Voice of Reason

By Alistair Brown


 A husband tries to rationalise his adultery.


Husband: Man pacing around in the middle of the stage, talking to himself, possibly into a mirror. Self centered, deluded, feeling sorry for himself. He'll have to boogie around the stage a bit to stop it from becoming too boring, maybe examine the ceiling in search of the voice from time to time, kick things, look into the mirror to start with. (Maybe similar to Jerry in the movie Sliding Doors)

Reason: A voice. Smarty pants, unsympathetic, mostly sarcastic. (Maybe similar to Russell in Sliding Doors, without the hysterics)

Clinton: From tape of Aug. 17, 1998 speech (a copy can be found at <http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/08/17/speech/>)

Vicar: Voice only, possibly prerecorded.



Husband: I told her I loved her and that it was over between Michelle and me, but she still walked out. Why can't she believe me when I tell her? It's not as if I would have left her for that airhead Michelle. Why can't she understand that? And why is she so bitter about it? (Sigh) Why, why, why?

Reason: (perky, in contrast to husband) Why indeed?

Husband: What?

Reason: (insistent) Why is she so bitter?

Husband: (confused, annoyed) Why is she so bitter? (demanding) Who are you anyway?

Reason: (perky, philosophical) Most people seem to call me the devil's advocate, personally I prefer the Voice of Reason.

Husband: OK, Whatever. Voice of Reason, huh?

Reason: Yep, that's me. I take it this is your wife you're talking about, isn't it?

Husband: Ex-wife probably. (genuinely clueless) We're separated now, so what does that make it?

Reason: Wife. As in the woman you happily waltzed down the aisle with that beautiful Saturday afternoon in February 1991.

Husband: Yeah, yeah, don't remind me.

Vicar: Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live.

Husband: That was a remarkably poor imitation of not reminding me.

Reason: Well, it's kind of important.

Husband: OK, I admit I may have transgressed a little, but you've missed the point. I think...

Clinton: It constituted a critical lapse in judgment.

Husband: (short analytical pause) Yeah, yeah, OK.

Clinton: It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.

Husband: Yeah, like I said, I admit I was wrong, but I don't know about being "solely and completely responsible".

Reason: So, is there anyone else you would like to implicate?

Husband: Listen, she just wasn't meeting my needs.

Reason: Your wife?

Husband: Yes, I mean any time I tried to get some romance into our relationship, she just did iceberg impressions. She couldn't get any colder.

Reason: Carry on.

Husband: So when we hired Michelle at work, she was just so much fun, and mmm... (mind drifting to nether regions)

Reason: Sexy?

Husband: Yeah, that was part of it. (Trying to explain himself) Look, I am merely a simple human male. Driven by God-given testosterone. I mean what's a man to do?

Reason: Doing nothing would be a fairly cunning strategy... So, in summary, not only is it your wife's fault, but Michelle's fault and possibly God's fault as well.

Husband: I'm not saying I'm entirely blameless, but you don't understand. Michelle, she... (thinking) she seduced me, she was magic, she was fun. My wife seems to have utterly forgotten about spontaneity.

Reason: And you haven't?

Husband: Obviously not. Michelle certainly responded to my affections. With my wife it was just (falsetto) "Not tonight, dear, I'm tired", again and again.

Reason: So where is Michelle now?

Husband: Got herself transferred, to Auckland of all places, a million miles away.

Reason: How come?

Husband: She thought we were getting too involved, and that was the easiest way out for her.

Reason: Auckland? That's practically suicide.

Husband: Yeah she was in tears when she went, but I'm not worried about her.

Reason: Oh, well that's alright then.

Husband: But, I am concerned about my wife now.

Reason: Concerned about your wife now? Superb timing, mate.

Husband: You must realise by now that Michelle and I are finished.

Reason: I guess I'll have to take your word for it.

Husband: We are, truly. But my wife, what can I do? (thinking...) Look, you call yourself the voice of reason don't you? I would be forever in your debt, if you could reason with my wife. I can't seem to say or do anything without incurring the wrath of Khan.

Reason: Reason with your wife? (incredulous)

Husband: (oblivious to own stupidity) I would be incredibly grateful.

Reason: Can I ask you a simple question?

Husband: Yes...

Reason: How, exactly, do you expect your wife to be reasonable after what happened between you and Michelle?

Husband: (Desperate) I don't know. You seem to be reasonably clever, I was kind of hoping that you might convince her to have me back.

Reason: Maybe I am clever - after all, my specialty is reasoned argument. But, my friend (almost sympathetic) no amount of reasoned argument is going to get your wife back. It is hardly a reasonable request.

Husband: (deep depressed sigh) Is there anything?

Reason: It's a long shot, and it's totally out of our control, but it does work.

Husband: What works?

Reason: (profound. pronounced) You can't buy it, you can't earn it, no way you deserve it, but it is (barely detectable pause) forgiveness.


© Alastair Brown 1998

All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.

He may be contacted at: freddie@clear.net.nz