Saturday, March 12, 2011

Becoming Bonobo

This article on bonobos suggests that we have a lot to learn from bonobos in regards to the ways they solve problems. Bonobos are far less aggressive, and no instance of a bonobo killing another bonobo has ever been recorded (the same cannot be said of chimpanzees or humans, of course). Of course, it is easy to say that we should be more like bonobos -- but that would require that we literally change our most basic human natures. More than that, it would mean that we would have to adopt the bonobos' way of solving problems: having sex with everyone and anyone. Yes, bonobos are bisexual, and sex is their way of greeting, solving problems, and trading. Sound like a great society to live in?

Becoming Bonobo
A Play in One Act

A minimalist set: a plastic-covered couch with an end table, on which sits a remote control. BONNY and PAM enter BONNY’s living room, carrying shopping bags. They place the bags on the floor beside the plastic-covered couch. Each drops down on the couch, exhausted. As their conversation continues, they sit up more and become increasingly animated, gesticulating, etc. Both should act out whatever is implied in the dialogue.

BONNY: My God, I am exhausted!

PAM: And sore.

BONNY: Sore! My God, talk about sore! Shopping’s such an ordeal anymore.

PAM: I think we’ve overdone it.

BONNY: You and me?

PAM: You, me, society! It’s all too much!

BONNY: I know just what you mean. The cure – in pill form – has become the disease.

PAM: Yeah. The male pill has him shooting blanks. The female pill has me shooting blanks. The morning after pill sweeps up afterwards in case any shots were in fact fired.

BONNY: And why wait for recovery? Viagra keeps him up for hours. The same hours the eight hour sleep pills gave us to give us time. R.E.M. in a bottle. The only thing that gets done more is me!

PAM: They’ve made actors of us all.

BONNY: Don’t have to be attracted – our pills will make us act as though we are. We’re always ready to do the act. Every man can now perform at any time, at any place – and every woman wants him to, it seems.

PAM: Remember venereal diseases? With them gone, there’s no stopping anyone.

BONNY: It’s safe to sleep around. And everyone does. All the time.

PAM: I wish he would, give me a break.

BONNY: Won’t catch a thing, won’t get anyone pregnant.

PAM: It’s better. Better not to have disease, accidental pregnancies.

BONNY: It’s true, but . . . the danger slowed them down, at least. A life without
consequences . . .

PAM: Makes women sore and tired.

BONNY: And social stigmas! Why’d we give up those?

PAM: It’s everywhere and anywhere.

BONNY: It’s freedom of expression.

PAM: Ah, yes! Expression. Expression in the park, expression in the car, expression in the corner store. Is there anyplace I can go where people aren’t expressing themselves with each other?

BONNY: Not that we’re any better. Besides, it comes in handy if you’re short on cash.

PAM: True. There’s likely to be someone in the store who’s willing to make a cashless trade.

BONNY: A pop or candy bar . . .

PAM: A pop or candy bar? You don’t know what I did to get that big screen T.V. I have at home.

BONNY: Just goes to show, it’s not money makes wealth.

PAM: Reproductionless productions. Now, that’s an incentive to produce.

BONNY: You know, when I was young, I remember people shaking hands to greet each other.

PAM: A messier business now, for sure. Not as many colds or flus passed around now, though.

BONNY: That’s true. You never really think of that.

PAM: But then, there’s all the furniture.

BONNY: All plastic-covered . . .

PAM: So no one stains.

BONNY: It’s crinkle-crinkle everywhere.

PAM: But women are in charge now.

BONNY: I know. Who knew that men would give up power everywhere for constant sex?

PAM: Directly, indirectly.

BONNY: I never expected Freud was right on this one.

PAM: That the masculine drive for political power was really sublimated sexual urges?

BONNY: By sexually oppressed . . .

PAM: Or practically impotent . . . .

BONNY: Older men?

PAM: Precisely.

BONNY: How often have the younger tried to rule?

PAM: Not often.

BONNY: Much too busy getting laid.

PAM: Or trying to.

BONNY: But now with youth pills . . .

PAM: And Viagra . . .

BONNY: And social stigmas gone . . .

PAM: The men don’t try to rule.

BONNY: Too busy getting laid.

PAM: Or trying to.

BONNY: And wealth! We women now have all the wealth.

PAM: My ass is such an asset now.

BONNY: Each woman has her purse to fill.

PAM: The jealous, prudes, and moralists all live in poverty.

BONNY: But not us.

PAM: Oh, no! Not us!

BONNY: An economic boom.

PAM (grabs her own breasts): An economic bust.

BONNY: Men and women work and work.

PAM: And that is why they work so hard.

BONNY: All busy getting laid.

PAM: Or trying to.

Enter RANDY, BONNY’s husband.

RANDY (to PAM): I’d greet you, Pam, but I haven’t greeted Bonny yet.

BONNY: Well, greet me later. I can’t take a greeting now.

RANDY: Congratulate me, then.

BONNY: Congratulations!

PAM: Good for you!

BONNY: I can’t believe your luck!

PAM: It can’t have happened to a nicer person!

BONNY: You certainly deserve it. You worked so hard.

PAM: Did everything you could . . .

BONNY: And should . . .

PAM: And would . . .

BONNY: The excitement almost makes me want to greet you. What happened, dear?

RANDY: I got promoted and a raise.

BONNY: So soon!

