The following is the opening to my play Curing Marble. The main character is a vigorous 89-year-old woman named Vera who protests the removal of a statue from a park by chaining herself to it late one night. It is there she meets Barry, a security guard, and Cassie and Kurt, two teenagers.
(The stage is dark. Vera, Cassie, Barry and Kurt enter. There is a spot on each character only while he or she speaks. Each strikes a pose like a statue and “unfreezes” only when ready to talk)
When I was little, my friends and I played statues in my back yard. Tilly always wanted to be in charge. She was always the curator. She’d stand at one end of the yard, and the rest of us would stand at the other. When Tilly turned her back, we would sneak up on her, but if she caught us moving when she turned around, we were out of the game. Tilly really liked that part, kicking us out. And she could always tell if we moved–she didn’t miss a trick–so we couldn’t move up too fast, or we couldn’t freeze in time.
I don’t do anything fast anymore.
My dad bought this really expensive refrigerator–“the latest thing,” right?—and a week after we got it, it started acting weird. Everything froze–milk, muffins, strawberries. We didn’t notice that water dripping at the back of the top shelf was making a little ice statue. Looked like a wizard’s hat–like, all pointy. Dad had to use a hammer to break it. Dad’s not good with hammers–he’s this hotshot banker–but he does like to break things–just things. Things that don’t matter. I think it helps …
When my wife and I got married, we bought a little statue of the laughing Buddha and put it on the table by the front door. We used to rub its belly for good luck when we went out. She was convinced it would work. It didn’t … We didn’t.
I remember standing as still as a statue.