She stands taller than statues.
Her convictions resolute and austere,
come here to test your tensile strength.

She’s gone long beyond causes
cracking cavities with adamant pickaxes
and grinding inequities away like so much sawdust.

She dusts her hands with gunpowder
and ties her hair back
with the blindfold of Lady Justice.

She ignites the pro-choice interstate
(there are no network connectivity problems here.)

Just her:
standing taller than statues.

Sure Footed

Have you ever considered
that you are the one
who makes the wind blow
furiously around and
through the trees?

(When you anger,
is there thunder?)

Never doubt you are a force of nature.

The earth rejoices
in every powerful thought
and contemplation
of fighting the battle
or walking away from it.

Your mind: the war room.
Your body: the armor.

When you seek blood,
the elements collaborate
to manifest
the tearing of flesh.

Take strength from this.
Take strength from this.
Take strength from this.

Emancipating Gender in Theatre

This was going to be an essay about trains.

When I was ten years old, I saw the Robert Preston and Shirley Jones version of The Music Man for the first time. I was enthralled. I would march around the backyard with a tree branch conducing 76 trombones. I would bellow “W-w-w-w-ell, you got Trouble my friends!”

Rock Island

This was well before my household had a personal computer or the internet, so I couldn’t look up the lyrics of songs. I wanted to memorize all of the different parts to Rock Island, which is spoken word piece that opens The Music Man. Several salesman are sitting on a train and talking about their products and the scourge Harold Hill who is giving all other salesman a bad name by swindling towns out of money. The lyrics, performed percussively, mimic the sounds of a train leaving the station, picking up speed and slowing down at the next stop.

I used the interlibrary loan system to the libretto from another branch. Once it arrived, I set up chairs in my living room, switching seats as I learned all of the different parts. I was a quick study, and learned the entire number by the end of the week.

I shared this story at a rehearsal for The 39 Steps earlier this week. The 39 Steps isn’t a musical—it’s a play based on the Hitchcock film. It’s written for four characters: the handsome leading man, his three love interests (all played by the same woman) and two clowns, who play over 100 roles, ranging from policemen, to spies to underwear salesman on a train. The two clowns are traditionally played by two men.

(I’m going to warn you right now, this essay it not going to be told in linear fashion. We are going to jump back and forward multiple times, and that’s ok. If I were telling you this story in person, there would likely be moments of me saying “Well, wait, we have to go back ten years…but then remember the thing I said five minutes ago? Let’s go back there, now!” I thank you in advance for your patience.)

The reason that this essay was going to be about trains is that while we were blocking the train scene, it reminded me of memorizing Rock Island when I was a kid. One of the other actors looked at me and said, “Now, that’s a blog post.” And I added it to my to-do list without much thought.

It’s New Year’s day as I write this and I’ve spent the last couple of hours thinking that this needs to be more than a piece about trains and salesman. It needs to be about how my relationship to performing gender both onstage and off has changed. So here we go.

As I said before, the roles of the two clowns in The 39 Steps are usually played by two men. I want to unpack why this wasn’t the case for this show, why that’s a good thing and express my sincere hope that modern theatre starts/continues considering/putting into practice gender neutral/gender queer casting on a wider scale.

I’m going to use my personal journey with gender expression and performance as a (mostly) linear through line to demonstrate how many twists and turns I’ve experienced. And by doing that, we’ll eventually get to why I was cast as a man in The 39 Steps. (I promise!)

TomboyBack to ten year old me. I displayed the attributes of a tomboy (for lack of a better word), using the definition of tomboy as “a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys.” My best friend and I played with sticks as swords and chased each other around the backyard. We played Power Rangers, astronauts and aliens and when we learned and sang song from Disney movies, we stayed away from the princess songs and opted for the funny sidekick’s songs or the villain’s songs.

I am reminded here of a line from Sarah Galvin’s fantastic essay, My Whole Life I’ve Been Asked If I’m a Girl or a Boy: “I became Captain Hook as a child because Captain Hook was powerful—he could do things I had no evidence little girls could.”

