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Two plays with an introduction by the author. "Developing the piece in rehearsal was like driving into a hallucination that was clearly mine, and not mine." Sometimes Dead is Better and Bye Bye Brunhilde are plays which have the dissonant, radical beauty of poetry. Eileen Myles called Bye Bye Brunhilde "Not a play but an exploding poem by a bright new writer from the West Coast." Its two women lovers are named Fear and Technique, and are not just morality figures of love but hallucinations of the viewers and listeners.
Critics on Cold Heaven:
With furiously matter of fact language, Camille Roy cracks open another fresh world view... Roy's work [is] heralding the arrival of writers who are aware of the complexity of the lesbian situation and the subsequent necessity of speaking in tongues.
--Lambda Book Report (Eileen Myles)
Abstract, unnerving, and hot as hell
--New York Press (Lynn Tillman)
Gorgeously perverse...starstruck language
Excerpt from Cold Heaven:
And a dirty choco bar––Hershey please.
(Slides back down under the newspapers.)
Not too sweet and textured like...mud.
(Makes the noises of a small tortured animal.)
Are you okay?
FEAR (Pushing back the papers and crying out) :
ME!? What about you! You breeze in & out, looking for yard action, or sour machines. Who knows where you go! But you never bring back any money. Cash, you know green stuff!
TECHNIQUE (defiantly) :
Why work? I’d rather make wishing a policy, or try theater. Workers are unappreciated––it’s a chronic condition.
FEAR (grudgingly) :
TECHNIQUE (defensively) :
Hey! Just last month I had a job, right? But my boss was so full of shame he embarrassed me. He had no- self. So all my satisfactions drained away after working for him––I felt diminished, though he didn’t intend that. He was so sensitive to insinuation that I became very subdued––finally I didn’t show up for work.
Then he fired me! Now...it’s just a slow period. I’m paused.
(She puts on her leather jacket.)
Get used to it, baby.
FEAR(slides back under her newspapers) :
TECHNIQUE(snatches the newspapers and crumples them) :
Listen––I’m the thing I’ll make my fortune off of. Off of this.
(Points at her head.)
I just have to find my socket. ‘Cause I’m an engine, a plane-jane. And I’ll be gone, when I’m gone.
(TECHNIQUE grabs her notebook & strides out towards the audience; FEAR runs after her; stops short. TECHNIQUE sits at the edge of the stage as though it were the steps to the apartment. She flips urgently through her notebook until she locates a blank page.)
(To audience, intensely and intimately)
FEAR is an exaggerated escapade. Her thunder thighs open, close. In a ‘between’ moment, FEAR crosses the threshold.
(TECHNIQUE scribbles a note in the notebook.)
FEAR is always increasing. Living in the gaps, every tear in the social fabric is her domicile.
(Behind TECHNIQUE, in the apartment, FEAR slowly pulls off her sweater.)
She draws the huge life and the vicious impulse together. FEAR loses her head, so that her murders cannot be explained. At the moment of death, unexpected pleasures come to her, as ghosts slip into her body with rushing movements.
(TECHNIQUE hastily scribbles another note.)
FEAR splits the daughter from the mother, into new life. Each relation destroyed makes another new life, so the daughter, FEAR, has many lives.
(FEAR slips behind a curtain.)
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FEAR’s part is her Sex. She runs down the hall after what appears and vanishes, enclosures without their promises...But she always stops and comes back, for FEAR never leaves the house.
(TECHNIQUE walks back into the apartment, carrying her note- book and a paper bag. She looks briefly for FEAR, shrugs, then sits in her chair, takes a hard boiled egg out of the bag and begins to read one of her newspapers.)
(Peeking out from behind the curtain.)
Hello. May I come in? I’ve been irradiated. I need enclosures as a third tongue.
TECHNIQUE (peeling her egg) :
Is that it?
(Gives her a chocolate bar and cigarettes from the paper bag and resumes reading.)
Come in or not.
(FEAR breaks the chocolate bar into tiny pieces and eats one. She opens her Dunhills, smokes one luxuriously without lighting it. When she notices she’s being ignored, she tosses the cigarette at TECHNIQUE.) Adult Dating
I can entertain you with stories from a childhood with brothers and snakes.
FEAR (approaching TECHNIQUE) :
My brother Clancy was on the phone with one of his pet snakes wound round his neck.
(Snatches TECHNIQUE’s newspaper and rolls it up.)
It bit him––under his arm.
(Shoves the rolled up newspaper under her arm)
Shrieking, he lay down with both arms straight back, while my other brother and I tried to get the snake out.
(She backs to the couch and collapses.)
We pulled and stretched but it only ground its teeth deeper and deeper into Clancy’s underarm flesh. The snake would not let go.
TECHNIQUE (deep in thought, scribbling in her notebook) :
You can be ethnic, and I’ll be demented, elemental..
But I’m not ethnic! Clancy had a baby iguana which grew to be six feet long. It slept in his bed.
(Looks up, annoyed.) Stop seeping.
FEAR (defiantly) :
I like sky writing. Your editing capabilities don’t interest me.
TECHNIQUE (snaps her notebook shut and advances menacingly) :
Understand, it is ominous to derive a past. Your interest in negotiating the explicit darkens recognition into flattery.
FEAR (backs off) :
My slogan in white cloud!