Scene 1: The library
Madeline (the girlfriend)
Gabriel (the boyfriend)
Jane (Madeline’s best friend)
Maddy and Gabe are sitting at a table in the library. Books are scattered across the surface, but only one is opened: a women’s and gender studies book.
Maddy: (starring down at her closed books she looks up somberly at Gabe, but when they make eye contact she looks away sheepishly) I… I don’t get it Gabe! Why can’t you just ignore them? (Sadness creeping into her voice) All they are trying to do is get under your skin; you don’t have to give them that kind of control!
Gabe: (he looks up at her with pain in his eyes) that’s the thing, you don’t get it. These are my boys; I can’t just forget what they say to me. I’ve got to fit in with them. (Pain creeps into his voice as well) And besides, they give me crap like that ‘cause they’re lookin’ out for me.
Maddy: (written all over her face is sadness caused by her realization that the love of her life is being bullied by the only friends he’s ever known) they’re looking out for you? Please come to your senses about this Gabriel; they aren’t your real friends. Real friends wouldn’t care if you don’t want to lift weights with them because you want to get your writing done. Real friends wouldn’t care if you don’t sleep with every girl who looks at you. (Tears begin to roll down her face and she takes his hands in hers and holds them in her lap. She speaks softly to Gabe as if to pass along a secret) Real friends wouldn’t care if you fell in love with me Gabriel.
Gabe: (the truth in her statement hits him hard. He is crying on the inside, but doing his best to prevent tears from falling down his face) they’re the only friends I have Maddy, and I can handle their ridicule most days. They are real men, I’m not (the little bit of charisma left in his soul leaves him, and a tear trickles down his cheek) I’m doing this because I love you… because to love you I need to. You need a real man to defend you and provide for you, not some man like me. That means I have to do this, for you.
Maddy: (a steady stream of tears makes its way down her cheeks. She cries softly clutching his hands to her face) I don’t want some real man like your friends! I want you, I didn’t fall in love with you because you had the muscles or because you were a tough guy, I fell in love with you because you never tried to be anything you aren’t, at least not until now.
Gabe: (he sheds a few more tears, then pulls her hands into his lap) How could you ever love someone like me though? I am no man, I am nothing to love. I mean just look at me, would a real man be on the verge of tears right now? I just feel like for us to have a future I need to reclaim my masculinity and that means emulating my friends.
Maddy: does that mean you’re going to start sleeping around on me, or are you just going to be a jerk and ignore me all the time. You sound so crazy now Gabriel, please just listen to me and talk to me about this. You don’t have to be like them, I don’t want you to be like them. You aren’t even thinking about everyone else who is affected by your thoughts and actions. If you go down that path it will affect me too.
Gabe: I have to do it; there isn’t really another option for me. You said it yourself, I sound crazy. A real man wouldn’t have to have this conversation. (He releases her hands and tries to gather himself a bit) I don’t want you and my friend calling me crazy or queer any more so I have to do this. I am lost in a sea of ridicule and hate, and the only life raft I have is the one attached to becoming more of a man.
Maddy: (She takes his hands again and softly strokes them. Her tears stop and she looks Gabriel in the eyes and speaks with a love that only those who are share the truest connection can feel.) I love you Gabriel Maximus Fletcher and I will always love you. Is our love not better than the life raft of masculinity? Can we not make it a cruise ship to sail forever in the paradise we choose to create?
Gabe: (he wipes his eyes and smiles) For ever you shall be the sunshine in my life, surely you must know this, but there is always a storm on my horizon. (a fierce look takes over his face as stands up and faces out as if to look across the horizon ) A storm created by the forces of society intended to keep us apart. Our culture is designed to prevent us from falling in love. Our love is something that is just a figment in the minds of popular culture and they shall forever rain on us so long as I am not masculine. But I realize that if I were to become masculine, the very thing that makes our love unique and special would be lost and we would fall victim to the crushing tyranny of pop culture. The storm of oppression that beats down on me because of lack of masculinity wears on the very fabric of my soul and its weight is so crushing. Never has there been such a war waged on the souls of men by men, than the war to create conformity among the male masses in the form of masculinity and to persecute those who do not exemplify the mythical perfect man. I tell you this, that the war lays heavy upon me and I cannot fight it all on my own. This war is not between me and my friends nor even me and the media who tells us what we should and shouldn’t be, this is a war between who I really am, and the person in my mind who tells me to conform. (He turns back to Madeline and pulls her into his arms) I am so sorry I allowed him to win that battle my love, please forgive me. (He kisses her on the forehead and then releases her from his hug) I love you Madeline Rose Danielson please don’t ever forget that!