I remember my mother preparing me for a video audition for a summer repertory theatre and saying I should audition for both Mary in The Secret Garden and Winthrop in The Music Man. The suggestion confused me: I was a girl, but I could pretend to be a boy?

At another audition, I insisted on singing Mister Mistoffelees from Cats. The folks sitting behind the audition table looked perplexed.

I began to look at the musical theatre cannon with a beautiful lens where I could go far any part I wanted to, regardless of gender. I watched Little Shop of Horrors and decided to memorize the Dentist’s song.

And then the big 12 came around. The summer I turned twelve, I went through puberty. I shot up several inches and it changed the way I felt in my body and how directors saw my body and how it fit into their vision of casting. That summer, I wanted to be the villain in the musical of Aladdin, but I got cast as the villain’s sister.

Spring of 1998. Sleeping Beauty. This was when the shit really hit the fan.

Sleeping BeautyFor the first time, I was cast as a romantic lead. I played the serving woman of the princess, who in this particular fairy tale version ends up with the prince. It was uncomfortable. I was having a hard time adjusting to my newfound height and breasts and periods…I felt lost. I looked to the older high school girls and their actions to see if I could mimic them for survival.

One of the things I saw the older girls doing was kissing each other on each cheek to greet one another. So, I kissed one of my friends on her cheeks when she came to see the show. Another girl witnessed this and spread a rumor throughout our middle school that I was gay.

I grew up in the Midwest, and I’ll have to admit that at 12 years old, I didn’t have a good grasp of what “gay” meant. What I knew was that I was getting verbally and physically assaulted at school because kids thought I was gay. I don’t remember telling my mom and I don’t remember telling any teachers. I felt that I had done something wrong and now no one liked me. My middle school logic dictated that:

gay = finding girls attractive = getting bullied


not gay = finding boys attractive = being left alone

I didn’t stop to ask myself if I actually did find girls attractive. I just wanted to feel safe at school.

Since my family didn’t have a lot of money, I wasn’t able to make a huge overhaul of my wardrobe. But I found myself making choices to perform my femininity as much as possible, having dramatic infatuations with boys that I made sure I told everyone about except the boy. These crushes never worked out. They weren’t meant to. I just wanted to display/show/perform/prove that I didn’t like girls, so-can-the-bullying-stop-now-please?

In high school, I did show choir and participated in the big annual musical. I played Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Fantine in Les Miserables. In the summers, I participated in programing with The Young Shakespeare Players. YSP produced un-cut versions of Shakespeare’s works with ages 8-18. I got to play the Earl of Northumberland in Richard II, Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure and Iago in Othello. The kids who participated in YSP were not from my high school. They came from more liberal areas of Madison and its suburbs and many were homeschooled. Performing male roles felt safe there. And many other young women were doing it as well.

College gave me the space to think and learn and start becoming more of an individual. I took a class on God and Gender and my world cracked open. I became fascinated with Judith Butler and Gender Performance theory. A central concept of the theory is that gender is constructed through one’s own repetitive performance of gender.

“…if gender is instituted through acts which are internally discontinuous, then the appearance of substance (last 3 words italicized) is precisely that, a constructed identity, a performative accomplishment which he mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief. If the ground of gender identity is the stylized repetition of acts through time, and not a seemingly seamless identity, then the possibilities of gender transformation are to be found in the arbitrary relation between such acts, in the possibility of a different sort of repeating, in the breaking or subversive repetition of that style.” (Performative Acts and Gender Constitution An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory by Judith Butler.)

Learning about this theory didn’t necessarily change anything immediately about the way in which I performed my gender, but I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. There was freedom in discovering there was an aspect of choice when it came to gender.

Beyond TherapyFor my senior project, I directed Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy. The title of the project was “Beyond Therapy: Beyond Social Constructions of Gender and Sexuality.” In the end, I was extremely proud of production and the conversations we had about gender theory in the rehearsal room (although I may have not been the most qualified person to lead those discussions.)

I moved to Whidbey Island the summer after I graduated college. I had just turned 22 and packed my life in my Toyota Camry, driving from Minnesota to Whidbey in two days. I became involved with the vibrant theatre community, and that’s where I met Deana Duncan.

