New Play- Meaning is Tricky Part of The Rhino Fest Prop Theatre 3502 N. Elston Ave Friday nights at 7pm January 22nd through February 26th Directed by Jennifer Moniz Starring Diana Slickman and Darren Stephens
Story Sessions City Winery Chicago Sunday, February 7th 11AM Theme: Super Love
CELL PHONE CONVERSATIONS
A New Public Art Project and Social Experiment
Written by Barrie Cole Directed by Jen Moniz
Beginning in August, 2014, the following one-sided cell phone conversations will be performed by actors in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco on trains and buses. The purpose of the project is to transform a regular city annoyance into something contemplative and theatrical; to make something that ordinarily separates people from each other into something that creates community, inspires conversation, and welcomes participation. To get involved in this ongoing project as a performer, videographer, fundraiser, PR person, or designer please contact Barrie Cole at Barriehere@gmail.com.
For The Birds
Hi, I know, I know I’m calling. I’m tired of texting. It seems like it’s not a real thing. It seems like something that people would do with text books. It seems like something I don’t want to do. It seems like when people say “text” they’d meant to say texture, but they forgot the ure, so I just don’t want to participate anymore. I’m switching to calling. Calling is something even birds do; so if it’s good enough for birds, it’s good enough for me. Why do people say, “It’s for the birds?” like it’s a bad thing? I mean, flying is for birds, singing is for birds, building nests is for birds. Birds are cool. I’m actually for the birds, not against the birds. They have feathers. Feathers are awesome. Think about how awesome feathers are. I wish I had a feather right now. If I had a feather right now, I’d stare at it for a really long time. Have you ever done that? Have you ever stared at a thing for a really long time and just sort of thought about it and then sort of let it think about you? People should do that.
Hi, I forgot my keys. Do you see them? Do you see my keys? OK. Shoot. Can you leave the door open then? I mean, can you leave it unlocked? Oh, well if someone sees you, then can you just pretend to lock it, with your key, but don’t really lock it. Can you mime locking it, or you can hide your key and then text me where you hid it or tell me now where you’re going to hide it? Ok, thanks. Hey, you know school janitors, like custodians? You know how they have all those keys on a big silver ring and the keys jangle when they walk? I want a big set of keys like that. Will you get me some keys like that sometime for my birthday or for something else or just get them to get them for no reason, for me? I’ll unlock things: Doors sure, but other things too. I don’t know- dreams, ideas, the future...I could unlock you. I think if I had a set of keys that was big enough and jangly enough, that I really could find one key to unlock you. Do you want to be unlocked?
Hi, hi. Well, I wanted to ask you; I wanted to ask you about the moon. Well, I wanted to ask you if you think the moon is interesting? You guess? Huh. You guess. I think it’s amazing. It’s like this thing in the sky and it just floats there and sometimes you can only see a little piece of it and sometimes you can see the whole face of it and sometimes it really shines. Have you ever seen an extra shiny moon? I mean with the sun, you sort of expect it to shine, except when it’s blocked, like by clouds, but the moon well, you just never know how shiny or not shiny it might be until it comes out. Isn’t it weird how they used to call homemade alcohol moonshine during prohibition? Right? Doesn’t moonshine sound like a substance gathered from the moon that someone could put on, smear on their skin, like a lotion? I bet if there really were a lotion like that, a lot of people would wear it. I bet people would dance more if they had moonshine lotion made from the light of the moon. Don’t you think so? Don’t you think everyone would dance a lot more?
