An Evolving Monologue, Pt. 2

When we left off, the character of Vera had been introduced, and her culminative monologue was deemed not right for the character. So, I went back to it, trying to find the best way to make Vera understood. Which is what I believed she needed. And so, I set about outlining the history of her relationship with Ruben. And so, that’s what I laid out in her monologue.

Now to lead in, Lola says: “what gives her the right to be such a miserable bitch? She just waltzes in here, insults everybody and then waltzes out and we’re just supposed to let her?”

Vera tells her: “You think that I am a heartless bitch, who always gets what I want. You think I’m unfair in the way that I speak to my husband, that I am dismissive and unfairly cruel to him. And yet, you know so very little of him. Perhaps if you knew what I know, you would see things differently.

“Look at him. Look at this man who you are so concerned about. What do you know of him? Would it surprise you to know that he is singularly self interested, with adolescent tendencies? That he is unreliable, and emotionally immature? I suppose none of those things would surprise anyone here.

“And how did a man like this become Prime Minister? Or even leader of a party? Simple. Family connections. My father was Nelson MacDonald, and was very influential in the party. Outside the Conservative party, there are few who have even heard of him. Some might have called him a king maker, and that wasn’t entirely an incorrect description. Ruben’s family was well known. Everyone knows the Holloway name. His family gave generous donations to museums and art galleries and opera companies. Gerald Holloway, Ruben’s father was a good friend of my father’s and was appropriately well regarded in conservative party circles. It was they who first thought that Ruben and I might be a good match.

“I was against it, of course, on principle. I accused my father of living in the dark ages, and refused to even consider it. And then I met Ruben. He was very charming. And he was uncomplicated. I saw so much potential in him. Since that time, I have wondered if these were things that I saw in him myself, or if they were things I saw because my father wanted me to see them. Both our fathers wanted so desperately for them to be true.

“And the way was made clear for him by our fathers. Leadership of the party was practically handed to him. But did he take it seriously? No. Did he hunker down and plan his way to Prime Minister. No, because he had people do that for him. He could be completely disinterested in it, and still it would happen. Because my father found good people to work for him. Competent people. People who could make things happen.

“And yet, was Ruben interested? No. He stayed out at all hours, claiming that he was working. I suspected that he was having an affair, but that relieved me more than anything, since I had long since tired of having him in my bed, and as long as he was discrete about the whole thing, and didn’t embarrass me, I could live with it. But I still believed that if he became Prime Minister, he might live up to the potential that our fathers saw in him, that I saw in him.

“But he didn’t. He squandered that too. And when his infidelity was revealed, when he was exposed with you in all the papers, when my shame was made public, when I was humiliated like that in all the papers, I finally realized that this man would never be anything other than he was. A clown, a fool, a bumbler. A bore. Yes, he bores me. And that is something I can never forgive.”

So, what’s wrong with this speech? I didn’t notice what was wrong, until I heard it read out loud. That’s when I heard that it was almost entirely expository. All exposition with nothing about the character in it (also, she says “hunker down” which really sounded completely wrong when spoken in her voice).  There are things in the speech that taught me a lot about Vera’s history, but very little about her. I think the most important thing was that last line: Yes, he bores me. And that is something I can never forgive.” That became a key piece of information for Vera on examining the monologue. Her need to be around interesting people. That being bored is the worst thing you can do to her, the crime she cannot forgive, which is an interesting thought, considering her husband’s infidelity. Does that mean that she can forgive that, but not being bored by him? An interesting thought.

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