Deana is the Programming and Production Director at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. When I auditioned for Sweeney Todd in 2008, I had my eyes set on the role of Mrs. Lovett. As I came into the callback, she asked me “Would you be willing to audition for Pirelli?”

As actors, we’re trained to say yes whenever possible to directors. So I said yes to her without thinking. And I got the part.

PirelliIf you’re not familiar with the musical, Pirelli is an Italian barber who Sweeney challenges to a shaving duel. It’s a male role. I cut my hair shorter, bound my chest with Ace Wrap and used makeup to make my features read as more masculine. It’s higher tenor role, so I was able to sing most of the score as written, only transposing the lowest of notes. I had a pair of bright orange pants custom-made by the costumer. The experience was incredibly freeing as a performer. I got to simultaneously disappear and yet feel more like myself than I ever had before onstage.

Before season auditions in August, Deana and I were sitting at our good friend Matthew’s wedding talking about The Addams Family. I really wanted the role of Wednesday, which was written as 18-30 in the script. I felt confident that I could sing and act the role as strongly as anyone who came to audition, but acknowledged that the director might want to go with a more petite Wednesday (more about my experiences being a plus-sized actress here). I also expressed interest in playing Gomez, saying, “I mean, Pirelli…Gomez…they’re kind of the same guy.” We both laughed.

I went on to say that I wanted to list on the audition form that I was interested in/had experience playing male roles, but didn’t know how that would sit with a director who didn’t know me. And Deana’s eyes lit up. “You know, the two clowns in The 39 Steps, they’re traditionally played by men, but they wouldn’t have to be.”

I smiled and nodded politely. When I got a callback for the clowns in The 39 Steps, I was surprised by how much fun I had in the callback, rapidly shifting between different male characters. And by the end of the callback, I really wanted to be one of the clowns. I wanted to be one of the clowns more than I wanted to be Wednesday in The Addams Family. By the time I got home, there was already a voicemail from Deana offering me the role.

Deana recently visited the Off-Broadway run of The 39 Steps and took a backstage tour. When she told the producer that she had cast a woman in one of the clown roles, he raised an eyebrow.

“Are you sure you can do that?” He asked.

She replied that she checked with the licensing company that held the rights for the show and they had given her the go-ahead.

“I went with talent,” she explained.

I went with talent. I love those words. What wonderful words.

This is why I applaud this particular casting decision. Yes, it means I get to be a part of an amazing production. But what it also means is that she looked outside of what tradition casting was for this show—she expanded her vision of what the play was and chose actors who best served that vision, instead of locking herself into the way casting had traditionally been done for this show.

I’m delighted to be seeing more decisions like this one. The hit musical Hamilton tells the story of America’s Founding Fathers with a show-stopping group of multiracial actors. Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda was quoted recently as being open to having women play the leading roles:

“I’m totally open to women playing founding fathers once this goes into the world. I can’t wait to see kick-ass women Jeffersons and kickass women Hamiltons once this gets to schools.”

Gender blind casting is sometimes a necessity in education settings—they’re simply aren’t enough men or boys to play the male roles, so girls get cast in those roles. How fantastic if what was once a necessity became more of a casting convention.

This past summer, I saw an all-female cast of 1776 on the Seattle Musical Theatre stage. 1776 is one of my favorite musicals, but it’s a show that only has two roles for women. I was deeply moved by this production, because the story didn’t lose anything for making the choice of having an all-female cast. The highly-committed performances of all the actors elevated the musical to new a new artistic level for me.

At most auditions I’ve been to post-college, there have been at least twice as many (if not three times) female actresses auditioning than male actors. In the script itself, the ratio is often reversed: two male speaking roles for every one speaking role for women. In a 2012 study conducted by The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins found that “…there is a stubborn 2:1 male-to-female problem in English theatre, which runs from boards of directors through to actors.”

Groups like The Kilroys are making great strides to increase awareness of female and trans* playwrights and challenge theatres to create gender parity in the plays they choose for their seasons. But what if theatres started to make decisions like “Regardless of the season we pick, we commit to hiring the same amount of male and female actors.”