Maddy: (she takes both of his hands In hers) I love you too Gabriel Maximus Fletcher and I won’t ever forget; just please come and talk to me or talk to Professor Angie next time one of your friends makes fun of you because you aren’t exactly like them.
Gabe: we both know there is not enough time in the day to talk to you, or anyone for that matter about this stuff. I am under a constant barrage from the meat heads, ha-ha, but it’s all good. I won’t have to deal with them much longer, the season’s almost over and then we graduate!
Maddy: that’s the right attitude I suppose, but you know you won’t be able to avoid it, there will always be assholes that put you down, and you’ve just got to find a situation where your exposure to them is limited.
Jane: (she comes bounding up with an air of smug happiness about her. She is carrying her books in hands and her hair is swaying back and forth as she skips towards Gabe’s and Maddy’s table) Hey yall! It looks like there was a rainstorm here, have yall been fighting again? (With a haughty tone she continues) it’s a shame, gabe really shouldn’t cry so much, especially in public. Maybe you should be a better girlfriend? HAHA I’m just kidding, geese no need to look so offended!
Gabe: (he stands up and gathers his things in preparation to leave) I should go, before all this girl speak corrupts my manhood. (he kisses Maddy in an embrace, and leaves)
Maddy: (She watches Gabe walk away slowly and defeated, then she turns to jane angrily and raises her voice) Why do you always do that? You know he is the best thing to ever happen to me, you don’t have to wreck my relationship just because you’re incapable of keeping your own going.
Jane: (she looks offended by Maddy’s anger and responds kiddishly)Always a shot to the heart with you Maddy, I was only playing. Although your reaction is probably manly than his was, I mean at least you can stand up to someone instead of just running away. He could take a lesson in aggression from you for sure.
Maddy: Whatever Jane, you can’t even begin to understand what is going on right now so just try and be nice please; it would really mean a lot to him if you would back off.
Jane: (Her haughty tone returns and she positions herself as to appear more aggressive) I think I know more than you think I do. Is this about the soccer guys? I spent the night with Blake last night and he was saying that Gabe is probably gay. So I think you should thank me actually. I’m just trying to help you out; I don’t want to see you hurt when he leaves you for some dude in college.
Maddy: (The anger in her voice expands and she grow ever more furious) oh give it break Jane, he isn’t gay. We’ve been dating for almost three years. The only reason they say he’s gay is because he devotes more time to his studies and writing than to lifting and drinking.
Jane: exactly! He should care more lifting than writing his stupid poetry…
Maddy: Why? Why should he care about that? Because da boys tell him to? Because society wants him to? That is absolutely ridiculous; if he chooses to focus on crafting his verse than sculpting his pecks then he shouldn’t be ridiculed…
Jane: Listen to your self right now Maddy, listen to how you defend him. You think he would defend himself like this? No, he wouldn’t because he isn’t man enough to stand up for himself! He should care about his body so he can protect you, so he can provide for you. It’s just what men do, they sculpt their body and to get cute girls like us. And they leave to books and stuff for girls too.
Maddy: I can’t even believe you right now. Intelligence is more valuable than muscle mass to me, and besides, how many muscle bound meat heads have ever cared enough to call you back after a party? Not to many I’d imagine. Gabe calls me about everything; Gabe cares about me and about what I have to say. That is respectable and honorable now, not disrespecting women!
Jane: But where is his valiance, where is his warrior instinct, real men have a sense of conquest, especially in the bedroom. If he doesn’t want to be called gay then he needs to prove that he is man enough to get you done.
Maddy: How dare you bring that up! That is private and personal and it is no one’s business but our own. You and the rest of you stuck up clique shouldn’t care about the way handle our relationship! We love each other more than yall can fathom, and so what if he doesn’t meet the standards that you set up for him. His life shouldn’t be governed by what yall say. It is wrong and it is unfair, and I don’t know if I can associate myself with yall anymore. Especially you Jane! You shouldn’t allow their masculinity to rule your life!
