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Overheard at the Rhubarb Festival Week One Closing Night Party...

Image: francocignelli.com

A series of mini-dramas based on public conversations, as overheard and rewritten by local playwright/director Aurora Stewart de Peña.

Overheard at the Rhubarb Festival Week One Closing Night Party

A screen stretches across the stage of the Cabaret Space. The Academy Awards are being streamed live. Festival attendees drink and talk, eating barbeque chips and cheetos from big bowls.

Jared sits by himself on the stairs, watching. He’s wearing a printed tee-shirt, and has a haircut like a 1950′s cub scout.

The Best Supporting Actress is finishing her speech, clutching the golden statue, tears sparkling in her over-large eyes.

Ben, in Converse and a plain hoodie, sits down next to Jared. They both look at the screen.

Ben: I hate her.

Pause.

Something about her seems patronizing.

Pause.

And, oh, what a big surprise, they give the award to the youngest most beautiful one nominated. Co-incidence! And she’s so skinny now. She still looks like her character from the movie. Why hasn’t she gained back the weight? It’s terrible. Like, what’s that saying to young girls?

Jared looks at Ben. He takes a sip of his beer. He looks back at the screen.

If you’re this fragile beauty that’s dressed in clingy rags but still manages to sing like a broken birdie and then dies looking all pale and sick, but still desirable, that’s like the best thing ever?

Like, she coughs up some blood onto a Kleenex and we all give her a standing ovation?

What is this, the dark ages?

I really thought they would have picked an actual, real performance. I thought we were ready for that as a society. Guess not.

Pause.

How are you?

Jared shakes his head, he looks at Ben.

Jared: You don’t have to talk to me when you see me.

Ben: What?

Jared: Don’t talk to me when you see me. You don’t need to. We’re not friends.

Ben: Jared, I’m just trying to be nice.

Jared: Yeah, well don’t be.

Ben: Well, like, I’m not going to ignore you.

Pause.

Like, that would be weird. I know you.

Jared: No you don’t.

Not anymore. 

Ben looks at Jared. Jared looks back at the screen. He drinks his beer. Ben gets up, brushes off his pants, and walks away.

____

Aurora Stewart de Peña is half of the theatre company Birdtown & Swanville (the other half is Nika Mistruzzi). You can follow her on Twitter at @Aurorahhh.

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