I want to see more female Hamlets. An all-female cast of The Importance of Being Earnest. If we continue to produce theatre by dead white men, I want to see more and more gender blind casting and what that casting does to the story. Does it uncover other themes? Does it challenge what the original author meant? Does it inspire audiences to see gender in a completely different way?

genderqueerIn my recent interview with theatre artist Ada Karamanyan, we discussed what it means for casting directors to have gender neutral or gender queer actors come into the audition room.

Ada responded: “To me, that’s just like putty in your hand from a casting perspective, if you have somebody come in and there’s a…not to put it in a box, but let’s say androgyny to it or a lack of a construct of ‘this is a very feminine person’ or ‘this a is a very masculine person’ but you have a blend..you could really do anything with it.”

I am heartened by local companies like Copious Love Productions who have added the following language to audition notices: “Copious Love STRONGLY encourages all ethnicities, actors of color, ages and gender identities to audition for any role that interests you!”

As a bisexual, genderqueer performer, I see audition notices like this and it makes my heart sing. I’m thirty years old, and I feel more like myself than I ever before. I am more comfortable in my own skin.

I saw my first Drag King show last weekend. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to get up on that same stage and perform. I want to start working my way through my new musical theatre bucket list as a performer. It includes Sweeney Todd, the Street Singer from ThreePenny Opera, Harold Hill, Pippin, Judas from Jesus Christ Superstar, the Dentist from Little Shop, and The American in Chess to name a few.

I woke up this morning to see that one of my favorite writers, Ijeoma Oluo, had posted this on Facebook: “Let’s emancipate gender this year.”

Reading her words lit the fire under my ass to write this essay. So let’s do it. Let’s emancipate gender in theatre.

To the girl walking the pink inflatable dog

I saw you standing in front
of the building at the corner
of 2nd and Jackson. You were
walking your pink dog

b a c k
& f o r t h

and scolding him.

Wagging your finger, you said:
“You really need to listen
to me and BEHAVE!”

Delivering your lines
with all the steadfastness
of a character
in an Ibsen play

I stood,
watching your
scene play out.

(Wishing I could take part.)

You perceived
an audience
and glanced over
your shoulder:
pursing your lips,
smiling at me,

getting back
to the task at hand.



Shelter Stalactite









I’m not ruined in nostalgia,
just as the heart is a cave
with twinkling lights.


I see how you gravitate to the familiar,
to the chachkis I never really gave you.

For three years, you waited: dripping, calcifying.
I wanted us to be a wisp of normal.
Now, I dissect your bile.

And the nostalgia?

It still sits alone,
it still hides from me.

A Rude Man


Lights up. plays


MIRA sits typing at her laptop.

STU enters. Scopes the place out, sees MIRA, walks over.

STU: Mind if I set here? (he starts to put his things down)

MIRA: Yes.

STU: Pardon?

MIRA: Yes, I do mind. There are plenty of other seats available and I like my space.

Miffed, STU sits at the table next to MIRA’s.

STU: (under his breath) Bitch.

MIRA: Say that again.

STU: Say what again?

MIRA: Say what you just said.

STU: Lady, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

MIRA: You asked a question before, you asked “Mind if I sit here?” and I answered honestly. How does that make me a bitch?

STU: Calm down!

MIRA: You’re insulting me! I don’t have to be calm! I’m going to stand up for myself.

STU: Listen, honey–

MIRA: Try again. I’m not your honey. I’m no one’s honey.

STU: Wonder why…

MIRA: I suggest you go order your coffee and then sit and drink it on the other side of this coffeeshop.

STU: It’s a free country.

MIRA: That it is, sir. That it is.

She writes a sign and places it at his table. It reads “A RUDE MAN” and points to him.

He reads the sign and then crumples it up.

She makes a new one.

He rips it into pieces.

She makes a third sign.

He takes out a lighter and burns it, dropping it into the pitcher of water on the table.

She starts to make a fourth sign.

STU: Look, why don’t you just leave?

MIRA: I was here first.

STU: I’m just going to wreck whatever sign you make.

