An Act of the Unconscious
The Quiet One
The Quiet One
(Lights up on the Voice standing center stage)
Voice: Simple. One. Two. Three. Three of a kind. Three is a magic number. Twice it makes six. Three times it makes 9. (Pacing) Comedies can happen in threes. (Tone gets darker) Tragedies can happen in threes. (Tone picks up) Three can meet randomly. Three stories can become one. The Workaholic. (Enters from SR, moves to Upstage Center) The Discouraged. (Enters from SL stays Upstage Left) and the Quiet One. (Enters from SR, stays Upstage Right) The Workaholic, tired from a long day at the office, expects to get a good night’s rest for once. (Lays down) The Discouraged, who barely moved from the couch, falls into the depths of his bed, sad that Fate hasn’t made its move. (Lays down) And the Quiet One, speaking nothing, emitting no emotion, falls asleep, keeping her world in her own head. And yet none of them know. They don’t know each other. Their worlds haven’t collided in any way. Yet they seem to be the victims of imagination’s folly. They have yet to realize that they share a dream. Not some dream to change the world, mind you, but a dream that normally takes place in a single mind; an act of the unconscious, if you will. Look and see as what starts out as a single nightmare, becomes three times a nightmare. (Lights dim and everyone exits except the Workaholic. He/she gets up. Lights up)
Workaholic: This is the most outrageous thing anyone has asked me to do! Five hundred pages! Spreadsheets. Timelines. Appointments. Paperwork. Why this is my dream! It’s not supposed to be like this. I need a break, damn it! I need some time! (Freezes. Enter the Voice)
Voice: Time. Ticking away. Every tick of the clock brings one closer to their destiny or lack thereof. Time. The essence of Fate. (Exits. Enter Discouraged. Workaholic still frozen.)
Discouraged: What!? Another rejection? No! I’m never going to get into college! I’ve been trying for so many years and nothing! Nobody has accepted me! Not even in my dream! Maybe I’m not destined to go. I’m so tired of rejection! I can’t take it anymore! I wish there was a way out! (Freezes. Enter the Voice)
Voice: A way out. A hole to crawl into. A security blanket. Each holds an escape. A place where someone can feel safe. (Exits. Enter Quiet One. Workaholic and Discouraged are still frozen.)
Quiet One: What are all these lights? Why am I here? Stop watching me! I thought I’d be safe here! It is a dream isn’t it? This isn’t a show, it’s my head! My head, damn it! Mine! Me! I just want to be alone! Why is this happening! What’s going on!? (Freezes. Enter Voice)
Voice: Why do things never go right? Why does it seem that the world is never on your side? Why? That’s the question. Is there an answer to this profound question? Ask it over and over again in a different way. Why now? Why here? Why this? (All three unfreeze)
All three: Why me?! (All three freeze again) Voice: Why you, indeed. Why are you here? And how (Pause) are you going to get out? (Exits) (All three unfreeze, afraid and upset, suddenly noticing that they aren’t alone.)
Workaholic: Who are you?
Discouraged: What does it matter?
Workaholic: It matters. What are you doing in my dream?
Discouraged: Your dream? I believe this is my dream. You invaded my head.
Workaholic: Well what about you? (Looks at the Quiet One, who then curls up in a ball on the floor) What’s your excuse?
Quiet One: I…I just…I don’t… (Fades off)
Discouraged: Oh that helps. Now what? We’re all stuck here in my head…
Workaholic: Don’t you mean my head?
Discouraged: No, I meant what I said.
Workaholic: How can it be your head if I’m here with Little Miss Crazy over there?
Discouraged: Oh, well that was uncalled for.
Workaholic: I’ll show you uncalled for… (Moves towards Discouraged, rolling up sleeve.)
Discouraged: Oh, that’s how you want to play, is it? Well then, let’s play! (They start to fight)
Quiet One: (Softly) Stop it… Hey, I said stop… (Gets up) Stop! (The fighting continues) I said stop! (Stomps her foot forcefully) STOP DAMN IT STOP! (The Fighting Stops)
Workaholic: (Trying to act tough) Well well, look who’s decided to come out of the strait jacket.
