PLAN / 2006 / notes for joe and christina
directors notes on Christina’s internal process – Carmen hated
notes for joe and christina.rtf
actions and events, she translates into her body
C is staring into space. Popping bubble wrap. A still life. She is thinking about nothing, empty.
She’s coming back to planet earth now, slowly her expression changes – from a dreamy inner vision to something more present, awake. she doesn’t move her head.
She’s back, her thoughts and feelings might be “the phone, it’s making noise. What am i supposed to do when the phone makes noise again?” Head doesn’t turn, left hand still popping bubbles maybe, right hand reaches and picks up phone. She doesn’t look at the face of the phone, she doesn’t need to. She puts it to her ear.
C – “Hello?”
J – “Christina?”
Surprise, eyes open slightly. This voice registers inside your body as a feeling and your body reacts. But you brain is still catching up. You don’t consciously know that it’s anyone special, but you feel something strong, different conflicting emotions, mostly surprise…
CARMEN – expecting a phone call from best friend, lots of men, why should a man call me.
C – “Yes?” It’s not in your voice yet since your brain runs your voice, but the signals are now running up to your head, you are waiting for more information. You are paying attention.
J – this is your uncle joe
emotions washing over you, crashing into each other on your face
your thoughts and feelings might be – he’s got joy in his voice, he’s happy to tell you it’s him, the crazy old joker. and wow does it sound like him, your brain is with the program now, wow, WHAT THE FUCK? He’s dead. Dead people don’t use cell phones. This is a joke. Only an asshole would make a joke like this, maybe that scary ex-boyfriend from a couple of years back, the one who disappeared mysteriously but… this is an amazing crazy impossible joke, because it’s fucking perfect. He sounds like he’s been on a long vacation, like you only talked to him a few months ago, like a friend from high school. and you can hear the love there too, NO WAY, it’s a trap, bullshit… but what if… I am gonna rip whoever this is a new asshole… uncle joe (heart pounding) need more information! get control, pull it together, cool, cool…
(playing along, poker faced)
C – OK, uncle joe, but uh, your dead.
(calm, the voice of an EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN (EMT) at an accident)
Uncle Joe is talking me down, he knows what i am thinking.
J – Look Christi, this isn’t a joke, ok?
your thoughts and feelings might be – He says my name in that funny way, who else ever heard him say it that way? some of the family sure, who else knew him with me, who else would know how to say it like that? This make’s me feel angry and sad, that someone knows this secret. Then again, what if…
J – “I don’t want to scare you.”
oh shit, oh shit, scare me? you are going to scare me?
J – “I am standing at your front door and i want to talk to you.”
your thoughts and feelings might be – he sounds like he’s smiling… now THIS is gonna be tough to fake. an instant flashback of the hospital, the way he looked, it was awful. why did I have to loose him, have him get so frail and horribly hollow… I don’t really want to see that again, but then he didn’t talk at all towards the end…
(comforting but pragmatic – this is a very familiar tone)
I know this seems strange, but believe me, it’s important.
Ok, now this has got to be a joke, rationally I know this. I know it can’t be possible,
C – “Uncle Joe or whoever…
but it would be just like him to pull something like this on me, show up in my life like some kind of wizard, reincarnated. right. he’s dead. it’s a gag, a cruel twisted… fuck it (emotion welling up…)
C – “This is kind of weird,”
I want this to be real! I miss him… (tearing up) It’s confusing, I…
C – “but you really do sound like uncle joe…”
Here’s your chance mr voice on the phone, let’s see what you do with it…
J – Just relax Christi
Yes, I want to…
J – and open the door
well of course I will, but I can’t even begin to describe how i feel. I know i will. I am going to open the door. right? that’s what i am going to do, isn’t it? whatever happens? yes.
C – (to the phone, whispering like a little kid at a seance) Here I come…
standing, putting the phone down, it’s a decision, voices on the phone aren’t real, I’ve talked to lovers over the phone for hours when they were far away, but they couldn’t hold me, they weren’t really there. that’s what’s frustrating about phones, they seem like something nice but ultimately they cheat me, they frustrate me. No more phone now, this is something else. something big is about to happen to me, come down from fantasy land you, get a grip! no, I am ok, I am going to walk over to that door, and open it. (crossing to the door).