MIRA: You don’t get to take up as much space as you want wherever you want just because you’re a man. It’s not your right. You’re not entitled to anything. You need to be a decent person, just like everyone else. Girls are conditioned to be docile and I am fucking sick of it. And you have pushed me way too far today, buddy. So I will keep making these signs and putting them on your table until you walk the fuck away. Got it?

STU: Jesus. What the hell is your problem?!

He takes his stuff and goes.

MIRA takes a deep breath, returns to her laptop and types with determination.

End of play.



Lights up.plays

GERTRUDE, a lady pirate, sits on a beach.

Many cases of liquor abound.

GERTRUDE: I’ve got my bottles–now I’m ready.

POLLY, a parrot, enters, obviously intoxicated.

POLLY: Why don’t pirates go to strip clubs?


POLLY: They already have all the booty!

She shakes her tail feathers and falls to the ground, laughing.

GERTRUDE: Polly, methinks you may have had too many libations.

POLLY: (Rolling on the ground while she speaks.) Polly wants a motherfucking cracker.

GERTRUDE: Get ahold of yourself, bird!

GERTRUDE slaps POLLY across the beak.

POLLY: Damnit, Gertrude, was that really necessary?

GERTRUDE: You need to sober up so we can make a plan.

POLLY: You’re still drinking.

GERTRUDE: I can hold my liquor in a more masterful manner than ye, can’t I?

POLLY: I really need some food. Wasn’t kidding about that cracker. How can it be that only liquor washed ashore in the wreck and no food? We’re going to drink ourselves to death. At least will be drunk and happy.

GERTRUDE: By my calculations, we’re somewheres in the Bahamas. When we’ve rested, we need to walk around the edge of the island, marking out our steps.

POLLY: None of that is going to do us any good without any FOOD.

GERTRUDE: Quiet, bird!

POLLY: I can’t believe I chose to fly to your raft. I should have flown to the Captain.

GERTRUDE: Oh, the Captain who steered us straight into the ear of that storm, eh?

POLLY: Nobody’s perfect.

GERTRUDE: Polly, I didn’t want to bring this up before, but I do have some food on me, and I’m willing to share until we find more on this island.

POLLY: Why didn’t you say so?! Give it to me!

GERTRUDE: Before you–I need to let you know that it’s bird.

POLLY: (in a sing-songy tone) Dirty bird, dirty bird, dirty bird! (beat) Damnit, sorry about that. It’s like a reflex or something. (beat) What kind of bird is it?

GERTRUDE: Turkey. So, a much bigger bird–I’m no ornithologist, but I think distantly related enough that it’s not too weird.

POLLY: Oh, come on! If I was offering you a bit of human, would it help if I said “This guy definitely was raised in a different part of the world, so no worries, this won’t be weird at all?!!?”

GERTRUDE: That’s different–

POLLY: Not to me!

GERTRUDE: Do you want it?

POLLY: No, I don’t want it, but I will eat it, because there’s nothing else to eat. I just need a little more alcohol to get through this moment.

She digs another bottle out of a case and opens it with her beak.

GERTRUDE: I’m sorry I don’t have any other food to offer ye.

POLLY: I understand. There’s no avoiding it. It just really bums me out.

GERTRUDE: Would it help to say grace first?

POLLY: No, I don’t think so. Just let me make a dent in this bottle and I’ll be ready.

Sound of wind rushing through the trees.

A coconut falls from a tree and hits GERTRUDE on the head. She falls over.

POLLY: Holy shit!

She regards the coconut. Cracks it open with an empty bottle. She hungrily eats the inside of the coconut.

POLLY: At least I don’t have to eat that bird! Gertrude, isn’t that great!?

GERTRUDE doesn’t answer.

POLLY hops over, listens for a heartbeat.

Unsuccessfully attempts CPR.

She shrugs.

POLLY: Well, I’d hate for all this meat to go to waste.

She collects wood in a pile and starts a fire.

Starts hunting for something sharp enough to cut flesh.

POLLY: (Sing-songy) Polly needs a knife! Polly needs a knife! (beat) I know I saw one earlier, where was it?

End of play.


