Sample Dialogue from ‘Venom’

‘Venom’ Drawing

1-2-22

ACT I

 

Scene 2

 

 

 

AT RISE:      BLACKOUT.

Moments later.

Noise of a scratching on the wall up left.

UNKNOWN VOICE

Dr. White?

(The lights come up suddenly.

EDWARD J. SMART, a man aged twenty to forty, has found the light switch first, but is nose to nose with HERB)

EDWARD  (cont.)

Dr. White?

(HERB doesn’t move).

You’re Dr. White?

HERB

Who the hell are you?

EDWARD

Edward Smart.

HERB

How did you get in?

EDWARD

The door was open.

HERB

You stay here.  Dolores!

(HERB runs backstage.  A door slams.

(off)

Who turned off the light?!

(DOLORES’ VOICE inaudible)

You don’t know?!  What do you mean, “you don’t know!?”  You were trying to entrap me!

(DOLORES’ VOICE inaudible)

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HERB (cont.)

I told you to hold all my appointments until Marcy left!

(DOLORES’ VOICE inaudible)

I know he’s a patient!

(HERB runs back in, and consults his

appointment agenda)

HERB   (cont.)

(reading)

Edward J. Smart.

EDWARD

Yes.  I hope I didn’t cause any trouble.  I had an appointment.

HERB

Appointment, eh?  What, in the dark?

EDWARD

I was looking for the light.

HERB

So was I.  Communication problem, I bet?  No big deal.

EDWARD

If you want me to leave…?

HERB

Oh no…No, no, no.

(EDWARD looks at MARCY)

EDWARD

But your secretary told me it was going to be a private session.

HERB

She did, huh?  Dolores told you that, too?

EDWARD

Hey, I’m really sorry.

HERB

Oh no, nothing to be sorry about.

MARCY

That’s all right, Herb, I was on my way out.

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(Unseen by the others, FRED appears behind a curtain, up right)

HERB

(to MARCY)

You sure, my dear?  I don’t want to rush you out of here.

MARCY

I think we got to the root of my problem today.

HERB

Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but we’re getting there.

(to EDWARD)

Edward J?

EDWARD

Edward.

HERB

Let me introduce you to another new patient, Marcy Stemkowski.

MARCY

(shaking hands with EDWARD)

Hi.

EDWARD

Pleased to meet you.  And once again, I’m sorry about –

HERB

(also shaking EDWARD’s hand)

– And I’m Herbert E. White, Ph.D., chief analyst and director of the White Institute of Mental Psychotherapy, at your service.  Please, call me Herb.  So we had a little misunderstanding.  But what can you do, you can’t always get the help you want these days.

(motioning back stage)

That Dolores back there…well, I won’t talk about her…  Did she say your appointment was in the front or back office?

EDWARD

I don’t know.  Is this the front office?

HERB

Yes, it is.  This is where I normally work, but I’m expanding, see, and she’s been going around telling people I have staff for that back passage–I mean, the back office-

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HERB (cont.)

when really, I have no competent therapists at all, except for myself, of course.  Basically, she’s just trying to glorify her own position, and get the back passage for herself.

(FRED makes an audible movement behind the curtain)

HERB   (cont.)

(calling out)

Dolores?

(to MARCY and EDWARD)

See what I mean?  You never know what she’s going to do from one moment to the next.

EDWARD

This is a psychotherapy clinic, right?

HERB

Don’t you worry about a thing, Edward.

(to MARCY)

Thank you, Marcy.

(MARCY starts to leave)

There’s a good girl.

MARCY

Good-bye, Dr. White.  Good-bye, Edward.

(SHE exits)

HERB

We’re very informal here.

(beckoning to the chair opposite the mirror)

Have a seat.

(EDWARD remains standing)

Is there a problem, Edward?

EDWARD

I’m sorry, but do I have to stare at myself in this mirror?

HERB

No.  You look at me.  I’ll be standing right behind you.

EDWARD

But I can see my reactions.

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HERB

Exactly.

 (Pause)

Is this your first time in therapy?  Don’t be afraid.

EDWARD

But I thought…

(HE tries to look at HERB directly.  HERB eases HIM into his seat and makes HIM look in the mirror)

I thought you lay on a couch when you went to the psychiatrist?

