Peter Rose/Lin Osterhage
The L.A. Dialogues (1-3) 1988 - 89
"Working alone together
"Nature World: A Fertile
Downtown Los Angeles, 1988
Music: Billie Holliday "Love Songs"
Peter sits on stage, Lin enters stage right
Lin: Hi! I signed up to participate in tonight's performance.
Peter: I must be your scene partner.
Lin: Oh? What do you do? Stand-up comedy?
Peter: I'm an actor, model and performance artist! Is this some kind of dialogue?
Lin: It could be. Let's see how it goes. I'm glad you made it.
P: I'm tired though. The bus connections are real iffy after rush hour. Do you ever get tired?
P: Tired of being up here on stage and putting out all this energy?
P: How can you afford it? The energy, time and money?
L: I'm mature enough to know that when I really want to do something for myself (as a free woman) I have to pay for it!
P: You pay to perform?
L: That's why I'm so happy working a full-time job.
P: It doesn't bother you?
L: No, I do what I want: If I want to go for a walk on some grass I just pick up some instant cash, hop in my car, drive the freeway until I see some grass, pull over, park my car and buy a ticket for the grass designated area. Then, I just enjoy it. The trees and the grass.
P: What does that have to do with working in the theatre and being on stage tonight?
L: I do a lot of talking... and some thinking. I appreciate the opportunity to get up here and have a discussion with you. No matter what it costs me.
P: I'm flattered.
L: The last thing on earth I would expect is to get paid for it. In fact, I bought a ticket myself tonight to show my support.
P: I'm impressed. You have a winning attitude.
L: A healthy attitude is worth its weight in artist's fees.
P: I can't afford your healthy attitude. Too many not-for-profit, play for free, art for arts sake arrangements. Being the ultimate professional good sport and all that. I've played more benefits...
L: I'll bet you made a contribution
P: Yeh, a contribution to artists and producers who see me as a means of generating an expense account for their rent, psychotherapy, workshops, dry cleaning bills and lovers.
L: Dry cleaning is expensive.
P: Usually I rehearse and perform for free. Developing a reputation as a consummate show stopper. And I can't afford the price of a 5 X 7 black and white print of my third curtain call. Or dinner after tonight's show. Figure that out. Why am I here? Heaven forbid I want to make a videotape. I'll file for bankruptcy first.
L: Greatness is elusive.
P: So is solvency.
L: I can see you must be wealthy in other ways.
P: I hope so, thank-you.
L: You sound like you had to be coerced into performing. Why? You're an artist.
P: There are many things I'd rather be doing: hiking or swimming and my stipend of free beers backstage is no solace. It's an insult.
L: I like beer.
P: Whatever happened to champagne and late dinners in dark well-lit bars with 8 X 10 glossy photographs of famous artists and stars on the wall?
L: What's the matter with you? Are you hungry?
P: I'd rather be doing other things.
L: Like what? Looking at L.A. bus schedules superimposed and presented as a slide show? Computing how many hours a day you work just to pay your rent. Rereading "100 Years of Solitude?"
P: C'mon. This is Southern California. We can jetski, wet-bike, parasail and freebase. Something else besides helping someone make a little pre-Labor Day pocket money. Personally, I enjoy trees and birds. This performance is inconsequential by comparison.
L: Well, fine! Just fine. I schedule myself to death trying to find time to talk to you between the series of natural and unnatural events in my daily life and you say, "It's inconsequential."
P: All I'm saying is that my desire to be somewhere else other than on this stage, preferably a secluded wood area by a lake-where I can take a moon-lit midnight canoe trip, is a sign of artistic growth and it's positive.
L: A "Positive Growth Sign"?
P: You have no idea what I'm talking about.
L: You misunderstand everything I say.
P: You don't know what you're saying.
L: You don't know what you're talking about.
P: I know what you mean.
L: Perfect communication.
P: Yes. We have communication and a theatrical relationship people can only be jealous of.
P: In fact, I'm jealous of it myself. If I weren't up here on stage with you now, I'd be enjoying it that much more. It's a healthy jealousy.
L: "Healthy Jealousy?"
