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Mara Gerety

The Increased Difficulty of Concentration

October 4, 2007 at 5:31 AM

With sincere apologies to Vaclav Havel, an absurdist look at Oberlin life.

SCENE: stage is simply set. Looks like a big practice room. Two doors: one stage left, another stage right. Grand piano, table with open violin case resting on top, desk covered with manuscript paper, MHST 101 homework, and scribblings of figured bass realizations. MARA sits at the desk, ostensibly doing her homework but actually nodding off to sleep. Just as she is about to totally collapse like a wet noodle, the stage left door bursts open and in barges MILOŠ, irate.

MARA (awakes with a start): Whaaa...?
MILOŠ: Come on! It's me, Miloš! The personification of your violin? Or don't you recognize me? (sniffs haughtily) I wouldn't be surprised...
MARA: Cripes, Milos, I can't practice NOW! I'm so tired I feel like I might completely collapse and disintegrate any second now! Trying to practice now would be completely counter-productive. And besides, look at all this...
She indicates the Leaning Tower of homework teetering precariously on the desk. A book falls off the top. Milos pokes through the pile, looking more disgusted by the second.
MILOŠ: What is this? Are you a music history major? Are you a music theory major? Are you a solfege major? Why do you even have to learn solfege?
MARA: I wish I knew...
The stage right door swings open. EMIL and JIM barge onto the stage, arguing furiously. Completely oblivious to the other characters, they bicker nonstop while walking across the stage, and exit stage left. There is a brief silence.
MILOŠ: Anyway, what I was saying...
The stage left door swings open. Enter the entire Oberlin Orchestra, moving like a herd across the stage.
DAVID: Rehearsal is in Finney Chapel again! Hurry up!
Five seconds of silence after the last orchestra member leaves the stage, the door opens again and the assistant concertmaster scurries sheepishly across the stage and disappears through the door on the opposite side.
MILOŠ: What I was SAYING is, you are a violin performance major. To hell with all this other stuff.
MARA: But I'll flunk out of theory!!
MILOŠ (impassioned): So what?! You'd hardly be the first! (suddenly emotional) How do you think it makes me feel, when you're always studying or sleeping or blogging or just "too tired" to spend any time with me? I...I hardly saw you outside of rehearsal today!
MARA: Wednesdays are a madhouse, Miloš. Don't take it personally. I was practically unconscious. Remember how I almost fell asleep DURING the Berg?
MILOŠ (sullenly): Still, you could put a little more effort into our relationship...
Stage left door swings open. Enter JOE, KONSTANTIN and BORIS.
JOE: Are you mad at me because I'm Slovenian??
MARA: Joe, that's still a ridiculous question...just because my country used to own your country's little Slavic butt doesn't mean I think any less of you.
JOE: OK. I'm going to go listen to some Mahler now. (Exits.)
KONSTANTIN: Did I ever tell you zat I am a conductor? I vant you in my orchestra zis semester!
MARA: Really? Sweet! You're actually asking a lowly freshman?
KONSTANTIN: Of course...you are brilliant...you vill be concertmaster, and ve vill tour all over Europe next year...
JOE pokes his head back in the room from the stage right door.
JOE: Disclaimer: only the first half of that exchange ever really took place. (Exits.)
BORIS: Hey, do you guys like my new shoes??
MARA (exasperated, addressing all three random Eastern Europeans at once): Guys, I love you all, but can you please get lost? I'm having relationship issues with my violin.
Exit random Eastern Europeans.
MILOS: Finally, a bit of peace and quiet. Now I can tell you what bothers me the most: you have all this music in you! All these ideas, these sparks, these caprices and flights of fancy, lamentations of a poet, ecstasies of a mystic, sublime revelations of a philosopher! And I never get to hear any of it, I can never be part of any of it!
MARA leaps to her feet dramatically, as the climactic scene is now upon us. As she stands from the desk, the audience can now see that she is bound with symbolism-heavy chains.
MARA: But I CAN'T, Milos! I just can't! No one will ever hear it! No one will ever be able to hear it!
There is a sudden commotion offstage, with sounds akin to that of a bull in a china shop. The stage right door is kicked right off its hinges and EUGENE IONESCO tears through, wild-eyed and frantic, running as fast as he possibly can. Moments later, to bring this absurdist late-night rumination in the form of a play to a suitable close, a large rhinoceros stampedes through in hot pursuit of IONESCO. The rhino knocks over the large stacks of books, completely burying both MARA and MILOS. Exit rhino, stage left. Curtain.


