WHILE HITCH HIKING ON A TULIP LINED ROAD IN THE NETHERLANDS
The play opens with a woman in bed. She is young, sexy,
dark skinned. She is struggling to open her suitcase.
The woman’s name is Sehasha.
Sehasha: I was a young girl and never thought I’d be in this
bed with this suitcase. And even worse, there’s a little green man
inside in a glass case. I’ve been carrying him around without knowing it.
His skin is like shiny leather. He has no hair. His eyes are closed.
But I can hear his heartbeat or I can see his chest heaving slightly.
So I will tell him to open his eyes and see what happens.
Open your eyes! Hmmm… nothing. Let me touch his belly
and try again. There. Now… Open your eyes!
(The little green man opens his eyes but says nothing.)
Sehasha: Well, well, well… you can open your yes. I thought so.
Now, do you see me? Who are you? Why are you in my suitcase?
Why am I carrying you around? Are you a voodoo doll?
Are you a lizard? Are you an alien? What are you?
(The little green man says nothing but his eyes remain open.
They gaze at her as if she were the sun, moon, stars in another world.
A different cosmology. He wonders.)
Sehasha: I can’t just lie here and watch you breathing. I can’t
let you keep staring at me either. It’s weird. You’re weird. What
are you going to do now? And how long have you been in my suitcase?
And this isn’t a suitcase anyway. It’s a large handbag. Woven
in Mexico. By poor brown women and children who work all day
in the hot sun making things to sell here. I bought this bag
knowing all this and hoped these poor people were at least paid
something that got them bread and beans and fruits.
Why are you staring at me?
(The little green man continues to stare and there may be
a feint smile on his lips and his eyes may moisten.)
Sehasha: Are you making fun of me? You’re smiling?
And you’re crying? Is this real? Are you real?
I’m thirsty. It’s time for me to get up.
(She sits on the edge of the bed and we see she is naked.
Her skin is flawless, not a mark or blemish anywhere. It has a sheen
to it and gives off the sweet scent of sex. But not ordinary sex.
Sex as it happens in a rainforest or jungle inside a hut or on the
dewy bed of the forest. The forest floor hasn’t seen the sun
yet today because the canopy is thick and the sun does not penetrate
until noon. And then only for five or ten minutes.
Sehasha’s skin has soaked in the sun for those ten minutes
and absorbed the scents of the small animals and insects
on the floor of the forest, many of which will crawl over
her when she sleeps.)
Sehasha: I don’t know where I am but I have to find out.
I have to go. Are you coming with me? Because if you are
you’re going to have to start speaking to me.
I can’t have a litte green man in my bed who only breathes
and opens his eyes and lets drop a tear but doesn’t
explain himself. I’m not in the forest anymore.
And I need to go.
Are you coming?
They say there are tulips here.
End of play
RICH QUATRONE is a poet and playwright living in Spring Lake, NJ. He was educated at Rutgers College and Mason Gross School of the Arts, both at Rutgers University. He and Lorraine Quatrone founded PASSAIC REVIEW in 1979, inspired by Lunch magazine and the groundswell of poetry that was then in the Passaic-Rutherford area. Other mags to come out of that period were Footwork and Lips. Footwork became the current Paterson Literary Review, headed up by Maria Mazziota Gillan. Quatrone introduced Gillan to the poetry world by having her read at Passaic High School, publishing her first efforts in PR, and by having her interviewed on EYES OF THE ANGELS, the cable television poetry show, produced by Paul Juscyk and Rich Quatrone. Gillan turned her back on those who endorsed her and has made some kind of mark on the poetry world.
Rich eventually left north Jersey and the life and wife he loved there. Much of this was brought about by a rigged prosecution of Rich as a home instructor in Passaic and Lyndhurst. Some people knew the truth and encouraged him to fight the bastards who set him up, but Rich knew he’d been tried and convicted in the Herald News by people like reporter Steve Marlowe, so he accepted a very, very unjust plea bargain. This is a decision he has regretted often in his life, since he allowed the State to strip him and his family of every cent they possessed. He has never really recovered from the financial poverty. He received an expungement in 2006.
After the infamy of September 11, Rich began an all-out, six year campaign of reading hard-hitting poems, poems to educate, poems to connect personal love and world love, at the Java Hut, which later became the diluted Coffee Blue, in Belmar, NJ. During these six intense years, Rich founded CHILDREN OF SEPTEMBER 11, along with Timo Scott, as a guerrilla theater group taking on social issues often left unaddressed by too many others. Online Rich resurrected (actually the third incarnation) of Passaic Review, following the original magazine, then Passaic Review Millennium Editions. The new PASSAIC REVIEW EZINE, published some 1600 online issues, covering every conceivable part of Rich’s political, social, and personal imaginative landscape. Joined in this effort were scores of poets, including Bob Quatrone and Amiri Baraka. Rich kept the Ezine going until he abandoned it after the invasion of Iraq. Rich felt the country was no longer worth the risk involved in speaking so honestly publicly.
Rich is also the producer of PLAYWRIGHTS ON THE RISE at Lakewood’s historic Strand Theater. He’s done this series into, now, its seventh year under his helm. This is a staged reading series of new plays from predominantly new playwrights. Rich has two sons, John and Eric, both poets, musicians, and athletes. Their band THE LYRIQS is on the rise.