Another blast from the past.
Back in 1998 (or was it 1999?), I acted in my first and last stage play, Neil Simon’s Rumors, only because Shoba kept harassing me and she probably couldn’t find enough suckers in our NTU Hall 11 hostel. I originally asked to play the minor role Glenn, but somehow had to play Lenny in the end. Most of us (Robin, Menghwa, Huijun etc) had a blast rehearsing and doing the one-night show, and my biggest challenge of the night was pulling off a 10 min monologue that I just managed to find on the Internet below.
Here is the transcript of the monologue…I can’t remember if I got the Spanish bits correct on the DBS auditorium stage though. Goy said then that I didn’t really need to act as my personality was pretty Lenny already. (Shoba, if you are reading this, I still have the Rumors T-shirt which I’ve never worn again since that day).
In case you are wondering where’s the line breaks, well there isn’t because one isn’t supposed to take too long a pause when doing this ultra-fast, ultra-kinetic monologue.
(In this play, several affluent couples arrive at a party in an highly upper-class house in New York. When they get there, they discover that there are no servants, the hostess is gone, and the host has shot himself through the earlobe. The host, Charley Brock, is deputy mayor of New York, so they all want to keep it quiet. However, when the police arrive, they decide someone has to be Charley. So in this scene, Lenny is pretending that he’s Charlie and making up a story for the police entirely off the top of his head.)
Lenny: Okay… let’s see… the story… as it happened… as I remember it… as I’m telling it… oh, God… Well, here goes…at exactly six o’clock tonight I came home from work. My wife, Myra, was in her dressing room getting dressed for the party. I got a bottle of champagne from the refrigerator and headed upstairs. Rosita, the Spanish cook, was in the kitchen with Ramona, her Spanish sister, and Romero, her Spanish son. They were preparing an Italian dinner. They were waiting for Myra to tell them when to start the dinner. As I climbed the stairs I said to myself, "It’s my tenth wedding anniversary and I can’t believe I still love my wife so much." Myra was putting on the perfume I bought her for Christmas. I purposely buy it because it drives me crazy! I tapped on her door. Tap tap tap. She opens it. I hand her a glass of champagne. I make a toast. "To the most beautiful wife a man ever had for ten years." She said, "To the best man, and the best ten years a beautiful wife ever had." … We drink, we kiss, we toast again. "To the loveliest skin on the loveliest body that has never aged a day in ten wonderful years." She toasts, "To the gentlest hands that have ever stroked the loveliest skin that has never aged a day in ten wonderful years."… We drink, we kiss we toast… We drink, we kiss, we toast…By seven o’clock the bottle is finished, my wife is sloshed, and I’m completely toasted… And then I smell the perfume. The perfume I could never resist… I loved her in that moment with as much passion and ardor as when we were first newlyweds. I tell you this, not with embarrassment, but with pride and joy for a love that grows stronger and more lasting as each new day passes. We lay there spent, naked in each other’s arms, complete in our happiness. It’s now eight o’clock and outside it’s grown dark. Suddenly, a gentle knock on the door. Knock knock knock. The door opens and a strange young man looks down on us with a knife in his hands. Myra screams. (he begins to act out the story) I jump up and run for the gun in my drawer. Myra grabs a towel and shields herself. I run back in with the pistol, ready to save my wife’s life. The strange young man says in Spanish, "Yo quito se dablo enchilada por quesa in quinto minuto." But I don’t speak Spanish, and I never saw Rosita’s son, Romero, before, and I didn’t know the knife was to cut up the salad and he was just asking should they heat up the dinner now? So I aimed my gun at him, Myra screams and pulls my arm. The gun goes off and shoots me in the ear lobe. Rosita’s son, Romero, runs downstairs to tell Rosita and Ramona, "Mamasetta! Meela que pasa el hombre ay baco ay yah. El hombre que loco, que bang-bang"-the crazy man took a shot at him. So, Rosita, Ramona, and Romero leave in a huff. My earlobe is bleeding all over Myra’s new dress. Suddenly we hear a car pull up. It’s the first guests. Myra grabs a bathrobe, and runs downstairs to stop Rosita, Ramona, and Romero, otherwise we’ll have no dinner. But they drive off in their Alfa Romeo. I look out the window, but it’s dark and I think someone is stealing my beautiful old Mercedes, so I take another shot at them. Myra runs downstairs to the basement where we keep the cedar chest. She’s looking for the dress she wore last year for Bonds for Israel. She can’t find the light, trips down the stairs, passes out in the dark. I run downstairs looking for Myra, notice the basement door is open and afraid the strange-looking kid will come back, so I lock the door, not knowing Myra is still down there. Then I run upstairs to take some aspirin because my ear lobe is killing me from the hole in it. But the blood on my fingertips gets in my eyes and by mistake I take four Valium instead. I hear the guests downstairs and I want to tell them to look for Myra. But suddenly, I can’t talk from the Valium, and I’m bleeding on the white rug. So I start to write a note explaining what happened, but the note looks like gibberish. And I’m afraid they’ll think it was a suicide note and they’ll call the police and my friend Glenn Cooper was coming and it would be very bad for his campaign to get mixed up with a suicide, so I tore up the note, and flushed it down the toilet, just as they walked into the room. They’re yelling at me, "What happened? What happened?" And before I could tell them what happened, I passed out on the bed. And that’s the whole goddamn story, as sure as my name is — Charley Brock.