Jane: If that is your choice then so be it! I mean I don’t know if I can be your friend any more anyways if you’re going to choose the fag over the people who are trying to protect you from him. Good luck with whatever and have fun not fitting in anymore.
(Maddy storms out of the library looking angry bewildered and defeated. The one person she thought she could rely on left her in the dust because the love she chose does not fit in with gendered norm. Gabe is rejected from the masses because he is to feminine and Maddy because she is to masculine. What kind of cruel world must the teenagers of today live in where it is okay to ostracize the people who don’t fit their gendered role? The only hope for their social survival is a paradigm shift away from a gendered society to one of love and acceptance. It is worth repeating again, teenagers need a society of love and acceptance because the outdated gender norms will destroy the little hope left for a continuation of the American dream.)
Scene 2: Excommunication
Gabriel (Main character)
Blake (Gabe’s best friend)
Maddy (The girlfriend)
(Gabe is alone at the start, sitting on his bed. He is contemplating his choices in life thus far. His room is barren for the most part. He has a desk where he keeps his laptop, a wardrobe for his nicer clothes, and a lofted bed adorned in plain sheets. Everything about his room screams depression; the walls are blank, the bed is colorless, and his lights are dim at their brightest.)
Gabe: What kind of life have I chosen to live so far? Who am I to make such choices to abandon a part of myself that screams to be let loose? What kind of person could I ever hope to be if I choose to hide behind the masks of conformity? I am not meant to be a part of their system; I am not designed to persecute the outcasts. I am the outcast, and I am the worst of these. For so long I have denied me the freedom of expression. For too long I have claimed the shroud of masculinity as my own, and in my own discomfort I have forced my soul to deny the very essence of it. I have shied away from what makes me human to try to conform to a masculinity that shall never be my own. For an eternity I have… wait, is this lamentation not the very objective of such monstrosity? Is it not the objective of the cruel masculine world to have those such as me question the essence of their being? What kind of malevolent world must be my own where I persecute myself for allowing the persecutors to construct my own reality? This fate of mine shall be my own now, I swear it. Never again shall I allow what must be my own be controlled by the muscled mass that I called my friends. Alas here now beckons the cruelest of them, the king corruptor himself.
Blake: (he knocks on the door obnoxiously then enters without permission. His presence is designed to intimidate and to make Gabe feel inferior. He plops down in the chair and immediately with no respect begins to mess with the clutter of items on Gabe’s desk) Dude are you talking to yourself again? Its crap like that, that makes people question your sanity. Ha I’m just kidding with you bro. How you been?
Gabe: Oh, you know, other than the fact that I am ostracized by my peer group I’m fine.
Blake: I don’t even know what that means Gabe. But I do need to talk to you about the team. The guys and me voted and we don’t want you on the team anymore. It makes the team uncomfortable sharing a locker and shower room with someone like you.
Gabe: Someone like me? I don’t even want to know what that means. All of yall are so caught up in trying to be manly and tough that you’re missing the point of life of this life anyways.
Blake: see that’s why we don’t want you on the team. Saying crap like that makes you gay. What more to life is there than getting pussy and playing ball?
Gabe: there is so much more. There is the opportunity to grow philosophically by exploring the knowledge set before you, there is the chance to create community with others and truly get to know them. There is the chance to gain unique insight into the human condition. Above all there is love, Just feeling and giving love. Or is that to Gay for you?
Blake: we aint about that Gabe, all that’s stuff for the girls. I haven’t done any homework in two years because I got chicks to do that stuff for me. And yeah all that love thing is kinda gay, if I wanted to sit around and talk about feelings I’d go join the theatre club with the rest of yall losers. Now I won’t tell anybody this but if you go ahead and own up to it, we can keep you on the team for the rest of the year we just won’t change with you, but if you keep hiding it life won’t be pretty. Ya feelin’ me?
