For the upcoming New York Theatre Review benefit (Oct 2 starting at 8pm at the Brick--seeya there.) I was asked along with some other playwrights to write a 2 minute play on the subject of critics.
Kip Fagan will direct my piece and if all goes well, it will star Jason Grote and Alexis Soloski.
This is the play. Please do come out I think it will be a fun time and fellow bloggers George Hunka and Sheila Callaghan will be in attendance, the latter performing a song. (both of them also having written pieces for the show.)
MIND OF THE CRITIC By Adam Szymkowicz
MELINDA Welcome to the mind of the critic. He sits in his designated seat. He checks to make sure his shoes are tied. He checks his fly to make sure it’s closed. He glances through his press packet.
CRITIC Why did I get stuck reviewing this play?
MELINDA --he thinks. He knows it will be bad. He knows it. Yet he has hope. A tiny glimmer. So small it’s almost not there.
CRITIC Why did I get stuck with this one?
MELINDA He’s trapped. He can’t leave. The play begins.
CRITIC Oh. This could be ok. Oh, ok. It’s fine.
MELINDA Ten minutes in.
CRITIC How long is this play?
MELINDA Thirty minutes in.
CRITIC Is there an intermission? I could leave at intermission.
MELINDA He looks at his program.
CRITIC No intermission.
MELINDA Forty minutes in.
CRITIC Eggs Butter Milk Toilet Paper Orange Juice Frozen Pizza Ummm Eggs
MELINDA Fifty minutes in.
CRITIC Kill me. Please kill me. I want to die. I can’t watch this. I can’t be here one more minute. I want to slash my wrists. I want to disembowel myself with a garden trowel. Pull out my insides. Scrape out my heart. Rip out my lungs from my newly cracked-open chest. I’m going to vomit. This is unbearable. Unconscionable. Stab me. I want to die.
MELINDA Fifty five minutes in.
CRITIC I can’t . . . I can’t . . this is. Oh, God.
MELINDA He has a realization.
CRITIC She doesn’t love me. She never loved me. How could she lie to me all that time? (Pause) Shit! I forgot to call Michael.
MELINDA Sixty-five minutes in. He suddenly sees something. An actress doing something true and painful and sad and funny and terrible and lovely all at once. He looks through his press packet. Who is she? She’s amazing. He is rapt.
CRITIC How are you doing that? Don’t stop. You’re charming. You’re wonderful. You make being alive feel ok.
MELINDA Then she forgets her line. Awkward silence. He wants her to recover. He hurts for her. Another actor tries to cover but fails. They are not making sense anymore. The actress runs off the stage. The Critic is crushed.
CRITIC My girl—
MELINDA The play continues. Or something like the play. The critic sighs, takes notes. Checks to see if his shoes are tied. One hundred and three minutes into the play. The actress returns. She is humbled. She is hunched. She is terrified but says her lines or what the critic assumes her lines are. The critic has a realization. He looks at the actress and sees himself.
CRITIC I love you.
MELINDA And then the play is over. He claps politely. Gathers his notes. Goes home to feed his cats and to write his review.