SEE and HEAR this monologue acted >>> HERE.<<<
Ed Ramage in the 1990 La Mama production. Photo by Becket Logan
1837 N. Alexandria Ave.
L.A. CA 90027
(from “Hello, Bob” by Robert Patrick.
Performed in 1990 at Circle Repertory Theatre, directed by Claris Nelson, and at La Mama, directed by the author.)
(The SETTING is a hotel room in New York. The TIME is early afternoon of a day in November, 1975. TENNESSEE is discovered on the telephone. HE is a mature man with a profound and gentle Southern accent and twinkling eyes, wearing an expensive bathrobe and brandishing a cigarette holder. Warm and gracious to the point of affectation, HE is likely to laugh sharply at his own jokes.)
Robert? Is that you now? This is Tennessee!
Who is that baritone that answers your very own phone? I don’t recall anyone so reverberatory at your openin’ night party.
Well, why is he travelin’ with a playwright if he doesn’t like parties? We should involve ourselves exclusively with social bein’s. But never mind; I am spectacularly unqualified to give advice on personal matters, but speakin’ purely professionally–Child, what have you done to the media? I have been attempting to extol your enchantin’ play to every press-person that materializes before me, and I have been universally admonished. You are, to put it mildly, anathema to the jackals.
Well, think, you must have done somethin’. I am, as you know, here in New York to peddle my past–that is, to publicize my memoirs–so I have been much amongst the jackals, and they have to a person been forbidden to–as they so pungently put it—”plug” you.
Well, never mind, then. It will pass, oh, it will pass. I, for convenient example, after a decade of their disdain, am currently so sought-after that I am in danger of oversubscribin’ my dance card! (laughs) Which brings us to the subject at hand. Did you and/or your baritone get up, or stay up, in time to hear “U.S.A.M.” or whatever it is called, that chillin’ly cheerful mornin’ show? That’s “mornin’” with an “r” as in “early in the day,” not “mournin'” with a “u” as in “lamentation.”
I had a premonition you had not. I am sorry you did not hear it, for I employed a quaint device on your behalf. I am, as you know, visitin’ this depressin’ burg in the company of my famously deranged sister, Rose, whom they all want with me in hope she will perform some newsworthy abomination. Well, today on the aforementioned talk-show, which, wonder of wonders, happened to be “live,” the delectable announcer, or “host” as they are commonly denominated, asked whether sister Rose was enjoyin’ her stay in the Apple. I, although his Liz Taylor lashes were moist with anticipation of some scandal, betrayed his beauty to reply, “Why, yes, my sister Rose has had the time of her life in New York, especially at the greatest play of the decade–” whereupon I proceeded to drop both your name and that of your enviable achievement! He stared aghast at my cruelty, like a young sailor who has spent his first night in a whorehouse–and just found out they charge! But what could he do? There is nothin’ they can do to you as long as you are live! (laughs)
Oh, don’t thank me, darlin’. It is the least, and, alas, the most that I can do. More to the subject, how are we gettin’ together? That
vociferous lady at Sardi’s who insisted on detailin’ the similarities
between her great aunts and my great characters did interrupt our
proliferatin ‘ rapport.
Oh , are you?
To Hollywood? Why? Wouldn’t you just as soon be boiled in oil?
Well, I hope you are not goin’ out there to write the film of your own play. As Mister Arthur Miller would put it, “They have boys to do that.” You should restrict yourself to lyin’ on the sand soakin’ up surfers. Unless, of course, your resident resonant baritone objects not only to parties, but to third parties?
You’re wise not to tell love’s secrets–until you have nothin’ but your life left to sell. My best to you, angel, until we meet in some more civilized settin’, wherever on this poor, tired, tortured globe an ambience deservin’ of that appellation might exist. I suspect I can intuit from ancient experience somethin’ of what you might be goin’ through. All I can offer for support is that sage old Southern advice: follow your muse, whatever form he may take, never let the bastards pull your teeth, and remember: there is nothin’ they can do to you as long as you are live!
(HE laughs gloriously as the LIGHTS FADE.)