By Lord Neville Charles Randolph-Gladstone III
[VEE “THE MONSOON” LEVENE is sitting across from LORD NEVILLE CHARLES RANDOLPH-GLADSTONE III. She is the pinstriped picture of carnival chic. JILL “THE WOOD NYMPH” SUMMERVILLE is strangely absent from the interview.]
Lord Neville Charles Randolph-Gladstone III: Miss Levene, I understand that Miss Summerville and you are not speaking?
Vee Levene: I’m speaking.
Randolph-Gladstone: Yes, but I was under the impression that the two of you were not speaking to each other…Where is Miss Summerville?
[Enter JILL, dressed in glittering finery, which is actually not fine at all. She is attended by several attractive males, who are dressed in tuxedos. She has a nervous air about her. In fact, she has a striking similarity to Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire. She parks her wheelchair beside VEE. The two pointedly ignore each other.]
Randolph-Gladstone: Ah, Miss Summerville. I was just telling Miss Levene that I have heard a rumour that the two of you are no longer speaking to each other.
Jill Summerville: No.
Randolph-Gladstone: I beg your pardon Miss Summerville, but I have indeed heard the rumour–
Summerville: I meant, ‘No we are not speaking.’
Randolph-Gladstone: Then the rumour is true! The Monsoon and the Wood Nymph…no longer speaking to each other…no longer conjoined in the way that only nonconjoined Siamese twins can be? Please, ladies–pardon, androdyke and winsome gimp–explain the occasion of this highly distressing feud.
Levene: We can’t talk about it.
Randolph-Gladstone: Because in talking of the same event, you might inadvertently talk to each other?
Levene: No, because suspense makes the feud more commercially effective.
Randolph-Gladstone: (Sadly) Then you leave me no choice but to speak with each of you separately. Miss Levene, I understand that you were recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal!
Levene: Well, I was interviewed by a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. I’ve never even read the actual journal.
Randolph-Gladstone: You are quite right not to read The Wall Street Journal. My mother taught me that it is rude to read any journal marked ‘Privatisation.’
Levene: I don’t even know how many pages The Wall Street Journalhas…but I know that my interview will be on one of them.
Randolph-Gladstone: Oh, how terribly exciting! May I ask what occasioned the interview?
Randolph-Gladstone: Yes, what…occasioned the interview?
Levene: ‘Yes’ what?
Randolph-Gladstone: Yes ‘What?’
Summerville: (To LORD NEVILLE) She does not speak the Queen’s English.
Randolph-Gladstone: (To JILL) Oh! (To VEE) So why the f*** did the reporter from The Wall Street Journal contact you?
Levene: (immediately, no longer confused) To talk about the advertising campaign for Yorkie, the British chocolate bar. She found my comments about the campaign on my blog.
[JILL becomes increasingly distressed as LORD NEVILLE continues to talk to VEE, ignoring her. Seeing JILL’S distress, one of her male attendants exits and reenters carrying a bottle of red wine. He presents the bottle to JILL with great ceremony.]
Summerville: (To BOY) No, thank you. I hardly ever drink.
[JILL accepts the bottle from the BOY even as she gives a verbal refusal. During VEE’S conversation with LORD NEVILLE, JILL continues to drink the wine. She returns the bottle to the BOY after every few sips, protesting that she does not drink, even as she retrieves the bottle from the BOY. She finishes the bottle. The BOY exits and reenters with another bottle of red wine, which JILL finishes in the same manner.]
Randolph-Gladstone: The Wall Street Journal asked you to discuss the slogan for the Yorkie bar, Yorkie: It’s Not For Girls?
Levene: Yes. I told the reporter, in a nonconfrontative way, that that slogan is really f***** up. I mean, it can only be a joke if society’s discrimination against women is a joke, if there is an irony in the campaign because men and women are actually equal. Which they’re definitely not.
Randolph-Gladstone: I must say that I am extremely pleased that someone has finally recognised the problems inherent in the Yorkie bar campaign. The campaign has caused me some anguish. In the past, I thought that I could not eat Yorkie bars, because the slogan was It’s Not For Girls!
Levene: But you are not a girl.
Randolph-Gladstone: I know that now. However, like many English boys, I took some time in discovering the fact.
Levene: Of course.
[JILL begins to hum “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” very softly. Her humming becomes increasingly more frantic.]
Randolph-Gladstone: I am sure that you will become the most prominent opponent of the Yorkie campaign.
Levene: I’d rather work for a carnival.
Randolph-Gladstone: Is that some sort of idiom?
Levene: No. You have never been to a carnival? You Brits are so bourgeois! I took classes at the Sideshow School in Coney Island. I’m kind of a great fire eater.
Randolph-Gladstone: You eat fire? How intriguing! How strangely…attractive! How is this done?
Levene: Can’t tell you. I can’t divulge sideshow secrets.
Randolph-Gladstone: And you have discussed the sideshow with no one?
Levene: (looks at JILL. JILL stops humming.) Well, Jill was going to learn to walk on glass, and we were going to– Can we maybe not talk about this now, or ever again?
Randolph-Gladstone: (after a long pause) Miss Levene, I understand that you recently began working for a theatre company.
Levene: Yes. I–
Randolph-Gladstone: (interjects enthusiastically) How wonderful to be using your artistic gifts! Have you met anyone famous?
Levene: Not yet, but Oskar Eustis was the Artistic Director of this company before.
Summerville: (interrupts) I submitted a play to Lanford Wilson.
Randolph-Gladstone: How wonderful! And the playwright, Lanford Wilson, wants to produce your play?
Summerville: Well, no.
Randolph-Gladstone: (disappointed) Oh. I see.
