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What is a stalker? And what kind of life can a woman lead when she knows she is being followed, obsessively and perhaps dangerously, by one?
This is the dilemma facing Theresa Bedell, a reporter in New York, in Rebecca Gilman's tensely fascinating new play. When Theresa goes on an awkward blind date with a friend of a friend, she sees no reason to continue the relationshipbut the man, an attractive fellow named Tony, thinks otherwise. While Theresa is at first annoyed yet flattered by his continuing attention, her attitude gradually changes to one of fear and fury when he starts violently to menace her and those around her.
In brilliantly delineating the kind of terror a woman in full control of her life feels when everything around her suddenly seems to be a threat, Gilman probes the dark side of relationships in the 1990s with the rich insight and compelling characterizations that have distinguished her earlier plays and made her one of the most exciting young playwrights working today.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Rebecca Gilman is also the author of the play The Glory of Living, which received the 1998 American Theater Critics Association's Osborn Award. She is the recipient of the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the George Devine Award, the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Scott McPherson Award, and an Illinois Arts Council playwrighting fellowship. A native of Alabama, Ms. Gilman lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Read an Excerpt
Boy Gets Girl
A table in a bar, two chairs. TONY sits alone, a little nervous, waiting for someone. He is an attractive man in his thirties. He is drinking a beer. THERESA enters, a bit hesitant. She carries a big bag, looks a little flustered. They stare at each other for a second.
TONY Theresa? (They laugh awkwardly.) Hi. (He rises, offers his hand, she shakes it.)
THERESA I'm sorry I'm late.
TONY It's okay.
THERESA No, I just ... I didn't want you to be sitting here thinking I wasn't going to come. I mean, I wouldn't do that. I tried to call but I can't get my phone to work. They gave me this new phone ... (She pulls a cellular phone out of her bag.) And I don't know. The display thing comes on but then I can't get a dial tone. (She pushes a button, listens, holds it out to TONY.) Do you know anything about these?
TONY No. (Takes it, listens.) I don't think it's working.
THERESA Anyway, I'm really sorry.
TONY It's okay, really.
THERESA Well, anyway. Hi.
TONY Hi. (Beat.) Do you want to sit down?
THERESA Yeah. I think, though, I might get a beer.
TONY Let me get you one.
THERESA No. It's okay.
TONY Let me get you one. What would you like?
THERESA Whatever. Just nothing dark.
TONY Do you want a Weiss beer?
THERESA Is that the big tall one?
THERESA I don't think so. Just an, you know, an ale or something. (He starts off.) Let me give you some money.
TONY No, you can get the next one. Okay?
THERESA Okay. (He exits. She sits. The phone rings. She quickly answers it.) What? ... Oh, hey. Don't call me on the phone ... (She looks to where TONY exited.) I lied, I said it was broken and I couldn't call. I was late. (Beat.) Well, I was thinking I wouldn't come. I was just sort of walking around. (Beat.) Look, I came, I'm here, so don't, you know, get all ... whatever. (Beat.) He's fine, I guess. I've been here two minutes. (Beat.) I've been here two minutes and I don't know. All right? (Beat.) Okay, you know what? I'm hanging up now. (Beat.) I'll call you tonight. (Beat.) I'm pretty sure I'll be home in time to call you. (Beat.) No, he's fine. I'm not saying that. (TONY enters with a beer, gives her a slightly puzzled look. She's been watching, knows he's coming. She makes a motion to him for one more second.) I'm going now. Goodbye. (Moving the phone away) Goodbye. (She looks for a button, hangs up. To TONY) That was Linda.
THERESA (Looking at the phone) I guess people can call in, but I can't call out.
TONY What did she want?
THERESA She wanted to know how it was going.
TONY You just got here.
THERESA That's what I told her.
TONY Oh. (Small beat.) I got you an India Pale Ale. Is that okay?
THERESA That's great, thanks. It used to be a lot easier when everybody just drank Miller High Life.
TONY I never had Miller High Life.
THERESA Well, if you had been living the high life you would have. (Beat.) I mean, it's the champagne of beers.
TONY Maybe I should try it.
THERESA No. I'm sorry. You know, I have kind of a dumb sense of humor. I'm usually not serious when I say stupid things like that.
THERESA I mean, it's obviously not very funny either, so don't feel bad.
TONY No, I mean ... I'm sorry, too. I guess I'm a little nervous.
THERESA Me, too.
TONY Oh, good. I mean, not good you're nervous, but good I'm not alone.
THERESA I understand.
TONY I've never actually been on a blind date before.
TONY Have you?
THERESA Tons. Nobody who actually knows me will go out with me. (Beat.) That was a joke.
TONY (Laughs.) Sorry.
THERESA I'll just stop trying. No, actually, I had a blind date in high school once, when I was a junior. I was supposed to meet this guy from another school at a party and when I did, he asked me if I wanted to go out to his van and "fool around" and I said I had to go to the bathroom and left with some friends. (Beat.) I guess I probably shouldn't tell you that, on your first blind date, how I just ditched some guy.