Hi. Well, the reason I sound tired is became I am tired. Coffee stopped working. I don’t know. No, I’ve never heard of it happening to anyone before. No, it’s never happened to me before either. I tried that. I tried to have more. Definitely was not decaf. I was using the same coffee I used when it worked the last time which was the day before yesterday. Then I went out and bought a latte. I got an espresso an hour after that. Then, I went to the Cuban place and I got a Cuban coffee. Yes, it was strong. It had muscle. It was condensed. Nothing. It made me tired. Do you think this is a real thing, this coffee not working thing, like does this condition have a name? Do you think it’s called... Coffee Resistance Syndrome? Look it up. Are you near a computer? Look it up. Look up coffee resistance. Google it. Well, I don’t know, I don’t know, maybe it is like an allergy. All I know is I’m very tired. I hope I’m not the only one this is happening to. If you hear about this happening to anyone else, let me know okay? Because we’re going to have a lot of tired people in our lives, a lot of people who can hardly function. I hope it’s not a syndrome. (Yawns.) I gotta go.
Hi. Remember that one time, when we did that one thing? That was cool. Remember when we did that other thing in that other place? Remember those friends we had? Oh, and remember those people we knew? I wish we could do that again and go there again. I wish we could see those friends again and those people again. That was all really amazing. I miss all that stuff. I long for all those people. I have a long longing. It feels supremely long, my longing. Longing is a good word for how I feel because my longing miles and miles long. It’s like a really long road trip, that long, a really long ride… I wish I could just reach out with a long arm and just have all of it again. Sometimes I really do wish I could do that. I really miss those things. I really just miss those people and those friends, and all those places too. I don’t want to let any of it go.
Hi. Do you ever have math in your head? I have so much math in my head. I’m calling you because I thought maybe you could help me get my mind off the math. Oh, you know math, calculations. Like I think ok, so I owe $142.82 for the gas and then my portion of the rent is $600, but this month it’s $578 because of some stuff, so that’s $22 less and then groceries will be about $87. I don’t know about the electric because I haven’t gotten the bill yet and they changed companies and I keep getting letters about that. And then there are the cards... of course, and I just don’t know how much to pay on each because of the rates. I learned about the rates. I pay more on the high rates and less on the low rates, so I guess I’ll split up $200 in whatever way makes sense. Should I get cable? Is it worth it? That’s another part of it too, part of the math. And what if I want to go out? Then there’s transportation. Sometimes, sometimes I just take a cab and that’s like a lot or at least some more. Right? Do you think those cars you can rent are worth it, those cars with a membership? How much is a bicycle? How much is a helmet? Then I get out of the math and think about laundry and then I remember that costs money too, so I add it in. I go back in. Oh and my phone. Right, the thing I’m on now. Ha. It’s a lot. Do you want to meet up later? Do you want to maybe get coffee or a pie? Maybe we should get a pie? Isn’t it amazing that you can just buy a pie. I’m going to get us one. What kind do you want? I like all kinds, so you can choose. I’ll pay for it. I’ll do the math.
Hi, will you help me write a Haiku? Yep, It’s 5-7-5. So far I have: I am on the train. I think the nature thing is traditional. We can do traditional or non-traditional or a combination of both. Oh that’s good. Say it again: It moves just like a river. Yes, that’s good. I can’t think of how to end it though… I am going home. What do you think? I am on the train. It moves just like a river. I am going home. How about, I’m on my way home? Maybe it should be: It moves just like the river? Do you think that sounds better? I ride this train line. It moves just like the river. She takes me to my home. He takes me to my home? What is the river’s gender? It takes me to my home? Never mind on the home. It doesn’t sound right. I am on the train. The line is like a river. I will be home soon. This Haiku sounds like a text. You know like, On the train, be home soon. Your part was the only good part, the middle part, the part about the river.
No More Pickles
Hi. So bad news: No more pickles. Well no, I don’t think it’s true, thank goodness; but today I was walking and I saw this sign on a fence, and it said, “No More Pickles.” It was written in black magic marker and then next to the words there was a picture of a pickle and the pickle was crossed out. The pickle had eyes and a frown. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever read and the saddest looking crossed out pickle character I've ever come across. No more pickles, no more pickles. I can hardly take it. Isn’t it sad? Think about it: No more pickles. If I saw a homeless person on the street asking for money and he had a sign like that, a sign that said, “No More Pickles," I'd... actually, if I saw anyone homeless, or home more, or really anyone at all with a sign like that, I'd give them anything I had with me, anything of value, and then I’d go buy them pickles. I’d buy them jars and jars of pickles: kosher dill, spicy, sweet, new, all kinds. I’d say, "Here, here, you have pickles now.” I’d offer everyone pickles. I’d be the pickle giver. I’d drag a barrel around with me and a pair of tongs because no more pickles, no more pickles? I couldn't even take it.
