Peter Rose/Lin Osterhage
The L.A. Dialogues

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The L.A. Dialogues (1-3) 1988 - 89
by Lin Osterhage and Peter Rose

"Working alone together tonight"
The L.A. Dialogues (1) National Artist's Organization Event, Los Angeles, September, 1988

"Intimate Strangers"
The L.A. Dialogues (2) Powerhouse Theatre, Santa Monica, California, 1988

"Nature World: A Fertile Dialogue"
The L.A. Dialogues (3) for Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, California, May 6th, 1989

Downtown Los Angeles, 1988

   

"Intimate Strangers"

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?

L: Sure.

P: Tired of being up here on stage and putting out all this energy?

L: No.

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.

L: Uh-huh.

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.

P: 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.

P: Really?

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?"

L: Absolutely.

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.

L: Tonight?

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.

(Full Embrace)

L & P: And we can get paid for being alone together!

BLACKOUT

Music Up and Out

The End


Copyright Lin O./Peter Rose 1988-89
All rights reserved

   

 

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