Gabe: Listen, Blake, I’m not gay, and I will not be intimidated into it. All this crap you’re giving me about it proves your fear man. So what if I don’t fit your mold for my life, it’s my life I don’t have to be a man like you, because men like you will never understand what it feels like to wake up beside someone who truly accepts you. All this talk about how much of a man you are just makes you smaller, you act so bid and hide behind your muscles, but in this life, in this society right now it is about what’s on the inside that counts. If you want to part of a dying breed of muscle bound meat heads then go on with it then, but don’t you even try to intimidate me into becoming something I will never be. That may work on people who want to be like you, but open up your eyes; not very many people want to be like you. The reign of masculinity is over, it is time for unity. You will be left behind if you cannot accept the fact that being a man doesn’t mean you get to be the man. It’s time to crack a book and talk about your feelings, Human interaction matters now; humanity matters now!
Blake: bro, you’re trying to preach to me about how society’s changing? I am the change; we real men are gunna take it back. Girls want guys to stronger than they are, and little boys like you need us to make sure that you’re all safe at night. My kind isn’t dying off, we are becoming the elite, and we will always be the elite.
Gabe: Obviously we are at ends then, it is time for you to take your leave as well. My last words for you, and they shall be my last words to you as a friend, is: don’t be afraid of that little bitty part of you that says it’s okay to be different, embrace it and make it your own. Once you can do this, you will know freedom beyond anything in this world, the freedom to be as your soul would have you be. Now goodbye my friend, I pray that these differences can be reconciled.
Blake: Whatever dude, just watch your back, I would hate to see that smartass mouth of yours lose some teeth.
Scene 3: Cataclysm
Setting: (The library is illuminated by sun light, but the feeling in the room is dark, the mood is even darker. Gabe and Maddy are sitting at a table discussing the fights they just had with people they considered to be close. Neither of them ever really thought that these personal matters would ever be a cause of conflict. Again there are books scattered across the table, the most prominent being the women and gender studies text book.)
Gabe: (He carrys a sad look on his face, one speaking of a great weight, a crushing weight) this is getting too much for me to bare, for too long these people that I have surrounded myself with this team and they have never truly accepted me. Blake came to my room last night and as the emissary of the team kicked me off. And for what? For not matching their definition of masculinity? For not getting it in with you? None of this makes sense to me, why do my personal choices get to be the subject of ridicule to them?
Maddy: I don’t know Gabe I really don’t, I wish I knew, but this matter, these people are too much for me to handle. I mean, just the other day when Jane came and interrupted our conversation, she stayed and tried to talk me into breaking up with you. Is that what this world has come too? I mean, just the fact that my friends would tell me that you are gay, I don’t know why they are doing this to us Gabe I really don’t.
Gabe: You shouldn’t take this on yourself, I’m the one they want, and I’m the one they seek to ostracize. I’m so sorry that I am not good enough for them I really am, I’m sorry that I cannot be the man that you need me to be (Tears begin to fill his eyes and a tiny stream forms down his cheeks). I know your friends mean the world to you Maddy I really do and I understand if you break up with me because you don’t want to lose them.
Maddy: (she grabs gabes face in her hands)Don’t ever speak like that Gabe; please don’t say anything like that. I don’t care what they say; I don’t care what they think of us. Because I know who you are, I know the man that you will become, I hold that man in my arms every night and I kiss that man every morning. This man, this machismo that they seek to morph you into is not that man, and I could never love that man like I love you. The muscles and the bulk and the aggression are too much. What makes you different, what makes you special is your ability to create, and your ability to interpret the human experience. The world has really lost touch with those qualities, the world discourages those qualities, and I am so jealous that they come so easy to you Gabe.
Gabe: I don’t see it Maddy I don’t see how this is more valuable in this life, on this planet. I’m constantly in danger of ridicule because of this. I almost broke down right in front of Blake last night because I said that the world is changing into a place where the human experience has value, but when he challenged I had no rebuttal, nothing to rebuke the fact that guys like me have no place in this patriarchal society. Hundreds of years ago, in the renaissance, or even during romanticism; these periods of great creativity, of great humanity are where I belong. There is no place for my kind here, there is no place where I can be who I am and not worry about what they guy next door is going to say…
Maddy: Gabe stop right there, I don’t want to hear another word of that kind of talk. It breaks my heart to hear you lament over these things. I cannot fix the system, and I won’t promise that I can, but I will promise that I will always offer you haven, there are always safe places for you I promise this. And these eras of which you speak are still alive today, I see it in front of me here and now, the multitude of talents and creativity still exist, but the holders are scared, they fear the ridicule. The system changed from the idolization of these men and women to their ridicule not because the talent no longer exists, but because they got afraid. I beg of you , do not live in fear please, do not shy away from them, show them what you can do, give them a reason to believe in you, but you hide, if you allow the system to take hold of you, the system shall never break. Inspire them, I beg you, inspire them, and the world will open up before you.
