.

 

sk:       A kind of loose transfixation.

 

JIM:     You win.

 

sk:       A kind of singular duplicity.

 

JIM:     All right.  All right.

 

sk:       Iíll say anything.

 

JIM:     Some people are like that.

 

sk:       Believe me.

 

JIM:     I believe you.

 

sk:       Sometimes I mean it.

 

JIM:     A kind of selective sincerity.

 

sk:       Good.

 

JIM:     I donít just sit around.

 

sk:       It shows.

 

JIM:     Good.

 

Ö

 

 

 

SCENE FOUR - A BEDROOM

 

 

 

*  *  *

 

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