A tense conversation breaks the silence. Only two people can be heard on stage in a darkened theatre but no one is seen.
Jerry Graham – a part-time observer
Rick Corey – forever the participant
Each spontaneously rationalizes his position. They’ve known each other forever.
catch the riff
The stage remains black. Nothing visible.
Rick: “When times are tough, politics get rough. Brings ’em alive. Same with the theatre. Both need some fire. Both need a little satire.”
Jerry: “Hey Rick. That’s not in the script.”
Rick: “Maybe but I’m gaining fresh perspective.”
Jerry: “And losing the basic premise.”
Rick: “So what? Who, in their right mind, goes into politics today? Tell me who’s that insecure! Who needs the aggravation? Or the negative exposure?”
Jerry: “Just stick with the lines!”
Rick: “Since when are you the director?”
Jerry: “Hey, situations change.”
Rick: “Sure and feelings change too. So do my words and how I say them. Reflects where I’m at this very moment… not the previous… not the next. I try to be relevant.”
Jerry: “Relevant but not repetitious.”
repetition is redundant
Rick: “Repetition’s not my thing..”
Jerry: “Why not?”
Rick: “I avoid any detours.”
Rick: “I love when originality lights up the skies. It’s invigorating. Pure resiliency.”
Jerry: “And erratic?”
Rick: “Don’t go negative, Jerry!”
Jerry: “I’m not… First, what’s your philosophy when it comes to love? Tell me you never made love the same way twice!”
Rick: “Don’t ever keep track.”
Jerry: “Why should I believe you, Rick? ”
Rick: “How long have you known me?”
Jerry: “Don’t ask. But surely if something worked great the first time, you must’ve tried it again.”
Rick: “Jerry, you’re digressing! How’d you get from politics to love? I missed the connection.”
Jerry: “Use your imagination. You’re good at that. Every so often you might even find some politics in love.”
Rick: “Sure. But how often you seen any love in politics?”
Jerry: “You don’t. Don’t see it. Don’t feel it.”
Rick: “The two definitely are polar opposites.”
Jerry: “Remember, opposites can attract.”
on closer examination
A spotlight switches on to reveal a table at center stage.
Rick and Jerry seated there calmly facing each other.
Jerry shrugs: “And occasionally, they do. So, trust me, repetition reinforces.”
Rick: “According to whom?” He stares disbelieving into his empty cup.
Jerry: “The original script.”
Rick: “From a different time.”
Jerry: “But the same dilemma, Rick. So, do you prefer to memorize or improvise?”
Rick: “There’s no question.”
Jerry: “Not for you!”
Rick: “But, Jerry, you see love as a calculation.” With a flick of his wrist, Rick sends his empty cup skating straight across the table.
Jerry: “Not necessarily. Hey, what’re you doing!” Taken by surprise, he barely gets one hand up in time to stop the cup from flying off.
Rick clapping his hands: “Nice save, man.”
Jerry: “Thanks… Got lucky.”
Rick: “Nice reflexes.”
Jerry: “Sure… Nothing personal, Rick, but…”
Rick: “That’s ok. Tell me…”
Jerry: “No. You tell me! You and your partner ever synchronized emotions?”
Rick: “Jerry, we’ve known each other too long. And too well.”
Jerry: “Didn’t mean to pry. I know there’s no way you’d ever reveal anything personal.”
Rick: “Would you?”
Jerry: “Can’t say.”
Jerry: “Tell me! That from politics or theatre?”
Rick: “Just being protective.”
world is a stage
Jerry: “Is that why you never post and your social media pages are all blank?”
Rick: “Blank and genuinely private.”
Jerry: “And secure?”
Rick: “Up to a point.”
Jerry: “So then, tell me how you feel about acting.”
Rick chuckles: “It’s a process.”
Jerry: “Improv too?”
Rick: “Depends on the play.”
Jerry: “Yesterday, you said…” Perplexed, he scratches his head. “Improv awakened your emotions.”
hadn’t a clue
Jerry: “You know you blind-sided Rachel?”
Rick: “She hadn’t a clue.”
Jerry: “She wasn’t expecting you to drop the script. You two had been rehearsing for days exactly as it was written.”
Rick: “Rachel’s a pro. She adapted. And quickly. You have to admit she didn’t miss a beat.”
Jerry: “You both reacted spontaneously.”
Rick: “The play came alive. We gained the passion we needed.”
Jerry: “And tomorrow? You’ll wing it again?”
Rick: “Call it alternate reality as in political theatre.”
Jerry: “A form of self-denial? For once, Rick, we’re in total agreement.”
Jerry extends his right arm. Rick waits a full ten seconds to reciprocate and extend his.
Rick: “I’m for both comedy and tragedy. It’s the mendacity of politics I can’t stand.”
They bump fists.
Jerry: “In street talk, you mean the bullshit.”
Rick: “Yep, pure b.s.!”
… b.s. is b.s.
Jerry: “I’m with you, man. Say, Rick, my fiancée is on her way over. Want to meet her?”
Rick: “Sure. Rachel and I are meeting up too.”
Jerry: “To rehearse?”
Rick: “Just grabbing a quick takeout for dinner.”
Jerry: “The same as last night?”
Rick: “Sure. Why not?”
Jerry: “Try to get me the recipe.”
Rick: “If I can… It’s yours.”
Lights switch off. The stage goes black. Again nothing visible.
About the Article
A quick look at repetition versus improv in politics and theatre.