copyright © 2001 Todd Ristau


by Todd Wm. Ristau

(lights up on a man sitting centerstage)

Well, see, I had this cameo I was doing in this movie....well, OK, it was more like a walk-on, well, I was an extra...but I was supposed to have a line...but it got cut...before they started shooting.

I guess they felt the line was unnecessary, you know, superfluous, because film is, like, a very visual medium, you know? They don't like a lot of words. The details are in the pictures, the images, because in a movie words are like, um, what am I trying to say?

The words are like overkill. See, in this scene I was in, there's this crowd being held hostage at a train station, you know? This black dude named Leon is using the hostages to lure Superman into a trap. Don't ask me why they made another Superman movie, I don't write the stuff, I just show up for work when they call me.

Anyway, Supes shows up an his cape is all flying back and he's going to clean Leon's clock, when Leon's assistant, some French chick named Bubbles, pulls out this glowing green rock and I'm originally supposed to yell, "Look out, Superman! It's Kryptonite!"

I was really psyched about this line, too, man. It sucks that it got cut, because I was finally going to be able to get my SAG card....and I'd told my mom about it and all the kids back at school that used to call me fag for being in plays.

But, you know, what the hell does some committee back in Hollywood care about the geeky little fag boy that even the kids in band used to try to drown by tying his hands and feed with barbed wire to an air conditioner and throwing him in the swimming pool?

What do Hollywood moguls care about a 68 year old woman who just sits for hours at the restaurant bar knocking back Amaretto Sour after Amaretto Sour scanning Variety for a mention of her son the movie actor?

Dad always told her, before he left the house for good, that the only line I'd ever say was "You want fries with that?"

Well, Dad, kiss my white ass, you choo-choo riding, home destroying, dream smashing, unimaginitive prick!

(smiling)How's that for a line?

But, as I was saying, in a film, its the picture over the words and I guess they figured that anybody going to see Superman 17 or whatever would be able to figure out what a green glowing rock was without any additional dialogue.

But, you know, I keep plugging away. I'll get a line one of these days, a good line that stays in the final cut...something that's central to the plot of some major film.

That's all I want, one line that stays in a movie. Then I'll be safe. I don't need to be famous, or even make a living at it...See, when I was growing up, I was a strange kid, too sensitive, I guess. The world hurt and the names I got called brought tears. And I took refuge in the theatre.

On the stage, nothing was what it appeared to be. Colored water could be any fluid you wanted, just by calling it a different name. Reality wasn't necessary in a world where illusion counted for everything. I was positive that theatre was hwere I could really live, because while I was on the stage, I could be someone...anyone...else.

But you know what the problem with theatre is?

Theatre is ephemeral. It disappears while it is happening...whent he curtain comes down it's all over and the world turns back into crap. And no one remembers the role beause there isn't any record of it....not like with film.

Film is forever.

If I can just get a line in one movie that stays there for the final edit, then I'll keep on being that other person for the rest of time.

Mom, Dad, the kids at my school...and I...will all be so proud of me when my movie finally erases my other life forever.

(lights out)


This piece was written as part of a bubbling excercise when I was teaching a class for the Playwright's Lab at Live Arts. The entire class comes up with around 80 unrelated words and then has 20 minutes to write a monologue which uses all of them. The piece came out pretty well and this draft is nearly identical to the original draft written in class. It has been performed a few times under different titles, but the the title here is the actual final one.

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