Playwrite Frank Gagliano


(Congo spoken Monologue #1)

       (As the corrupt BLACK BOY manniquin)
STOP!  —You see before you a tall, beautiful, strong, eloquent, talented, dashing, wicked-and-clever-beyond-his-years Black Boy who looks on his people with pain and shame because what he sees is the jungle baboon dancing to the tune of the organ grinder for the amusement of the corrupt safari sightseers. You shame me. You shame your brother who has pulled himself out of the jungles of quicksand and hippo dung. You shame all your brothers who see you as holding them back. Because you present an image of the naked savage shaking and pulsating and grinding and stomping out a lascivious spectacle.O, I know that all week long you are locked in after working from sunrise to sunset—and that Sunday is the one day the Massa lets you out to flex your cramped muscles and move your bodies—dance the Calinda. But can't you consider that that Sunday might better be spent for self-learning and contemplation and rest for your weary muscles? I ask you to consider this. Please! Please don't shame this brother and brothers like him any longer! Give up this spectacle at Congo Square and go home!

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(Congo spoken Monologue #2)

       (In drag/As Marie Laveau)
Oh, God, how I love managing the Chateau Laveau. And how did I do it? How did a black lady pull herself up to the economic heights of her white counterparts? By her twat, that's how! And by the twats of her girls. You see, we're exotic and we're supposed to be much hotter, and diddling with us makes the white gentlemen seem sooooo sinful. And so I thrive; am allowed to thrive. And I make money; lots of money. And I pay my bribes, and I find out information—valuable information—from bouncy, sweaty, pot bellies, and jizemed-soaked mustaches, in the quiet elegance of my red-velvet twat rooms—and/or—wrinkled on my twat-percales. And I sell that information and buy favors and ruin reputations and speculate on land tips and break hearts and balls. In short—you see before you—the best of the bunch! —The top of the heap! —THE BLACK TWAT QUEEN OF BASIN STREET!

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(Congo spoken Monologue #3)

I saw it! I saw everything you wanted me to see! For awhile, your unreal Chateau Laveau was real. I was a real star. Real! And by taking part in a dream! Up until now I've only existed in what was real. I was taught to. Expected to. "—Delphine," my daddy used to say to me, "—Delphine, Baby, the DeMaurier's are nobodies. That's the reality of things for us. And as long as you keep looking that reality in the face, no hidden boxing glove will spring out of nowhere and bash you in the eye." . . . That was life to daddy: Booby traps all over the place that he was meant to trip.  . . .Well, I loved my clumsy daddy. And believed him. —Still, I questioned him: "But I have dreams, daddy! I have blinking Christmas lights in my toes and four belting calling birds in my throat—and that's reality, too!" "No, it ain't, Delphine baby. Like you say; it's dreams. And dreams ain't real." . . .I loved my daddy and believed him. So, what could I do? —Oh, I went on blinking and belting.  . . .A reflex, I guess.  . . .And, because I loved to, I suppose.  . . .I was sort of in a twilight zone. You know? —Like I was the dreamer looking in on my dream of me blinking and belting.  . . .Then, in college, I fell in love with Mr. Musical Comedy! And he laid me. And I thought that now the reality would change with his help. But as tender as he was when he laid me, that's how brutal he was when he talked in that—"it's good for you" way—you know, how certain people do when they're being honest with you, and deciding, somehow, that honesty won't hurt as much—or at all—as the lie. Of course, it kills you and you long for the lie. "Dell, honey," he said, "you lack an inner fantasy life; so it follows that what you project is a life without fantasy. Consequently, there is no grandeur; no arrogance. You are smaller than life. You project nothing more than what you are and what you are—must always be—is a chorus girl blending into a chorus backdrop for the one in front who is larger than life! For the murderous one! —The one who wills her fantasy life to be real: —The Star!!" "You're a Pro," I said. "Can't you give me a fantasy life?" "Hell no, Dell. Nobody can do that. Now, Dell Hon, get on your hands and knees. I want to take you doggie fashion." I laughed at that, although I wanted to cry—but I laughed, because I learned never to show how upset I was. But my body showed it anyway. It farted on him.   . . .And so it went, my life: Blinking and belting and farting into the twilight zone.  . . .But not anymore! Oh, Willy Beau, you did it! In this wonderful place, you released the fantasy in me. No more—tacky —Chateau Laveau Bar. No more waitress for me! No more doorman for you!

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(Congo spoken Monologue #4)

           (As the Butler Giles)
—Forget about that black trash in the attic. Get to the safe, Delphine! Your jewels! I'll do the rest!  . . .Don't panic! No danger here! You, Sir, won't you please help me save the bronze? You-—all of you—the paintings. Ladies—the brocade! The rest of you, the furniture. —No! The slaves are in no danger, I assure you. I said, "I assure you!!!  The slaves are safe!" No! Don't go up to the attic, Sir! It would be better if you did not meddle into other people's affairs!
        (Flat. As Willy Beau. Reportage)
—But he had to meddle. . .has to. . . And the sight is so horrible that he can scarce look on it. The slaves in that room are mutilated, starved, bound down with chains. One of the creatures has a large hole in his head filled with worms. His body, from head to foot, is covered with scars. One woman, chained for so long and in such a twisted position that she cannot walk and never will-! Says she started the fire—to die, rather than to submit any longer to the beatings inflicted daily by the good Madame and her butler.
        (As Giles again)
—Listen to me, Delphine! I'll get us through. The difference between me and them is my imagination and my audacity. But I can't go alone. I need someone like you to give me respectability. And you will. If I have to drag you by the hair, you will come with me.

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(Congo spoken Monologue #5)

           (Stage whisper)
Delphine! Do you really believe that “everything ends” nonsense? —No!
A man turns away from a woman because he's lost interest in her. Simple. Uncomplicated. And you are uncomplicated, Delphine. You are losing him. To who? I'll make a guess. Those bouncing black ladies-—those rebel gypsies, joining Bras Coupè everyday. Where are they, Delphine? Not visible. No. But they are out there. Bivouacking close by in the swamp. Waiting for him. . .That mist? That's the collective passion-breaths from juicy black hero worshipers. . .Listen, Delphine!- —That swamp bird! Or is it a bird? —A signal? From the Poontang bird? Calling Bras Coupè to its water lily arms?
—Yes, that's what it is. —See? He's going. —Disappearing into the mist. —His own kind.  . . .You've lost him and you know it. And you can't bare his being with others. So what must you do?
—You betrayed him, Delphine. Not I. You corrupted your own fantasies. See? There's no hiding place from hateful things. And you, Willy. . .you've reached your despair. But you can ease it for yourself. By allowing me to lead you out. By your giving yourself up. By your admitting and taking the entire blame for killing a man. Then, if you feel out of some principle that you must expose your father and bring him down--so be it. And if you feel you must expose me. . .then so be that. Because I am tired, William. Because you're right, William. Everything does end. Wheeling and dealing ends. Ambition ends. The whole thing ends. But if you let me lead you out—and if we tell all—if we tell them we're all through with all this—why, then, maybe something will eventually begin for all of us. So give me that gun, William. Let me lead you out. That will show them you mean no harm. That will show them you're ready—we're ready—to begin.