Word Envy

The other month I was preparing for some auditions and needed to find a monologue. This process involves a lot of play-reading, play-research, and play-thinking. I was getting kind of fed-up with the whole situation when one of my friends texted me, telling me he had found the perfect monologue and was gifting me with it. He took a screenshot of a couple pages and my jaw dropped. Salivating over the words on the page, contemplating the raw genius of the material, I knew I had it.

Word Envy.

The play is “The Way We Get By,” by esteemed playwright, Neil LaBute. I remember first hearing of this play this summer when it made its premier at the Second Stage Theatre in New York, starring Amanda Seyfried and obviously was intrigued because of her “Hollywood status.” The play may not on many levels be page turning, earth shattering work, but it accomplishes a lot in terms of fleshing out some real ideas and conversations often involved in romantic relationships. With only two characters, the dialogue is natural and tangible, and I was nodding along as I followed each pit and peak of the characters’ conversation. I chose to do a monologue from this play that expresses the exasperation felt when someone walks away without a fight. The character, Beth, begs for a “chance for once,” and for someone to try and make it work above all odds because I knew what she was saying and it excited me.

When we were asked to think about something we wish we had written I thought a lot about novels I loved and articles I had written until it dawned on me to think about the medium that is constantly in front of my nose: plays. I read so many plays a year and my final capstone project is a play, so I got to thinking about my project in a whole other light. What specific work did I want to model after for it’s writing, not just it’s specific medium. “The Way We Get By” popped into my mind for a few reasons. I resonated with so many of the ideas in the play that I really do believe I could have and should have written it myself! I mean not really…but…yeah kind of. I was envious I hadn’t thought to write it myself, and envious I am not currently writing something like it.

I love the way two characters propel the whole production with simplicity and truth, and I am inspired to try and do the same…take THAT LaBute 😉


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