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A monologue from the play by Laurence Carr
YVETTE (thirties – forties)
The year is 1919 and Yvette, a second-tier vaudeville performer is fantasizing about her dream career in the parlor of a Philadelphia theatrical boarding house.
They settled the actors’ strike. I’m giving my notice. I’m off the circuit. I’m leaving tonight after the show. I’ve got to get back to New York.
The legit show’ll be casting Monday morning. What’s everybody looking at? You’d all leave Vaudeville in second if George White of Flo Ziegfeld wired you.
Who wouldn’t want to be in The Scandals or The Follies. Or in a play where you’re out there being a person.
It beats split weeks and two-a-day. I want a normal life. I want to get up at noon, bathe ‘til two, have my lunch brought up on a cart. Nap ‘til six.
Have my maid wake me and dress me. Have my chauffeur drive me down to 42nd Street, go up to my dressing room, my dressing room, the one with the star.
I want to water my roses. I want to put on make-up that doesn’t make me smell like a stockyard.
I want my stage manager to knock softly on my door and say, “Half-hour will be whenever you say it is, Miss Ogg.”
Finally, I’ll prepare for my entrance. I’ll stand in the wings, feeling for that moment they’ve waited so long for.
Saved their pennies for. And when this happens, I’ll walk through that door. A real door, like this. Not a painted canvas with a split in it.
I’ll walk onto the set that looks like a room, a real room. With real pictures on the wall, and a real table with a real lace tablecloth,
and a lamp I can turn on and off, and a chair that’s a chair, and a real carpet on the floor. Then, I’ll play a scene that’ll make everybody cry.
And everybody’ll say, “That poor girl. If only some of life’s beauty could have been given to her.” And I would die on that stage. Alone.
And they’d forget all about Little Eva. Then, the curtain would fall—no—it would descend. And there’d be silence.
And then, from the back of the house, my manager would start the applause. And it would grow. And the audience would realize that what they just saw wasn’t real—it just felt so real.
They’d remember that this was a play, and the star had just emptied herself on that stage, and now it was up to them to bring her back to life.
And I’d take eight or ten curtain calls, begging them to let me go.
Then, back to my dressing room to receive friends and favors and the gentlemen of the press, to whom, “I shall always be grateful for your many kind words.”
Then to Delmonico’s for a late supper of quail and champagne, petit pois and roasted potatoes.
Then off to a club to catch Sophie Tucker’s last few songs.
She bows to me. And then home to bed, because in the morning, the great English impresario comes to call to plan my European tour.
(Pause) I’m not asking for the moon! I just want a normal life.
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