Oh my god. I should have been in bed long ago...but writing this was too much fun to pass up. :)

From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 1:04 PM
What fun, Mara! Maybe you are destined to be a great writer. Get some rest and do some fun things.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 1:09 PM
If it makes you feel any better, all of the tedious college theory assignments are totally worth it. You actually can apply things like chord analysis, or worse, Fright Screaming, to the violin pieces you learn! (Insert smiley face here).

Also, better get used to those long, busy days. At least you are at the point in your life where you still have some energy!

Also, back off of Slovenia. Some of us have distant relations living there...

Now go practice! (Insert another smiley face here).

From Albert Justice
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 2:18 PM
Mara! Quit neglecting Milos!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 3:24 PM
It appears that Anne and I may have given you conflicting advice. You may regard mine as parental and hers as professional and decide which to take on that basis.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 3:33 PM
Listen to Holzman...
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 4:18 PM
Hey, I've got nothing against cute little Slovenia! My Slovenian friend and I just enjoy tormenting each other over historical grievances. :)
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 4:27 PM
Mara - that is soooo parochial. You are both part of the EU now.
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 4:43 PM
Haaaa. Old rivalries never die. :) (On that topic, hellOOO Romania, we're still waiting for our half of Transylvania...!!!)

Yes, I'm a dork. I gotta go practice.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 4:54 PM
In that case, beware of Enescu's ghost!
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 4:59 PM
Oops...
From Linda L
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 7:48 PM
Boris needs a bigger role. ;)

My favorite parts
Are you a solfege major!?!
Emil and Jim enter...

!:) Write more like it!

From Emil Chudnovsky
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 7:53 PM
My favorite part: "Exit random Eastern Europeans". Doncha wish you could give stage directions like that in real-life foreign policy? "Exit random terrorist groups with bogus grievances."
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 8:20 PM
Linda--just thought you might like to know that Boris is actually surfing the net on the computer terminal right next to mine at the moment. :) :) :)

Emil--no friggin' kidding!!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 10:16 PM
Mara - believe it or not, as a youth, I met Ionesco and have a signed copy of Rhinoceros.
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 10:33 PM
OHMYGAH...!
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 11:27 PM
I accidentally said "Ionesco" when I meant "Enescu" during some random conversation the other day. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, kind of embarrassing.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 11:55 PM
Yes, go hang your head in shame now...
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 4, 2007 at 11:58 PM
Have I ever mentioned this weird thing how I can *read* Romanian fairly successfully most times, but have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it? I end up getting meanings with no associated sounds. Very disconcerting.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 5, 2007 at 12:06 AM
Well, make some Romanian friends, and then you can practice speaking Romanian! Or better yet, you can go do a summer festival in Romania. For when in Romania...
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 5, 2007 at 12:17 AM
Would you believe there's not a single Romanian here? At least not that I've met? I know a Slovenian, a Macedonian, a Bulgarian, several Russians, a Czech, two Hungarians and a Turkmen, but no Romanians. Weird.
From Sydney Menees
Posted on October 5, 2007 at 1:24 AM
Brilliant, Mara!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 5, 2007 at 1:47 AM
The alternative to Anne's suggestion is to get together all these other nationalities you know and discuss what you all do not like about Romanians. I'm sure almost all of them would have an opinion. Reminds me of the party I was at many years ago where there was a French couple, an Italian couple and a Pole,l and we started discussing the Germans.
From P.H Brackenbury
Posted on October 5, 2007 at 2:46 PM
"The stage right door swings open. EMIL and JIM barge onto the stage, arguing furiously. Completely oblivious to the other characters, they bicker nonstop while walking across the stage, and exit stage left. There is a brief silence."

Too funny

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