A One Act Play

One More Time

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2003 Geralyn Horton

hear monologue on podcastA modern dance studio where a class has just ended. SHARON, wearing rehearsal clothes and a sweat shirt, is collapsed onto the bench, looking shell shocked and weepy. Her friend MARVA has filled a paper cup with some restorative liquid and brought it to SHARON, offering comfort.

MARVA: Here, drink this. (SHARON sips, blubbers, sips again)

SHARON: Thanks. I--

MARVA: No, don’t try to talk yet. Sip and breathe. Right. Now breathe.

SHARON: I just--

MARVA: Deep breath. (SHARON breathes) Now?

SHARON: (nods) I’m back.

MARVA: Good for you.

SHARON: Thanks to you.

MARVA: I could see it coming--

SHARON: Not me! I was so shocked I could still be standing there, rooted to the spot!
(points to spot on dance floor)

MARVA: Unbelievable! I’ve seen some low blows in my day, but--

SHARON: Was it so obvious? Did everybody...?

MARVA: Not at all. They knew something was happening, but--

SHARON: You picked it right up. Came to my rescue.

MARVA: Because I know your back story. All the old stuff. Truth be told, I was expecting something like this.

SHARON: I sure wasn’t! It felt like I was hit with a-- with a -a- wet mattress. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe-- did I turn blue?

MARVA: Gray, actually. But anybody who noticed probably thought it was from the pace, or maybe a sprain....

SHARON: I’m hypersensitive.

(MARVA begins to massage SHARON’s shoulders)

MARVA: I wouldn’t say that. You had good cause.

SHARON: Not to most people. Reacting like that--

MARVA: I told you. You looked fine.

SHARON: I felt raped.

MARVA: I could see the steam coming out of your ears-- but anybody else--

SHARON: I really thought I was over him.

MARVA: Not over enough to be in the same room, apparently.

(SHARON jumps up off bench protesting)
SHARON: But I was! Last year, already. I took Paul’s class last year, and acted just like any other student. I mean, Paul’s a really great teacher, why shouldn’t I take from him?

MARVA: Because part of his “really great” thing is seduce and abandon?

SHARON: (deflated) I guess I never learn.

MARVA: I’d say it depends on the teacher. (MARVA stands to continue massage)

SHARON: Oh, I learn all right, but then I forget. The same shit all over again! I swore I would never let this happen.

MARVA: You were really strong when we talked over the holidays.

SHARON: This all started Friday night. Up till then I was fine-- you saw me.

MARVA: You at least looked fine.

SHARON: I was fine. In class I looked in the mirrors, not at him.
(steps away, does a dance move in front of imaginary mirror)
I concentrated on myself, on what I was trying to achieve. But then Friday night--

MARVA: But we talked Friday night! We touched base.

SHARON: I never should have gone to the jam.

MARVA: You told me he wasn’t there.

SHARON: He wasn’t! You saw for yourself!

MARVA: It was dark. And the strobe.....

SHARON: (sets the scene with gesture) There were only about a dozen on the floor, nobody I know very well, and Paul wasn’t there. I felt sensuous and safe. (dances)

MARVA: I should have stayed with you, but the the music wasn’t---

SHARON: Yeah! And it got worse! Still, at that moment I didn’t care, I felt so good and perfectly on top of it! (an expressive movement)

MARVA: (sits) Then what happened?

SHARON: Paul came in.

MARVA: Alone?

SHARON: He didn’t see me, I was coming back from the ladies’ and I just stopped at the end of the corridor, sort of behind the curtain there. I could see he wasn’t with anybody, hadn’t spotted anybody.

MARVA: So what happened?

SHARON: Nothing! I just watched him.

MARVA: Jesus, Sharon!

SHARON: I know, I never watch. I either dance or I go away. But though I wasn’t getting much from the boomita boomita of this particular DJ,
on the other hand I wasn’t ready to say I’d had a night’s dancing. So I told myself it’d be a short set, and I got a chair from the bathroom and put it behind the curtain there, where I couldn’t be seen but I could watch for a few. And there he was. Perfect. Beautiful. So beautiful it’s impossible to believe that he could be what we perfectly know the shit he is.

MARVA: He knew you were watching.

SHARON: He never saw me.

MARVA: He could feel you watching.

SHARON: There was nothing in that whole room for Paul but his vision.
Not even the music. The music you heard, that I didn’t like-- Paul wasn’t dancing to that.

MARVA: He hears different drummers.

SHARON: From inside.

MARVA: Shit. He saw you. Or somebody--

SHARON: No. he wasn’t showing off, or coming on to anybody.
His eyes were glazed: he was in his own space.

MARVA: (rises) Paul’s always in his own space! All space is Paul’s space.

SHARON: Most of the time, it is.

MARVA: It is-- or he walks away from it.

SHARON: Now wait: I have seen Paul be generous. Paul can partner, actually. He can wait his turn.

MARVA: When? You notice he’s not taking anyone else’s classes this year.

SHARON: He isn’t?

MARVA: Can’t bear to be in a studio if he’s not in control of it.

SHARON: I suppose you’re right. (slumps onto bench)

MARVA: You know I’m right.

SHARON: I suppose I have trouble believing what I know because of what I saw.

MARVA: I grant you he’s a hunk.

SHARON: Don’t say that!

MARVA: Come on.

SHARON: Beautiful’s not “a hunk”.

