Fabulation, Or The Re-Education Of Undine – Monologue (Undine)

A monologue from the play by Lynn Nottage 

UNDINE (Thirties, Black) 

Undine has really been through hell. Once the owner of a successful P.R. firm, she lost everything when her husband absconded with all her money. 

She has been arrested for trying to buy heroin — not for herself but for her addicted grandmother,

and has been ordered by a judge to attend an encounter group for drug addicts. 

Here, she starts out talking to Guy, an addict in the group, but expands her confessional to include everyone,

finishing up with Guy, who might be the only person who can redeem her.

I’ve never heard anyone say I’m happy and actually feel it. People around me say it automatically in response to how are you doing?

But when you say it, I’m looking at you, I believe you actually mean it. And I find that reassuring. Because mostly I feel rage.

(Undine realizes the addicts are eavesdropping and finds herself including them in her confessional.) 

Anger, which I guess is a variation of rage and sometimes it gives way to panic, which in my case is also a variation of rage.

I think it’s safe to say that I have explored the full range of rage. And it has been with me for so long, that it’s comforting.

I’m trying to move beyond it, sometimes I even think I have, but mostly I’m not a very good human being. 

Sometimes I’m less than human, I know this, but I can’t control it. I killed my family. (A collective gasp.)

Yes, I killed them. It was on the day of my college graduation. Dartmouth. My family drove 267 miles in a rented minivan, loaded with friends and relatives eager to witness my ceremony.

They were incredibly proud, and why not? I was the first person in the family to graduate from college.

They came en masse, dressed in their Alexander’s best.

Loud, overly eager, lugging picnic baskets filled with fragrant ghetto food . . . let’s just say their enthusiasm overwhelmed me.

But I didn’t mind, no, I didn’t mind until I overheard a group of my friends making crass unkind comments about my family. 

They wondered aloud who belonged to those people. It was me. I should have said so. I should have said that my mother took an extra shift so I could have a new coat every year. 

My father sent me ten dollars every week, his lotto money. But instead I locked myself in my dorm room and refused to come out to greet them. 

And I decided on that day that I was Undine Barnes, who bore no relationship to those people. I told everyone my family died in a fire, and I came to accept it as true. 

It was true for years. Understand, Sharona had to die in a fire in order for Undine to live. At least that’s what I thought.

What I did was awful, and I’m so sorry. And Guy, you are such a good decent man. And I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away right now.

But I don’t want you to. I feel completely safe with you. 

I am not yet divorced, I’m being investigated by the FBI, I’m carrying the child of another man and I’m not really a junkie.

Are you still happy? And you’re not medicated?

Read the play here

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