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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Playwright Portrait, Neil LaBute, Excerpt from The Mercy Seat

The Playwright Neil LaBute, 2008
with Edwin Booth as Hamlet
©pswb 2010

The Mercy Seat

Ben Harcourt: Jesus…you think I was born this way, like some cut-throat pirate of the high seas? Huh? Hell, I’m just trying to muddle through, that’s all, just muddle my fucking way through to middle age, see if I can make it that far. You like trivia so goddamn much, well here’s a little tidbit for ya…I’m faking it. Okay? Totally getting by on fumes. I put my game face on and go out there and I’m scared shitless. (BEAT) I’ve screwed up every step of my life, Abby, I’m not afraid to admit it. Happy to, actually, I am happy to sing it out there for anybody who wants to hear. I always take the easy route, do it faster, simpler, you know, whatever it takes to get it done, be liked, get by. That’s me. Cheated in school, screwed over my friends, took whatever I could get from whomever I could take it from. My marriage, there’s a goddamn fiasco, of which you’re intimately aware. The kids…I barely register as a dad, I’m sure, but compared to the other shit in my life, I’m Doctor-fucking-Spock. No matter what I do or have done, they adore the hell out of me and I’m totally knocked out by that. What kids are like. Yeah… (BEAT) And you, let’s not forget you. Us. Okay, yes, I haven’t done all that I’ve promised, said I’d do, I fuck up along the way. Alright. But I’m trying, this time out--with you, I mean--I have been trying. Don’t know what it looks like, feels to you, but I have made a real go of us and that is not a lie. It isn’t. And so then, yesterday--through all the smoke and fear and just, I dunno, apocalyptic shit--I see a way for us to go for it, to totally erase the past… (BEAT) And I don’t think it makes me Lucifer or a criminal or some bad man because I noticed it. I really don’t. We’ve been given something here, a chance to…I don’t know what, to wash away a lot of the, just, rotten crap we’ve done. More than anything else, ...that's what this is. a chance. I know it is.

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