Resuscitation Theatre / 27 August 1996

For Coach, the key was the interrupted kiss. This was in Act III, Scene 4, and it was coming up. This was where it was all decided.

Coach had worked it like a proof. He mapped it out on his graph paper, drawing the lines with the edge of a protractor, writing Q.E.D. with a mechanical pencil. The angles were perfect, the logic sound, the numbers humming, but his heart was still the loudest voice in the theater and Scene 3 still dragged on interminably.

The givens were Delaney and Maria.

“I’d like to meet with you two,” Coach told the leads after the first week of rehearsals. “Just the three of us, talk about histories, gestures.”

“Good,” Maria said, pointing. “I have a few ideas.”

“I’d like to discuss costumes,” Delaney said.

“We’ll talk costumes, we’ll talk ideas,” Coach said, consulting his clipboard.

This pleased Delaney. The meeting took place at a 24-hour restaurant at around ten o’clock when things were hushed, though any silences were thankfully absorbed by Muzak. Delaney wore the blazer he planned to wear in the show. Delaney wanted to be Duarte, at least for the next four months. Duarte knew just what to say, even if it was a stuttered hesitation, and Duarte wore a gray blazer with a black plaid pattern buried deep within. Most importantly, Duarte was having an affair with Elizabeth.

“She’s angry,” Maria explained. “But not used to expressing that anger.”

“Mmhm,” Coach nodded. “Where do you find that? Where can you, what line can you really get in there and give us the one-two?”

Maria flipped through her copy of L. Richard Ailey’s Summer Burden (1983), bending back the curled yellow cover stamped with Property of Columbine Community Theater. “Something early on,” she said.

“What happened to her, what’s one specific event that made her be this way?” Coach said.

“In like Act I?” Maria asked.

“Outside the play, before this all happens. What can we think of?”

The Muzak swelled. It was a wordless “Copa Cabana.” Delaney and Maria glanced at each other and realized they wouldn’t recognize each other in a crowd.

Joshua Green Allen

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