The Virginia Monologues

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Last night I attended the opening of a Yuletide play that is both powerful and provocative. This show is destined to be an annual holiday classic. It is The Virginia Monologues, by Mary Xmas.

The stage opens, bare, save for the three actresses seated on wooden stools. Ah, but what each does with her stool. The lead actress, Ginny O’Hanlon, begins the evening telling us what Christmas means to her: “I believe in Santa. No one else will. But I envision him on my roof. Making his way to my chimney. Slowly, tentatively, he enters. The prancing, the pawing. Yes, come down my chimney, Santa, come!” And this goes on for another 17 minutes. The female-centric play will take your notions of Christmas and knock them around like a piñata in a hammer factory.

One can only cry out “You go, sister!” when Donna Cannelloni takes center stage, stating, “I will kowtow to the public norms no more. I will reclaim my Claus. Take back my Claus from the commercialism, the garishness. My beloved bearded Claus. Claus. Claus. Claus! How I long for your lap.” Intensity has never felt so intense.

Once you get over the shock, the wincing is hardly noticeable, though my mom did say, “I can’t believe they allow people to say that kind of stuff in public.” These two actresses, along with their co-star, Norma Moldanado, display the breadth and depth of the female views of the holiday. It’s Ms. Maldanodo’s turn to rivet the audience when she takes center stage, proclaiming, “Naughty or nice? Who are you to judge? Who are you to judge me? You say you’re a saint, yet you break into my home and go through my things. Then, placing a practiced finger aside your nose, you once again pass through my flue.” As directed by Martina Beardson and choreographed by Ellen Eager, the performance pieces are a symphony of language, crescendos of passion and mistletoe.

This is a show in touch with itself. And it touches itself repeatedly. Especially in the third act. They mimic the concept of the tribal tales, with each actress waiting her turn to speak, left seated in the dark until she is handed the “Christmas Spirit” stick which gives her the floor. The stick is made to look like a giant candy cane, enhancing the holiday spirit of the evening.

The women are in fine voice as they expose the genre biases of the season. As Ms. O’Hanlon reminds us, “Christmas ‘carol.’ Christmas ‘Eve.’ Joy. Noel. Holly. So much exploitation of women. A birth celebrated. A woman’s job now controlled by the male-dominated society. How typical.”

The Virginia Monologues is now open for its annual run. And run you will. It’s a play that will have you on your feet shouting, “Lighten up, already!” Playing at the Indulgent Theatre — that’s theater with an “r-e,” so you know it’s classy.

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Office Politics

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Re-elect Jon Chironna for Copy Boy

“I promise to continue my record of crisp, clean copies for all!” — Jon Chironna

Why bring in new blood when Jon’s blood is just fine.

— Paid for by the Jon Chironna Re-election Committee

Vote Tom Drummon for Copy Boy

He stands for:

* Every photocopy in blinding full color!

* No lineups ever in the copy room!

* Photocopies of documents you might need additional copies of for future use!

Tom stands for what’s right. Tom sits for what’s right. So do what’s right. Vote Tom.

— Committee to elect Tom Drummon Copy Boy

Can we really go back to the Copy Room Malaise of fall ’99?

Remember the two-week-long toner drought?

Remember the finger smears on the glass that wouldn’t come off?

Remember the “hairy butt incident”?

Can we afford four more years of that?

Vote Smith & Vitelli ’03

“Keepin’ the copies flowing like water!”

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Do you like paper jams?

If so, vote Smith & Vitelli!

— Committee to elect Tom Drummon Copy Boy

Do you like Copy Boys who can’t even handle double-sided legal-sized briefs over 40 pages?

If so, vote Tom Drummon!

If not, vote for a professional.

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Hi, I’m Stan Delaney, former Copy Boy. You know me, and you know Jon Chironna. You know his copies. Crisp, clean, and collated. Jon follows the Triple C method of copying to perfection. Now ask yourself this: Are your copies better now than they were four years ago? Why, hell yes they are! Don’t turn back the clock to the dark, pre-digital days. We’re on the edge of a copier revolution and Jon Chironna is responsible for that. He wants to build a bridge to the copy room of tomorrow. Jon sees the copiers of tomorrow. He sees them humming and whirring on a bed of crazy green lasers. He sees them flying over to your desk on fiber-optic cables to deliver you your copies and your morning bagel. He sees them having awkward, clunky sex and producing stronger, faster photocopier offspring. Won’t you help bring in the future? I’m voting for Jon, you should too. “Re-elect Jon Chironna as Copy Boy. He’s an original.”

— Paid for by the Toner Society

Both Jon and Stan are part of a disgraced system. It’s time for a real change.

Vote for Harvey in Accounting for Copy Room Technician. He’ll bring “balance” to this current “liability.”

“New blood, new ideas, new vision, a guy named Harvey, great copies.”