I am opening the door (listens)
I don’t hear anything, wait, breathing? my god, a second ago nothing was happening and now this door is the most important thing in my life, ever. whatever, whatever, let’s open it, deep breath, turn the handle of the ship door, is it because i am on a ship? look at the paint it’s all worn on this handle how many hands opened this door before me, quiet now one, two, three… (cracking the door)
(opens the door wide)
I seem him and believe. no question, that’s him and he looks – young! healthy! and he’s really happy to see me too. he looks a little sly and crafty with that hammy smile around the edges of his lips even. When he looked like this i was a lot younger, he was there for me then.
Wow, SHIT, um…
my heart comes up into my throat and look at the old fucker, he’s stepped out of a fucking spa! Uncle fucking jesus joe holy shit!
you look great uncle joe, you look like you did before the cancer!
Ok, this is a bonefide miracle, but it feels like – normal – no big deal, he’s wearing a suit, it looks new… is this what a miracle feels like?
(script said – ‘apologetically’ still true but played big
J – Actually christi, I am not your uncle joe…
He looks like he’s about to play a game with me, like when we used to pretend we were secret agents and heros, magical dragons and fairy royalty. When he used act out the parts in books in stories for me, he’s putting his acting voice on.
J – My name is melchior, I just assumed the appearance of blaa blaa blaa,
This is too much, he just launched into this character and now we are playing together, he’s inviting me to play a game. This is happening, this is what a miracle feels like sure. It just happens to you and you hold on for dear life. I was starting to forget about myself, about who i am – special, the way he taught me, what we played at all those years ago. and here he is to remind me and it’s happening, wow, wow, ok he’s still talking what is he saying? no time for too much thinking, i am just going to enjoy it, play with him yeah, so he’s telling me about how he assumed the appearance of uncle joe and so he’s back from the dead so he must be an angel, let’s try that… can he come in? he’s already in. I’ve got his hat on my head!
and we would play this game when i was older to think about life, to work through things that were confusing. he would play these games and we would act out the parts and then i would work out my problems like that. playing it big and kind of sneaking up on the problem like it was a funny ogre and i could win by tickling it. you can never win with an ogre if your angry…
Hey he put his hat on my head – flash! now the way you become invisible christi is to become something boring in the room, something that people have no interest in whatever. for instance you could be a coat rack. what’s it feel like to be a coat rack christi? be a coat rack, here i’ll put my hat on your head, you think coat rack thoughts and poof, your totally invisible. now you can listen in on people’s conversations and learn all their secrets…
turning to him and getting into the spirit of the “play”
C – Yes uh, Melchior are you an angel or what?
J – sure, that’s what i am christi and angel from heaven, and uh, there’s a little emergency, that’s why i am here.
ok, so we move the story forward just like we did when we would play, but IT’S REALLY HIM, oh god, i am so happy and how did he get here, is he really an angel? and are dragons real and fairies and everything else? I always thought so and here he is… here he IS!
Wow, that’s amazing –
I am loosing the game a little, i can’t help but feel so wonderful and kind of confused because this feels good and do people feel so good if they go crazy? does it feel so real and lovely to go crazy?
I stepped out of character, broke the game, got to get back
C – “Sorry…”
But this is so wonderful and crazy!
C – “Shit!”
I am totally blowing my part!
C – “Sorry”
I am so happy and off balance
J – Christi, calm down. This is all happening fast I know, but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t vitally important.
Deep breath, he’s talking like himself again, it’s just uncle joe (whose DEAD!, you saw him fade away, go into a coma and DIE!) he stepped out of his character to let me rest a bit. ok, c’mon! I know how to play!
C – Ok, I am ok.
I want to know what this is all about. Where does this story go?
C – What’s the deal?
J – well, you know about jesus right? the son of god?
yeah, was he an ogre or a fairy? i forget. They’ve got lots of churches for him and I maybe prayed to him once or twice. I feel ok about jesus… i don’t know much about him i guess…
J – He was born in the usual way, his mother was mary.
I know that much. Son of god and mother was mary, god didn’t marry her cause she already had a guy, but somehow god did something with her, to her…
J – you are going to give birth to the daughter of god
wow, this is some story uncle joe
C – really?
J – really.
this isn’t just a story… or it’s the best one yet.
Ooh, i can feel my ego flaring up, i am a lesbian, a powerful woman no longer dependent on men for my identity – that’s the big new found truth in my life, and he’s here to reward me! no way, you think so?
C – is it because i am a lesbian?
Of course it is, everything fits!
J – No actually, and