PAM: So quickly!

RANDY: Teatime in the boss’s office daily. That’s what gets it done. Make your boss a sandwich now and then. It gets results.

PAM: Congratulations!

BONNY: Good for you!

RANDY: And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a shower now.


BONNY: He always takes a shower after work.

PAM: Well, I do, too. Or when I’m finished shopping. Or visiting my friends. Or after a walk. Of after I get back from a restaurant. Or whenever I’m pulled over by a cop. Or after the movies or a play or a ballet or the opera or the symphony or the museum – though I try to show some decorum there – or a concert or a poetry reading or the library. Or after yoga. And the gym, of course.

BONNY: I shower once a day, no matter what I do. My water bill would be outrageous.

PAM: You have to catch the meter man whenever he makes his rounds.

BONNY: Don’t pay your water bill?

PAM: Less than you, at least. And I use much more water.

BONNY: Mine’s more of a meter maid, so that won’t work for me. Lovely Rita . . .

PAM: Don’t swing that way? Who doesn’t swing that way today?

BONNY: She doesn’t seem to swing either way.

PAM: How strange!

BONNY: I know. Everybody on this block pays full price for their water.

PAM: A prude?

BONNY: A virgin.

PAM: There are virgins still?

BONNY: She’s antisocial. Never met anyone like her.

PAM: Yes, antisocial. No greeting anyone? In any way at all?

BONNY: And pays for everything – full price! – with cash and cash alone.

PAM: I can’t believe that such a thing exists . . .

BONNY: An oddity, I know.

PAM: I remember when I was a virgin. Life was so much simpler then . . .

BONNY: Of course it was. You lived with your parents, didn’t have a job, and your parents paid for everything.

PAM: And now I live with my husband, don’t have a job, and it’s my making prostates pulsate which pays for everything.

BONNY: So, except the virginity thing, not much has changed?

PAM: Not really. Except, I shower more.

Enter RANDY in a bathrobe.

RANDY: Anyone ready to get greeted now?

BONNY: We just got back from shopping, Randy.

RANDY: You really ought to try to get back home at least an hour before I do so that you’re ready for me to come home.

BONNY: I don’t know who you think you’re talking to. Go make me dinner.

RANDY: And then . . . ?

BONNY: We’ll see.


PAM: Poor thing. I ought to go and greet him. I am a guest here in his home.

BONNY: Go. Greet him. Be my guest. I need a break.

PAM stands and exists in the direction of RANDY.

BONNY: That woman is insatiable. She must be taking Libidoprone. The last thing that I need.

BONNY stands and wanders back and forth a few times. She glances at her watch.

BONNY: Well, this is boring. I guess I should have greeted my husband home from work.

BONNY glances at her watch again.

BONNY: Would you please hurry up in there? I want to have my friend back. Perhaps some dinner, too!

BONNY paces once more, then slumps onto the couch.

BONNY: Let’s see what’s on T.V.

BONNY picks up the remote and aims it at the audience.

BONNY: Let’s see. Porn, porn, porn. Shopping. Cooking channel. Porn. Reality T.V. Porn. Reality porn. Viagra infomercial. Might as well be porn. Documentary on the sexual and social habits of the bonobo, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee. Porn. Libidoprone commercial. Silver bullet commercial. Ah, the news . . . is . . . over. What’s on next? Oh. Porn.

BONNY turns off the T.V., puts down the remote. Enter PAM.

PAM: I heard the T.V. on.

BONNY: There’s nothing on. You find out what’s for dinner?

PAM: I got an appetizer out of him.

BONNY: So, what’s he going to make?

PAM: Bruschetta.

BONNY: Nice! Italian, then.

PAM: Blackened chicken with fettuccini alfredo.

BONNY: You’re staying for dinner?

PAM: Of course. I love Randy’s alfredo sauce. His chicken is to die for.

BONNY: You should try his coq au vin.

Enter RANDY.

Randy: I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I’m completely out of cream.

BONNY: Completely out of cream? I’ve never known you to be out of cream.

PAM: Oh, no! You can’t be out of cream. I had my heart set on your sauce.

RANDY: I know. I thought I had some left.

BONNY: I guess you’ll want me to go to the store to get some?

RANDY: No cream, no sauce. It’s up to you. How bad you want it?

PAM: Please go. I really want it. I really, really, really want it bad.

BONNY stands.

BONNY: I have to take care of my guests. Meet all their needs, I guess. I’ll be back in a minute with the cream. Do we need anything else?

RANDY: You want some eggs and sausage in the morning, get those too. Want white sausage gravy on your biscuits, too?

BONNY: Sounds good. You know how much I love your sausage gravy.

RANDY: Some flour, then. I’m out.

BONNY: That’s practically grocery shopping.

RANDY: That’s all I need. Unless you want to have some tacos. I have the meat and chile and the sour cream, you just bring the taco.

BONNY: That all you need?

RANDY: I’m satisfied if you are.

BONNY: Then I’ll come back in just a bit.

RANDY: Come soon. We need to keep our guest here satisfied.

BONNY: I’ll come as soon as I get what I need. Be patient.


RANDY: She always takes much longer than is really necessary.

PAM: Well, that’s okay. I’ll entertain you while she’s gone. If you’re up to it.

RANDY: Libidoprone?

PAM: I take it twice a day.

RANDY follows PAM offstage. Lights down.

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