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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pay the Rent: A Solo Play Exploring Gender Politics

The Characters:

Evil Landlord
Female Tenant
Male Hero
Sociology Professor with a concentration in Gender Studies

The Scene: None, except for one prop—a single piece of paper folded into an accordion.

Enter Actor. Picks up piece of paper, holds it in the middle, and places it under his nose—a moustache. He is now the Evil Landlord.

Evil Landlord: You must pay the rent!

Actor now places the piece of paper, still holding in middle, on top of his head—a bow. He is now the Female Tenant.

Female Tenant: I can’t pay the rent!

Evil Landlord: You must pay the rent!

Female Tenant: I can’t pay the rent!

Actor now place piece of paper in front of his collar—a bow tie. He is now the Male Hero.

Male Hero: I’ll pay the rent!

Female Tenant: My…

Actor now places the piece of paper diagonally from his chin—a goatee. He is now the Sociology Professor with a concentration in Gender Studies.

Sociology Professor: Excuse me, but aren’t you dragging out the same old misogynist act of saving the “helpless” female.

Male Hero: Well, I … I’m not …

Sociology Professor: Why not try another approach?

Male Hero: O.K. … ahem … I’ll punch the Evil Landlord in the face!

Sociology Professor: No, no, no. Now you’re relying on the old male paradigm of conflict resolution—don’t fall back on the ways you were socialized to repress any feelings of vulnerability or sadness by acting out aggressively. You can certainly think beyond that.

Male Hero: You think so? O.K., what about this: I’ll pay the rent and you can pay me back!

Sociology Professor: No! Now you’re saving her again.

Female Tenant: Listen, I need to get going.

Sociology Professor: Please do not interrupt me. I am talking. Male Hero, go ahead.

Male Hero: I’ll share the burden of paying the rent!

Sociology Professor: Closer. But what about countering the ways in which she was socialized to look toward others to help her?

Evil Landlord: This is gay. I’m out of here.

Sociology Professor: Gay? Great now let’s throw some homophobia into the mix …

Male Hero: How about this Sociology Professor—I’ll do what you need me to do to feel more empowered!

Female Tenant: I’m leaving, too. I have a date with a biker, anyway.

Sociology Professor: Oh, that’s nice—give males the message that women really want the “tough guy”. Why not date a poet? Or a college professor?

Female Tenant: Yuck!

Evil Landlord: Do what you all want, I’m going to contact my lawyer.

Male Hero: Now what do I do?

Sociology Professor: Well, now that you’ve made some realizations about the ways that traditional gender roles have boxed you into a corner, why don’t you and I—two heterosexual males—go out to a movie together as friends?

Male Hero: Sure, but only if we keep an empty seat between us.

Russell Bradbury-Carlin gave up his corporeal existence long ago. He now exists only as a series of bytes and electrical impulses distributed through out the internet. You can visit aspects of him (the humorous parts, anyway) here at Yankee Pot Roast and at McSweeney's, Science Creative Quarterly, The Big Jewel , as well as other sites. But if you are interested in visiting with him in his most condensed form, check out his Web site, All My Shoes and Glasses. Please note: if you visit his site between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., please be quiet--that is when he sleeps.