February 7, 2013

"WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING we accidentally watched a Sandra Bullock movie twice in a row (based on the memory of a true story)" by Trish Harnetiaux

                        Brooklyn.  2003. At The Manor.

Ada, laughing through tears, has just hit the rewind button on the
VCR. She has to do this manually because the remote has been missing for months. The movie, While You Were Sleeping, is now being rewound
in preparation for the second viewing. On this video there is currently an $80 late fee from Videology.

Ada turns from the TV and goes to sit back on the golden sofa next to Trish, but on her half (they had bought it in two parts, and they each owned half). It was the only thing they owned aside from the VCR.

Ada:                Wow… That… Last…
Trish:               Yeah.

Ada:                 Like at the tollbooth and then the whole family shows –
                                    (Her voice breaks and she stops.)
Trish:              I know.
(She says this like someone who’s seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind too many times and is confused how now, after watching the seemingly much lesser While You Were Sleeping, she could find compassion, and even be happy, for the drippy, lying Sandra Bullock character – because this is what has happened.)
Trish:               I don’t care that he’s in a coma the whole time. Larry Levy’s the true star of this movie.
Did you see him in The Player? 
Ada:                Yes, with you –
Trish:               That scene?  The one where he’s at a table in the restaurant, an outside table, round I think, and it’s not even in the foreground of the shot, but it’s like buried a bit in the back so the viewer –
Ada:                Us –
Trish:               – so we have to search out where the hell we’re looking and he’s sitting there and  talking to the person next to him and all that and the waiter walks by and he says something like:“Excuse me waiter sir, this water is in a red wine glass dear waiter.    I’d like my water in a WATER glass, please waiter?”
and I was like HOLY SHIT and that’s what I thought LA was all about for the longest time.
(This actually was what she thought LA was like for the longest time.)
That people just did shit like that in LA all the time, whenever they were out or something. That one moment in that Robert Altman movie did all that. I digress – anyway, Peter Gallagher, I like to call him Larry Levy.  Since that’s who he played in The Player.
(Ada notices a giant water bug on a far wall. She pretends it’s not there. It’s just one.)
He wasn’t in that one scene with the water but it didn’t matter.
Ada:                Totally.  That was Tim Robbins.
Trish:              (Super satisfied) Larry Levy!
Ada:                (Sing-songy) La-rrrrry Le-vvvvy.
Trish:              What was wrong with the 90s?!  That cursive font and movies set in Chicago all the time?
Ada:                It’s romantic, there’s nothing wrong with that. Lucy’s this hardworking normal person that’s just confused, I totally get it.  It’s not even about Chicago –
Trish:              The city must have worked out some deal with All of Hollywood or something. 
Ada:                And Bill Pullman?  Sigh. Jack the furniture builder dude.  “Sigh” I say.
Trish:               I mean Home Alone? Backdraft? Prelude to a Kiss? Curly Sue? Mad Dog & Glory? Hoffa? Groundhog Day –
Ada:                – I love that movie –
Trish:               Yes. Home Alone 2, Dennis the Menace, The Fugitive –
Ada:                When Bill Murray comes down the stairs in the morning for the millionth time?
Trish:               – Blue Chips –
Ada:                 – And that woman at the bottom of the stairs says something along the lines of she felt she was having Déjà vu –
Trish:              Shiva’s Rain, Space Jam –
Ada:                ­– Space Jam!
Trish:              Hope fucking Floats, He Got Game–
Ada:                – and Bill Murray goes, “Didn’t you just say that?”
Trish:               Ha! “Didn’t you just say that!”
(They laugh.)
Ada:                Home Alone 3?
Trish:              Yep.  Never Been Kissed, High Fidelity, Return To Me –
Ada:                (Shakes her head, sighing.) Macaulay Culkin dude.  
Trish:                         – and, my personal favorite, The Hudsucker Proxy.
Ada:                “You know, for kids.”
Trish:              “You know, for kids.” 
                                    (They clink their glasses or bottles or whatever.)
I really like all the non-sequiturs in the movie though, this movie –
                                    (Gesturing towards the VCR.)
Ada:                Huh?
Trish:                         No, think about it.  Really.
Ada:                What?
Trish:                         You know, like the part in the scripture –
Ada:                The SCRIPT.  The part in the script –
Trish:              The part in the script when:

LUCY GOES: Oh, and I'm *very* sorry about your carpet.
PETER GOES: What about my carpet?

Ada:                Ha! 
                        Yeah, that’s pretty good.  Or the part where:

JACK GOES: You suck!
PETER GOES: I suck, or the outfit sucks
JACK GOES: It's a toss-up.

(They start laughing.  Ada rolls off the couch and clutches her stomach; Trish refills their wine glasses and/or Heineken bottles.)

