When Andrew wrote his initial submission to Dark Mountain Issue 11 he was reframing a portion of the larger work, I Want a Better Catastrophe, due to be published late 2019 / early 2020. Instead of submitting an essay with his own thoughts on what we are facing with the onslaught of collapse, he instead reframed it into a series of “Characters” – individual perspectives from the point of view of someone living in the USA today. What could have simply been a repetitive “opinion piece” magically transformed into a lively showdown with each Character “saying it like it is.”
When I first read it in July 2017 it didn’t take long to make the connection between 12 Characters and Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. But calling it “the Vagina Monologues for the Apocalypse” didn’t see appropriate or helpful, so I’ve simply referred to them as the monologues.
In a recent email from Andrew he wrestled with that framing of his work. Here’s what he wrote:
I’ve never been sure what to call the individual pieces. you’ve chosen “Monologues” but could also be: “Characters”, “Sketches”, “Attitudes”, “Characters sketches”, “A day in the life”, or “A slice of inner life.”Andrew Boyd, 14 Jan 2019, private communication
I’m open to monologues, since that’s how you’re deploying them, but curious if you have any thoughts on this.
I think Andrew’s response highlights the difference between what he wrote – a collection of written snippets – and what we perform – a collection of spoken monologues. When we perform them, we breathe life into the words he has written, and each performance is done by a different reader for a different audience at a different time. So each reading is a fresh, new interpretation of the written piece.