Crying in Public
Hi, Oh I was just thinking about crying in public. No, not me. No, I’m not going to cry in public, not today anyway. At least I hope not. I was a little sad yesterday, but not overwhelmingly so. But isn’t is weird that hardly anyone cries in public like on the bus, or the train, or just walking down the street? Well sure kids do, kids cry, but adults, when they are crying in public you think wow, they must be really, truly, deeply sad. I mean, they can’t even hold it together. The it, whatever the it is, is just apart. They are crying outside and outside is a whole other side. Someone must have died or they must have had a break up or lost their job or are in pain or are just deeply bummed out about the news of the world. I always just make up what is going on automatically. I give them a story in my head that might not even be their real story. I mean, I suppose I could ask them, but that would be rude, like a crying interruption. Usually if anyone says anything to a person crying in public, they say, “Are you okay?” Dumb question. Clearly they are not. Isn’t it weird that crying has tears most of time, but laughing hardly ever does unless you laugh so hard you cry? Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever laughed so hard that you cried? I have. You know that expression cry out? I’m crying out right now. If you think about it, that’s sort of what phone calls are. They are cry outs, call outs. And if that is true, then in a way, most people are crying in public all the time. What if we really called out, cried out, but not with phones, but like in the way you do when you are in a place with an echo like, Helllooooo? Hellllooo? What if we all did that every once in awhile? Helllllooooooo? Hellllloooooo?
Hi, I’m lost. I don’t understand the directions....apparently. I don’t understand them and the thing on my phone kept telling me to go the wrong way because I kept ending up east and I needed to go west and so I had to look at the sun to figure it out, but I don’t think I did, because I feel north. I told my phone it was kind of an idiot, but maybe I’m the idiot. Like maybe I could learn to read a map or understand an app or figure out what I’m doing on any level at all. So I’ve been wondering, I mean wandering around, well both really. I’ve been wandering and wondering. Wandering and wondering are cousins. So anyway, I’m on the train. I finally just got on the train, I got on this line, so I guess that’s where I’m going. I’m going to follow this line and just follow this train of thought. I was wandering, I mean wondering if when I get to the end, to wherever I end up, to where I’m going, if you could meet me there, in person. Ok great, thanks. Thanks so much. I’ll see you there.
Hi, hi. I well...I think I might be in love. Wow, it feels weird to say that out loud, it sounds, I don’t know, it sounds....How does it sound? Do you mind, do you mind if I call you again? I mean, I want to start over. I want a redo. (He/She hangs up, dials again.) Thanks. Hi, hi. I, I... well I might be in love. Wow, it still sounded weird. Maybe, I’m just not used to it, to saying it, to feeling it, to being it. I mean it’s like I’m questioning whether it’s true. Like, like I don’t quite believe myself, like part of me is saying, “You’re kidding,” to the part of me that is saying I’m in love. You know what? Love is such s good room to be in. Am I really in the room of it? Oh, good question! I think I’m in love because I feel really....happy and really...happy and glad and a....well, like a warmth, like a smiling warmth, a very.bright, smiling, happy, glad, nice, warmth...thing. Yes, that’s how I know I’m in love.
