A teenage girl, JAMIE, walks out on stage alone from stage left. She has brown hair that falls to her shoulders and deep blue eyes. She is wearing a white blouse and blue jeans and in her right hand is a pair of binoculars. The stage is dark except for a single spotlight following JAMIE across the stage. When she reaches the center, she sits down on the edge of the stage, her feet dangling over, and raises the binoculars to her eyes. She proceeds to stare at the audience thought them for a few seconds, then slowly moves them away from her face.
JAMIE: With these binoculars I can see each one of you on an extremely personal level. (She brings the binoculars to her eyes then down again). Do any of you audience members by an chance have you own pair handy ? (scanning the audience) I was afraid of this. Well, here, why don’t you take mine for a while ? (She jumps off the front of the stage, hands a front row audience member her pair of binoculars, then resumes her previous position) Now look through those and tell me what you see. Be honest now, I could use a good session of constructive criticism.
Wait, maybe if I stand up you could get a better look at my true self. (She stands and gracefully turns around). Make sure you get every angle now. Okay, now tell me everything you know me, not much to tell, is there. I mean, you really don’t know what kind of person is standing up on this stage in front of you blabbering on about binoculars and constructive criticism. Well, I guess I have my work cut out for me today; I must describe who I am. Fortunately, I did come prepared. I have provided myself with a prop- and the influence of a very special person- to assist me throughout one of the most difficult performances of my life, an interpretation of a piece I call “Myself.” (she steps off the stage and returns to the audience member in the front row.) Do you mind if I take these back now ? (She returns to the stage.) the one prop is, you guessed it, a pair of binoculars.
Not just any binoculars, they are one of the few reminders I have of my great-grandmother, Gran. No, she wasn’t an infamous spy at large during World War 2 nor was she an avid birdwatcher. In 1986, when I was six and she was ninety-four we both watched Halley’s Comet make its celestial appearance through these binoculars. I remember she said that she and I were truly blessed because we both were able top see Halley’s Comet twice in our lives. She told me about seeing it our in her backyard in 1909, when she was the same age I am now there we were together, seventy-seven years later, watching the same comet across the same sky, I think of all the things that have happened during those seventy-seven years, the triumphs and setbacks Gran achieved and endured, and it has given me strength to deal with the challenges in my own life. I imagine how much life had changed since 1909 and wonder how my life will chance by the time I see Halley’s Comet again. What will I become ? I will not, like Gran, be a part of the Oklahoma land run or witness the birth of the automobile.
I will probably not be quarantined for tuberculosis or listen to the progression of two world wards over the radio. But I know I will do and be something, And the determination and success of my great-grandmother will help me reach this something. She is more than a memory or a story, she has become a part of me; my family, my history, my source of knowledge and my source of pride. Her struggles and achievements are reflected in mine. She is with me when I rise and fall and always there to make sure my feet are still on the ground. She is with me backstage and with me in the spotlight. She is a woman. She is my great-grandmother. And that’s truly what she is – great, grand, everything. Gran. It’s amazing how a simple name can inspire so much.
She sits down, returning to her initial position with her feet dangling over the edge. She brings the binoculars to her eyes and looks through them. But instead of looking at the audience, she is attempting to look beyond them, almost as if there is some invisible sky behind the rows of seats. She slowly moves the binoculars away from her face, but her eyes are still fixed on some objects off in the distance.
JAMIE : Only sixty-XI years to go. I have got to make them count.