The aging actress, her rival, a transgender and dear, sweet Thelma: Four will audition for the role of Juliet, but which one will have what it takes to die the perfect death?
by Terry Dugan
Cast of Characters
FLORA, an aging local theatre star
VI’LET, also a local theatre star although aging slightly less
SAPPHIRE, a transgender person
THELMA, a very old woman
CLAPPY KAY, an unorthodox method director
SCENE: A room where a callback for the part of Juliet in the new Clappy Kay production of Romeo and Juliet is about to take place. Youthish stage veteran VI’LET prepares for the final audition.
My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy.
Like a forgotten spirit, she appears, as desired as a bag of garbage — about as useful as one, I might add. You poor, lost, disoriented woman. Let me escort you back to your nurses who must be losing sleep from your absence.
You insufferable hack. So witty. So blind to the limits of her talent. I will call it talent, that much I will. My mind can envision your audition: with talent you spread your legs wide apart. Not wide enough it seems: You’re here, I’m here.
A woman your age must have brain damage to even think she could play Juliet. A mother, a nurse, a ticket-taker: all these things I see in your sagging face. You imply I’m a whore, but you are here, this call-back, to play someone half your age. Women like you don’t make it to round two, not without pity, not without pretense.
Foolish Vi’let, women like me are you. In time. Women like me are you. You’ll see.
When I lose all touch with reality, I’ll be the first to tell you you were right.
So strange that I’m a threat to you, sweet child. Being full of youth must feel so empty.
(SAPPHIRE enters; he screams.)
Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my goodness! Vi’let Wilsted! Flora Dindle! Right here! An autograph. I need your autographs. I, of course, don’t have a pen or paper. If you both just stand there for a second I can make an autograph with my mind. There, there, hold on, almost there, I’ve got it. Vi’let, I adore your work to no end. There will only be one Desdemona. The Upper Umbria Dinner Theatre has been a shell of itself since you left.
Thank you. That was some time ago, of course.
Flora Dindle, the one who changed my life. The time I watched you play Hamlet’s Gertrude was the first day of the rest of my life. The Hicksburg Community Playhouse died, it just died, the day you left for … Broadway?
I must admit I did not catch your name.
Sapphire Jones. The grand jewel of denial.
Though your words are kind, you must forgive us. We must ask you to leave us to our thoughts as we slip into the zone of ourselves. This room you stumbled upon, dear Sapphire, is holding a callback for Juliet. Even us great actresses must prepare.
I was called-back for Juliet as well.
(SAPPHIRE cackles again.)
A man can’t play the part of Juliet.
I think you’re above name-calling, Flora.
You have a penis! I can see the bump!
Juliet was once played only by men.
People used to die of tooth infections.
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