FLYING DREAMS premiered at Manhattan Theatre Source in August of 2006.
My favorite part about this play is the main character Herman's dialogue style. He suffers from Tourette's and each of his ticks take him on a tangential metaphor which helps further define what it is he is or isn't trying to say. FLYING DREAMS premiered in July of 2006 starring Pete Aguero, Matthew Porter* and Sharon Fogarty* (Members Actors Equity Association). -sf
I have a defect. deficit, deficate! A defect. It's impossible to control. I'll grasp a word and must elaborate, lab rat, extra polite... on it. I have to squeeze all the juice out of each word, so that it will have as many meaningful meanings as possible. Or, like a tea bag, I'll let it soak or boil for a long time until all the tealeaves are used up. I write in my notebook, not a book, not a crook! I write stories but don't confabulate, congratulate contortionate... the truth. I don't exaggerate, exacerbate, masterbate! (covers mouth to suppress the tick.)
NY TIMES, Editorial Review - Flying Dreams - Bravo!, July 28, 2006
I attended the premiere of Flying Dreams at the Manhattan Theatre Source and was spellbound. Found it to be absolutely great and beautifully written and arranged. The cast of three, which includes the playwright Sharon Fogarty, was fantastic as well. Seldom do I attend a play that achieves so much with so little. I might have wished for a slightly different ending but, even so, this was a remarkably minimalist, sensitive and impressive production. Thank you, Sharon!
NYTheatre.com: Fogarty doesn't judge her protagonist, just charts out his universe the way he sees it and invites us to try to walk in his admittedly unique shoes for an hour and try to imagine what it would be like to be an awkward gay kid with Tourette whose mother was a megalomaniacal nymphomaniac.
SAWFISH PUBLICATIONS:…a jewel that sparkled with human compassion, humor and transcendence.
A Fantasy in One Act
by Sharon Fogarty
To premier July 19 through 29, 2006.
Wednesdays through Saturdays, 8:00 PM
Manhattan Theatre Source
177 MacDougal Street, NYC.
Contact: Sharon Fogarty
w: 212 816 8377, c/h: 917 620 0658
HERMAN: A troubled young man.
LYDIA: His mother, an aging vaudeville performer.
HERO: A handsome dance/theatre partner, doubles as numerous characters including Lydia’s Nurse/Caretaker.
2 chairs and a small table create a room in a nursing home, a restaurant, a car, etc. A small bed, preferably with iron head/foot is placed far up left on a diagonal. The head of the bed holds cables indicating a life support system. Note that lights do not fade between scenes unless where indicated.
Scene 1. Introduction.
Lights up on Herman who stands down right holding a notebook.
HERMAN: (sings Giant in the Sky)
Everything seems to be going so fast
Like my eyes won’t focus and I’m bleeding from my ass
I can’t move through the day ‘cause I’m living in the past with these
Dangerous thoughts of you.
Everything seems to be hectic down here
As if everyone is straight and I’m the only one who’s queer
I don’t have any love ‘cause there’s nothing but fear with these
Dangerous thoughts of you.
Climb a ladder to the sky
Pray that the giant is a really nice guy
If I fall down dead I want the world to know why, because of
Dangerous thoughts of you.
Dangerous thoughts of you.
Music continues over the following.
HERMAN: (spoken) I have a defect. Deficit, defecate. A Defect. It’s impossible to control. I’ll grasp a word and must elaborate, lab rat… Extrapolate, extra polite! on it. I have to squeeze all the juice out each word, so it will have as many meaningful meanings as possible. Or like a tea bag, I’ll let it soak or boil for a long time until all the tealeaves are used up. I write in my notebook, not a book, not a crook! I write stories but don’t confabulate, congratulate, contortionate… the truth. I don’t exaggerate exacerbate, masturbate! (covers mouth until the need stills).
Scene 2. Nursing Home, New Jersey, 1960.
Lights up Lydia at a nursing home. Nurse enters carrying a bowl of soup, a napkin and a spoon for her. He sets it down on the table, places the spoon in her hand and exits. Lydia wears a bathrobe and due to either a stroke or dementia lifts the spoon so slowly to her mouth that the movement is almost imperceptible. However, she maintains a pleasant expression and does this without struggle. Herman crosses to unwillingly sit with her.
