From the play "Defiled"
The Printing Press! And changed the world. More people wrote. More people read. And the English having lousy climate, read more. So for all those books, in 1604, Sir Thomas Bodely creates a brilliant catalogue for the Royal Library. But of course, the more people read, the more people in power felt reading was dangerous. So publishing is invented, followed immediately by..you guessed it..censorship! The French Revolutionary governement wanting to be more creative than the English in their cataloguing of banned books, tied small pieces of paper together with string and invented; "the card file". And fifty years later, the Germans of course, refined the French system. Seventy years after that, in 1876, an American, Melville Dewey, refines the refiners. He invents the Dewey decimal system. The brillant filing system we still use today. Even in the computers. From Babylonia in 4000 BC to today, man has pefected the system. Trained librarians to execute it. To list and cross reference each book, and guide each and every reader to the book he needs. The system works. It is fast. And it is personal. It is perfect. Why change it just to change??
Well maybe there's just too many books today. I mean too many to put in those drawers there. I mean that's what happened with us. We were gettin' so many calls on 911, they had to computerize the system. I mean you gotta be realistic. You gotta be practical.
You sound like my father. He was a practical man. He ran a Hardware Store back where I grew up in a small town outside Cleveland. What could be more practical than hardware. I loved to go down to the store. I didn't see it the way he did. Rows and rows and rows of useful things. I saw it as this great cacophony of stuff! Tools. Wonderful tools. Some that had not changed shape or function since the Assyrians. All piled high in his narrow store. He saw the use of these tools as practical. I saw it as cosmic.
Yes, well that's one way to look at it.
I loved going there. When I was nine, my father said he was going to buy me a dog. "What kind of dog do you want?", he asked. "A Collie", I said. "Just like Lassie. A Collie." He shook his head..."Nnnnno. Collies are too big. Knock over things. Hairs too long. They shed. Not convenient. I'm gonna get you a small short haired dog. That barks at strangers. Much better." And that's what he got me. This small, short haired...convenient dog. Not the dog I could wrestle with and fold myself into his long hair. Not the dog I could ride and wrestle with and play with. He got me a convenient dog. I never forgave him.
So now you have a Collie?
Yes! In my small apartment. And it is not convenient. For either of us. But I have it.
From the play “Believer”
If we all believed in Santa Claus, everything would be fine.
Don't be absurd.
(she exits to the bedroom. Howard just looks after her, and then as if addressing her but speaking to the audience;)
Why is it more absurd to believe a man goes to every house in the Christian world-- 4 Billion people in 24 hours--flies in the air in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, visits every house--why is that harder to believe than a woman who is a virgin in 32 BC, gets pregnant and her husband a) is not upset b) not even curious? Then an angel, Gabriel, comes down from heaven, not on a sleigh, flying all by himself, comes down and says, "Mary, the father" Oh, first he says, "Don't touch me." This is reassuring. Then he says, "Mary, the father of your child is God". And she and her husband buy this story without question.. From an absolute stranger. Who flies! And then after the child is born, and 3 wisemen show up, among others, to confirm "the miracle" of her giving birth to God's son, oh--and the husband never asks, "So how was it with God? Was it better than me?" No jealousy. She gives birth to the already famous child and we don't hear a world about him for 30 years! How can you believe this and not believe that a man lives with a bunch of elves in the North Pole making toys for everyone all year long?
(He has moved to the bedroom and is now putting on an old fashioned long nightshirt. Mo is already in bed.)
I accept the fact that we need a god. A higher power to explain the unexplainable. But I don't want a ruthless God. I want a benign, ever generous father figure, whose only requirement is ; "Be nice, not naughty" Not "worship me to the exclusion of all other Gods." Not "Kill all those who don't believe in me" or "fly airplanes into the towers of the disbelievers" Not, "rationalize my part in all your pain and sickness and give me credit for all your good fortune." Santa does only good things. And makes us do only good things. Makes us give him life, give him credit for the gift that often we can not afford to give. Is this not an essential heroic act? Some single mother with five kids working on minimum wage manages to buy a gift for each child and tells them, it's "not from me. It's from a guy you've never met." "Dad?" "No, Santa."
From the play “Slouching Toward Hollywood”
(The Office in the Bungalow. Late Morning. Billy stands in the middle of the room, with a putting iron, hitting golf balls into a "cup". He hits. It rolls out. Mary has entered carrying some papers she has copied. Some mail. She just stands and watches him. Put. He does again. And realizing she's there;)
You play golf?
Do I look like I play golf?
I hate golf.
(swings again. Stops. checks watch)
It's almost three o clock. Where is he?
Dennis! He's up pitching to Bretman. He had a two o clock meeting. It's a ten minute pitch. He's probably did a half hour of stupid small talk.
(unsure of why he's concerned)
(takes another swing. )
You know how I sold more movies on the golf course than in any studio in town. Once I was playing a round with Spencer Tracy and Jack Warner. The two of them were so drunk they could barely walk. We'd get to a difficult hole and Spence would say "fuck it" and they move on to the next. I pitched them the story of a business guy who crashes his plane on a farm in Indiana. Gets rescued by Jean Arthur
Right! The scene with Tracy trying to milk a cow was hilarious He wouldn't do it. Didn't want to touch the cows teets. I did it. Those were my hands milking that cow. I did it because my father, who ran a bakery, had always told me I could never do anything practical My head's in the clouds. I wanted to show him I could milk a Goddam cow. I escaped from the Nazis and I milked a cow. You don't get more practical than that. My father told me;"They won't arrest me. I make bread. Everybody needs bread."
Bread and circuses. I do circuses.