Small Talk


Lights up.plays

Sidewalk cafe.

Accordion music plays.

A and B sit across from each other at a table.

They are both dressed all in black.

A: I am a woman, you will love me in the end, like everyone else.

B: It’s not you, it’s me.

A: When you grind your teeth in your sleep at night, it keeps me awake. But I never say anything. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

B: I can never be myself around you.

A: I lied about liking Frasier. I think it’s a boring show.

B: I hate your mother.

A: I’m seeking someone else.

B: I’m sleeping with your brother.

A: Sometimes, I think about throwing all of your clothes off of the top of a skyscraper. One by one.

B: I know the password and check your email daily.

A: The more emotionally unavailable you are, the more I love you.

B: You can never decide what to order on a menu.

A: Steak frites.

B: Wine?

A: Obviously. Cabernet Sauvignon. One with a pretty label.

B Nods. Their food and beverages fly down to them on wires. They eat and drink throughout.

A: I hate the way you cook steak. You always overcook it. You’re afraid of leaving any trace of pink.

B: Sometimes I smell perfume that isn’t yours on your shirt collar.

A: I dream of all the ways to break up with you, but find none of them satisfying.

B: You have two gym memberships and never exercise.

A: Once I thought of putting arsenic in your morning coffee.

B: Wear the peach satin nightgown. It’s my favorite.

A: Where should we go on vacation this year?

B: I keep wondering if I should propose.

A: My friends say you don’t deserve me.

B: Which movie should we go see?

A: You cannot make me watch Game of Thrones!

B: I rearrange your medicine bottles to keep you on edge.

A: I am a woman, you will love me in the end, like everyone else. (beat, looking directly at B, grabbing their hand) We’re going to be late for the movie. We should go. (She signals for the check. It flies down. She puts cash on the table.)

B: Thanks for dinner. I’ll get the movie.

They get up.

They hold hands and exit.

End of play.

Warrior vs Wizard


Lights up.plays

A female WARRIOR enters in full body armor. The ends of her hair are scorched. Her shield has burn marks on it.

She takes her helmet off, and tries to examine her hair.

A female WIZARD enters.

WARRIOR: You should have let me cut my hair off. What was I saying, just yesterday, “The next time I fight a dragon, my hair is going to get burnt–”

WIZARD: If we win this war, you’re going to be queen of this country. You’ll want the long hair, no matter how much it is damaged.

WARRIOR: I don’t want to be queen anymore. I was thinking about it, and if we win on account of me slaying all these dragons, I really should be king and not queen, because I’m the only one strong and crafty enough to kill these motherfuckers and I would really like to keep being in charge of stuff and kill things instead of pretending to like needlepoint and learn which spoon to use with which dessert.

WIZARD: That would be unprecedented. Kings have always been men. We’ll find you a suitable husband–

WARRIOR: That’s the thing, though–you are not going to find anyone that’s suitable. I’m the biggest bad-ass around. I do not want to settle down and start pooping out babies, no thank you. My mother DIED in childbirth and I am not going down that road.

WIZARD: But your bloodline–it needs to be passed down–

WARRIOR: I’ve been thinking about that too, and instead of me having my babies, I figure we use your magic to put my fertilized baby eggs into a young, healthy wench. Have her be the incubator or whatnot.

WIZARD: My liege, that would be unnatural.

WARRIOR: Wizard, I have just sliced my way out of a dragon’s stomach, slayed the beast for our mutual protection. I slay dragons for a living, but transporting my eggs to someone else’s stomach is unnatural? You are a piece of work, you know that?

WIZARD: Your highness, you must understand, there is a certain way things have to be done, a natural order, or we’ll displease the spiritual forces at work. You must find a husband, make heirs–

WARRIOR: I think I’m an atheist. I don’t think there’s a God. So, I don’t have to follow the natural order to please some invisible man in the sky. I have reckoned with dragons and am not afraid of the spiritual forces you believe to be at work. If you force me to marry, I will kill my husband in our marital bed and will continue to follow this pattern until all the men in the kingdom are afraid to marry me. That should fix that. So, yeah. I’m planning on being king.

