Ned Bobkoff

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The Maddness of the American Sentry

Opening Monologue

(New York harbor. Fog horn. Surf, sea gulls. The Statue of Liberty emerges out of the fog, draped in black from head to toe.)


How well I remember the day of my unveiling. October 18th, 1886. Straight out of a comic book.  Bartoldi,  August Bartoldi, the sculptor, up in my crown, waiting to pull the string on his creation. Me.
(A crowd heard, speaker droning on and on. )
That’s Grover Cleveland, the President speaking. All puffed up. Looking to cash in on the publicity. When he was Governor of New York, he vetoed a bill for fifty thousand dollars to stand me up.  What was I supposed to do, squat? The pennies of the poor raised me up. The rich hardly contributed a dime. And the ladies? They weren’t even invited to the ceremony. Rumors were spread that they would be crushed in the crowd. Well that didn’t stop them. A group of them circled Bedloe’s island on a boat. Bellowed at Cleveland with a megaphone. Bartoldi got tired of waiting for Cleveland’s speech to end, and yanked the rope. And there I was exposed.  For all the world to see…
(Drape collapses. Loud hammering,  banging.)
I wasn’t born, I was commissioned!  Work men crawling all over me. Banging my plates. Hammering me down. It took six hundred thousand rivets to hold me  down. They needed every one of them. I wanted out from the beginning.
(crowd laughing, joking.)
When I was stood up in Paris, for the first time - and that wasn’t the only  time I was stood up - I looked out, over the rooftops. Hundreds of fashionably dressed people gawking up at me. Making snooty remarks about the way I was dressed. Here I was, a gift, from the French people to the American people. And all they could do was talk about how I wasn’t much of a work of art. Things haven’t changed much since.  And to top it all off, Bartoldi had the gall to ship me over here in two hundred and fourteen crates.  I felt like I was falling apart at the seams. Then he stuck me up on the pedestal on Bedloes Island. A former gallows, paupers graves everywhere….
(The loud, clanging bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Again, the bell. LIBERTY tosses her book and torch away, holds her nose, grabs the crown off her head, and leaps off her pedestal into the harbor. Blackout. A loud splash. Swimming, grunts, heavy breathing.)

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Ned Bobkoff
writer, director, teacher, producer
(not necessarily in that order)





Copyright © 2010 Ned Bobkoff