TONY I think it's good you ditched him. I mean, anybody with a van.
THERESA (Smiles.) Exactly. What'd you drive in high school?
TONY A Dodge Dart.
THERESA Cool. I drove a Chrysler Cordoba.
TONY With fine Corinthian leather.
TONY So you know Linda from work?
THERESA I do. Before she quit to go off and have babies and everything, she was my research assistant.
TONY You know, I have to make a confession: I've never read your magazine.
THERESA Well, first of all, it's not my magazine, and second of all, don't worry about it.
TONY What sort of stuff do you write?
THERESA All sorts, really.
TONY Do you get to pick? I mean, what you write about?
THERESA Usually. A couple of weeks ago I did a story about Edith Wharton's upstate estate. (Small beat.) That was kind of hard to say. Upstate estate.
TONY I don't ... I don't know who she is.
THERESA Oh, she's a writer. She's dead, first of all. But she was a New York writer from the turn of the century.
TONY Is she really famous?
THERESA I guess her most famous book is Age of Innocence?
TONY Oh, with Winona Ryder?
THERESA Exactly. So, that was interesting. But then, I do get assignments still and it's usually something annoying. Like, on Thursday, I have to go interview Les Kennkat.
TONY The filmmaker?
THERESA I think "film" is a generous term.
TONY I thought he was dead.
THERESA So did I, actually. (They laugh.) So you met Linda through her sister?
TONY Right. I met Sarah at Michigan.
TONY And when I moved here, you know, I looked up everybody I even vaguely knew because I was terrifiedthis is the first big city I ever lived in
THERESA Where are you from?
TONY Terre Haute?
THERESA The home of Eugene Debs.
THERESA And Theodore Dreiser and Paul Dresser.
TONY I guess so.
THERESA On the banks of the Wabash.
TONY It is. Have you been there?
TONY Oh. Well, anyway, I looked up Sarah, and then, my first Thanksgiving here, she took pity on me and took me along to Linda's for turkey. Then, I guess you know, Sarah moved to Boston last spring. But that's how I met Linda. But I have to be honest, I don't know Linda well. I mean, I hardly ever see her.
THERESA I don't know her well either and I see her all the time.
TONY Oh. Is she ... I mean, do you not get along?
THERESA No, we get along fine. She just ... she's certain she knows how I should live my life and she's always telling me what to do next.
TONY Like, maybe, go on a date with me.
THERESA Like, maybe that, but that's okay.
THERESA How long have you lived here?
TONY Four years.
THERESA Do you like it?
TONY I do now. I really hated it at first. I just thought everybody was so mean and it's so dirty here.
THERESA I know.
TONY But after a while it started to grow on me, and now, I mean, this might sound weird, but part of what I like about it now is how big it is. I like being able to just blend in. There are so many people, I just feel anonymous. I don't know what that says about me ...
THERESA I agree. I think it makes you a little less selfinvolved.
THERESA So what do you do?
TONY I do computer work. I work for KCS, and what they do is, they go into a business and design software specifically for the business, and then I go in and train people how to use it.
THERESA Do you like it?
TONY I like the work itself, but the thing I don't like is that I move around to a new site every two or three months, so I never really get to know anybody I'm working with. Or even if I do, it's sort of like, what's the point because I'm never going to see them again.
THERESA I see.
TONY (Beat.) But anyway, I don't want to ramble.
THERESA You're not rambling.
TONY I know we only agreed to have a beer tonight ...
TONY So if you need to go, or whatever, I understand ...
THERESA Oh. Do you want me to go?
TONY No, no. I was actually going to ask you before you went ...I mean, not to be too forward or anything, but I thought I'd just go ahead and ask if you'd like to do something this weekend?
THERESA Just to get it on the table.
TONY Yeah, just to get it on the table.
THERESA Yeah. You know? I would like that.
TONY Great. We could have dinner maybe.
THERESA I can't do anything Friday night because I have to cover this benefit thing, but I'm free on Saturday.
TONY Saturday would be great. What's the benefit?
THERESA Some MoMA thing to get some MoMA thing going so MoMA people can give money to MoMA.
TONY You don't like MoMA?
THERESA Oh, sure, of course. I just don't like being around rich people. Have you ever noticed how rich people eat a lot when there's free food? Then poor people like me go hungry because we can't get to the buffet?
TONY You could stand to eat more, too.
THERESA Oh. Thank you, I guess.
TONY You're really thin.
THERESA So what do you do when you're not working?
TONY Well, I run every day, and I like to do all the usual stuff, you know. Go to movies and read and watch TV and all that. Go for long walks. (Small beat.) That was a joke.
THERESA It was?
TONY Yeah. You know how, in the personals, everybody says they like to go for long walks. I always figured, if all those desperate single people really went for those long walks, eventually, wouldn't they run into each other?
THERESA Eventually, wouldn't they all find each other in the park?
THERESA Do you like baseball?
TONY I'm not a big sports guy. I still follow Michigan football.
