Excerpt of Married, Taken, or Gay (formatted for web viewing)

(From Act I: Claudia has accompanied her artist boyfriend on a trip to Washington, D.C. for his art opening, which was not well received. Andrea and Rebecca's conversation is periodically interrupted by flashbacks in a pool of light on another part of the stage where we see Claudia in the described situation. A similar pattern happens in Scene 5.)

Scene 4: Claudia

 

(ANDREA and REBECCA are at the coffeehouse.)

 

            REBECCA

Yeah, from Vermont.

 

            ANDREA

She called you from Vermont? On Tuesday?

 

            REBECCA

Yes.

 

            ANDREA

She was supposed to be back on Monday.

 

            REBECCA

Yep.

 

            ANDREA

So what was she doing in Vermont? 

 

(Flashback: CLAUDIA, struggling with girly suitcases and a guy’s backpack or art supply case and stands in the pool of light. She starts out trying to placate Russell, but eventually gets pissy.)

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

I’m gonna put our suitcases over here. Okay? Good. 

 

            REBECCA

It didn’t go well in D.C.

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

(Exhausted.)

Good.

 

            ANDREA

Oy vey.

 

            REBECCA

Yep. Apparently, the opening was well-attended, but the people didn’t respond well to Russell’s art. 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

It’s ground-breaking Russ honey. I mean who lets animals do some of their painting?

 

            REBECCA

I don’t know. I think….well, having really thought about Russell’s art more and looking back at the pictures I have of it, I do think it’s really good. I think he may be a genius. 

(Beat.) 

I think it wasn’t totally his art to blame. 

 

            ANDREA

Maybe D.C. is just a hard art market to break into. Not like New York, but—

 

            REBECCA

One of the critics called it “commercial.” “Pretty.”

 

            ANDREA

It is pretty. Maybe with what’s happening right now in the country, that’s just not what people are looking for. 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Look, they thought Van Gogh was crazy. Well, he was, but still. Now we all know what a genius he was.

 

            REBECCA

Exactly! People who are interested in art—not to be completely bigoted—but people who have the wherewithal or the propensity to be interested in art are pretty riled up about what’s happening to the world right now. They need raw meat.

 

            ANDREA

That must be especially true in D.C. 

 

            REBECCA

So, pretty things—no matter how inventive—just aren’t where people’s heads are.

 

            ANDREA

They open your mind though—give you a different perspective.

 

            REBECCA

But people are angry. Have you seen how much dark art there is out there?

 

            ANDREA

Timing. 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

But it’s a sweet room, don’t you think? I picked this B and B because the listing said it was artistic. And charming. 

 

            REBECCA

So, anyway, Claudia was crying and she needed to talk. 

            

            ANDREA

Really! Crying. Of course that’s kind of a natural reaction for Claudia. I mean, to anything—positive or negative.

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Okay, maybe, but did you have to be so rude to the front desk clerk? I know you’re disappointed. Okay? But that’s

no reason to—

 

            REBECCA

Yeah, but Russell was not being very good to her on the trip.

 

            ANDREA

Damn! She doesn’t deserve—damn! Why?

 

            REBECCA

She called me from the garden. 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Yes, you were rude. And unkind. If she likes Thomas Lawrence’s painting of “Pinkie,” just let it be.

 

            ANDREA

Garden? 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

No, I did not know that “Pinkie” was born in Jamaica or that her parents were slaveholders. Nor did I know that Sir Thomas Lawrence painted for King George the Third. How would I know those things?

 

            REBECCA

From the garden of the B and B where they were staying.

 

            ANDREA

I still don’t understand why they were in Vermont.

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Maybe the owner’s a Red Coat sympathizer! Maybe she wishes the American Revolution never happened! Maybe the UK should revoke our independence. What do you want me to say?

 

            REBECCA

Because she felt they needed some time alone and away, so she called in for an extra week off work. 

 

            ANDREA

Jesus! That really worries me.

 

            REBECCA

Me too! She loves her job.

