The script for the play Jake’s Women came in the mail today. I sat down and read the whole 99 pages. Is this obsession? Maybe some other version of pathology? I don’t know. But I want to be Jake. It’s the story of a writer and the six women in his life – his dead wife Julie, his daughter Molly, his present wife Maggie, his sister Karen, his potential girlfriend Sheila and his therapist Edith. Jake is loving, tortured and unstable. I can do this.
The play will run in St. Thomas in February, 2016. Auditions will probably be in December. So why is my tongue hanging out now? Unknown. After I finished my read this afternoon, Jody said, “It’s you, Bruce. Go for it.”
Julie died years ago in a car accident. Molly was eleven at the time. Julie’s spirit visits Jake and wants to come again on her birthday – October 12 – to get to know Molly as a young adult. October 12 is Jody’s birthday. I just stared at page 47 when the date was revealed. Oh my. What’s at work here?
At the end of Act 1, Maggie is walking out on Jake, wanting a six-month separation. Two Mollies (ages 12 and 21) appear to Jake and sit next to him on the couch. He holds their hands as the three of them sit together in silence. I cried. Jody and I decided not to have kids, and in the many years since I’ve often wished I had a daughter. So will I have one, for the two months of rehearsals and performances?
My brain is skewed. It must be, for I’ve decided to start memorizing Jake’s lines in the play. There are lots of them. Who’s to say I’ll even get the part? And you know, it doesn’t matter. There’s something magical about the possibility that I’ll have learned every word dear Jake says and never perform it onstage. I would be fine with that … really.
So I begin with the first paragraph, smiling and shaking my head. What kind of human being have I become? Time will tell.