My Dad came over for dins last night. He doesn’t live nearby, but sometimes he has to be in town and he always stops by for a visit. It makes me glad that he saves this time for me. My Dad and I haven’t always had the greatest of relationships, but I when he comes for a visit I feel like all that difficultness, harsh words and actions, are behind us and he can go back to being my hero, albeit on a much more human scale. (Turns out it’s easier to forgive humans than heroes.)
He asked me what I’d been up to so I showed him this clip of Stephanie Dodd performing my monologue Dancer #3 last year. I wrote it specifically for Stephanie, for Jody Christopherson’s Eschaton Cabaret (Bowery Poetry Club and Dixon Place, 2011-12), but here Stephanie performed it all by its lonesome at Sky Box.
I figured since I shared it with my Dad I’d go ahead and share it with you too. Some things to note: it was directed by Deborah Wolfson, original music from Anna Marquardt.
My favorite part is at the end when the audience seems really to take what she’s saying to heart. I won’t be a spoiler and tell you what it is, you’ll just have to watch the whole 5 minutes and find out for yourself.
Here it is in text:
Cora is a dancer, she’s dressed like one.
(to the assembled crowd)
It’s my turn. I get to tell you a story.
(telling a secret)
I have a pet giraffe who lives inside my heart. She eats the fruit from the tallest branches.
(an even more secret secret)
Another time I want on safari with a much older man.
(why she won’t tell the deepest secret of all)
Some things I promised I would never tell. Even if they burn a hole in my heart I would never tell. If memories aren’t shared, did they never happen? I remember all my memories, but I know some have been forgotten. Memories I have forgotten are the saddest of all, but even sadder are the memories that sneak up on me like a fox and take a deep bite of my breath.
(Sincerely, and realizing it’s true)
I want people to know me. I want to be known. I want to be knowable.
Before I was dancer number three I was queen of the jungle.
(like an actress, not a real person)
I am a real person. I have all the things other real people have. No one hates me. But no one lovers me either. No one loves me. I’m too pretty to not be loved.
(coming down off the stage)
Don’t any of you want to be loved?
Don’t you? Don’t you?
(intimately to an individual)
What if we just decide to love each other? One at a time and even just as a whole group. And without any demand for reciprocation.
(to the assembled crowd)
What about it?
I love you, and it’s okay if you don’t love me. I love you. Really, it’s okay if you don’t love me. I love you, even more than I mean do. I love you. I love you. I love you.
(to the assembled crowd.)
Maybe one day you could learn to love me too. My heart will be open to you.
(about the crowd, and about herself)
I know about the horrible things you’ve done. I forgive them. Please do try to forgive me.