Dadbutante by William Krieger


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent


PRELUDE

      Beth (at her home in North Carolina):  ďEveryone gather Ďround and
      pick up your drinks.  (Holding her glass high and looking into the
      crowd and then directly at Carol) Ladies and gentlemen, my friends,
      may I present to you my dad . . . !Ē  (Fade group noise.  All drink
      and cheer and applaud along with Beth).

      Blackout.

      ACT ONE, Scene 1

      At Chrisís home with Nick, after Chris and Elaine have gone to work
      When Nick enters, he participates in a complicated but silly handshake
      sequence that he and Carol, dressed ďunisex,Ē have apparently done
      many times before.

      Nick:  (Laughing) How long will you be here?

      Carol:  Just a few days.

      Nick:  You look kind of different.

      Carol:  Itís nothing.

      Nick:  Lose weight?

      Carol:  Really, Iím fine.

      Nick:  Youíre okay?

      Carol:  Fine, man.

      Nick:  Well, I wish that I had known that you were coming.  You
      couldíve stayed with Karen and me.

      Carol:  I know.  Thanks.  But I needed to spend time with Chris and
      Elaine too and I could only make a short visit.

      Nick:  Well, whatís going on?  You sounded stressed on the phone.

      Carol:  I needed to see youóin person.

      Nick:  I havenít seen you forómy goshóyears.  How long, four
      years since the class reunion. 

      Carol:  About that.  (Nervously but urgently) Nick, Iíve got to tell
      you something, something really important but very hard for me to
      tell.  And if I wait, Iíll lose my courage.

      Nick:  Oh, that sounds big.  What?  Youíre not getting a divorce? 

      Carol:  No, Iím still married.

      Nick:  Kids are okay?  Your health?

      Carol:  No.  I mean the kids and the grand-kids are fine.  Healthís
      good for an old person.

      Nick:  Hahaha!  Donít remind me.  (Pauses) Okay, well, whatís up
      then?  Having a sex change! (Nick laughs some more).

      Carol:  Well, actually yes.

      Nick:  What, what (he stammers)?

      Carol:  Actually, I am going through a change.  Thatís why I look
      different.  Iíve been taking some medications, uh, hormones.

      Nick:  What?

      Carol:  Medically prescribed hormones.

      Nick:  Hormones!  Is this some kind of joke?  I donít believe this.
      Youíre kidding.

      Carol:  Itís real.  Testosterone blockers and estrogen.  And Iím
      going to start a drug called Lupron.

      Nick:  Are you nuts!  No. No!  This is crazy!

      Carol:  I know that this seems crazy to you, but it is true.  And it
      is what I want.

      Nick:  What you want?  Do you want to be some kind of freak? 

      Carol:  Of course not.

      Nick:  Then what?  What?  A woman?  What is this?   

      Carol:  Iíve been struggling with this for years, decades really.

      Nick:  Can you even do this?  I donít want to hear this.  Why, why
      did you invite me here, to . . . to . . . I donít know!  What?
      Iím leaving!

      (He starts for the door).

      Carol:  Wait!  Donít go!  Please!

      Nick:  (Stops and turns back) Youíve done some wild things in your
      life, but if youíre serious, this takes the prize!  And Iím going!

      Carol:  So youíre just going to leave?  Without anything?  Without
      talking about it?  Please . . . ! Youíre my friend!

      Nick:  Iím going to get away from you.  Youíre crazy!  Call me
      when you come to your senses!

      Carol:  Youíd run out on one of your best friends because sheís
      crazy? 

      Nick:  She?  Youíre nuts!  This is wrong!  Itís not natural!  You
      are a man and you have always been a man.  Thatís what you were
      meant to be.  Itís just wrong!

      Carol:  How do you know that?  How do you know that I wasnít meant
      to be a woman?

      Nick:  Iíve known you most of your life.  Youíre a man!  But now
      youíre confused.  Youíve gotten mixed up.  Maybe you need Viagra
      or something.

      Carol:  Iím not confused.  Right now, Iím as clear about my life
      as I have ever been.  I used to be confused and ashamed and fearful.

      Nick:  Well, you sure hid it well.  Confused and ashamed about what?

      Carol:  About my feelings as a woman, or wanting to express my
      femaleness.  I didnít even know what to call them or what they
      really were.

      Nick:  ďFemalenessĒ!  What is that?  When was that?  During or
      after the conference football championship?  During one of your
      wrestling matches?  When?  While we were shooting at deer?

      Carol:  Actually, yes, but not really during those events.

      Nick:  What were youófaking it?  This is absolutely crazy!

      Carol:  No, I wasnít faking it.  I loved those competitions.  I have
      great memories of them.  But I always felt that something wasnít
      right about me.  And all of that time, secretly, absolutely secretly,
      I was moving in and out of the female world.  Not understanding why I
      felt the way I felt. 