Discouraged: You know, I don’t think she appreciates that…
Quiet One: Yeah, you’re right, and I don’t appreciate people talking for me, either. (Both look at her in amazement) I’m sorry… (Sits back down in her ball and rocks)
Workaholic: Now look what you did. If it were left to me… Discouraged: If it were left to you she’d probably be a mute.
Workaholic: Oh come on! It’s not my fault she doesn’t talk. (With sudden realization) Maybe it’s because it’s her fault we’re here.
Discouraged: Well we still haven’t figured out whose head we’re in so we can’t…
Quiet One: (Looks up) It’s in all three.
Discouraged: How is that possible?
Quiet One: We’re stuck in the same dream.
Workaholic: Thank you for stating the obvious.
Quiet One: Well something obviously connects us and that’s why we’re here.
Workaholic: But what’s the connection?
Quiet One: That’s what I haven’t figured out yet…
Discouraged: Well… (With slight reluctance) maybe we should get to know each other better. We don’t even know each other’s names.
Workaholic: Well I’m…I’m…Damn it.
Workaholic: I don’t remember my name… (Begins to panic)
Quiet One: Oh no…
Workaholic: I don’t know my name! (Panic increases)
Quiet One: (Trying to hide her anxiety) I don’t remember mine either…
Discouraged: What’s happening to us!
Workaholic: (On the verge of breaking down) Don’t ask me, I’m in the same predicament you are.
Discouraged: What do we do now!? (Lights dim and the three “victims” look around in a panic)
Voice: (From offstage) Good evening, you three. (They all look around)
Quiet One: Who is that? Who’s there?
Voice: Who am I? (Laughs) To put it simply, I am the Voice. The one you hide from yourselves; the one buried in the bowels of your unconscious; the one who knows how miserable you really are; the one you thought you never had.
Workaholic: What do you want?
Discouraged: Why are we here?
Quiet One: What did we do?
All three: Why me!?
Voice: (Offstage) Ah, that is the question, isn’t it? Good question, all, good question, indeed. That is what you are here for, now, isn’t it?
Workaholic: Why can’t we remember our names?!
Voice: In here you have no names. In here you are what you made yourselves out to be. (Pause as the three “victims” look around) The Workaholic! (The Workaholic falls) The Discouraged! (The Discouraged falls) The Quiet One! (The Quiet One falls) That’s who you are now! (Pause) You’re wondering why you’re here now, aren’t you? You all have one thing in common, if not your utter confusion and sharing of one dream, or in this case, one nightmare. Figure it out. What do three complete strangers have so much in common that they end up in the same dream? What is it about all of you (Pause) that put you here? (Lights brighten)
Workaholic: Why don’t you tell us then! Hello? Hello! Ah, damn it! Now what?
Discouraged: It said we all have something in common…but…we don’t even know who we are anymore. For all we know we could be completely different.
Quiet One: Hmm…we can’t be that different.
Workaholic: Chances are pretty good that we are!
Quiet One: Think about what the Voice said. We have titles now. Remember what it called us? It called me the Quiet One. (Pause)
Workaholic: It called me the Workaholic.
Discouraged: It called me the Discouraged.
Quiet One: See? We know something about ourselves already. (Pause) Hey, what about childhood?
Workaholic: What about it?
Discouraged: How will that help?
Quiet One: Maybe if we remember our lifestyles growing up that could help us solve this puzzle.
Workaholic: If we can’t remember our names then how do you expect us to remember our past?
Quiet One: The Voice took the memory of our names away, but from what I gather, it left everything else.
Discouraged: So we’ll still be nameless, but…we’ll still have our past?
Quiet One: Exactly.
Discouraged: I guess it’s worth a shot.
Quiet One: Think as hard as you can. Remember.
(Lights fade as Workaholic is spotlighted. The other two “victims” are frozen)
Workaholic: I was born into a conservative, upper class family. We never worried about money. I was very popular and I grew up to be a big time executive…the CEO of my father’s company…who spends all my free time at the office working even…even when I don’t need to. I’m stuck in the pattern of “make your parents happy,” but…I’m not happy.
(The Workaholic freezes and the Discouraged is spotlighted)
Discouraged: I was born to a…well a middle class family; I guess you’d call it that. We always had money, but very little and I couldn’t get into college without money. I’m used to rejection, though; by my parents, my friends…hell even everyone at school. I was set up to fail by everyone around me. I want to be my own person and I want to make something of my life but…how can I do that if nobody accepts me?
