copyright © 1987 Todd Ristau


(A chair with a yellow blanket must be on stage through several pieces prior to this one so that the audience does not immediately connect it to this piece. The actor enters from the back of house.)

(to the stage) Now, God damn it Millie, you got that all wrong. First off and to begin with, there were not never no damn river, and we were not tryin’ to cross it if there were, and did not have to toss our best chest of drawers overboard so as to stop the raft from sinking because we never tried to take the damn Oregon Trail in the first damned place!

(to the audience) My wife is crazy, and I don’t mean crazy about me.

See, we been married about 40 odd years now, and fer the last, oh, 25 or so, she’s been like that. Can’t take care of herself, I gotta feed her and watch she don’t bump into something and start ta bleedin’ or drown in the tub when I give her a bath...have you ever had a baby? A little tiny baby that you gotta watch all the time, clean up after, wipe up after, feed and take care of? Well, imagine that that baby is your wife and she ain’t never gonna get to where she can take care of herself, and actually gets worse as time goes by.…

(to the stage) Millie! Stop yer crying now, I’m right here, and I’m just talkin’ to some folks...(back to audience) She gets jealous like that.....gots to have my whole attention. You can see where it would get hard. She wouldn’t have no nurses. Sometimes, I can make her normal, for just a little bit, if I scare her. I found out that if I’d shout, "God damn it Millie, take care of yerself or I’m a gonna leave!" She’d be ok for an hour or so....Made me feel like hell to do it, but it worked.…

Well, one day, it was just too much, and I did leave....I came back, I swear to God, I never would have left her for real, it was just too much and I took off in my truck...I was gone about four hours or so, and when I came back....Jesus, I didn’t know she loved me that much....or maybe she was just that scared of being alone...She had cut herself, not by accident, on purpose.....I bandaged her up, I promised I’d never leave her again, swore it a hundred times, "Millie, I’ll never leave you again." (with a wink to the audience) No matter how much I might want to. (turning to the stage again) Oh, for Christ’s sake, Millie, it was a joke! A joke!

(He removes the yellow blanket from the chair revealing a human skeleton in day dress, horn rimmed glasses and loose bandage on each wrist.)

Remember jokes?

(lights out)


AUTHOR'S NOTES (7/10/02):
I always loved this piece, and it worked great when I still had that real human skeleton from down in the prop shop, which I was planning to use for the badly mauled corpse in Puberty Shriek. I know I did this one in theatre B, and performed it again for Talk Art Cabaret at the Mill along with a bunch of my other No Shame pieces from this period. People either liked this piece or hated it. I remember there were some people in the audience actually crying before the end, before the skeleton was revealed, those were the ones who hated it because they felt manipulated. Oh, well. It was still a great shock to the audience to see the skeleton, I always tried to surprise people with things on stage. I think I might be the only person to actually use a real dead human body on stage though--and that's not a challenge!

AUTHOR'S NOTES (3/26/03):
I know I did it in Theatre B, I remember rehearsing in the classroom with the mirror on the wall. I vaguely remember doing it and having Hannah Gale tell me it made her cry. Or maybe that was Julie Stiner. Like most of my pieces then, it was memorized (those were the days) and I used that skeleton from the old prop shop. This would put it BEFORE the playwright's show of Puberty Shriek, because I covered the skeleton in red and white clay and other stuff and she stayed like that in my garage or closet for years until I gave her back.

I would guess it was also before I did "Odious Words and Phrases, too, since it wouldn't have had the shock value if people knew I had a skeleton, and for Odious Words the skeleton was in an office chair on stage from the beginning.

don't know if that helps...I'm guessing 1987, but it's just a guess. Maybe 88.

"Millie" (probably) debuted 1986-87, (most likely Spring '87 prior to the Playwrights Festival production of "Bad Seed" (aka "Puberty Shriek") which used the same skeleton as a prop.) Performed by Todd Ristau.

Performed at Talk Art Cabaret on February 26, 1992 by Todd Ristau.

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