Dark Matters By Dan Weatherer
Cast of Characters
Actor: Male/Female any age
Nurse: Male/Female – any age
Voice: needs to be of a similar age/sex to the Actor
Voice 2: needs to be of a similar age/sex to the Actor
At Rise: Actor is spread and duct-taped to the floor of the stage, facing the audience. (Note: They can be restrained in a chair, on a bed or however you see fit, so long as they are unable to move and the audience can see the actor’s face.) The Actor is illuminated but the rest of the stage is dark.
ACTOR: I deserve this. All of this. (beat) I do.
VOICE: You do.
ACTOR: I do. (beat) I think I’ve felt this way for as long as I’ve been able to feel. I was a glum teen…
ACTOR: Inclined to shy away from the house parties, the drinking down the rec, everything social, really. I mean, I was there, at school, at college, at work, but not there at the same time. Does that make sense? My body was present, but me…nah, I was sat far behind the steering wheel. (beat) They laughed and said it was teenage blues, but when it continued into my twenties, my thirties, they laughed less. They acknowledged less, and I was left alone to wonder “does everyone feel the same way about life that I do?”
VOICE: Do they suffer like you? No, only you suffer.
ACTOR: I wonder, everybody has a different pain threshold, could it be that everybody has a different insanity threshold, and that mine is lower than most? VOICE: Wishful thinking. (beat)
ACTOR: Wishful thinking on my part, probably. I think I’m just broken, inside my head, like the cogs skip now and then.
VOICE: You don’t know.
ACTOR: I don’t know.
VOICE 2: You’ll never know.
ACTOR: I won’t. (beat) I do know I’m tired from it all. I’m tired of feeling like the inside of my head is flooded. I’m tired of the crowded head, the racing ideas that make no sense to anything or anyone, but at their moment of inception, do so to me, only to be lost, trampled underfoot by another idea, and another, until it all becomes a noise and I can’t hear myself amongst all of the voices demanding attention. (beat) Sometimes I believe I lost myself a long time ago.
Enter NURSE. The nurse takes a handful of tablets from a container and forces them into the actor’s mouth.
ACTOR: Numbed by years of medication Russian roulette.
VOICE: (whisper) Hello?
ACTOR: My senses dulled, my character tethered. I used to write. I used to laugh. I used to contribute. Now, I exist. I occupy a place, and that is all.
VOICE: (whisper) I’m still here.
VOICE 2: And me.
ACTOR: Now, I observe. I’m a passenger to my life. I watch the days, the weeks, the months pass by on what feels like a two-second delay. I see my children age, I don’t watch them grow, because who they were then and who they are now is impossible for me to discern. They talk now, they talked then. They deserve a parent, not this pathetic shell.
VOICE: They deserve so much better than you.
VOICE 2: (whisper) You can’t ignore us. You are worthless and they all know it. Your kids, especially. Remember that.
ACTOR: The doubts, they never go away.
VOICE: (whisper) Never.
ACTOR: They can be quietened, but never silenced.
VOICE 2: (loud) And we return louder than ever.
ACTOR: And this is my life, now. I try to build myself back up to something resembling a functioning member of society. I try to do it for my children. I try to do it for myself.
VOICE: But you are weak.
ACTOR: But I am weak.
VOICE 2: And you know you will always struggle with life.
VOICE: Because you shouldn’t be here. What do you have to offer anyone?
ACTOR: I don’t want to be here. I’m exhausted, but I cannot sleep. I wake every night drained from my terrors.
VOICE 2: We are showing you the truth.
ACTOR: The tablets, they weaken me. The depression, it weakens me. I’m constantly see-sawing between the two, trying to find a moment of balance when I can feel the sun on my face and laugh with my children.
VOICE: Those moments are fleeting. They will become less.
ACTOR: I hold on for my children, I fight to be with them.
VOICE 2: But when they go…
ACTOR: I will silence you both for good.