October 27 & 28: Cory Philley

October 27 & 28: Fingers and Toes

Cory Philley



Fingers and Toes

The lights come up on a tight circle on a Woman’s face. We cannot see her body or extremities, just her pleasant if anxious expression as she smiles tentatively at the audience. A stray hair keeps falling in her face and she tries to unobtrusively flip and/or blow the errant hair off of her forehead and does not lift a hand to move the hair. She is not successful with the flinging/blowing and again turns her attention to the audience and begins to speak…

Woman: Well hi, hello, I wasn’t expecting so many of… but welcome..ummmm. My name is..

Teenager (Offstage yelling) Mom!

Woman: (ignoring the voice) ..that is I’m..

Teenager: Mom. Where are you?

Woman & Teenager at the same time: Mary/Mom

Woman: Excuse me, just..I’ll just be a sec. (Yelling) What? What is it?

Teenager: Where are you?

Woman: Where I always am these days..

Teenager: What?

Woman: I said where I usually… what do you want?

Teenager: (muffled like eating and speaking at the same time) Wanna use your car.

Woman: Why?

Teenager: (again garbled) Gonna go over to ..

Woman: Have you done your homework? And is her mom home..

Teenager: …do it there. Gonna have dinner there too..

Woman: (sighs) Ok. Home by 10.

Teenager: Mooooommmm come on

Woman: No it’s a school night. 10.

There is silence. Woman waits to see if there is anything more from the Teenager and then addresses the audience once more.

Woman ( turning her attention back to audience) Sorry, Sorry. Kids. Now sorry where was I….
Teenager: I need gas.

Woman: Right. I think, yes, I was just..

Teenager: Mom, did you hear me, I said I need gas!

Woman: Jesus Murphy… ..

Teenager: oh great, forget it.. found a $20 in your purse. See ya later..

Woman: How many times have I told you to stay out of my ….you can’t… come back here. Right now. I mean it..Are you still … hello… hello..Listen you’re going to be in so, so, so much…hello? If I could, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit…You little…

Woman visibly attempts to compose herself by taking deep breaths and flinging the hair offer her forehead. She fails at both attempts. She finally re-focuses on the audience and drops all pretense of politeness but just dives into what she has been trying to say for the whole time. As the monologue proceeds, the light will continue to expand from her face until by the end of the monologue we see her whole body and realize that she is in a large, circular pipe and both her hands and toes are trying to plug holes as oil is gradually leaking into the pipe and onto the stage.

Woman: Thing is I’m a multi-tasker. Multi-tasker from way back. I mean, I’ve got kids, a job, a partner… I mean there is just always so many things and so little…. and I keep everyone on point you know, myself included and sometimes honestly it all becomes a bit much. I’m not saying I’m special or anything, just another person trying to contribute, and I’m willing to do my part. I tell my him all the time, Honey it’s important to do what you can, when you can, find that middle ground and, cooperate, compromise, ‘cause working together is how we’ll, you know find the solution. Sometimes it takes a sacrifice, even a big sacrifice, something that you know isn’t fun but has to happen. It’s just, I used to be able to keep it all together, take breaks and deal with all the other stuff going on in my life. Now, not so much. I mean really never. I’m pretty much on alert 24/7, I can’t sleep or eat and if I do well.. the nightmares. You can bet this is really doing a number on my mani/pedi too. And I haven’t been able to scratch my nose in days. And all I can smell is this. I don’t even remember any other smells anymore. I know that someone smarter than me thought this through. It must have been someone smarter than me yeah? And I’m willing to do anything to help, really, I always have been. Thing is, I’m starting to wonder, starting to doubt, a little bit anyway, that this way makes the most sense, that this isn’t too much to ask. I’m only saying this because lately, well most of the time really I don’t have any feeling in my fingers or toes and that can’t be right, Right? I mean, this can’t be right. Right?

Light slowly fades and we can only hear her breathing and the drip, drip, drip of the oil and splatters onto the stage.