(The Discouraged freezes and the Quiet One is spotlighted)
Quiet One: I was born into a proper home. I was home schooled. I never had any friends, really, except my siblings; there were many of them. I was the youngest. I was always told to watch my tongue, for if I said anything bad in the world, I would be shunned. For that I never left the house. I worry about everything. I’m stuck in a world where nobody knows me for who I am.
Workaholic: Well, then. That explains that. We’ve come from three completely different backgrounds.
Discouraged: So it can’t be that…
Workaholic: What is it, then?
Discouraged: Well it isn’t personality, it isn’t childhood…
Quiet One: It’s got to be something deeper than that.
Workaholic: But what?
Discouraged: We made it pretty clear that our childhoods aren’t what connect us.
Quiet One: There’s got to be something deeper…there’s got to.
(Lights fade and they all exit. The Voice enters as the lights go up.)
Voice: It can’t be personality. It can’t be family. It can’t be childhood. What can it be? How can it be? Why them? What? How? Why? What? How? Why? What? How? Why? That word: Why. Why them? Are they truly as different as they thought they were? It can’t be personality, they say. One’s a Workaholic. One’s Discouraged. One’s Quiet. It can’t be family, they say. One grew up in a rich, high class, worry-free life. One grew up in a middle-class, tight-on-money, rejection-based life. One grew up in a quiet, proper, un-social life. It can’t be childhood, they say. The favorite; The reject; The runt. They are different in every way (Pause) except one.
(Lights dim and the Voice exits. The three re-enter on stage)
Workaholic: There isn’t even anything here! We’re stuck in a barren wasteland!
Discouraged: Nothing…I’ve never been in such a… a nothingness. It’s eerie.
Quiet One: What is it…?
Workaholic: There’s got to be something here…
Discouraged: There’s no way out…
Quiet One: What is it…?
Workaholic: We’re trapped!
Discouraged: No way out!
Quiet One: What is it!?
Workaholic: Will you stop it!? You’re never going to find out!
Discouraged: No way out…
Workaholic: We’re stuck here for eternity. We’re stuck in a dream. We’ve lost our identity, our childhood, our NAMES for crying out loud!
Discouraged: We’re lost…
Workaholic: It’s a joke! A damn joke! (Looks all around, frantically) WHOEVER YOU ARE! IT’S NOT FUNNY! WE GIVE UP! WE GIVE UP! IT’S NOT FUNNY! (Collapses in a fit of sobs)
Discouraged: (Whispers) Gone… (Begins singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” and rocks back and fourth)
Quiet One: (In quiet thought, begins humming along with the Discouraged, then with sudden realization) I’ve got it! (Workaholic stops sobbing and the Discouraged stops singing)
Workaholic: What did you just say?
Quiet One: I’ve got it!
Discouraged: How? Explain.
Quiet One: I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before!
Workaholic and Discouraged: What is it!?
Quiet One: Though we are different by appearance, family, childhood, social status…
Workaholic and Discouraged: Go on.
Quiet One: We are similar in one light.
Workaholic and Discouraged: What?
Quiet One: We’re miserable. We do what the world wants us to do every day and we don’t stray because it’s what we’ve always known!
Workaholic: But aren’t there other people like that?
Discouraged: What’s so special about us?
Quiet One: We were picked at random. You see, we want a change, but we’re afraid to take it. We actually wonder, “Why?” when we have the answer right in front of us! We… (Lights go out and the backlights go on. You can hear the Quiet One scream)
Workaholic: What the hell?! Discouraged: What happened!?
Voice: She’s free. Gone. Cast away into the world that she wants to change. Gone. Now what will you do? No light to guide you. No sanity within the insane. All you two do is ask yourselves why? Why? Why? But nothing ever gets done to correct that why. Three came. One went. One went to make something. Two stay to keep nothing. And now you keep on asking…so go. Stay. You can’t escape it. It’s always going to be there. You’re never going to get out. You’re mine.
Workaholic: What do I do?
Discouraged: What do I do?
Workaholic: Why am I here?
Discouraged: Why am I here?
Workaholic: Why can’t I leave?
Discouraged: Why can’t I leave?
Workaholic and Discouraged: WHY!? (Exit)
Voice: And so it is: (The Discouraged and The Workaholic’s heads drop) Why?