      Nick:  In and out?  This sounds like a mid-life crisis or some kind
      of male menopause or something to me.  And I think that you are making
      a really bad choice.  Itís nuts!  And itís wrong!

      Carol:  ďChoiceĒ!  You think that Iím choosing!  I have lived
      with this my whole life.  I have tried to stop the feelings, tried to
      stop the behavior.  I simply canít.

      Nick:  I think that youíre stronger than that.  Way stronger.

      Carol:  You have no idea.  And believe me, I did not choose the
      anxiety, the shame, the guilt, the fear!  Choice, ha!

      Nick:  So you think that this is what you were meant to be?

      Carol:  Yes!  I do.

      Nick:  Then how come youíve lived like a male all these years?  How
      come youíve done all these male things, including the sexual ones?
      You have fathered children!  You didnít get pregnant; you got your
      wife pregnant!  Weíre you just pretending?  And why now?

      Carol:  I couldnít do this back then.  I didnít know what to do.
      I had these impulses and thoughts and I didnít know what to make of
      them.  I didnít know what to call them, how to name them.  And I
      thought that I might get into a lot of trouble, jail or something worse.

      Nick:  Thatís because itís wrong!

      Carol:  Do you remember showing me that magazine you had when we were
      in junior high?  It had an article about a man who turned into a woman.

      Nick:  Magazine?  No.  No.  No, I donít know.

      Carol:  It was about a man who was turning into a woman.

      Nick:  I guess so but . . . .

      Carol:  You laughed.  I think that I laughed too, but I was so
      curious.  You thought that it was weird and crazy.  But I thought that
      it might be possible!  I wondered about it.

      Nick:  You were having those thoughts in junior high!  How long has
      this been going on?

      Carol:  Almost as long as I can remember.  Do you remember Christine
      Jorgensen?

      Nick:  Christine Jorgensen, right.  Everybody heard about that guy.
      In the Army.  And you want to be a woman too?

      Carol:  At first, I just had the impulse to wear womenís clothes.  I
      didnít know why.  I had heard about cross-dressing and I had heard
      bizarre tales of hermaphrodites and other kinds of things.  I wore out
      our copy of Life magazine when the Jorgensen story came out.  I
      probably talked to you about her and others as jokes.  And we probably
      laughed and mocked her.  I didnít want anyone to guess why I was
      interested.  I wanted everyone to think that I was just a regular guy.

      Nick:  You are a regular guy.  A good regular guy.  So why change?

      Carol:  I learned more.

      Nick:  About what?  Chicks with dicks, ha!

      Carol:  Right, chicks with dicks.  Homosexuals, cross-dressers,
      trans-genders, and gender benders.  All kinds of stuff.  Bizarre,
      confusing.  I read a lot of that stuff.

      Nick:  I know more about them now than I did then too, but I donít
      want to be a woman.  Thatís nuts.  Youíre nuts!

      Carol:  I have thought about that too, being nutsócrazy, I mean.
      Off and on, I have thought that maybe Iím deranged or psycho or
      something.  Iíve thought that I might need psychiatric help. 
      Nick:  You do need help.  Are you gay?

      Carol:  No, Iím not gay.  And Iíve been getting help.  Iíve
      spent many hours with psychotherapists.

      Nick:  Psychotherapists!  You know what they are . . . ďPsycho the
      rapists!Ē  You have got to be kidding.  You are the last person that
      I would expect to hear that from.  Youíre the rock.  The smart guy.
      The star student and athlete.  Not some whacko!

      Carol:  No, Iím not a whacko.  But I have had my doubts a few times.

      Nick:  What, do you get off on womenís underwear and you have to
      wear them to get a hard-on?  And you canít stop?

      Carol:  I used to wonder that too.  I thought that maybe I just had
      developed a fetish.

      Nick:  It sounds like it to me.  You need to get into some
      ďanonymousĒ group.

      Carol:  I donít think so, Nick.  I know that itís a shock to you.
      But itís who I really am.

      Nick:  I know who you really are, and this is NOT it.

      Carol:  You do know me well, but you never knew about this.

      Nick:  Your momódid she know? 

      Carol:  She never knew, at least I donít think so.

      Nick:  She would have been appalled!  Iíll bet she would not let
      this happen.

      Carol:  I donít know what she would have doneóif I had ever talked
      to her about it.  I wish that I had, but I was too scared.

      Nick:  Scared, huh.  Well, was all that other stuff I know about you
      just lies?  Were all of our great guy-times together just you pretending,
      just faking it?

      Carol:  No.  I loved doing those things.  They were real.  I didnít
      have to fake football, wrestling, hiking and huntingóthe joy of
      freezing our tails off in the mountains.

      Nick:  But were you wearing womenís clothes all the time we did
      those things?

      Carol:  At home alone, yes.  All the time I could without getting
      caught.

