|About the presenter: My name is Marija Cvetkovic, I was born on August 1st 1975 in Zadar, Croatia, which is also the place where I live. (By the way, you can see it in detail on Google Earth, just type in īZadar.) I have been stuttering since I started talking, which was when I was three years old. My professional title is kindergarden teacher, but I've never worked as one -- I work in accounting. I'm not presently active in any stuttering community except this virtual one.|
Although severe stutterers usually find it hard to even TRY speak before an audience, let alone act, there are also stutterers who find it easier to speak when they act. For those who want to try it, here's a little, short scene I wrote. It involves four roles, and takes place at a stuttering support group meeting for people who stutter. I hope some of you will try to perform this scene and enjoy it!
(It's dark. The characters sit in a circle, like they do in a group therapy. The voice speaks.)
THE VOICE: Word by word I leave unsaid
all my questions become needless
I listen, I nod, I smile, I nod
until all there is
(The light turns on. In the circle there are Greta, the girl with glasses; Simon, timid skinny boy; Robert, joke-making "cool guy" who hides his inside with his coolness; and Ivona, shy and beautiful girl. It's 7 PM and the Adult Meeting begins. There is a closet in a corner with a couple of cans of beer and sodas in it. Greta holds a couple of sheets of paper on her knees. The meetng begins.)
GRETA: Good evening everybody, how have we been?
(The group answers: Fine, great, it's OK - all in one voice.)
GRETA: Excellent. For our meeting today I have prepared...
(Robert gets up and all the heads go his way. He goes up to a closet and takes a can of beer. Opens it with a loud pop, turns around and says:)
ROBERT: Sorry... Anybody else? A beer?
(The group shakes heads negative. Robert shrugs his shoulders and goes back to his seat.)
GRETA: So, I was thinking...
(Simon suddenly gets up and gets himself a beer.)
SIMON: Sorry... I'll have one too.
(Robert reaches his hand out and the boys give eachother "a five". Ivona rolls her eyes and says:)
IVONA: Guys, settle down. I mean, really...
SIMON: Sorry, Greta; I mean like - sorry. I was... just...
(Simon points his hand to the closet, then makes a drinking move, then
points to the closet again, points to Robert, and in the end shrugs his
shoulders. Greta squirms in her
chair and takes a deep breath.)
GRETA: Okay. Here we go. The people from Sunday Weekly are interested in how we see our stuttering. They want to know our opinions and they'll put it in the paper on the occasion of our Association's foundation day.
(Robert lifts the can up, swallows:)
ROBERT: Cool, man!
GRETA: I have a list of some of the questions that interest them, and that we could talk about. Okay?
(Greta gets up and gives a paper to every person.)
GRETA: Here, everyone gets one question. We'll all read, it will be a good excersize. Who wants to go first?
(The room goes quiet.)
GRETA: Come on, why would I always do it? Simon, you are joyful today. You go on!
(Simon squirms in his chair. Tries to read but can't. He gets up. The group watches with understanding, even Robert puts his can down. Simon walks inside the group circle, his eyes glued to the paper. He stops:)
SIMON: Do you feel more comfortable with people who stutter or who don't stutter?
(Exhales loudly: phew! and sits back on his chair. Robert takes a sip of beer and says:)
ROBERT: With no one! I feel most comfortable when I'm by myself.
IVONA (to her chin): THE most comfortable is correct.
GRETA: Yes, but will other people think nice of us if this journalist writes that in the paper?
ROBERT: I don't give a damn! Who cares what other people think! Look at me, I'm cool. Who is HE to criticize ME. Right, Simon?
SIMON (unsure): Yep.
GRETA: So we aren't going to answer this question, or someone has someting more objective to say?
(Silence. Ivona squirms in her chair. The group turn their heads her way.)
IVONA (carefully): I would like to say something. The world is cruel. Lions eat their baby cubs. A mother dog kills her offspring. Normal people make us fight. Stutterers are a shoulder to cry on. We learn from both.
ROBERT (takes a sip): Wow... that's wild, man!
GRETA: Well said, Ivona. Let me write it down... How was it, the lions...
SIMON (swings back and forth on his chair): Eat!
GRETA: ...and the mother dog...
SIMON (swings on): Kills!
GRETA: ...fight... a shoulder to cry on. Okay, great. Next question. Read... Ivona!
IVONA (slowly): What was the worst event that you blame your stuttering for?
GRETA: Who'll answer? Simon?
(Simon squirms in his chair, his palms pushing the seat, and shrugs his shoulders.)
SIMON: I had no... I mean, some (shakes his head negative) ... no.
(Robert looks at him with his head tilted to one side.)
ROBERT: Come on! To you every day is the worst event. (Scratches his chin, really wanting to challenge Simon.)
IVONA: Robert, how can you say something like that...
SIMON (to Ivona): Hey, stop being my attorney! I'm not sttt... stuppp... dumb!
GRETA: No; see Simon, Ivona was just trying to...
SIMON (pissed off): You know what, you two?? (Talking to the girls. Lifts his forefinger and shakes it, like when you threaten someone.) Stop doing that! I... hate that! It's... ugly. Bursting in someone's sentence. Defending... always defending me. Like I'm some... child! But you don't know... you don't know what I'VE been through!
ROBERT (sings to his chin): "I have climbed the highest mountains..."
(Ivona opens her mouth in Simon's defence but Greta stops her with a move of her hand.)
