ISSUE

06

AUGUST 2017

Monologue on Insistence

Reina Adriano

 “All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
– As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII


 

Wanting to disturb my thoughts the way time stretches out into a moment. The impulse to latch the present unto a memory – a scene to a presumption, an experience to an utterance. Mother, why did that happen? Do you believe in that? I talk about the temperance of the overabundance, ponder on the beauty of impermanence, the beauty of failure, why do I reduce feelings into words I myself cannot even grasp. And then I realize a theory for its failure: we don’t take into account a single narrative; we string together events, force them into an instance. Distentio – I once came across this word while reading a religious work: a disruption of a narrative, some kind of fragmentation, a longing for dispersal. What do we mean when we say “as old as time” when we cannot separate the timely from the timeless? The need to play pretend arises. My mother opens the television, the show flashes a mystery, strangers act out what was contained in the news, turns a real occurrence into a scene. Did he mean it when he committed the crime? What kind of question is that? I make easy distractions. What is it then to the people who were actually there when it happened? There are still a lot I can’t portray.

There are no curtains to be drawn, no light to be closed. The scene continues, but the dialogue ends. Revelation: a play is most powerful when it is silent. Considering thoughts inside the train, I am having a hard time discerning action. That makes me a very lousy character, I confess. Sometimes I wish I could forever be a narrator instead. Then there would be no necessity to cry for the characters I create. I would have to let the audience cry for them. I make nonfiction a metaphor because I can’t get what I want. Hence the tendency to resort to other things that resemble it. A silence is earned when everything has been said, when nothing has been gained. So I remove myself as a voice, expect the story to be something else in the absence of an I.

Maybe I’m looking for a direct version of the truth. Something to contradict what disturbs me: If something had happened to my mother the day I left her at the station, what would I have felt? I don’t know, but we haven’t talked to each other since then. A play is an approximation of real life. In the corner of the room, there is a flower wilting. I hope it teaches me the language of insistence. The elegance of passing time. A piece of truth magnified in a sentence, the word a witness. From here on: paragraphs are testimonies. The story as proof. I want lines that sound seamless, natural, and yet could still mean something. That’s how we are: we define events for ourselves, say everything in a certain span of time, as if everything can be said, something can be resolved within those moments. In the same way we try to look for ways to articulate a feeling, intersperse it within a story that has been retold in several ways. In the absence of an utterance, the play must speak.



Uptight women, like my mother, on being prim and proper, escalates to this: Self-control, as it should be – not only lines but also scene. After the reflections: I take no drama to heart but I have yet to resist my own emotions. Don’t laugh – jokes on you. Drama, as opposed to nonfiction: more dialogues, more scenery, less insight. How can it be as realistic as it can be? Allow me to rearrange myself for my performance. Suffice to say: a tragedy holds back, a comedy reveals.

OTHER WORKS IN THIS ISSUE