Gabe: I don’t know how Maddy, they are so set in their ways, so spun into this web that I fear there shall be no escape. How can I change that which views its self as unchangeable? How is it possible to administer justice upon a system who views its self as the just and righteous?
Maddy: With faith Gabe, always with faith and…
Blake: (He emerges from the darkness of the corridor toting Jane alongside) Inspire me Gabe inspire me, I beg of you inspire me please! Haha that is such a joke bro, why can’t you just shut up and fall in line (He bulks up and begins to appear more menacing)? Just quit with all this artist crap, nobody wants to hear about it. There’s a reason you don’t fit in, and it’s this crap right here
Maddy: Who are you to determine what people want to hear Blake? For all of the qualities lack, an understanding of people is the biggest. The only reason anyone listens to you (She shoots a look at Jane) is because you scare them. For ever thing you lack you bolster yourself with strength. You fear being powerless, you are afraid to admit that people can do things better than you. So you and your “boys” ridicule anything you don’t like, and it isn’t just you, this has been happening for centuries. It’s time to break out of it, open up your eyes a little bit, all of this that you do is unoriginal, and men just like you have been doing it for hundreds of years. Gabe may not be as strong as you, but at least he can say he is original.
Jane: Don’t talk to him like that, you don’t know…
Blake: (He cuts Jane off, both physically and verbally) shut is Jane I can defend myself, unlike some men around here. Gabe you need to quiet your harpy down before she gets plucked. And back to you little miss defender, people look up to me, people respect me, because I am a man, and that’s what counts. I don’t need to do none of this crap you talk about, because I was made to be above people like yall. The weak and their defenders were meant to be at the bottom, I’m just doing my job keepin’ yall down there. And everyone else is too, so yall don’t need to worry about trying to fit in with us any more, we don’t want or need you anymore.
Maddy: Your job? Who employed you to police the streets? (she begins to bulk up). You need to learn some respect Blake, people get to be whoever they choose to be and you can’t control that; no one has ever been able to control that…
Blake: Don’t you talk to me like that girl, I’ve hit a bit…
Maddy: You will let me speak or I will ruin you right here right now. As I was saying, you need to quit trying to control people, the world is changing and people like you have lost the power that you have feigned all along. And, don’t you ever bully Jane like that again, she can speak if she wants to; maybe you should let someone else defend you every now and then, you might not lose so much if you do.
Blake: whatever, we will see who’s still on top when this is all over. Just, you go and have fun with precious little Gabby. It will be a shame when he leaves you for a guy. (Blake turns and walks away bringing Jane in tow.)
Gabe: Thank you Maddy, you know you never have to defend me. I would have taken his words then been on my way; but regardless, thank you.
Maddy: Gabe you never have to take his words, you never have to sit idly by while they rebuke you. I know that you won’t fight him because he is your friend, but never do you ever have to allow him to have control of your emotions.
Gabe: it’s not that I won’t fight back, it’s that I can’t. I do not have the aggression in me to put him in his place like you; I’ve never been one to attack like that. Maybe they’re right, maybe you are more of a man than I will ever be.
Maddy: the amount of aggression is never the true measure of a man Gabe, you know that. It is the quality of his heart, the strength of his spirit, the essence of his soul that society should judge a man on. Blake and his lot have since time began, corrupted this; please do not let him corrupt it within you.
Gabe: my heart grows weak against their relentless assault. I am losing the battle, and with it I am losing my soul to their devices. How does one retain his selfness if at every turn his allies are turned against him?