 

            ANDREA

Did they—I mean, how did they respond?

 

            REBECCA

She says they were fine with it, but I—I feel the same as you. Worried.

 

            ANDREA

Fuck! So she’s paying for the trip and he’s being—

 

            REBECCA

Mean.

 

            ANDREA

Jesus Christ! How mean? 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Well, you yelled at just about every driver we saw on the highway. Do you realize that you yelled at me too? You were yelling at so many of the drivers that I’m not sure you even noticed when you called me a jerk for turning left instead of right at that big intersection.

 

            REBECCA

Giving her the silent treatment. 

 

            FLASHBACK CLAUDIA

Because with all your yelling I couldn’t hear the GPS!

 

(Lights fade in the pool of light.)

 

            ANDREA

I want to slap some sense into this guy. Doesn’t he know what a fantastic woman he has? 

 

            REBECCA

Claudia’s being stoical about it. I think she just needed someone to hear her. She said she’d analyzed the situation and realized that Russell was just injured by his reception in D.C., and she was the nearest one around, so he was taking it out on her.

 

            ANDREA

And apparently everyone else around.

 

            REBECCA

She rented a car to drive to Vermont.

 

            ANDREA

This makes me really angry.

 

            REBECCA

I probably shouldn’t have told you.

 

            ANDREA

Why?

 

            REBECCA

Because when they get back you really might slap him around.

 

 

Scene 5: Claudia

 

(REBECCA and CLAUDIA are at the wine bar.)

 

            REBECCA

She did what?

 

(Flashback: ANDREA appears in a pool of light. To sound effects, ANDREA slaps an unseen Russell.)

 

            CLAUDIA

She slapped him! 

 

            REBECCA

She slapped him?

 

            FLASHBACK ANDREA

You’re a fucking idiot! I’m trying to knock some sense into you! 

 

(To sound effects, ANDREA slaps an unseen Russell again.)

 

            FLASHBACK ANDREA

Don’t you know what an amazing woman you have here? 

 

(ANDREA enters, overhears their conversation.)

 

            REBECCA

Right on the face?

 

            CLAUDIA

Yep. And more than once. 

 

(To sound effects, ANDREA slaps an unseen Russell again.)

 

            CLAUDIA (cont.)

She said she was trying to knock some sense into him and when he just stood there, like shocked, she slapped him again.

 

            ANDREA

He had it coming.

 

            REBECCA

You just slapped him?

 

            ANDREA

Yes. 

 

            REBECCA

On the face.

 

            ANDREA

Yes. 

 

(All three erupt in laughter.)

 

            REBECCA

Oh how I wish I’d been there.

 

            CLAUDIA

Just slapped him on the face. Three times.

 

(To sound effects, ANDREA slaps an unseen Russell again. Then lights fade in the pool of light.)

 

            ANDREA

Four!

 

(Gradually subsiding laughter.)

 

            ANDREA (cont.)

And if he doesn’t shape up, I’m gonna kick him in the gushnutskis.

 

            CLAUDIA

Please don’t do that. 

 

            ANDREA

Yeah, okay. I’d probably pull a hamstring.

 

            CLAUDIA

It might be worth it because since the face-slapping he’s apologized over and over.

 

            REBECCA

(Seriously.) 

Yeah, well that worries me.

 

            CLAUDIA

What? Why? 

 

            REBECCA

Please just be careful.

 

            ANDREA

His apology seemed really honest.

 

            CLAUDIA

Even before you slapped him.

 

            REBECCA

It always does.

 

(Sober now.)

 

            ANDREA

I was touched. 

 

            CLAUDIA

I will be careful.

 

            REBECCA

God, I’m so happy to have sane people around me. I hear a lot of dark stuff in my office.

 

            ANDREA

So, things aren’t going well with you and Ahmad?

 

            REBECCA

I’m truly starting to believe that he is the exception.

 

            ANDREA

Nice.

 

            CLAUDIA

Maybe Ahmad’s truly a good man. 

(…continued…)