It is a warm, still night in Phnom Penh. Along the banks of the Bassac River a row of waterside guesthouses hug the shore like boats that have gotten fat and forgotten how to sail.
It is 3am and the variety of backpackers have left the deck and are asleep or having anonymous sex in their cabins. A stray cat angles through the night, looking for something to toy with. Read The Rest
This is an excerpt from the first draft of my new play ‘Shangri-la’.
LOUIS: My Mum tells me things twice and doesn’t realise. It’s not a death sentence I know, but it’s not great. So far in my life, I’ve stopped believing in my parents, God, love and myself. I could try meditation but I keep forgetting to get a timetable from the community centre. They probably have a website.
There’s so much else to do though. People make movies in 3D and there are cats bred to look like mini tigers. They’re called toygers. They’re adorable but you can’t believe in them. You can believe they exist, because they do, but you can’t live your life around them. There’s a distinction.
They have those paint machines at the hardware store now that can colour match anything. You can take in a tube of toothpaste from your bathroom or an old hanky from your sock draw and then it’s – boom – Colgate white or – zing – Grandpa Grey. But the computer doesn’t take into account what happens when there is a lot of this colour in a small room. I’m sure the algorithm is very advanced, within three decimals of accuracy, or whatever, but it can’t account for what will happen to the colour when it’s taken from this very real thing and made into liquid colour and then spread over a whole wall. It changes it entirely. Unless it’s a feature wall.
My hands are shaking.
Life is full of disappointments and I’m afraid this monologue is one of them. I don’t think neurotics should make theatre, but we seem to be the only ones interested in it these days.
If standing here fails, it’s all over. I can say good bye to my friends and family. I will have to move out of my house and cancel my library cards. I will give my clothes away to the Salvation Army and kids with sticky fingers will paw over all my old comic books. It will be the end. People from down the street will wonder what happened to that nice boy and there will be a redirection notice on all my mail with little yellow stickers that come from those reel printers with the stokes that Grace Brothers used to have. At my school reunion there will be just be a poster of me with a bad 90‘s haircut.
This is just me on this stage this is just me and my story and you and you listening. If I fuck it up then i’ll know. You might not cry or scream or walk away but things will change between us. It’s terrifying. Things will change and you will no longer be my friend. So here goes.