      Nick:  What about your girlfriend?  Did she know?

      Carol:  No.  She never knew.

      Nick:  And you were doing this in high school?

      Carol:  Yes.

      Nick:  In college?

      Carol:  Yes.

      Nick:  Did you go out in public?

      Carol:  Not then.  Only more recently.

      Nick:  Are you wearing womenís clothes now?

      Carol:  Yes.

      Nick:  Oh, shit!  Youíre nuts!  I donít want to hear this!  I
      donít want anything to do with this!

      Carol:  Nick, youíre my friend, one of my best friends!

      Nick:  Not anymore!     
 
      Carol:  Nick!

      Nick:  Good-bye!  (Leaves and slams the door behind him).
      Beth, stunned, begins to sob and whispers, ďNick.Ē

      Blackout.

      ACT ONE, Scene 2

      Chris and Elaine talking near an exit door

      Elaine:  So I should get beer and some snacks . . . anything special
      for dinner or breakfast tomorrow.  Sheís leaving tomorrow, fairly early.

      Chris:  She.  God, I canít believe this.  She.

      Elaine:  Chris, you have been her friend for over thirty years.
      Youíve got to believe it and be supportive.  I know that itís
      hard.  Itís hard for me.  But itís hard for her too.

      Chris:  I know, I know.  But itís as if the friend that Iíve known
      so long has died.  And this woman has come, uninvited, into our
      lives.

      Elaine:  Iíve read some about this, Chris.  Just let her feel that
      we will listen and accept her without judging.  She needs our support
      and love.  Especially now.

      Chris:  I know that thatís the right thing to do.  But my friend, my
      friend.  What about my friend?

      Elaine:  She is still your friend.

      Chris:  But my friend was a man, a very strong man.

      Elaine:  You have other female friends.  Why not open yourself to
      having this one who happens to have a different history with you?

      Chris:  Yeah.  Right.  Well, Iíll try.

      Elaine:  I know.  I know that youíll do the right thing.  Just
      remember to be kind about it.  And tell her how you feel too.  If
      youíre going to be her friend, the friendship will have to be based
      on honesty.

      Chris:  How do I do that without hurting her?

      Elaine:  Youíve worked through other difficulties with her.

      Chris:  Nothing quite like this.

      Elaine:  I know that youíre up to it, honey.  Iíve got to go.

      (She hugs him and leaves).

      Chris (Turning away from the door and toward SL):  Uh, Carol?  Carol!

      ACT ONE 1, Scene 3

      In a family room that leads to the patio at Chris and Elaineís home;

      Elaine has just left to shop for groceries.  Both Chris and Carol, now
      wearing a dress, wig, and make-up, are standing at a small bar.

      Carol:  Itís like jumpingónot diving, jumpingóoff a high diving
      board.  So, you think that you can stop any time because your feet are
      underneath.  You know, youíre not going head-first.  Like thatís
      different.  Ha!  Itís all the same.  Once you leave that board,
      youíre out there.  In the air.  And you wonít stop until you hit
      the water and swoosh underneath and come gasping up for air with water
      spurting out of your nose and mouth and sloshing all around you.

      Chris:  Ha!  Haha!  Right.  Okay.

      Carol:  (Laughing with Chris) Yes, right.  (More serious) And then
      thereís no going back.  Thereís no retracing your path and undoing
      the jump.  Itís done.

      Chris:  Like unringing a bell?

      Carol:  What?  A bell?

      Chris:  Right.  Like when you ring a bell.  Itís done.  You canít
      unring it.  Or like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
      Carol:  Unringing a bell?  Okay.  Like that.  If you didnít want to
      look like a ruptured goose in the air, itís too late.  If you
      didnít want to get wet, itís way too late for that.  You canít
      take one inch, one splash or slosh back from that jump.

      Chris:  Okay.  So what?

      Carol:  Itís just that itís terminal.

      Chris:  Thatís sounds morbid.

      Carol:  It could be.  You could die.  I donít mean ďstop
      breathing.Ē  But the life you knew before you jumped has probably
      ended.  It will never be the same.  Everything has changed.
      Chris:  Come on!  Just from a leap off the high diveówell, an
      announcement.  Just from telling people something totally new about
      yourself.  Come on.

      Carol:  Come on, yourself!  You didnít tell people—you still
      havenít—that you have diabetes.  And you just developed that.

      Chris:  I donít want people to treat me differently.  And itís
      just been diagnosed recently.  Iíve got to come to grips with it.

      Carol:  Right.  Well, this has been a secret in my life for years! 

      And Iíve got to come to grips with being open about it too.

      Chris:  Well, thatís different.

      Carol:  It is.  And my therapist told me once that ďshockĒ would
      be the default response in people about my transitioning.  But
      thatís nothing compared to what else can happen.


[End of Extract]


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