A man can’t spend ten years in a place without becoming at least a little attached to it. Accordingly, I’ll admit to a fondness for New England. I’ll own up to a modicum of excitement at Pippin winning a Tony. I’ll concede that getting fan mail* from a “like”-r^ who was at the beautiful Turtle Pond on a recent afternoon stirred up some nostalgia. I’ll even say truthfully that I occasionally respond to conflict here in Chicago with a Southie-style, Red-Sox fan, townie machismo.
About that last point . . .
New England, please put aside your competitive spirit. I have left you behind, and there is no longer any need to aggrandize yourself for my affection. You needn’t send your Bruins to Chicago to try to defeat my new suitor. And you needn’t try to recruit me back by writing plays about yourself and having them produced in Chicago, then casting me in them. And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about! (He says with that same machismo!) Look right here in the stage directions of this play I just got cast in:
Detritus of city, perhaps Boston
“Perhaps” Boston? Perhaps? (Machismo!) Let’s read further into the play’s opening notes:
Whoopie pies: these treats are a New England phenomenon
Oh! This play has whoopie pies in it, a “New England phenomenon.” Perhaps this play, then, takes place in New England? Perhaps by “perhaps Boston” the playwright meant “definitely Boston?” Or was she perhaps thinking of some other New England City?**
And what is this my character says to the other character here on page 4?
“You have a PhD from fucking Brandeis?”
Ah. Brandeis. You mean the school outside of Boston!?!?!?!?
Boy, I am Southie-mad. And maybe that’s your game, Boston. Maybe you are trying to make me lose my focus here. Maybe you are hoping that I’ve grown weak in this place, what with all the hot dogs, deep dish pizza, affordable rent, and street signs. Maybe you think you can seduce me back to a simpler time by sending this little play on a covert mission.
Well, it won’t work. First of all, this play is only ten minutes long. Second of all, this play only runs for one night. Third, overtime. Fourth, no matter how exhausted I may be here . . . well, maybe your play puts it best. What is this line my character has here on page 7?
That’s not how we play it in Chicago.
Sorry, Boston. Close. Try again next time.
* A text
** Don’t kid yourself, Providence.