HERB

There are different ways of doing things.  I sometimes have my patients lie on a couch, sometimes sit on a hard chair, and at other times look in the mirror.  Sometimes they have to be doing something when they talk to me, even silly things like hitting the bean bag, or,

(HE motions to the computer)

playing video games.

EDWARD

But how do you know who should do what?

HERB

I know.  The important thing for you to do is relax and be honest.  Honest with yourself and honest with me.  Looking in the mirror will keep you that way.  You see, my sessions are tough because I’m looking for hard answers to hard questions. So many times, you’re going to feel very uncomfortable.  But don’t shy away from discomfort because when you’re uncomfortable, when you’re feeling pain, that means we’re getting somewhere.  That feeling means you’re getting better. Do we understand each other?

EDWARD

I think so.

HERB

You got to be rugged, you got to be man enough to go through with this.

EDWARD

I am rugged.

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HERB

You got to be more than rugged.  I’m afraid you also have to have a skin like a rhinoceros.

EDWARD

Don’t worry.  I got what it takes.  I’m a salesman.

HERB

Well then, what can I do for you?

EDWARD

I came because I think there’s something wrong at work.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m feeling out of sync, sort of in the way.  Like I don’t belong there anymore.

HERB

Is this a recent development?

EDWARD

I’d say about the last three months.

HERB

And you came on your own to see me?

EDWARD

Yes.

HERB

Well, that’s good.  That’s half the battle:  recognizing when there is a problem, even if you don’t know what to do about it.  So, no one told you to come here?

EDWARD

No.

HERB

No higher authority in your life, no job supervisor?

EDWARD

No.  I saw your ad in a deli, though.

HERB

Oh yeah?  Which one?  Mort’s?  Marvin’s?  Sammy’s?

EDWARD

Sammy’s.

1-2-28

                           HERB

Sammy’s.  Good choice.  Excellent food.

EDWARD

You like the Matzo ball soup?

HERB

No, I like the bran muffins.

EDWARD

Yes, so do I.

(Pause)

Anyway, it’s not that I have a big problem or anything.  It’s not that.

HERB

You’re not hiding anything from me, are you Edward?

EDWARD

No, of course not.

(EDWARD tries to look at HIM, but FRED turns EDWARD back to face the mirror)

But I thought that maybe I needed some type of communication enhancement.  Some sort of boost.

(HERB brings his chair behind EDWARD and sits down.  THEY continue to talk to each other through the mirror)

HERB

What do you do?

EDWARD

I sell computer dating systems to big companies.

HERB

(writing)

“Computer dating systems to big companies”.  You like

your job?

EDWARD

Very much so.

HERB

What kind of people do you work with?

EDWARD

All sorts, really…

1-2-29

                           HERB

What?  Young?  Old?…

EDWARD

Mostly young, I suppose.

HERB

High pressure?

EDWARD

The people or the job?

HERB

Both.

EDWARD

It’s funny you ask that because that’s one of my problems.  There seems to be a lot of stress in this job.

HERB

And that’s why you need the ‘boost’, right?

EDWARD

I guess.

HERB

You see, we’ve been talking about a ‘communication enhancement’ here, but  who needs the ‘enhancement’?  Maybe you’re not the one who needs it?  Maybe it’s the other guy who has the communication problem?  Did you ever think of that?

EDWARD

That’s possible, I guess.  But I don’t work with any guys.

HERB

Really?  Only women?

EDWARD

Sort of.  Actually, I’m on my own in the field.  All the men are.  My problem is when I go into the office.  All the people

in the office are women.

HERB

Oh yeah?  What kind of women?

EDWARD

Well, they’re young –

1-2-30

                           HERB

Tough?

EDWARD

Tough?  I suppose.  They have to be.  We all have to be.  They’re very business-oriented.

HERB

Like Marcy?

EDWARD

Marcy?  You mean the woman who was just here?  No.  She seems sort of athletic.

HERB

She’s a dancer.  You like that type?

EDWARD

I hadn’t even given it a thought.

HERB

You hadn’t?  Sounds like you should.  Otherwise, you’re left with these tough cookies, right?

EDWARD

Yes.

HERB

I don’t want to put words in your mouth.  Don’t let me put words in your mouth.

EDWARD

No, I agree with you one hundred percent.