Maddy: The world has not forsaken you Gabriel, neither have I. there is sanctuary available for you I promise, withstand and resist him and soon they shall break. Hold on a little bit longer, the destructive tendency of unbridled rage has taken Blake’s soul, and soon it shall take his friends as well. If you can withstand just a little longer he will collapse, as long as there is someone who stands up to him he will force everyone he cares about away from him to make a point. You need to become resilient enough that he destroys himself.
Gabe: How do you know, how can anyone know that he will tear his own system down?
Maddy: Because Gabriel, it has already started, you have disrupted his base and in a system that is incredibly top heavy once the base is disrupted the entire thing will fall in upon its self. Now, will you withstand the dystopia long enough so that it can be razed to the ground?
Gabe: I will because I must, but I will need you with me, you are my source of strength and I shall need all of you if I am to survive the wait.
Over the next three weeks Gabriel and Madeline stayed out of the direct path of Blake as he became increasingly destructive.
At first he pushed Jane away from him because she was sympathizing with Madeline, but soon after he forsook all of his peers because they too realized the corruption of their system.
Blake, now without any friends is the only one who seeks to ridicule Gabriel for his nonconformity.
The system has broken and those who could not change are left on the outside just as those they once oppressed.
Scene 4: Dawns New Light
Setting: the library is illuminated and the atmosphere is light and there is soft understated sense of utopia in the air
Gabriel: Truly we live the American dream now Madeline. College is but the summer away, and graduation is next week. Freedom has perched herself on our doorstep and is just waiting to be asked in. there are no longer clouds looming ominous on our horizon.
Madeline: I am glad to see you in such a happy mood again; it has been ages since the halls have seen your smile.
Gabriel: Likewise, it has been ages since my teammates talked to me. At the start of last week they asked me to help them with writing work. Surely that was the end of Blake’s reign, and indeed it was. As we talked and caught up, they began to ask me more and more about how my writing and about us. They said that they never wanted to kick me off, but they were scared of Blake, they were scared to stand up to him. They thanked me for standing up to him; you were right, all it took was for someone to stand up to him.
Maddy: I am glad that y’all are friends again; I knew that they would not abandon you forever. And I know that the more you talk with them about it and the more the word gets around that people don’t have to worry about fitting into a specific role anymore, the happier this environment will become. You should be proud; you started a nonviolent revolution against a masculine oppression that has existed as long as this community.
Gabriel: Is it even a revolution? I’ve asked myself this several times recently and I don’t think it is a revolution, but rather a balancing of the universe. Revolution implies that power has changed hands from one tyranny to the other. I do not want another tyranny, but rather the power to choose restored to the hands of the individual. That is key, the most precious and vital key to living a fulfilling life; the ability to choose for ourselves what will make us happiest. There will be no dichotomy to divide us, no police force tyranny to oppress us, we broke the gendered norm and replaced it with freedom!
Blake: (he walks up sulking and angry. Jane is trailing behind him, but she does not share in his negativity) Are you still preaching this whole you can be whoever you want to be crap Gabe? It may seem like people love to hear that, but soon enough you will see that it’s a lies. People need to fall in line. People need to follow the rules and the order that has always been in place. Your little happy go lucky façade will collapse in on its self soon enough, even if I have to make it!
Gabe: Blake, my friend, why do you still seek to spread violence and ill will. Nothing I have changed threatens anything but the power you used to hold. In order for everything to be equal power had to be balanced between all of this society. You are still free to be a man’s man, no says you can’t, but you are not free to intimidate people like me or to casually sleep your way through the women of this school. That kind of oppression has been defeated, please my friend stop this now.
Jane: Gabriel’s right Blake, it’s okay to still be you. People will still accept you, but you can’t be the jerk you once were, that’s not acceptable. It’s time to mature past that!
Blake: How dare you side with him! You are my girl and I tell you what you can and cannot think, not him! (he rushes towards her as if to strike at her, but Maddy trips him in mid stride and he topples to the ground in front of the entire library. He picks himself up and leaves the library with haste, his pride is completely broken).
Gabe: You really didn’t have to do that Madeline, but thank you. It is a shame though, about Blake. He would have benefitted the most from this. He is trying to hard to be the best, but no one has ever gotten through his head that as long as he is true to himself he is the best Blake he can be