WIZARD: Well, you leave me no choice, but to–

She raises her wand. The WARRIOR produces her sword and there are some cool sound effects as they have a quasi-lightsabre battle during the following.

WIZARD: What foul magic is this?

WARRIOR: I was worried that this might happen. So I’ve been brushing up on the dark arts in case you tried to turn on me.

WIZARD: How did you learn so quickly, your control, it’s incredible.

WARRIOR: Can it.

The WARRIOR eventually gets the upper hand and flings the WIZARD offstage.

WARRIOR: Good riddance!

She takes off the rest of her armor, revealing bruises and scars.

She rifles through drawers until she finds a pair of scissors. She cuts her hair off, slowly at first and then with more confidence and abandon.

She wets her hands at a sink and slicks her hair back.

She looks at herself in the reflection of her sword.

WARRIOR: It’s good to be the king.




Lights up.plays

GEORGIE sits in a white bean bag chair on a white shag carpet.

She finds the chair uncomfortable and it takes her a while to settle into it.

She is wearing a flattering cocktail dress.

There is a white fluffy box next to her, filled with airline-sized mini alcohol bottles with white labels, filled with vodka.

She opens one and takes the shot. Throws the empty bottle over her shoulder.

She opens a second bottle and takes the shot. Throws the empty bottle over her shoulder.

GEORGIE: The thing they don’t tell you about depression is that it sneaks up on you. In the moments that you’re really happy and almost convinced that everything is going to work out, depression waits for those moments and as soon as you start to come down from the happiness, it knocks you on your ass and whispers shit like “You are never going to be good enough. You will die alone. All of your friends actually hate you–they just tolerate you in real life.” And it goes on and on and on.

You want to stay in bed forever. You wrap your comforter around you like a cocoon and hope that no one will notice that you start cancelling all your plans. That no one will notice you withdrawing. That no one will ask “How are you, really?” You hoard snacks under the covers so you don’t have to get up to go to the kitchen.

You spend most of the day sleeping and you never feel rested. Darkness and numbness start to feel like the same sensation. You cease to be human and become a vibration.

She opens another bottle, sips this one more slowly and during the following.

I remember being four years old and realizing I was going to die someday. My mother and I were stringing Kix and Cheerios on floss to use as garland to wrap around our Christmas tree. We were living in a motel. I pricked my finger and started to bleed. And I wondered what would happen if I just kept bleeding, if the blood started to cascade out of me until there was no more blood left inside my body. And I started crying. My mother picked me up and I asked her “Mama, am I going to die?” And she said, “Yes, sweetheart, but hopefully not for a very long time.”

She throws the bottle.  

Hopefully. Hopefully. She shouldn’t have said hopefully. That’s what made it odd, “hopefully.” Most parents would said “You’re going to die, but not for a very long time.” She added the hopefully so she wasn’t lying to me.

I can’t remember how I did it. How I killed myself. It’s the strangest thing. I remember being depressed, and wanting to end it all and hoping that I did it right the first time because I would be mortified if I didn’t and I woke up in a hospital and someone called it “a cry for help.”

But I can’t remember how I did it.

I remember dying. It was like being sucked through a cosmic vacuum. It wasn’t unpleasant. Like going up a water slide backwards.

I didn’t want it to be messy.

What did I end up picking?

She looks around.

I guess this is heaven. Or limbo? Purgatory?

I didn’t think there was going to be anything after…

I thought I was going to cease to exist.

At least there’s booze.

She opens another bottle.

VERONICA enters, retrieves the discarded bottles and replaces them with new ones.

She adjusts GEORGIE’s posture in the bean bag chair.

She exits.

GEORGIE: Excuse me?

Never ending vodka and a serving woman who cares about your posture. At least it isn’t Hell. Right?

She looks around again.

A dull rumbling gets louder until it’s almost deafening.

GEORGIE grabs her head in pain.

GEORGIE: I remember how I did it! But, that means–oh, shit! I’m not quite dead yet, am I?

She peels back the shag rug to reveal a screen where she can see herself in a hospital bed.

GEORGIE: Fuck my life.


Lights out.