The Voice Folk

In The Voice Folk, Old Mother Heck speaks to us sitting before a fire in a cave where she lives in the woods outside Armitage.  She warns us about the Voice Folk, who have been around long before the Indians and who are invisible to humans.  But the mournful cry they make draws people to them until they are lost.  One day, she says, she will go deep into the cave to see the Voice Folk and never come back.

Face in the Window 

Face in the Window is spoken by a woman identified in the script as Shelley.  In dim light we can see three chairs and a window.  Shelley tells us about a woman who takes the train to work in the city, passing through abandoned, devastated buildings where people once lived.  Sometimes, she says, the tracks pass close to buildings where people live.  One morning she sees a face of a young woman who raises a hand and presses her palm against the glass, as if asking for help.  She doesn’t see the woman on the ride home that night, but the next morning, in the same window, she sees what she had seen the previous morning.  She thinks it must be a trick of the light, that the same girl would not be at the same window at exactly that time in that exact posture.  The next morning she sees the girl again and is unable to concentrate at work, staring at the wall while her phone rings.  Her boss asks her if she’s sick, and an old woman on the train home asks her if she’s ill.  She dreams of searching for the girl and the next morning calls in sick to work.  She can’t stop thinking of the girl and takes a cab to that part of the city where the building is.  The cab driver is not happy about driving in that part of town and refuses to wait for her when she gets out.  She goes into the building, thinks she hears music, and climbs the stairs.  When she gets to what she thinks is the right floor, she goes to the side of the building facing the tracks and walks to the end of the hall.  The number has been torn off the opened door, but she sees the window and three chairs.  Through the window she can see the tracks and hears the clatter of the train approaching.  She looks out the window and, in the passing train, sees a girl looking back at her.  She raises her hand and rests her palm against the glass.  Lights out.


Uncertainty, a third Laura monologue for an attractive women in her late twenties sitting at a wooden table in a circle of light, also deals with ambiguity and the inexplicable.  Laura, talking perhaps to a detective about a death in the house, cannot remember how she got blood on her hands.  She says that there were a lot of people partying and the next morning “he” was dead.  She says she takes pills to help her sleep and admits to sleepwalking when she was a girl, dreaming she was sitting naked on the front lawn but feeling really cold and seeing the school bus go by with all the faces looking out the windows at her.  She tells the person questioning her that she wants to go home and clean up the room.  She says her stepfather had knocked on the door during a thunderstorm.  She hadn’t seen him since she had gone off to college and she says she would have had no reason to kill him, that once he had saved her from drowning with his strong hands.  She mentions that a big gray cat had gotten into house and she remembers hearing owls and three women talking about our inability to know at the same time the position and velocity of a particle.  She thinks her life is like that—sometimes she knows where she is but doesn’t know where she’s going, and sometimes she knows where she’s going but doesn’t know where she is.  She asks if she dreamed that the man’s hands were cut off.  She relates a nightmare she used to have about looking into a mirror and seeing a praying mantis looking back at her.  She says the man helped form her mind but that she had to leave and had lost touch with him.  She tells about coming home late the night before she left for college and finding the man burning his book.  She knew he wanted to kiss her, but he didn’t, and when she went to bed she left her door open but he didn’t come in.  She says she never called him or wrote to him and didn’t pick up the phone when he called.  She put all his letters, unopened, in a box.  She says that when he arrived on her doorstep in the rain, looking very sick, she took him up to the guest room and then went back to the party and continued drinking.  In the morning, awaking naked in her bed, she wrapped a sheet around her and went to the guest room and found blood everywhere.  She thinks somebody must have come in during the night, thatperhaps he was followed, that somebody was after him.  She says she just wants to wake up or else go to sleep and not wake up at all and not dream.  The worst thing, she says, is the uncertainty, never knowing for sure what’s real, and maybe not wanting to know.  She asks if she can go.


A monologue for an 18-year-old Laura, Telepathy, is addressed to an older man who is burning a book he has worked on for years.  Laura says she knows, a lot of the time, what the man is thinking.  She says that just before she goes to sleep she hears the voices of other people in her head.  She wonders why the man has been drinking so much lately and asks if he is upset because she is leaving for college.  She says she is grateful to him for looking after her when her father left and her mother went crazy.  She says she learned from him that truth was a lie and that telepathy is not a rational thing.  She says she dreamed that she looked in the mirror and saw a praying mantis looking back at her.  She remembers another dream in which she is wandering, covered in blood, through a house of mirrors, and sometimes she dreams that Death comes to claim her and he has her father’s hands.  She remembers that her father once put his hands around her mother’s neck, strangling her after she tormented him verbally for hours, and then walked out of their lives.  She says the stepfather never touches her even though he wants to and suggests that her mother left because she knew of his desire.  She says she is going to bed but will leave her door open in case he needs something in the middle of the night.