Watching her activity, Herman can barely sit still. After several ticks inspired by the compulsion to see her complete the slow journey from bowl to mouth, each tick recovering into another gesture (smoothing his hair, rubbing his eyes, etc.) he is overcome by the need and reaches for the spoon. At this, Lydia suddenly raises the spoon high as if to hit him with it. He retracts and they start over. Almost as slowly, Lydia finally succeeds in getting the spoon up to her mouth, but instead of ingesting it, she winks at Herman and deliberately pours the soup into her lap. Herman rolls his eyes and grunts in frustration. Lydia goes for a third spoonful and suddenly, quickly manages to get it into her mouth.
HERMAN: (hits the table, stands) Finally!
Startled, Lydia spits her entire accomplishment into Herman’s face.
HERMAN: (standing, pacing) Damn it Ma, I know you can eat! I know you can eat, Ma! They tell me that you eat so I know you only do this when I’m here! (to audience) She can’t take nutrition when I’m here. (to mother) Why can’t you take nutrition while I’m here? It’s fucking torture, Ma. (quietly to audience) Torch your ma. (Pause). I hate how she just… ages. I hate… (he stills, the music changes) She has an attendant. He is so beautiful, so gentle, so handsome.
A handsome nurse enters to wash and comfort Lydia. He practices physical therapy on her.
HERMAN: (continued) Handsome. Hands on him, hands me some. I can’t understand how he can touch her like that. Where does God find these people? God finds these people. If I got to be that age, that sick, I don’t think I could live. There must be some kind of acceptance hormone, any whore mom. Like mothers who keep giving birth no matter how painful. She’s happily senile, (jerks into a dance) slippery beanwhale, hoppity meanwhile.
He runs to the Nurse and caresses him softly. The Nurse doesn’t notice.
HERMAN: I want him to touch me. I want to be the sick one so that he will touch me…toucheth me, just me, adjust me baby.
Music 1 fades.
Scene 3. Exterior High School, New Jersey, 1957.
Lydia, suddenly young, rises to remove bathrobe, revealing a stretchy performance/evening gown. She walks downstage.
LYDIA: (flirting) Hello, you must be my son’s principal.
Nurse has removed his hospital smock to become a school Principal. They converse but focus out towards the audience, Herman between them.
HERO: Yes, Herman is a very bright boy. However…
HERMAN: (to audience, unnoticed by Hero and Lydia) It’s my first day at school.
LYDIA: What a nice tie. Did I tell you that I did some teaching?
LYDIA: That was a hundred years ago before we had to support children. But I love professors, always have, are you married?
Lydia and Hero cross to each other over the following.
HERO: (laughs) Well…
LYDIA: Grand. Looking forward to meeting your wife. Is she a teacher too? I love teachers. I feel that they are the saints of our day.
LYDIA: May I take your hand? It’s terribly cold. I imagined an older man. You’re very attractive. Do you like sherry?
HERMAN: You are such a fucking flirt! sucking shirt, fucking…
Lydia and Hero laugh, crossing upstage, practically through Herman.
HERMAN: (to audience) Everywhere we went, like a snake she’d become this charmed seductress, this siren who was convinced that she could flirt her way out of anything or get whatever she wanted. I was forever cringing at her sexuality, Sensual cruelty, such a reality.
Hero exits quickly to return as a stranger, wearing a raincoat, carrying an open umbrella. He waits for a bus.
Scene 3A. Exterior Bus Station, 1944
LYDIA: (shivering, runs beneath his umbrella) Ooh, it’s getting nipply out.
HERO: Excuse me?
LYDIA: Oh my God, excuse me! I always say the wrong word. I meant to say nippy. Nippy as in, you know, cold. (looking at her blouse) Ooh, maybe I did mean to say nipply. Can you say nipply?
LYDIA: It’s alright, it’s natural.
HERO: I’m Frank.
LYDIA: Lydia. (takes his hand) Pleasure.
The couple separates. Lydia puts on a hat and sits at table. Hero exits and returns immediately wearing a scarf/hat to now play a stranger on a train.
Scene 3B. Interior Train, 1943.
HERMAN: Once, my mother’s car broke down. We had to spend all the money on train fare to get from gig to gig.
Hero crosses past Lydia as she discovers her purse is missing.
LYDIA: (rising) That’s funny I… I could have sworn. (to Herman) Puppet, where’s my purse?
HERMAN: I don’t know, Mommy. Are you sure you brought it?
HERO: What color is it?
LYDIA: Pink… (looks to Hero) No, red. It’s my red bag. Very pretty. Terrible to have lost it. (looks at bill).
HERO: Allow me.
