Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading Assignment #1 - Responses Due Wed 9/29

Hi all.  Here's the first reading assignment:

Read: "I'm Not Stupid" by David Rodriguez

Page 285 in the "Telling Tales" Anthology

Please respond to the following question by posting a comment below:
-- Imagine this play began with one of the monologues.  Which one and why?
Is your choice because of character or plot?

A Note on Reading:
Best way is to read twice.  Once to experience the piece, and the second time to do analysis.


  1. Based on plot I think this play works best with the monologue it starts out with - the one from Roger where he starts out saying "I was watching the Little Rascals on TV, they had a clubhouse . . ." I think this monologue works well for an opening because it snags the audience's interest in the character and his situation. The only monologue I would consider switching it with is Roger's monologue at the end of Scene 1. I think his second monologue is interesting because, if it started the play, it would add more mystery and intrigue to the character - but based on plot, I think it works best to have the monologue opening the play be the one ending with "I was a bad boy," and to later introduce (and contrast with) the one time Roger remembers being praised by his father: "Good boy Roger, good boy. Good boy Roger, good boy."

  2. Pamela said...
    I'm thinking maybe I don't understand the question--my ideas were in relation to our own monologues. Anyway, one interpretation, (with all due respect to what Beth may have in mind) is that Sally's mono (based on character) might open the play--by the end we might see more of how she came to act out the "sins of the fathers." She sees in the mosquito her own struggles, and is, as a child, in touch with her feelings and a sense of compassion for it. At some point her identity splits in order to survive, and the 'friend' doesn't allow the father to intimidate her. As an adult, Margaret has never actualised her desires, and sees in little Roger's neediness an obstacle to her happiness. But she is willing to cut the string to escape. Desperation.

  3. I would start the play with the second monologue on page 290. I feel like it would lead into us comprehending that Rodger is slow, or at least “different” in some manner as upon first reading it, you don’t quite grasp that the boy is autistic. I also think it would allow us to feel more empathetic with Rodger, instead of the mother, as the first point would be made that she dislikes him, then that he dislikes her.

    I feel like my choice is based on both character and plot as it would garner more empathy for Rodger and change our initial reaction of him, but also set the mother up as cruel and money hungry within the first page. This way the plot won’t expressly start in the middle, as I feel it does with having Rodger’s monologue first, but instead set itself up within the first page, creating a foreshadowing effect.

  4. From Roy:
    Hi all. These are good responses to the question, which I see now was unclear. So what I meant was...

    Imagine that the playwright began writing this play by writing one of these monologues. Which one and why?


  5. Although the beginning monologue is great for the play, I’d also like to see Roger’s small monologue on page 289. It has the same element of mystery, introducing Roger as a seemingly mentally unstable person. I chose this because it’s the only passage that really caught my attention, and every time Rodriguez places a “BOOM!” I can hear it aloud. This small moment has such an intensity that it would work great in the beginning to catch the audience’s attention. Also, the last line, “Good boy Roger” could blend into the therapy session, because Dr. Green’s first line is “How were you a bad boy?”. In order for this monologue switch to work, there would be a minor change of words, like, “Good boy? Did you think you were a bad boy?” My choice for this passage is based on character- magnifying Roger’s state of mind. This monologue is much more nonsensical and gives the audience a stronger and lasting impression of Roger as being crazy.

  6. The play's monologues, especially the first and last really work with the emotional trajectory of the plot. Ma's last monologue retrospectively complements her first monologue. Roger's monologue at the beginning carries the image of the young boy and the hammer, which fortifies all the following dialogue (and other monologues). If things were switched around, the piece could still work, but may have less of an emotional and suspenseful impact.

  7. Now understanding the question...

    I think the author wrote the monologue on page 290 first, the one spoken by the mother about loving Roger like someone would love a dog. When I write, I feel like I usually start with an emotion or a vague situation - in this case: a mom loving her son the way someone loves a pet dog. -Not saying that how I work is how everyone starts out writing, but, based on the way I start things out, I think this monologue was written first, possibly followed by the opening monologue from Roger (Page 285) which ties into the dog/pet theme of the mother's monologue with the "bad boy" found throughout his dialogue.

  8. I think that the monologue at the end of the first scene could fit well as the beginning monologue of the entire play. Roger uses a lot of action and dramatic voice..."BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!...I hit the top. BOOM! No Roger..." I think this causes not only an interested to the audience, but it clues us in on his obsessions, his personality, his relationship to whoever the third person is (his father?, his mother?, etc). When I read that last mini-monologue it was the first time that Roger inhabited a state of "craziness" or "difference". If the play started off that way, I would have been even more curious about how the drama was going to unfold.

  9. Randall Jong said the above comment...sorry

  10. Response: Andi Smith

    I feel that Ma's Monologue on page 290 would be more fitting for an introductory monologue. I think revealing Ma's psychotic state right out of the gates is important in how the reader views Roger, and his monologues that are delivered with a very young voice, a voice that is confused and ridden with uncertainty and guilt, would be understood more clearly following Ma's monologue. This would bring more clarity to the fact that the Roger is dealing with such a huge heart break and burden, his stream of consciousness in the opening monologue reveals this when he repeats, "I'm not stupid!" while although it ties into the title immediately, the audience would most likely find a greater connection if it followed Ma's monologue who dehumanizes Roger when she says, "...Roger isn't a person. He's a dog."

  11. Woops! Posted this too soon and did not proof read to my best ability, also thought I would be able to edit- But it won't let me. You get the gist of my thought process however.

    Ultimately, I believe the monologue on page 190 is a more tangible and interesting work regarding Ma, giving us more substantial information leading to Roger's character. I feel when I read the opening monologue by Roger, it threw me off - and although I had questions like, "why is he ranting about building a club house?" and repeating, "I'm not stupid" this information was ambiguous, while Ma's monologue would fit a bit more substantially in the beginning for the reader.