MARVA: Beauty is as Beauty does.

SHARON: Paul’s beautiful.

MARVA: We must have different definitions.

SHARON: When he’s dancing. Improvising. When it’s just him and the music.

MARVA: O, he’s got talent--

SHARON: Talent’s skill. This is different. He’s open, revealing his spirit.
Which is beautiful. (MARVA pulls SHARON to her feet)

MARVA: Open your eyes! What Paul does is ugly.

SHARON: I can’t deny what I’ve seen.

MARVA: Love may be blind, but even a blind woman--

SHARON: Sometimes love sees best.

MARVA: Are you saying what he just did wasn’t ugly?

SHARON: I made it worse because I didn’t respond. I was -- floored.

MARVA: Of course! Coming out of the blue like that.

SHARON: But you said you expected--

MARVA: Well, I’ve seen him in action.

SHARON: Negative energy just floors me. I need a moment to process.

MARVA: Ugly’s hard to deal with. Afterwards, as well as at the time.

SHARON: My first response is to wonder what I’ve done to deserve it.

MARVA: That’s why he does it.

SHARON: Lay something like that on me, then walk away!

MARVA: What did you expect? (sits, invites SHARON to sit)

SHARON: (pacing) It’s just like 3 years ago all over again-- except condensed.

MARVA: Sucked in one more time. Poor baby.

(again inviting SHARON to sit next to her)

SHARON: Poor baby is right! It’s Daddy over again! This is just so Daddy!

MARVA: You think?

SHARON: Sure! Obviously. “Hi honey how’s it going-- bye got to get to the office.” I also realized that moving from New York last year was divorcing Daddy.

MARVA: Does your father know that?

SHARON: If he thought about it. He does give me the casual “Are you sure” business, little hints about haste makes waste sort of thing, but I’ve stopped expecting anything. He’ll never admit he even wants me to care.

MARVA: Wants you to want his approval...

SHARON: Earn it.

MARVA: Or kill yourself trying.

SHARON: So he can ignore me.

MARVA: Of course.

SHARON: Not even bother to notice.

MARVA: Classic.

SHARON: “Stay or leave, nothing’s keeping you.”

MARVA: You’re making progress, Sharon. Two years ago--

SHARON: Then why do I keep doing this Paul thing? Jesus!

MARVA: Why does anybody? He’s damn near irresistible.

SHARON: To idiots.

MARVA: Brains are not the point, here.

SHARON: You warned me, Alexandra warned me. I should listen.

MARVA: Safer to keep your distance.

SHARON: Behind closed doors, like a bitch in heat. Walk on a leash, muzzled.

MARVA: Whoa! (rises, embraces SHARON to calm her)

SHARON: Isn’t it? Like I’m taken over by pheromones, like I’m overcome. Smart women like you have more sense.

MARVA: More sense?

SHARON: Or maybe you’re missing a sense, so not susceptible.

MARVA: You’ve got to be kidding.

SHARON: So you’d never fall for--

MARVA: But Sharon, I did!

SHARON: You couldn’t.

MARVA: I knew at the time I shouldn’t, but--

SHARON: (pulling away) You can’t have! We’re best friends. You’d have told me.

MARVA: I did tell you.

SHARON: No you did not!

MARVA: But I did.

SHARON: I can’t believe-- How could you?

MARVA: I told you! I told you at Nicky’s wedding.


MARVA: Over the champagne.

SHARON: Not when did you tell-- you didn’t tell! When did you do it?

MARVA: Years ago. Before I even knew you.

SHARON: Years ago!

MARVA: It was the summer there was a fire in the sauna.

SHARON: You did it because there was a fire?

MARVA: Of course not! That was when, not why. (dropping onto bench)
Women don’t need a why with Paul, at least not a personal one. He projects that whatever it is he has-- maybe like you say, pheromones.
He directs it at you, and “why” is beside the point.

SHARON: Not to me it isn’t.

MARVA: Because I wanted to! At the time.

SHARON: So 3 years ago, all the time I was confiding in you, and you were ha ha “helping” me--

MARVA: I told you! I warned you.

SHARON: From your heights of superiority.

MARVA: Superiority?

SHARON: I should never have trusted you. If I’d known you were Paul’s lover--

MARVA: One of Paul’s lovers! Paul’s hundreds of lovers. Paul’s one night stands. (pause. SHARON just stares.) You can’t take Paul personally. It’s like being jealous of the Easter Bunny, who gives out a treat to any good little girl who believes in him.

SHARON: Seeing me with you all the time, he probably thought I’m like you.

MARVA: Right. A female.

SHARON: Someone who looks at him and sees a “hunk”. A one night stand.

MARVA: He doesn’t care! If anything, Paul prefers that.

SHARON: Because it’s easy. You’ve spoiled him, you and the others....

MARVA: Don’t live in a fantasy, Sharon. Paul doesn’t care. If you care,
he’ll punish you. Over and over.

SHARON: I deserve it, listening to you.

MARVA: Your life will be scenes like the one you just got hit with.

SHARON: Maybe.

MARVA: What can I do but warn you? Learn from my--

SHARON: You’ve done quite enough. So just stop.

MARVA: Stop what?

(SHARON stares at Marva coldly, then turns and walks out. It takes the shell shocked MARVA a moment to “process” that she is being rejected, but then she pulls herself together and runs out after her friend.)

MARVA: Sharon? Sharon!



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