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  • Ruff
  • Peggy Shaw (bio) and Lois Weaver (bio)


(Peggy enters with a bottle of water, a shoe, and an orange. Three blank television screens envelop her on stage. A large roll of green paper covers the back wall, extending across the floor to the audience edge, creating the playing space.)

I was minding my own business,And an icicle of death hit the ocean floor of my brain.

(Peggy hands the orange to an audience member to hold.)

I guess I was praying.I was already on my knees.If you get me through this,I'll stop wearing suits.I'll get gay married.I'll pay market rent in Manhattan.I'll stop wearing skinny jeans.I'll take anti-depressants.I'll buy a car from the decade I'm living in.I'll stop drinking coffee.

I'm so sorry I was drinking coffee.If I knew there was an absolute connection to the way I felt,I'd definitely give up coffee.And cigarettes. But I already gave up cigarettes.And just so you know,It's worth the high blood pressure and the heart disease to order to have been able to smoke for a while.

(Peggy asks another audience member to hold her shoe.) [End Page 108]

There was just no more room for new thoughts in my brain.It had reached capacity.After spending forty-five years on stage with lights in my eyes,Trying to figure out what a woman is, let alone a lesbian,My brain finally crashed.

I decided to try to recover some of my documents by doing some old shows as soon as I could,To prove to myself that I could still do it.People really liked that because I had to slow down.They could appreciate what I was saying, not just that I looked like Sean Penn.Although I always like to say Sean Penn looks like me.

And they also liked it when I told them that I'd had a stroke.Then they could say, "Wow, I couldn't tell!" "You look great!" "You were lucky!"I'm good at performing wellness,But the doctor says that works against me.He also says that if I get the flu, my body will react like it's having another stroke.I think of it like blowing up a balloon.It's easier the second time because the rubber is all stretched out.

But I cough.Sometimes when you cough in a show, you have the audience suspended in the palm of your hand,'Cause they wish so much that they could give you some water.

(Peggy speaks directly to a random audience member in the front row.)

Just so you know,Water doesn't stop the cough.But I have a bottle of water to relax your worries.

(She hands an audience member the bottle of water.)

The only thing that can help is a cough drop,But you can't talk very well with a cough drop.If you see me start to cough, you could either wait for me to get a cough drop,Or you could say, "That's OK, take all the time you need to cough."I guess we could call that audience participation. [End Page 109]


About five years ago now,I made a show where I would take off my shoe and lie down in a circle of light.

(Peggy lies down in a circle of light center stage. She asks the audience member holding her shoe to place it in the light on stage.)

This was copied from a photo by Weegee,The famous photographer who kept all his cameras in the trunk of his car,And lived in an SRO, like Quentin Crisp.

When there was a crime,He would hear it on the police radio,Jump up and get in his car with the cameras,And go to the scene of the crime.

Several times during the show, I'd lie down in the circle of light with my shoe off and say,"Have you ever noticed that when someone is hit by a car or...


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pp. 108-132
Launched on MUSE
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