by Mike W
Desmond Carmichael is an aging actor. He is addressing his dead wife in this monologue.
|I got a letter this morning, Joan. I didn’t think people wrote letters anymore. Thought it was all emails and texts and what-have-you. It wasn’t a handwritten letter. It was typed. On a computer probably. You always had such beautiful handwriting, Joan. Always so very neat. Precise. Elegant.
Anyhow, this letter wasn’t just an ordinary letter. Oh no. Guess what it was? It was a fan letter if you please! Imagine that. Fan mail at my age. Do you remember how you used to deal with all my fan mail for me? You were always so very efficient at it. I could never get organised enough to reply to it all but you always made sure that the signed photographs were sent out and just the right words were written. And, Joan, don’t think I didn’t know that you used to keep the ones from the pretty young girls from me! You thought I didn’t know that didn’t you? I never minded though.
The letter is from a young man named James Waddington. Heaven knows how he got my address! He must be a very resourceful young man. He’s a student. And a very serious-minded fellow he seems. He says he’s writing a dissertation on the history of British Cinema and apparently he thinks that my film, The Hanging Man, was very important in the development of the film industry in this country. Something to do with the camera techniques or something. So says James Waddington anyway. I never understood all the technical stuff as you well know, Joan. I do remember making that film though. I can’t remember last week but I remember that. It was in 1952 apparently, although I’ll have to take young James’s word for that. Do you remember it, Joan? I played a serial killer. You always hated me playing the bad guy. Said it was creepy watching me do all those nasty things. I always enjoyed myself thoroughly though and I had such a good time with good old Stanley Rose on that one. We were in absolute stitches when I had to strangle him!
Goodness, listen to the rain. It’s been like this for days. I haven’t been out of the house since Tuesday. Or was it Monday?
Mr Waddington, the student, has some extremely nice things to say about my performance in The Hanging Man. He says it was ‘beautifully understated’. How about that then? ‘Compelling’ is another word he uses. Heavens, he also knows all kinds of other stuff about my career. More than me probably! He says he would love to talk with me sometime about my life and about that film in particular. I don’t think I can help him with the camera angle stuff if that’s what he’s thinking!
Do you know, Joan, I haven’t spoken to another living soul today. Haven’t seen anyone. In fact, now I come to think of it, I haven’t seen anyone for days. This blessed rain! I think the last person I spoke to was Bridget. Do you remember Bridget, Joan? Bridget from the shop? I told you about her. Lovely lady. We always have a little chat when I pop in. She’ll be thinking I’ve popped my clogs!
I think I might telephone young James. It would be nice to talk with someone about acting again. Nobody around here knows anything about my past. Nobody here really knows me at all. They say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’ and ‘are you keeping well’, but that’s about it. They don’t like to pry you see. And nobody here ever knew you, Joan.
Goodness, I’m tired. And I don’t think I’ve eaten anything since breakfast. That’s one of the worst things you know, Joan. Thinking of what to eat. What to eat next. That’s when it gets to me. That’s when I miss you. It all seems like so much trouble. I know I should eat though. I know I should look after myself. For your sake.
I think I’ll go to bed now. Hopefully the rain will have stopped in the morning and I can nip to the shop for a newspaper. And then I’ll telephone that nice Mr Waddington and we’ll have a good old chat. And I’ll make myself something nice to eat. I promise. I will.
Goodnight, Joan. Goodnight.