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Surprise

                                    Character description

Anna White is 27 years old and lives with her best friend Charlotte Jones in San Francisco. She’s most at home in jeans, oversized sweaters and her favorite suede jacket. She is quiet by nature, but is easy going enough to get along with pretty much anyone.

                                      Setting description

ANNA is standing center stage. There is a single spotlight on her, but the rest of the stage is in shadow. It shouldn’t be so dark that the audience can’t see the silhouettes of the objects on stage behind ANNA, but they should not be able to really tell what they are.

(ANNA speaks directly to the audience. Throughout the monologue she says in one place on the stage, the only movement of her body being that of her hands as she speaks.)

 

                                             ANNA

Has anyone in your family ever thrown you a surprise party? Or maybe a friend has jumped out at you on Halloween dressed in a mask with the intent to scare? Well regardless of the circumstances, if something has ever truly taken you by surprise--anyone who says they haven’t experienced such an event is lying--you know the feeling that washes over you right when the surprise first occurs. Your heartbeat increases until you can feel it in your throat, so close to your tongue that the threat of the iron-heavy taste of blood lingers just out of your tastebuds’ reach. Perspiration breaks out across your flesh, mainly that of your hands. You feel your stomach churn with nervous energy and you almost feel the need to be sick. The muscles hidden under your skin tense rapidly one after another and an involuntary and startled sound leaves your lips as your mind goes into overdrive deciding if you are in danger. It’s a reaction ingrained in your humanity. Impossible to suppress or destroy, it will hit you no matter how much you might want to avoid it. Normally, I understand the feeling of wanting the whole process to be expedited, but right now I have never been more thankful for the moment to stand here and process, to try and understand what just happened. We were laughing as we walked, joking about a truly ridiculous conversation we’d overheard during our recent lunch out. Her booted feet struck the pavement to the left of mine, her long denim-clad legs moving in time with my own. Her long hair was braided down her back, a swinging tail that almost touched the line of her waist. My eyes watched her as she spoke, taking in the image of my best friend and confidant. The two of us barely noticed when we reached the curb of the sidewalk, but where my feet paused from instinct, hers were a second too late and they carried her into the crosswalk. My heartbeat increased and I could taste the metallic tang at the sound of a shrieking car horn. My palms grew sweaty as the face of the driver twisted into a look of terror as he realized there was no time to stop. I felt sickness seep into my gut as the lights illuminated her now ashen face, all her color having fled as the fear came rushing in. My muscles tightened and the beginning of a gasping shout left me the moment the pristine front bumper of the car first made contact with those same denim-clad legs. It’s a reaction ingrained in my humanity, as are the tears that stream down my face at the sight of blood. I cannot suppress it, I cannot destroy it, and now I don’t know how or if I even want to escape it. How could I? How could I possibly want such a thing when escaping this bubble of reaction would result in being hit by the battering ram of reality? So yes, normally I understand the feeling of wanting it all to just go away, but right now this moment of reprieve is saving me as I wish it could have saved her.




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