HERB

Because that’s what we’re here for.  We’re here to listen to you, to listen to your problems.

EDWARD

I couldn’t agree with you more.

HERB

I ask the questions, you give the answers, right?

EDWARD

Of course.

1-2-31

                           HERB

But you’ve seen them, haven’t you?  The power-tech types?  You know, shoulder pads, short hair, femininity turned warrior?

EDWARD

“Power-techs?”  I guess you could call them that.

HERB

You bet we can.

(HERB starts up the metronome.  FRED’s head pops out from behind the curtain to observe them)

(The toilet flushes loudly)

HERB

Goddamn it!  When’s she going to get that fixed?  I told her to call the plumber.

(back to EDWARD)

So the women work upstairs, right, in so-called white collar sanctity?

EDWARD

Yes, why?  What are you implying?

HERB

I never imply, Edward, that’s one thing you will learn about me – just ask Dolores back there – or even Fred, one of my

best patients – I deal in facts, not fiction.

(HERB adjusts the metronome so it ticks faster)

EDWARD

But I’m a white collar worker, too.

HERB

Yes, but you’re in the field, they’re on the phone.  You’re doing the work, bringing in the money.  They’re sitting on the phones, blabbing away, talking about this, talking about that, doing their nails –

EDWARD

They’re making our sales arrangements, coordinating –

1-2-32

                           HERB

Oh, for Chrissake!  Stop seeing the other guy’s point of view for once in your life.  The fact is, Edward, we’re dealing with white collar Strongwomen here who’ve got you in a bind.

EDWARD

Who are you talking about?

HERB

Your bosses.

EDWARD

They’re not my bosses.  They’re my colleagues.

(HERB stops the metronome. SILENCE)

HERB

Well, who’s the Top Honcho?  Who’s the Big Enchilada?

EDWARD

You mean, who do we work for?

HERB

Yes.  Who’s the Head Ding?  What’s his name?

EDWARD

His name?  My boss is also a woman.

HERB

Oh, no!  Oh, for Chrissake!  What kind of woman?

(HERB starts the metronome up again.

It ticks faster than before)

EDWARD

What do you mean?

HERB

A strong woman?

EDWARD

I don’t know.

HERB

A weak woman?

EDWARD

What’s going on here?

1-2-33

                           HERB

Is she weak?

EDWARD

No, she’s not weak!

HERB

Strong as an ox?

EDWARD

What are you talking about?

HERB

As strong as your mother?

EDWARD

What’s my mother got to do with it?

HERB

She got you in a bind?

EDWARD

You’re crazy!

HERB

She got you in a bind?!

EDWARD

No woman’s got me in any bind, Herb!

HERB

Come on, now.  I can tell.

EDWARD

You’re barking up the wrong tree.

HERB

I’m on to something.

(EDWARD rises to go.  HERB lunges at HIM and holds HIM down)

Sit down!

EDWARD

Let me go!

HERB

Sit down!  You’re resisting!

1-2-34

                          EDWARD

I am not resisting!

HERB

You’re hiding something.  I can tell!  Out with it, boy!

EDWARD

(struggling)

Let me go, fuck!

HERB

What did you say, you goddamn little coward!?

EDWARD

Let me go!

HERB

She’s got you in a bind!

EDWARD

No, no!

HERB

She’s got you in a bind!!

EDWARD

Let-me-go-o-o!

HERB

SHE’S GOT YOU IN A BIND!!

EDWARD

No-o-o-o-o-o!  No-o-o-o-o-o-o!  No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

(HERB stops the metronome)

(Silence)

HERB

Feel better?

(EDWARD is slumped over)

You told me you could take it.  I took you at your word.  I’m doing this for your own good, don’t you see?  It’s not for me. But you have to get rid of all this poison inside you.  All my patients go through with it.

(EDWARD doesn’t move)

It’s nothing personal.  I have no axe to grind.

1-2-35

HERB (CONT.)

(Lights begin to fade.  FRED tucks his head back behind the curtain.  HERB gets up and walks away)

I’m going to the back passage now.  I need to relax and calm down.  Why don’t you relax too for a bit, take it easy?  Afterwards, Dolores will come in and take your next appointment.

(BLACKOUT)

END OF SCENE 2

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