The Fourth Dimension
Hi. Are you ready? I mean, can you be ready for something new? Can you be in a state of readiness? I want to test something, but first you have to be ready and in order to be ready you have to clear your mind. I’ll wait, I’ll wait until you’re ready. Wow, that was fast. That’s good. I’m impressed. Ok, so I want to see if I can send you a text with my mind. I’m totally serious. Why would I be joking? I’m not joking. Apparently, there’s a 4th dimension. It’s holographic. I want to enter it with my mind and send you a text there to see if it works. Okay, so I’m going to do it. It’s just going to be one word, but if it works we can move onto sentences and paragraphs and then I’ll can even text you something like an entire book. It will almost be like a download. Ok, so I’m going to count to three and then I’m going to send you the mind text. 1,2,3. Did you get it? Alright, I’ll send it again. Really be open to it, like really be available to receive it in the 4th dimension. Flower? Wow, so close! Well, my word was necklace. It’s close because you can make a necklace out of flowers, like in Hawaii. You know like a lei, a...garland? I do think it worked. I think it worked a little. I think it kind of worked.
Hi, thanks for asking. Well, I have to say it’s not going well. What I’ve discovered is that I don’t want to date a nurse or a farmer. I don’t want to date a barista or a real estate lawyer or a real estate broker. None of them are working out. I know, I know people are not their jobs. I know that. Yes, I am trying. Yes, I do believe in romance. I don’t want to date a contractor, or a mechanic, or a dental hygienist. I don’t want to date a web-designer. I don’t want to date a house painter or a ceramicist or a journalist or a teacher or an actor. I don’t want to date a mail carrier, a taxi driver, or a dilettante. I don’t even think I want to date a person. I want to date a swing set. I want to date a slide. I want to date a tree. I want to date a mango or better yet, a papaya. Give me a papaya. Just joking- sort of. “I want a rough, tough lover with a sentimental plan.” It’s an Aretha Franklin song. That’s how it goes. (Singing) I want a rough loverI want a manI want a rough, tough loverWith a sentimental planSo he can kiss nicehug tightHe’s gotta be sweet and gentleDay and night.Oh, yes I do. Oh yes I do.Yes, I’m in public. I’m on the train. Yes, I guess I did get carried away. Oops
Hi hi, yeah, I’m on my cell. That’s weird isn’t it? I just realized how weird it is that we call it a cell phone, like cells, you know like red and white blood cells, like the living stuff- cells, the things living things are made of, the things with the nucleuses. What if everything was made of cell phones? That would be weird. Cell phone people, cell phone grass, cell phone cats, cell phone cake. Hey, doesn’t it seem sometimes like everything really is made of cell phones? And whoa, cells, like rooms, like prison cells. Cell phones aren’t allowed in prisons. Doesn’t prison sound like prism? It would probably be better if prisons were more... prismatic. Cell phone. Cell phone. I’m on the train. Yeah, there are people in the car, but I don’t know them. That’s why I’m calling you. Well you can’t just talk to strangers without a reason. I mean what this is, is more or less like a solitary confinement situation but with people. I mean those are the social conventions. It has nothing to do with being friendly or not. Whatever. I mean there are exceptions. You can say, “Excuse me.” You can talk about the weather. You can ask for directions, but that’s it. That’s all you can do. That’s why I called you, because you know, I actually really need to talk.
Hi, Remember crayons? I mean the big box. I was thinking about that big box of crayons, the one with the tiers and the sharpener in the back; the sharpener that never actually worked. It was so dumb, right? It was just this orifice really. Crayons aren’t pencils. They can’t be sharpened. When they get dull they stay dull. The sharpener was just a wish symbol. It was just a false hope portal. But the crayons themselves? Wow, that was a good big box of crayons, like a color festival inside cardboard. Once, when I was little, I was looking out the window far, far down the street and I saw this woman carrying these two big paper grocery bags that were just…overflowing. She had one in each arm. The thing was, at first, I couldn’t tell what they were. It looked like she was holding up big splotches of color and I got this, this art…feeling. When she got closer. I could see that they were grocery bags with broccoli and cereal boxes and what have you, but for a few moments it felt a like a miracle. So you know what? We should get together? Maybe we could go to a museum?
