Oh Lord I just turned seventy. Unbelievable. Say it: seventy. The word stays in the air, hissing like an evil snake. Sssssssseventy!
My desk is just as piled with work as it was before. I feel the same urgency to send out script submissions, to meet deadlines, to keep up with what’s happening in the theater world. If I don’t go to Humana this year will that be the start of a downward slide? If I put a new headshot on my website will my gray hair knock me out of the running? If I don’t do anymore of those 24-hour playwriting marathons will people whisper: She’s too old!
I give myself a good shake and try not to think about it. I go to bed at 10 o’clock and pretend it’s 2 a.m. In the morning I make a stiff cup of espresso, check what’s happening on Facebook, then dive into my newest play. Seventy? The play doesn’t give a damn.
Dumpy, shlumpy Francine, my current heroine, has lost her mojo. The vision of herself as thin and gorgeous has taunted her throughout her life. It has worn her down. Francine has just said “good-bye” to Paul, who is going overseas for one year. Francine has a whole year. She decides it’s now or never. The hissing sound of seventy is — where is it? That’s the radiator. Ssssss is distant… outside my office… outside the apartment… There it goes across West End Avenue, across Riverside, across the Hudson. It’s off in New Jersey somewhere, banished by the story in front of me.
Francine stands, turns, faces her opponent. She says…
Robin Rice Lichtig has written plays since 1990. Productions worldwide. In New York: PLAY NICE! at 59E59 in 2011; THE POWER OF BIRDS (3Graces production) in 2010. New plays include: ALICE IN BLACK AND WHITE, SUKI LIVINGSTON OPENS LIKE A PARACHUTE, FRONTIER. Synopses at www.dramamama.net. Publishers: French, Dramatists, Smith & Kraus.