Friday, January 18, 2008

Duct Tape

I got a late start at work today, but I wanted to put something on the blog - if only to keep the promise to myself that I would write 5 days a week.

So here's a cut-and-pasted script of a monologue/scene from last year's FatCo show, Fat in Flight. It's based on an essay I wrote, and I almost didn't submit the idea to the group. Turned out to be the big tearjerker in our Chicago and Washington DC shows.

See our TimeOut Chicago Critic's Pick Review:

Some of it was edited to make it more funny or "a little less heavy," so it's not the full story. I'll post that another time.

Duct Tape
Laura Meyer

One of my favorite movies growing up was Grease, and I always saw myself as the misunderstood goody-goody outcast Sandy. Except I’m not blonde. And I’m not a cheerleader. And I wouldn’t let these sausage legs be caught dead in a skirt. There was always one moment that got to me: Her complete makeover at the top of "You're the One That I Want."

She walks up to Danny and says, "Tell me about it...stud." His eyes roll up her body, and I was always perplexed by the spandex stretched perfectly across her flat stomach. I’d never seen anything like it. I had no idea that was what women's bodies were supposed to be like. It was like my first vision of a real naked woman.

I was a fat girl. Every summer, about 100 good students at my school got hand-selected to go on an educational trip. For five days I would get to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, where I would be free of my living room and my television, and I would actually get to hang out with the kids from town.

I wanted Sandy’s body, but since I didn’t have the time to trim down before the big trip, I had to improvise using the only tool I knew: Duct Tape.

(Girls enter and set up bus scene. Laura takes duct tape and begins to wrap it around her stomach. As she does so:)

There are problems. My fat spills out at the top and bulges from the bottom. You see: (she indicates her body) that’s not a natural line. Plus, the more I move, the more it peels away from the poles. Try taking a 15 hour bus ride in this.

(Laura sidles into her seat next to WEIRD FAT GIRL SUE.)

WFG SUE: What kind of snack did you pack?

LAURA: (unenthusiastically) My dad took me to the gas station and got me this Landcaster Sub and some Gatorade.

WFG SUE: That’s all you got? It’s a long drive.

LAURA: I can get stuff along the way if I want.

WFG SUE: It costs more. You should have come prepared. I got cookies and cheese sticks and all kinds of stuff but my mom won’t let me share them. (Awkward Pause) Will you be my friend on this trip?

(To audience again) Normally I try to steer clear of my own in situations like this: One fat girl is bad enough, but I don’t want people to think I’m on some kind of team. But what could I do? I was in the window seat.

LAURA: Sure.

WFG SUE: Cool. Maybe I’ll let you have some of my Snackwells, but don’t tell anyone.

LAURA: (Noticing Vicki, who’s super gorgeous and popular.) Hey Vicki, what are you doing?

VICKI: Putting my contacts in.

LAURA: Oh wow. That’s a pretty Caboodle.

(Vicki ignores her and Jon enters. He stands confidently in the center aisle.)

(To audience) That’s Jon Weyer. He’s really tall and skinny and tan and really good at math, but not in that nerdy way. It just comes to him. I’ve loved him since 6th grade when he asked me to be his partner for an in class writing project. He laughed at my jokes while I pretended to know about baseball. I hoped he would notice my new look


(Jon looks at Laura, then at Vicki and sits next to Vicki. The following Tableaux occur to the music “We’re on the Road to Nowhere”)

Tableau 1: Laura deals with Tape, WFG Sue eats, Jon and Vicki canoodle.
Tableau 2: Laura eats with WFGS as she watches Jon with his head in Vicki’s lap.
Tableau 3: WFGS shoves her tongue through bologna at Laura, whose head is in her hands, while Jon and Vicki go at it.

After sitting on the bus and making a few pit stops, the duct tape hurts, bad. It’s hot out, and I’m sweaty. The tape rolls away from my skin and gives off this wretched piney-sweaty smell. I have to sneak duct tape and scissors into the restroom so I can reapply. This is not a discreet procedure.

(Three chairs set up as bathroom stalls, Laura in the middle. She tries to quietly peel duct tape from the roll, but it takes too long, so she unwraps it in great lengths, making that sound. The girls in the nearest stalls comment on the sounds and ask for a courtesy flush, etc. When all is done, she starts to undo a maxi pad.)

VICKI: Laura’s on the rag!

WFG SUE: No that’s a Twinkie…did you steal my Twinkie, bitch?

(To audience) We finally got to the hotel.

(Jon enters with Vicki on his arm.)

JON: We’re going swimming. Wanna come?

LAURA: Um, no thanks.

(To Audience) Who am I kidding? Jon Weyer doesn’t like me like that, and he never will. I can’t swim with it in the hotel pool, and I wouldn’t want to. My waist may look slim, but my legs are hideously dimpled and scarred; I can’t cover those in duct tape. My breasts are big and unshapely, and my hips are still wide enough to fill canyons.

But I still kept doing this until….

MOM: I mean it, I will hide every bit of duct tape in this house! Don’t you ever do this to yourself again! Now let’s go get some Phen/Fen.

(Laura starts to peel off tape through the rest.)

(To audience) I don’t know what was worse: balancing a schedule of five pills daily while hiding it from my normal friends or unpeeling a cast of tape from my body in the middle of the day, when the welts have started to bleed and I am forced to acknowledge the flaws of my body. After all this, I think I’ll stand with my hands crossed over my waist for the rest of my life.

So there's that,



mkieper said...


WFGS wouldn't have a last name that starts with H would it?

Laura said...

Yes...but I really didn't think she was all that weird. For the purposes of this show, she was made obnoxious.