LYDIA: No, I couldn’t, well, it’s just a meal for the child. I imagine it wouldn’t make you so terribly broke.
HERO: Not at all Mrs…?
LYDIA: Miss. Lydia. The boy’s mother, but, single. How do you do?
Hero sits with her, nods sympathetically as they mime conversation.
HERMAN: What was she doing? Did we really need the money? Did she really need him? Was it a game? She actually once seduced a man into giving her a car. Was it pity? Or sex? Can things be bought with pity, or can you use sex to purchase something. Can sex be pitiful, even when it’s very expensive?
HERO: (handing car keys to Lydia) Here… take it.
LYDIA: I couldn’t (opens her palm).
SFX Car ignition.
Scene 3C. Interior car, 1942.
All three transform the train scene into a car as music swells.
Lydia sits in the front seat of the car. Hero has exited to return immediately in a policeman’s uniform.
LYDIA: (pulling car over as Hero approaches) I’m sorry, officer, was I speeding?
HERO: Actually ma’am, you were going too slow.
LYDIA: Funny, I can’t imagine (winks). Well, I do have my son in the car and he’s fragile, aren’t you Puppet?
HERMAN: She calls me Puppet. I will explain later, (softly) I plain hate her.
LYDIA: My license and registration, officer? Of course. (seductively retrieves it from her cleavage). Here. Here it is. Nice and warm. Are you married?
HERO: Well, I…
LYDIA: I ask because you seem to know women drivers. Perhaps that comes with the job.
HERMAN: She was an actress. I knew her acting. I could see right through it. But others couldn’t. To me she was transparent, trained parent, tramp harlot. But somehow, people still fell for it. People needed it.
LYDIA: I’ll be careful. And sorry for taking it a little slow. I’ll go faster next time… if that’s what you’d like.
HERO: I’d like that, Mrs…
Lydia waves goodbye as Hero exits.
HERMAN: We grew up in the theatre. Well, vaudeville. Vaudeville, naughty-ville, bawdy kill. Hit it!
Scene 4. Vaudeville Stage, 1940.
Lydia sings while dancing with Hero:
Other dancers, they drop like flies
But I’m still kickin’
They have babies, they marry guys
But I’m still kickin’
Fall in love, they fall from grace
My only love is a splintered old stage
As long as I never act my age
I’m still kickin’
(dance with Hero and sing “She’s still kickin” for another verse)
Lydia turns upstage and, assisted by Hero, stuffs padding and Little Herman under her dress. Music gets faster.
HERMAN: When my mother was pregnant, she continued to sing and dance up until the end.
Music quickens to about twice as fast. Hero and Lydia perform a kind of flapper dance. As the dance involves lifts, falls and dips, Herman does the choreography with her but it starts to hurt him. Together, they do a kind of Charleston kick, Herman becomes violent with each kick as Lydia doubles over in pain but attempts to continue.
LYDIA: I’m still kicking, baby! I’m still kicking!
HERMAN: I’m kicking her. It hurts, Mommy, it hurts. It used to be fun and bouncy but then it just started to hurt. I couldn’t breathe. It just got so… I can’t breathe, Mommy. I can’t breathe. I can’t… I can’t…
The choreography grows in violence, tossing Herman about.
Both Lydia and Herman double over and pant simultaneously. Herman holds his head.
LYDIA/HERMAN: Please… please.
LYDIA/HERMAN: I’m still kicking (a contraction). It hurts!
HERO: Don’t stop now. The big agent is out there!
Hero waves to the agent and continues a kind of Charleston step by himself.
LYDIA/HERMAN: (still breathing heavily) I… need… to… stop.
HERO: No! Keep going!
Lydia and Herman together fall on the ground. Simultaneously, they scream, convulse, contract. Lydia pulls a Little Herman doll from out of beneath her dress as Herman squashes his head in his hands. Hero, runs off stage to vomit.
Slight pause in music and noise as Lydia and Herman freeze looking at Little Herman.
HERO: (enters) Keep going!
All resume to screaming mode as Hero and Lydia sling Little Herman to and fro as they continue to dance.
HERMAN: (over the noise) My mother became the first woman in history to actually give birth on stage. Half the audience stayed and applauded in amazement, half ran out screaming, scarred for life, never to see another piece of theatre again!
Lydia sings: Nothing’s going to slow me down
No kid or man will ever get me down!
I’ll just use him like a circus clown ‘cause
I’m…. still… kicking….
SFX Crowd noise, audience applause.
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