Play in the Drawer: Madeleine George

Good Enough to Eat: Madeleine George

Welcome to another instance of Plays in the Drawer wherein we ask soem of our favorite playwrights to offer selections from unproduced plays. We're currently featuring the plucky playwrights of 13P. (Sarah, Young Jean, Julia, do you not love us?)

This week we offer a selection from Madeleine George's THE FOOD PROJECT, a collaboration with Lightbox Theatre. "a multimedia collage-like piece about Americans and appetite, slated to go up at 3LD in October 2007." Click here for more information.

Madeleine George's plays have been developed or staged at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, New York Theatre Workshop, The Playwrights' Center/Guthrie Theater, Rude Mechanicals, Cherry Lane Alternative, HERE, Playwrights Horizons, and the Public Theater. Her play THE MOST MASSIVE WOMAN WINS is included in the anthologies PLAYS FOR ACTRESSES and BEST AMERICAN SHORT PLAYS 1997-1998, and has had over 100 productions. Support includes a MacDowell Fellowship, the Princess Grace Playwriting Award, a Manhattan Theatre Club Playwriting Fellowship, and the Jane Chambers Award. Madeleine holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. During the day she is the director of the Bard College satellite campus at Bayview Women¹s Correctional Facility in Manhattan.

After the jump, The Food Project:

DAY TEN

(Dark. E and L kissing. Passionate, intense)

L More. (she kisses him) More.

(She pushes him down, climbs on top of him--E breaks away)

L (cont’d) What?

E Nothing.

L Are you okay?

E Yeah. Sure.

(They kiss again. Intense, more intense. L devours E’s neck, face, chest--E breaks away)

L What? What is it?

E It feels different.

L What does?

(He licks his lips, explores his mouth curiously with his fingers)

E It feels different, I can’t explain it.

L What, your mouth? Your mouth feels different?

E Yeah, it feels... (He probes around in his mouth with his hand) It’s like it’s a different part of my body now, I can’t explain it. It’s like it’s my elbow or something.

(L retracts)

L So what are you saying, you want to stop?

E No, no! I’m just fascinated. I didn’t know--it’s like you think your body is in charge and calling the shots and “telling you what it needs” and that whole line, and then you find out that if you discipline it a little bit, just a little bit, you can teach it to serve you better.

L (tight) How does it serve you to have your mouth turn into your elbow?

E Well not that exact thing, but just feeling like I know what my organs are doing, I can feel them all, they report to me now. It’s like I have little surveillance cameras set up inside each organ and I can see what’s going on inside each one any time I-- (He perceives that she has fully withdrawn from him) What?

L (icy) Do you want to talk about this right now? Do you want to talk about all your organs and how they all individually feel, right now?

E I’m sorry, okay, but something big is actually going on in my body, in my body, it’s a little preoccupying sometimes.

L I can tell.

E Which is why by the way I wanted us to do this together, so I wouldn’t be totally alone in this, so we could think about it together and talk about it together and like, go on this fucking journey together.

L (exploding, increasingly desperate and tearful) Journey to where, your pancreas? Honey I don’t want this, I don’t want surveillance cameras in my organs, I want my organs to take care of themselves and leave me in peace. I want to be here, I want to be here with you now, I don’t want to be deep inside my brain staffing some bank of closed circuit TV screens sending me updates on how my intestines are doing! I want to have dinner with my boyfriend and then I want to get in bed with my boyfriend and then I want to fuck my boyfriend and not have to talk about how many layers of mucosal lubricant he shed from the wall of his colon today!

E Okay. Okay.

L Do you understand what I’m saying?

E Yes.

L Do you know what I mean?

E Yes I do. Shh.

(He takes her in his arms, comforts her)

L I mean when is this going to be over?

E You mean...

L When are you going to be fully cleansed?

E (careful) I don’t know.

L I want you back.

E I’m right here.

L No, honey, you’re way in there.

(She pokes at his temple. He moves away from her finger, ever so slightly.

Pause)

E You’re not going to ever do this with me, are you.

(L sighs)

L I want to want to.

E No you don’t.

L No I don’t, I really don’t, I don’t understand it and you’re a million miles away and I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I know you’re having all these new feelings but I’m having all these new feelings, too, I mean I don’t think I ever noticed before how much I love food. It turns out that eating is a huge deal to me. Watching you not eat for ten days has made me realize how much I could never give it up.

E That’s too bad.

L But you love it too, you just forget. You’re just out of practice.

E I don’t think so.

L No honey, you love food, I know you don’t remember but you in particular, out of all the people I know, you love food. The Superbowl? The queso fundido Mark made that you ate like a pound of with a whole bag of chips? And the coconut stir-fry you did for New Year’s Eve? And the week before last when you roasted those beets? And Thanksgiving? You demolished that fucking turducken, you were practically the only one who could eat it, even Bill was like, what the fuck?

E Yeah. I have to tell you, none of that seems particularly appealing to me right now.

L But it will, it will, it totally will. As soon as you put something solid on your tongue it’ll all come rushing back to you.

E I don’t know when I’m going to eat again.

L I can’t--. What do you mean, like, another week?

E I don’t know.

L Two weeks?

E At least. Maybe more.

L Christ.

E You know I feel really happy like this.

L Yes, but--

E I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished and I know I’m capable of so much more.

L But--

E My mind is clear, my thoughts are free, my body’s in the best shape it’s ever been--

L Your mouth is a fucking elbow!

(E clenches his jaw)

E So what business is it of yours if it is?

L It’s my business because--!

E What?

L How are you supposed to kiss me with your elbow?!

(She pulls away from him. Pause. He reaches for her)

E It was just a figure of speech. It’s a mouth. It can still kiss. Look.

(He tips her head up to face him, kisses her. They kiss. They kiss. Lights.)


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