SIMON (turns to Robert): You... are clueless. You have no idea. And that's why... everything's funny to you. But would it be funny... you're six years old. Your mom... in front of you... collapses on the floor. And you just stand there... like... like a mummy, like some... piece of furniture. Useless. With no voice.
(The girls look at him, their faces sirious. Robert squirms.)
IVONA (whispers): My God...
SIMON (continues): And you want to yell, at least... AAAAAH!!(yells)... but the air is stuck in your lungs and won't come out... and you stand there... for five minutes... ten minutes. (Turns to Robert.) Is that funny too?
ROBERT (serious): No, that is definitely the worst event in your life.
GRETA (sympathetically): Simon, what happened to your mom?
SIMON: Fortunatelly, dad came soon... shook her... then me... then called the 911. The meds came... picked mom up... then me... took us to the hospital. Mom's blood pressure was down, everything was okay... but litle Simon...
IVONA (with understanding): Spoke no more.
SIMON: Yes. For a whole year. And after that (turns head down)... this has begun. (Suddenly tilts.) But now we are where we are, right pal? (Says to Robert, gets up, reaches his hand for "a five", they slap palms.)
ROBERT (absent-minded): Right, pal.
SIMON: Anyone want a beer?
ROBERT: Hey, don't get drunk!
(Simon already swallows beer from the can and comes back to his seat.)
GRETA: So... shall we continue with the questions or we've had enough for today?
(They check the clock and say together: Let's do two more. Greta points to Robert to read the next qustion.)
ROBERT: Are you satisfied with with your life? (and answers immediately, quickly) Yes. That is my final answer. Let's go on.
GRETA: So you're satisfied. You wouldn't change a thing.
ROBERT: Well, maybe I could have blue eyes or shoulders wide as a double-door closet, so that the girls could, you know... (coughs) ...stick better, but otherwise...
IVONA: You're satisfied with your speech.
ROBERT: Listen, you doll.
SIMON (chuckles): Doll!
IVONA: My name is Ivona.
ROBERT: Okay, don't get all upset. My speech has nothing to do with me. I am completely cool with it and it's cool with me, get it?
GRETA: Oh well... then why are you in this group after all? Why do you come?
ROBERT: Gees... to look at you two, of course, what else!
GRETA: So to you everything is great. Your stuttering...
ROBERT: ...irrelevant. Yes.
IVONA: And you're satisfied.
ROBERT: Well globally... yes. Thank God, there's always some room for improvement... pumping up muscles and things like that.
(Greta waves her hand:)
GRETA: Oh, this is hopeless. Let's go on.
IVONA: No, I know why he's acting like this. He ran over this question beacuse he doesn't want to open up, he acts like he doesn't care. Indeed, he doesn't want us to see what's really on the inside and how unhappy he is.
ROBERT: Ah-ah, wrong answer.
IVONA: Nevermind, you do your act if it makes it easier for you. Let's go on, Greta.
(Robert tries to shrug his shoulders in a relaxed, manly manner, but we can see on his body and face that Ivona was right. Greta looks at Ivona, then at Robert, waiting for more replies. Robert doesn't dare reply, he stares at the floor.)
GRETA: All righty... Let's do one more, I'll read it. It says... what is the dream of your life? (Looks around at the group.)
SIMON: Why are you looking at us, it's your question, your turn.
IVONA: Yes that's right.
GRETA: Oh well... a dream of my life... hmm... a dream of my life...
ROBERT (still looks at the floor, absent-minded): A dream... hot summer's dream...
SIMON: ...is that you shut up.
GRETA (absorbed in thought): My dream is... well this is nothing extraordinary. It's to be happy. I think it's a lot of people's dream and has nothing to do with stuttering.
IVONA: And if you stopped stuttering, would that be that dream?
GRETA: I don't know, hmm...
SIMON (steps in): If I stopped stuterring, I'd be... born again. I'd be... the president of the state.
IVONA: Wow, you're very modest!
SIMON: Well it's my dream without being path... pathettt... humble.
GRETA (to Simon): So the dream of your life is to stop stuttering?
IVONA (to Greta): And yours isn't?
GRETA (absorbed): But that way I let my stuttering be important, and I know other things are far more important and I want to concentrate on them. I want to draw out all of my antennae, notice every slightly open doors and push them open with my own strength, I want to become a better person... a brave person...
IVONA: ...you are brave.
GRETA (continues): ...and see my stuttering only as this suitcase lying next to my feet, a suitcase which has travelled with me all the way and that's it. (looks at everybody) Do you get what I'm saying?
SIMON: Yes I get it... a suitcase that weighs, like... a hundred tons...
IVONA: ...a suitcase that you'd be happy to lose at some station...
ROBERT: ...or drive a big truck over it...
GRETA: Yes. I'll be happy when I tear down all the boundaries that I have made myself.
(A short pause. Greta's words still ring in everyone's ears.)
IVONA: I am happy to be with all of you.
ROBERT: Please, no... not a group hug now, girls, please....
(Everybody laughs, Greta checks her clock.)
GRETA: Okay. That's it for today, guys. It wasn't hard, was it? I'll see you next Thursday.
(They get up and say: Okay, see you then, bye - whatever they want to say.)
SIMON (begins singing): Unfortunate am I since I was born...
ROBERT (hugs Simon and they continue singing in a duet, walking toward the exit): ...whose dirty hand was laid down on me?...
everywhere I go I'm only looking for...
some place where I wouldn't have to speak.....
(The light goes off, the audience applauds.)
|Return to the opening page of the conference|