Entanglement, a monologue for a “very attractive woman in her thirties,” is set in a bar.  The woman, identified in the script as Laura, speaks to a man whom she later calls Albert, who has bought her a drink.  She talks to him about ambiguity and making choices and tells of a novelist she knew who liked to think he was always right and wanted her to be wrong.  He wanted to be right more than he wanted to have sex with her.  She thinks Albert would say pretty much anything to get her clothes off but he may also be wary of getting into some sort of entanglement that he can’t get out of.  She wonders if people deserve contempt because they ask different sorts of questions.  She says that if anyone had suggested in 1900 that what happens to one particle will affect another particle on the other side of the universe they would have been ridiculed and destroyed.  She says she doesn’t mind Albert looking at her breasts and believes that anything may be ambiguous until someone pays attention to it.  She says loneliness is the answer to every equation and that women who go into bars with mirrors are taking a chance and that the man who may go home with her is also taking a chance.  She asks Albert what he wants and says he must decide “right now.”


In Blitz, part of the Pendragon cycle, Andrew McDuffy Rose, a 42-year-old actor, speaks to the audience from a table in a New York bar in 1975.  He tells us how, as a child during the Blitz in London, he and his brother and sister decided to tell their parents that they refused to be sent to a safer place in the country.  He speaks of actors running impromptu line rehearsals of Shakespeare in air raid shelters as bombs were exploding, and he remembers one of the very best performances they ever gave to an audience of three.  Nothing since, he says, has ever seemed so real to him as that time and place.  He thinks that somehow the stage performances touched a strange, deep, archetypal truth.  He says his brother Duncan is a competent, intelligent actor but doesn’t have the fire that audiences are drawn to.  When, at night in a strange city, he hears sirens, he remembers how they told their parents that they felt it was their duty to remain and play their parts, and how their parents allowed them to stay.  He wants to feel again that moment when his father was so proud of him.

Beavers on Uranus

In Beavers on Uranus, Portia speaks to her date about the evening being a complete waste of time.  She says all guys are only interested in her boobs.  She relates to the guy who’s been strangling people with sock puppets.  She says finding happiness in love is as likely as finding intelligent, lap-dancing beavers on Uranus.  She tells her date that he would say just about anything to get her underpants off and wonders what he finds attractive about her, but she is pretty sure his answer would be more bullshit.  She eats peanut butter and cheese before going to sleep so that she will be able to remember her nightmares, but now she can’t sleep at all.  She says falling in love is like stepping into a big shit hole because love makes us blind and stupid and we don’t even see the person we think we’re in love with because we just project onto them something that reminds us of somebody else that we think we used to love.  Imagination kills, and love kills.  But, she says, she is too tired and lonely and in despair to make him leave.  She says this is his lucky night; she will show him her sock puppet collection.

The Mountains of the Moon

Jane, in The Mountains of the Moon, is sitting naked under a white sheet on a white table.  She says she is cold and can hear voices from other rooms but she has never had a dream like this.  She remembers a party, someone looking in the window, and splintered panes of glass.  She can’t understand most of what the voices are saying but she remembers having a conversation with someone about humans’ limited understanding of the universe.  She says someone was following her, taking pictures of her.  She dreamed she woke up on the Mountains of the Moon, the source of the Nile, but also a location on the Moon.  She remembers a G. M. Hopkins sonnet about the mind having mountains but she can’t remember who she is.  We hear the sound of a telephone ringing and then stopping.  She thinks she may be pregnant.  She says all dialogue is an illusion.  She says other people are in the room, also naked under sheets and very cold.  Her name, she says, is Jane Doe.  She lies back on the table and pulls the sheet over her body.  She tells “little baby” that God is coming to cut her open and bring her into the light.  She pulls the sheet over her head and the light fades and goes out.


Loop is spoken by a young girl named Meredith standing by a lake in the autumn of 1954.  She tells us that she does things that she cannot explain and, feeling guilty, keeps thinking about what she did over and over, like a movie loop from The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  She says she tries to be a good person but then she does things she can’t believe she’s doing.  She says sometimes she feels as if she is standing outside herself watching the incredibly stupid thing she’s doing.  But although the moment is gone she keeps playing it over and over in her head.  She says she hurts other people but she can’t stop and can never explain.  She thinks perhaps this is why her mother ran away, because she couldn’t help it.  She thinks she is like her mother and hates the movie about the creature from the black lagoon because at the drive-in she lost her virginity and got knocked up while that movie was playing.  That was where she lost her soul and can’t get it back.  The baby is growing in her and she can’t tell anybody because nobody understands and the loop of the creature coming out of the water keeps playing over and over and there’s no place she can run to get away.


Maura, a woman of 50 in Drones, speaks on a bare stage about drones coming every day and about the signs “Drones Save Lives” that are everywhere.  She says no one knows where the drones are going to hit or who will be killed.  But she thinks that if they kill you, you must have been guilty, and that a certain amount of quantum uncertainty is built into the system that may now be completely automated.  She says that most of this place is a wasteland and someday there won’t be any people left, just piles of rubble and skeletons, and flying about it all will be the drones, “like giant pterodactyls.” dropping bombs on the ruins, “saving lives.”