Hi. Can I ask you a question? Do you think I know how to...smile?Someone told me that when I smile it looks more like a grimace, like I’m in pain. Right. She told me it looks actually, actually like I’m wincing. She said I could use some smiling lessons. But, I mean, where does one go for smiling lessons? Smiling seems so basic, like blinking. At least I can blink. At least I don’t need blinking lessons. Would you be willing to critique my smile; to give me your opinion of it? I’ll send you some pictures of it, of my smile, with my phone, right now. You can tell me what’s working and what’s not working with the corners of my mouth and their... height I guess and whether teeth or no teeth makes a difference. What do you mean? What, now? No, no I’ll just send you pictures. I can’t smile at actual people. I’m on the train. But how will I know? Oh, that makes sense. Ok, I’ll try it. I’m going to do it now. I guess if whoever I smile at smiles back at me, my smile worked, that it means my smile was effective as a smile. Ok, I’m really doing it, I’m smiling at people. I’m getting free smiling lessons right now.
Hi. Guess what? Earbuds, that’s what. Well, nothing specifically about them; I just think it’s hilarious that they’re are called earbuds, like little buds, like little unbloomed sound flowers. Is unbloomed a word? It should be. What if earbuds bloomed? Like, what if the song you were listening to was really good, the buds would bloom into ear flowers or ear fruit? Come to think of it, I think cell phones should look like flowers or...ears. You could hold up an ear to your ear. Ha, earphones! That’s already a thing, but a different thing of the thing. What if earbuds were called ear buddies instead of buds? Do you think that if earbuds were called ear buddies our other body parts would get jealous? Like our elbows would be like, “Excuse me, where are my elbow buddies? Can I get some buddies too please?” It’s weird that our elbows can touch each other but our ears can’t. You know what? You’re my buddy. You’re the buddy of, of me. You’re the buddy of friendship. I’m really glad you’re my friend. I’m really glad you’re on my ship. No, I’m on the train. I’m on the trainship. There’s a whole fleet of cars and I’m here with the passengers and we’re in our car. We have our ear buddies and our e-books and our lmnop books. No, lmnop books are not a real thing. I’m just making that up. I appreciate the way you think and the way your mind works too. I do, so much.
Hi. Can I ask you something? When you were a kid, did your Mom carry stuff for you? Like your backpack or your jacket? Or did you ever have a wrapper and there was no garbage can in sight can so you just gave the wrapper to your Mom and then she dealt with it? Yeah, once in awhile she would. Sometimes though, she’d say, “Your backpack, your responsibility,” But sometimes, she’d take it from me and I’d feel so...free, so unencumbered. I still had my stuff, but she was holding it for me. I wish I could do that now. I wish I could just set some of my stuff down, but I guess you know my stuff, my responsibility. It would be so nice though, once in awhile to set some of my stuff down. It would really be a weight off my shoulders, a load of of my mind, you know? There was this one kid, I can’t remember his name, but his Mom would always carry his stuff. And he was a really nice kid, not spoiled at all. I wonder if he’s around somewhere. I bet he’s a really nice person. I bet he’d carry some of my stuff or someone else’s at least every now and then. He’d do it because someone did it for him and he knew how good it felt to be able to swing your arms wide and free and loose with empty hands.
Hi, Good. I’m glad I’m done. I just had to fill out a lot of forms. I had to fill out a birth certificate, an insurance application, a death certificate, a medical form, and a legal agreement. I had to complete a purchase order and write down instructions and copy a recipe from an old, dusty book. I had to file a report too and respond to an invitation. (I’m not going.) I had to apply for a license and take an exam and fill a prescription and study a guide and translate a document and do some equations and draw up a blueprint. I had to conduct a survey, make an inspection, catalog some evidence, alter the experiment, synthesize the findings, and replace the engine. I had to refile the papers and rewrite the manual. I had repair the malfunction, edit the draft. and write a form letter too. At one point I stopped everything and thought about rock formations. I thought about how I’d rather be looking at rock formations, then filling out all these forms, then doing all these doings I’ve been doing. I thought about how I’d like to be with you, passing binoculars back and forth, drinking water from a large jug and looking at the rocks, the clouds, looking at the world, looking at everything all laid out before us like a painting.