P: Yes. I'm jealous of something I have other than what I don't have. There are enough things I don't have. I woke up and saw what I do have is truly okay. I don't worry about what I don't have, period.
L: That sounds un-American to me. You should worry about what you don't have. You call this "positive growth?"
P: And golf. I'd love to be playing golf. A positive growth sign is realizing I can put the frustrating situations of daily life at a distance in nature.
L: I can't argue with that.
P: Where I don't feel controlled by landlords, producers, journalists, mothers, bosses, casting agents... and I'm away from other people's chaos. At peace with my own chaos.
L: One man's chaos is enough for me. Life is no bed of roses.
P: It's so confusing. Caught up in another person's tornado of self-importance. I used to love it, thrive on it. I believed it was "creative energy" and anarchic impulses I was plugged into-
L: You get caught up like an insect in a spider's web.
P: The controlling device is so tiresome. Someone creates a whirlwind of immediacy around you. The language is theirs, the emotional environment is theirs but you can be sure their confusion is all yours.
L: So often this person loves you.
P: Or worse yet, you love them! No more of that. I'm more aware. I'm a lot more relaxed. I love lush green fairways and huge sycamore trees. "Par 3" all the way. I've worked at it.
L: Par 3 Life? I'm used to paying the green fees, going 19 holes, carrying the clubs and calling it fun.
L: Yes, I've grown accustomed to playing with and falling in love with chaotic, unlovable people... accustomed to that ecstatic state of anxiety. Recently I figured it out.
L: Now I'm complacently involved in unfulfilling relationships and inspired by the belief that I can still find myself... and love it.
P: What would happen if you ever had a great time with a lovable person who loved you?
L: It takes too much honesty with myself to love somebody who loves me.
P: Are we talking about "feelings?"
L: We are talking about feelings. I never talk about feelings.
P: At least not before taking my lithium with a spring water chaser!
L: Exactly. Or a shot vodka.
P: Where have expressing feelings ever gotten you?
L: Heartache, unemployment and one nervous breakdown.
P: It's a good thing the literature say you can't have a nervous breakdown on lithium.
L: Are you saying you found a way to be honest and not lose your mind?
P: It's a trade off. Unemployed and sane or on the job and losing it bit by bit day after day.
L: And if you express yourself on the job?
P: You lose 'em both. On the spot. Unemployed and out of control.
L: What a heartache. I'd rather lose my job than my control.
P: If I'm out of work I can still play golf. But if I lose my mind much more than my putting game suffers.
L: It's not worth it. I have the job and the sanity and I plan to keep them both. I practice self-control, even self-censorship.
P: Is that your "Positive Growth Sign?"
P: If you censor yourself daily doesn't that influence your creative process?
L: I just take it one day at a time!
P: How do you feel about censoring yourself?
L: Fine! Just fine. I've worked it through. Now I keep my clothes on when I'm on stage. I don't set fire to anything in the theatre although I do like a little campfire now and then. I've matured. Censorship is for other people.
P: Like who?
L: Married people, actors and their agents, artist groups with friends and foundations who support them... people who have something to lose.
P: It's hard not to be smug and arrogant. I have nothing to lose. But thank God my youthful zest and naivete are still intact.
L: Seems so.
P: Do you want to do something else? Let's go swimming, do some laps or leap off the high diving board.
L: Have great fun with a lovable person?
P: I'll buy the tickets and carry the towels.
L: I'm ready to have it all and enjoy it too.
P: Oh, hold it.
L: Hold it?
P: I have an appointment.
P: Yes. I've got a commercial gig, acting, modelling for a poster for a movie that might get made. It's called "Intimate Strangers."
L: "Intimate Strangers?" As a title it sounds pretty dull but in reality it sounds much better.
P: Yeh. The pay is excellent. We'll get free 8 X 10 colored glossy photographs and dinner is part of the production budget. I've got to go now or we'll never make it.
L: We can take my new car.
P: Great. If they do make the movie maybe we can both get parts.
L: I could get the "Intimate" part.
P: I could be the "Stranger."
L: Or, I'll be the "Stranger."
P: And I'll be the "Intimate" one.
L & P: And we can get paid for being alone together!
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