Eavesdropping in on a Cyclical Conversation

In Character : Gloss

Eavesdropping in on a Cyclical Conversation : Gloss

A dinner party in a sitting room embellished with worldly items. The guests sit about a roaring fire on low cushions.

James Baldwin
(Hoping to spark interesting conversation)
I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

Anton Chekhov
(to Baldwin)
Write only of what is important and eternal.

Hannah Arendt
(to Chekhov)
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

Virginia Woolf
(to the room)
To write weekly, to write daily, to write shortly, to write for busy people catching trains in the morning or for tired people coming home in the evening, is a heartbreaking task for men who know good writing from bad.

(An uncomfortable silence)

Randolph S. Bourne
(Retrieving the dignity of the room from its bewilderment)
History remembers only the brilliant failures and the brilliant successes.

Napoleon
(Counter-attack)
History is a myth that men agree to believe!

James Baldwin
(Catching himself in the mirror, eyes wet and glassy)
You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

Harry Truman
(to Hegel)
It’s what you learn after you know it all, that counts.

Hegel
(to Truman)
The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything.

James Baldwin
(Unlit cigarette in his mouth, searching his breast pockets for a lighter)
A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.

Hegel
(Bored with the conversation, flipping through a book plucked from a library shelf)
There is no proposition of Heraclitus, which I have not adopted in my logic… the least of which is that children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

Alvin Toffler
(Throwing his wine glass to the floor)
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Oscar Wilde
(Plucking a flower from a table arrangement, pinning it to his coat’s lapel)
Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

Eartha Kitt
(Making her entrance late, a fur draped about her shoulders, plucking the flower from Wilde’s lapel and tossing it into the fire)
I am learning all the time! The tombstone will be my diploma!

Black Out


About the Author

Carl Hancock Rux is a playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, performer, theatre director, and recording artist. He is the author of several publications including a book of poetry, Pagan Operetta (Fly by Night, 1998), the novel Asphalt (Atria, 2004), and the OBIE-award-winning play Talk (TCG, 2003). He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Doris Duke Awards for New Works, the Doris Duke Charitable Fund, the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize, and the Alpert Award in the Arts.