My America: The Subcontractor

October 17, 2012

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by Andy Bragen, resident playwright

Centerstage in Baltimore commissioned 50 short monologues based upon the theme of “My America” from a wide variety of American playwrights, including a number of New Dramatists and New Dramatists alums (including Caridad Svich, Marcus Gardley, Dael Orlandersmith, Lee Blessing, Rinne Groff, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Naomi Iizuka and Melanie Marnich). These monologues were then directed and filmed by the prominent Indie film director Hal Hartley.

My monologue The Subcontractor is one of these fifty. I wrote it for my wife, Crystal Finn, which was great fun, at least for me. (We love working together, but sometimes it can get complicated!). My America is a broad theme certainly, and I could imagine writing a number of monologues in a number of different styles. In this case, I chose a more ironic and comedic take, a metatheatrical one, imagining a “lost monologue” by and about an Andy Bragen very different from me. (Though I did actually wrestle for a year in high school – losing all thirteen of my matches!)

That there are so many monologues is very exciting to me – there’s a great variety to them – and a lot of different voices and perspectives to be heard. I’m a particular fan of Anna Deavere Smith’s piece Not (En)Titled, performed by Stephen McKinley Henderson. The writing and the performance are both astounding. The monologue gets in deep.

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