Ada:                OR what about when the:

DOORMAN GOES: You're not his fiancée.

Trish:              Stop –
                                    (Clutching her knees to her chest, tears streaming down her face.)
Ada:                Or:

LUCY GOES: Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty. There you are.... Fluffy.

Trish:             Fluffy… It’s too much... Stop.
(But Ada does NOT stop. The movie is almost done rewinding – the tape is at a high pitch whine now.)
Ada:                OR, best one ever, when they say:

LUCY GOES: You don't have to walk me home.
JACK GOES: You block the wind.

Ada knocks over her wine/beer and it drenches the faux Oriental rug they pulled off the street years before any bedbug scare. But they don’t care about things like wine stains on rugs, they think they (and by ‘they’ they mean each other) are funny so they laugh. Trish takes her glass and tosses the contents on the rug as if dousing a bonfire.  She expertly adjusts the grip on her glass then hurls it against the wall across from them. Hooray!

The VCR tape self ejects, scaring Trish, who doesn’t like sudden movement unless she is the source of it.

Trish:               FUCK!
Ada:                Dude, it’s the tape –
Trish:               Scared me –

(Ada goes to get the broom, but is within earshot because the broom is only ten feet away in the tiny apartment.)

Trish:               Man, ten years from now I’ll be emailing you from my chateau in Switzerland where I’ve fled after all those bad reviews and you’ll just have come in from the beach, running into your kitchen with dried salt on your face and sand in your hair, you’ve just washed all that poet ink off your hands from the day, in the ocean, and you’re carrying this awesome surf board carved from, like, petrified poetry books. 

And you lean it on the door frame before you go in to find the lemonade, and I’m way over there across the world, bundled up like fucking Heidi, tucked up near one of the prettiest Alps or something staring into the fire as I type, telling you about the taste of chocolate in the air and how I bet you’re thinking of that moment right at the end of the movie…
(Ada’s now sweeping up the glass, but she’s also brought out a new one and fills it up, handing it to Trish.)
Sandra Bullock –
            (Shaking her head.)
– so alone in that tollbooth, everybody thinks she’s shit, that she’s a lying stupid cunt, but with those cool fingerless gloves on, but she’s a failure and a sneak and she’d better get used to working for the public transit system because that is all she has in the world… and then, her Prague/Arab/Spinster Spring comes and, as Wikipedia so concisely puts it:

Jack places an engagement ring in the token tray of her booth. With the entire Callaghan family watching, he walks into her booth and proposes to her. In the last scenes of the film, they kiss at the end of their wedding, then leave on a CTA train for their honeymoon.”
… Or maybe she – Sandra Bullock, not her character Lucy – is dreaming of a better role in a better movie or trying to get old lines from Speed out of her head. Or dreaming of a future moment in Miss Congeniality where she trips over something only to right herself with more confidence than before, a better person – a better actor – for having fallen.  Or maybe she was just sitting there filming the scene pissed off.  Who knows why?   Maybe she’s pissed that Bill Pullman stole the bagel she was toasting that morning at the craft services table.  I’m emailing all these things to you.  From the Alps.  From the fucking Alps.
Ada:                It’s like pie.  It all comes down to what kind of pie you like, and if you’re swayed by season or mood or even witches really. Some people really like Sandra Bullock Pie, some people don’t.
(Ada reaches for a piece of paper from under her half of the golden sofa and hands it to Trish.)
                        Like this:

Trish:              Oh…
                                    (Taking it in.)
Ada:                Personally, I can get behind her not only because of Practical Magic when she activates the phone tree. She’s pretty normal.  It’s easy,like liking say a banana. It’s not even about her though.  This movie would suck if the entire family didn’t go with Bill Pullman to see her in that last scene. If Peter Boyle wasn’t there in the background.  If that other guy that looks like Wilford Brimley, but isn’t Wilford Brimley, that plays Saul or whatever, isn’t smiling through that huge handlebar mustache. They are all sooo excited for them. Let’s watch it again and not throw anything this time?
Trish:              Totally.
(Trish goes over and pushes the tape back in the machine, then hits play on the VCR before returning to the golden sofa, to her half.)

Trish Harnetiaux is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose work has been performed and developed at Soho Rep, The Cherry Lane, Dixon Place, The 13th Street Theatre, 78th Street Theatre Lab, The Ohio Theatre, and The New Jersey Rep. Her new full-length play, How to Get Into Buildings was written in the 2011/2012 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. She's written numerous full-length (including an adaptation of a Shirley Jackson novel) and one-act plays and is a graduate of Mac Wellman’s MFA program at Brooklyn College. She is a co-creator at Steel Drum in Space where they make tiny movies about things like unemployed astronauts, space cars and robot cats. More things can be found here trishharnetiaux.com and here steeldruminspace.com.

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