Judas Peckerwood lives on...
But I Can Play That Role…
Throughout Richard Russo’s Straight Man, William Devereaux often acknowledges his ability to play multiple roles to successfully weave through life. In the book, he plays a curmudgeon, a religious man, a chauvinist, Cecil B. DeMille, an innocent, a misogynist, a coward, in addition to being a husband, father, professor, friend, and colleague. It is your task to play William Henry Devereaux and company. Based on your knowledge of the characters in the novel, write a dialogue scene based on the situations provided, assign roles, and act it out.
1) Lily guilts William into calling June and Teddy, who he recently embarrassed at a department meeting at which June was present, to invite them to “a movie or something.” The couples meet at the Devereaux’s to decide where they are going; Julie is still staying in the guestroom and is eager to bring June and Teddy into her support group.
2.) William meets with Leo in his office to discuss earnestly the themes that pervade Leo’s writing. Rachel, whose afternoon babysitter cancelled, can be heard through the door chastising Jory, whose imagination is making the best of his mother’s workplace. Meg Quigley, wearing an all-too-flattering V-neck sweater, enters, determined to set the record straight about her involvement with Russell. Julie calls with urgent news.
3) William, late for his racquetball game, arrives to find Tony Coniglia sitting expectantly on the hood of his car. Tony informs William that he was thrown out for “flirting” with the girl at the front desk, a fact that he blames entirely on William. Annoyed, he agrees to get a bite to eat at The Tracks, where they overhear Missy Blaylock flirting with an equally charming Dickie Pope. William, despite Tony’s urgings, orders the two a plate of oysters.
4) While spying on the recall vote, William slips and falls, crashing onto the table below. (Acknowledge as many voices as you feel you can comfortably handle.)
5) Create your own situation.