The piece opens with HERMAN MILLER, M.D., seated and MOM, supine.
Don’t impose your gendered imperatives on me.
With a flourish meant to denote finality, DR. MILLER cuts the cord and MOM is awash with love and, pungently, placenta. I make my entrance, glistening, orb-like.
II. BABY’S FIRST BIRTHDAY
The setting is a two-bedroom in Sarasota—ranch-style, nondescript, on this day outfitted to reflect the occasion at hand: BIRTHDAY. Balloons flank the paneled interior. Children sit cross-legged, in various postures of mirth. Gifts are collected on a table marked GIFTS. Cards are pre-screened to reflect gender-neutral pronouns. The stage is suddenly alight with the appearance of a tiered cake and attendant candle. The scene reaches a thematic/tonal impasse when partygoer DEAN HOUCK (male, average height, 40s) instructs me to “blow.”
III. LESSONS LEARNED
A musical interlude. A galvanized MOM delivers an a capella performance of ORIGINAL SCORE: “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Binary?” to a rapt ME + SHIRLEY WATTS (AKA “SHIRLEY SNOTS”; pale, muculent, second-grade) in location: KITCHEN.
IV. I’M DREAMING OF
A [SEX-POSITIVE] CHRISTMAS
[SETTING: “NORTHPARK MALL.” STAGE LEFT: a rotund KRIS KRINGLE and diminutive HELPERS.]
A parable, of sorts. Wherein MOM admonishes a pre-pubescent ME that “You can’t get what you want by sitting on the lap of some sweaty fat guy.”
Again, a musical number. Dually a performance piece. Wherein we are made acutely aware of the intricacies of a woman’s “moon cycle.” An indignant MOM, legs agape, descends via suspension cord from elevated CAT WALK. A radical feminist cri de couer, or MOAN (source: PELVIC CRAMPS) issues from her distended person. From an expulsion of blood and residual tissue unravels the banner YOUR PATRIARCHY IS THE REASON WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. They wear insulated headpieces from which extend lengths of wire wrapped in analogous thick cotton. MOM, clutching the wires, orchestrates their gesticulations from above. Here, “systemic male privilege” is upended and the piece reaches its climax. After four to seven minutes of guided movements, the men collapse en masse, fetal, amorphous. We are left with a sense of feminine virility and, ultimately, loss.
VI. PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
AS A YOUNG WOMYN
A comedy. In which I take up oil painting and “find myself.” MOM finds herself footing the bill for a Fine Arts degree from Barnard. I date briefly a redhead, MOLLY, but end things when lesbianism is no longer en vogue in the pseudo-intellectual circles. I experience an ideological crisis and espouse nihilism. I spend the remainder of my college career quaffing lukewarm Odwalla and beading my armpit hair. Actualization of feminist ideals pending graduation.