— Soft Money Committee for Harvey

Jon Chironna wants to be re-elected Copy Boy. He tells you productivity is up. He tells you copies are plentiful. But what isn’t he telling you?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna has been caught using recycled paper?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna has been spotted resting his coffee on the feeder tray?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna may or may not lick his fingers between turning the pages of your document?

* Did you know that Jon Chironna’s real name is Jonathan Chironna? What other grades of paper will Jon stoop to using? What other hot beverages might Jon rest on the feeder tray? What rare, tropical diseases does Jon’s spittle contain? And what other mysterious aliases does this evil photocopying mastermind have? Vote Jon and we’ll unfortunately all find out.

— Committee to Elect Smith & Vitelli

Hi. I’m Jon Chironna. First, I just wanted to thank my supporters and staff, both those who are helping me in my re-election campaign and those who have made the last four years the most productive years this copy room has ever seen. Our run rate is up over 14% versus the previous three fiscals, and our toner to page ratio is the highest this company has ever seen. Canon has given me the Smudgefree Man Of The Year Award for two years running, and I have passed the Xerox Olympics test of producing a spiral-bound double-sided 200-page PowerPoint presentation on high-gloss paper with a blindfold on. I can run on my record of crisp, clean copies and a spotless record of collation. And I hope you agree when I say: I’m voting for myself. I mean, I’m voting for Jon Chironna, whether or not that is actually me. Thank you. Please vote Jon.

— Collation Coalition to Re-elect Jon

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Yikes, Virginia!
The Further Correspondence of Virginia O’Hanlon & Mr. Francis Church

By:

We all know of the Christmas of 1897 when a perplexed young girl wrote to the editor of the New York Sun in her quest to prove the existence of Santa Claus. Mr. Frank Church’s stirring response truly defined the spirit of Christmas for all generations. And the phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” has become the rallying cry of all true believers. But the story doesn’t end there.

*****************************************************************

4/12/1898

Dear Mr. Church,

Thank you for your wonderful answer to my letter. My family was very happy. And my little friends now truly and forever believe in Santa Claus. But now my friends are saying there is no Easter Bunny! What am I to do? Papa still says if you read it in the Sun it must be so. Please tell me the truth, is there an Easter Bunny?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

4/20/1898

Dear Virginia,

How terrible a place this gray little planet would be if there were no Easter Bunny! Why, no Easter Bunny? Then your friends may as well say “No springtime,” “No joy,” “No love!” They are wrong, Virginia, for as long as the human heart beats and carries in it generosity, devotion and charity, there will forever be an Easter Bunny.

Francis Church

Editor, NY Sun

*****************************************************************

10/2/1898

Dear Mr. Church,

I lost my tooth yesterday at school and when I told my little friends I was going to put it under my pillow for the tooth fairy, they laughed and taunted me. They said my Mama and Papa place the shiny nickel beneath my pillow during the night and then put the tooth in a jar and sell it to people in Chinatown. Can this be, sir? I know you will tell me the truth as you are kind and forthright. Is there a tooth fairy?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

10/20/98

Dear Virginia,

Okay, sure, tooth fairies. They exist. They will exist as long as people need love and hope and dreams. That’s good. There are tooth fairies, Virginia.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

7/12/1899

Dear Mr. Church, Is Bigfoot real? Inquiring minds want to know.

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

8/08/1899

Dear Virginia,

I guess. I’ve never seen him, but a friend of mine has, so, sure, there is a Bigfoot.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

8/12/1899

Dear Mr. Church,

Leprechauns? Are there such things as leprechauns?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

10/02/1899

Dear Virginia,

No. Bigfoot ate them all.

Signed,

Frank Church

NY Sun

*****************************************************************

3/19/1901

Dear Mr. Church,

Where do babies come from? I say the stork brings them. My little friends say that Mama and Papa do vile, disgusting things to one another to make a baby. I know you’ll tell me true, ’cause Papa still says if it’s in the Sun, it must be so. So, does the stork bring the baby?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

4/01/1901

Dear Virginia,

I would seriously advise you to stop hanging out with these little friends of yours. Who are these kids? Where are they picking this stuff up?

Signed,

F. Church

NY Sun

P.S. We’re canceling your father’s subscription to the Sun.

*****************************************************************

5/23/1910

Dear Mr. Church,

My friends speak of a G-spot, but my boyfriend can’t find it. Is there a G-spot?

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

*****************************************************************

5/30/1910

Dear Virginia,

My wife is the NY Sun and my children are its editorials so I have no idea what you are talking about. Virginia, I’m old and tired and the paper just announced it’s folding. I’m passing your letter to Dear Abby. Good luck to you.

Signed,

F. Church

*****************************************************************

8/05/1911

Dear NY Daily News,

I’m looking for a Mr. Francis Church, formerly of the New York Sun. Is he working there? I know you’ll tell me if he does, ’cause Papa says that since the Sun folded, you can count on the Daily News. Thank you.

Signed,

Virginia O’Hanlon

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