Here is the text of my monologue. As the photo accompanying yesterday’s post hopefully demonstrated, the performance introduced on the playbill sheet came out of the images we had drawn onto our bodies. Performers created texts that told of hearts, megaphones, pelicans, roots, branches and blood. Since I think there’s value in trying to imagine what at least one of the performances was like, I am including my text with stage directions in italics to give you a sense of how I tried to emBODY the words and transform them into performance.
CALLING ALL HAIRS! (hands to mouth as if holding up a megaphone and voice extra, extra loud carefully enunciating each syllable)
This is a Hair Manifesto. No, not the Musical (turn and point to the Chorus Line). A Manifesto.
My hair has gone through many transformations (walk towards the audience).
Today you see before you the hair of a woman OF A CERTAIN AGE.
A woman who has decided NOT to color her hair no matter how many people suggest that she could look so much younger.
A woman who has decided NOT only to not color it but also to let it grow and grow and grow in all its whiteness proudly taking up space and DECLARING that THIS is the hair of a 50+ (put out your thumb pointing upwards to place the emphasis on plus) old woman
BUT, as you will find out when you age, when you grow your hair, it also starts to shed copiously, leaving strands of hair everywhere (pull actual strands of hair out and make a face that oozes disgust).
So much so that folks ask when entering my car or my home whether I have a cat or a dog.
OR helpfully pick strands of hair off my shoulder and back, trying to neaten me up
Making me feel embarrassed or ashamed that I leave my WHITE hair behind me everywhere (as you say this, slowly melt to the ground becoming a ball of shame on the floor).
But NO (jump up)! Instead of feeling embarrassed and ashamed, I’m going to RECOMMIT (stamp foot) to NOT coloring or cutting my hair and I am going to continue to let it fall out onto people’s floors and carpets and spaces.
I am going to use my hair as a model for how I….no, how WE (point to the audience) can behave. A call to arms. A Hair Manifesto.
How you ask? (Weave through the chorus line throughout the rest of the manifesto)
Because when hair falls down to the ground, it crosses borders though it has no visa or identity documents.
And I for one will not be the one to police it and tell it not to cross borders
Because when my hair falls down to the ground instead of staying politely in place on my head, it is messy and demonstrating a mind of its own and won’t be stylized or barretted or blown properly into place.
And I for one will not be the one to police it and tell it to act like a lady.
Because when a strand of hair falls to the ground, it does not immediately proclaim itself as either masculine or feminine; straight, lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning
And I for one will not be the one to police a gender binary
Because when a strand of my hair falls to the ground, though it is indisputably white, it doesn’t have to be a marker of race
And I for one will not be the one to police it and tell it to oppress or kill black and brown bodies
I NEED YOU (stretch arms out wide to the audience) to join me in creating this improbable hair manifesto….to IMAGINE this Utopian vision for a future that
WELCOMES all hairs on the head, face, back, arms, nostrils, crotch, toes, legs, ass
Doesn’t police their kink, curl, stubble, whiteness, blackness, redness, messiness
Lets them fall and Cross borders
Lets them claim their spaces
Lets them be…Free (become part of the chorus line before saying the next line)
It’s time for MORE DISORDERLY CONDUCT (chorus line shakes their hair wildly)