Levene: I know Lanford Wilson.
Summerville: (To VEE) What are you– (Realises that she is not speaking to VEE. To LORD NEVILLE) What is she, some kind of a Pathological Upstager?
Randolph-Gladstone: (ignores JILL) Do you know Mr. Wilson, Miss Levene!
Randolph-Gladstone: So you DON’T actually know him? Why Miss Levene, that is truly fascinating! Is there anyone else whom you don’t know that you would like to tell me about? And perhaps you could swallow some fire while talking…just a tiny nibble.
Summerville: A person cannot nibble fire!
Randolph-Gladstone: Miss Levene can.
Summerville: She may be able to swallow fire, but no one can nibble it!
Summerville: I submitted a book for publication!
Randolph-Gladstone: Did you?
Summerville: Yes, I submitted a manuscript called The Gimp Glimpse to the Haworth Press.
Randolph-Gladstone: Then you shall be a published author?
Summerville: Yes! Well, no. The book was turned down.
Randolph-Gladstone: Miss Summerville, the rapidity with which you change your statements leads me to suspect you of fabricating.
Summerville: (nervously hums “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” in between sentences) Impossible! I know nothing about fabric!
Randolph-Gladstone: I meant…have you accomplished anything?
Summerville: For your information, I am currently involved in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Randolph-Gladstone: There now! In what capacity?
Summerville: I am a d–
Randolph-Gladstone: A director! How exciting!
Summerville: No, a dramaturg.
Randolph-Gladstone: I believe that you have invented that term.
Summerville: No! I have a job title. I am a dramaturg.
Randolph-Gladstone: You actually allow people to refer to you as a dramatic piece of excrement? Miss Summerville, are you quite well?
Summerville: Yes!–No!–I have no way of knowing! How can I possibly know if I am well when I have no book and no play and I am not an actress or a director but a– (turns to BOY) oh what is that word!
Boy: (helpfully) Gnkhcmrkflkfmfdmfdmvfdfd!
Summerville: What did you say, Jim? I cannot even understand my own servants!
Levene: (worried) Is that Jim, spelled J-I-C-H-K-I-O-M?
Randolph-Gladstone: Oh dear! (To VEE) During your separation Miss Summerville has taken to fraternising with that inept alien species–
Levene: (To LORD NEVILLE) The Welsh! Jesus, I had no idea that things were this bad!
Summerville: I stay in a tiny room where the only radio station plays nothing but Christmas music! I say that I have servants, but all that they truly do is translate those interminable Christmas carols into Gaelic! If the merry gentlemen are resting, then why are they still singing? Why?
Randolph-Gladstone: Miss Summerville–
Summerville: Why? Why? (sings deliriously) God rest ye, merry gentlemen/May nothing you dismay
Randolph-Gladstone: She has gone mad.
Levene: (To LORD NEVILLE) My comedy partner is mad? You Brits are supposed to be clever. Think of something!
Randolph-Gladstone: Your comedy partner? But I was under the impression that the two of you–
Levene: We made that up. We wanted publicity.
Randolph-Gladstone: Publicity through hostility?
Levene: It worked for Paris and Nicole.
Summerville: Remember Christ our savior/Was born this Christmas day/To save us all from Satan’s power/When we had gone astray
Levene: Do something, Lord Brit!
[LORD NEVILLE desperately joins JILL’S song. His voice is a rich baritone, completely incongruous with his appearance.]
Randolph-Gladstone: (quietly and gently) Good tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy/Oh tidings of comfort and joy
[JILL suddenly emerges from her delirious trance. She wheels into LORD NEVILLE’S arms, sobbing and wiping her nose upon his tailored suit.]
Randolph-Gladstone: There, there luv.
Summerville: I just…
Randolph-Gladstone: I know. You feel dreadful about the book, the play, the dramatic excrement, and the Welsh…but everyone is a bit squeamish about the Welsh.
Summerville: No…I just…I have separation anxiety!
Levene: Me too!
[VEE and JILL run and wheel towards each other respectively. They hold onto each other’s hands and spin around in the manner of a reunited couple in a film. However, VEE has to keep jumping out of the way of JILL’S wheels.]
Randolph-Gladstone: (watches VEE and JILL) Comedians are the only people who are not truly alone in this world. The rest of us isolated from others by seriousness and self-importance must fend for ourselves. (To the WELSH BOYS) Without comedy, what can fill the void…fancy a shag? (The WELSH BOYS look confused.) Pardon. Xogklblkgfdmfvmfddmf?
[Suddenly understanding, the WELSH BOYS nod, smiling. LORD NEVILLE exits, and the WELSH BOYS follow him. VEE and JILL are left alone, blithely spinning.]
THE PATHOLOGICAL UPSTAGERS are currently separated by space and a time zone. They are, however, still as firmly bound together as Siamese twins of the nonconjoined variety can possibly be. VEE LEVENE is currently working for Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island, while JILL SUMMERVILLE is the dramaturg for the University of Houston’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire (February 17-19, 2006). Together, THE UPSTAGERS are planning to invade Rhode Island, change its capital to Saunderstown, RI (for the lovely Jennifer Saunders, of course) and establish a comedic empire.
LORD NEVILLE first profiled THE PATHOLOGICAL UPSTAGERS in 2005. He is vastly delighted to learn that they are not actually feuding. He has strong reasons for wanting them to remain together. He finds nonconjoined Siamese twins to be terribly erotic. As VEE and JILL are the only pair of nonconjoined Siamese twins in the world, his sexual fantasies depend entirely upon them. He visits their website daily. He wants to have their faces tattooed on his chest. Instead, he uses Magic Markers to draw their faces on his chest each morning, as he is afraid of needles.