THERESA Don't they have the largest college stadium in the country?
TONY I don't know. Do you like baseball?
THERESA Oh yeah.
TONY Yankees or Mets?
THERESA Yankees, please.
TONY The only women I ever knew who liked sports liked them just because their boyfriends did.
THERESA Oh yeah?
TONY Did you have a boyfriend who was a big Yankees fan or something?
TONY My dad was a huge Cardinals fan.
TONY Yeah, well, any kind of sports, really, he was just a fanatic. Which is where, I guess, the word "fan" comes from, obviously. He was always pushing me to play football, when I was in high school, and I really didn't want to, but my mom talked me into it, because she said ... well, her reasoning was that we didn't get along, my dad and me, because we didn't have much in common, so this way we would have some sort of connection. But I was really terrible at it, I'm sure in large part because I hated it so much, and so all it really did was give him another excuse to make fun of me. And then, you know, I just felt completely betrayed by my mother.
THERESA I'm sorry.
TONY Oh. Well ... (Suddenly very self-conscious. Making ajoke of it) "And that's why I'm so fucked up today." (THERESA laughs.) I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get into all that.
THERESA I won't ever mention the Yankees around you again.
TONY No, no. Not that. Maybe you could take me to see a Yankees game sometime and I could learn to love them, too.
THERESA Maybe so.
TONY When does baseball season end?
THERESA At the end of September if they don't make the play-offs.
THERESA But they will.
TONY Well, maybe we could go see them now.
THERESA Well, first of all, they're out of town for a while, and second of all, let's not move that fast.
TONY Oh. I'm sorry.
THERESA It's okay, I just ... you know.
TONY Right. (Beat.) So tell me, what's your favorite story? That you ever wrote?
THERESA Boy, that's a hard one. I don't really have a favorite.
TONY Did you study journalism in college?
THERESA I was a history major in college, but I wrote for the school paper, and then I went to graduate school in journalism at Indiana Bloomington.
TONY Oh! I think Linda mentioned that, but I forgot. So you were in Bloomington.
TONY What years?
THERESA It was ... twelve ... fifteen years ago.
TONY Then I was actually ... I was just starting at Michigan then.
THERESA Oh, man, I'm older than you.
TONY You're robbing the cradle.
TONY I had a guy tell me once that men who go out with older women really want to have sex with their mothers. But I don't think that's true. Do you think that's true?
THERESA I wouldn't know. But I think I'm only about three years older than you are, so ... (Beat.) Was that ...? Was that a joke?
TONY (Lying) Yeah.
THERESA Good, because you scared me there for a second.
TONY See? I, too, have a dry sense of humor.
THERESA I do see. You might actually outdo me, drynesswise.
TONY I think we have a lot in common.
THERESA Well, we'll find that out, won't we?
TONY We will. (Pause. THERESA finishes her beer.) Do you want another one?
THERESA Um, actually, I do have some work I need to do tonight. I've got a deadline tomorrow. And I was just ... I was just planning on the one beer actually. So I think I'll go.
TONY But we're still on for Saturday?
TONY Can I walk you home, or ...?
THERESA I think I'm just going to grab a cab.
TONY Where do you live?
THERESA Upper East Side. It's, you know, dull but quiet.
TONY Which street?
THERESA Um ... Seventy-fourth.
TONY Near the park?
THERESA Near the park, yeah.
TONY I live down on Perry. Do you know where that is?
THERESA I do. Nice neighborhood.
TONY I like it. There are a lot of nice bars and restaurants. Little shops and stuff. There's one place down there called Allison's? (THERESA shakes her head.) It's just a little place but they have really good food and it's not too expensive. I go in there enough, they sort of know me there.
THERESA That's nice.
TONY Maybe we could go there Saturday night.
THERESA Sure. That'd be great.
TONY I'll call you, then, later this week, and we can set up a time.
TONY Maybe Thursday or Friday, during the day. Can I call you at work? I mean, is that okay?
THERESA That's fine. If I'm not there, just leave me a voice mail message.
TONY I don't know if I have your home phone number.
THERESA If you don't get me at work, just leave a message and I'll call back.
TONY Okay. (Beat.) Well, it was very nice to meet you, Theresa.
THERESA It was very nice to meet you.
TONY I'd say Linda did good.
THERESA Yeah. (He makes a move as if to kiss her; she holds out her hand.) Thanks for the beer.
TONY (Shaking her hand) I'll see you Saturday.
Copyright © 2000 by Rebecca Gilman
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an excellent piece of work! I was lucky enough to see this on stage in Boston this past March for the Massachusetts State Highschool Drama Festival. It left my heart pounding and staring at the stage even after it was finished. The actors did such a great job and the scenery was excellent! I would recommend this piece for anyone in the mood for an adrenaline filled night!
If you are a woman reading this play, avoid it at night. There are moments that will make you want to run around the house and make sure all the doors are locked and no one is peering through your windows. Mission accomplished because this play brings the reality of stalking to the forefront.