In the latest issue of NYLON magazine, actress Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys, Spider Man : Homecoming) remembers “reciting an entire monologue from a production called The Fiction Makers” that she’d overheard at rehearsals for one of her parents’ theatre productions.
The Fiction Makers is a play written by Kate Rice. In 1962, a young man from a country town tries to impress a city girl by claiming he’s pen-friends with Natalie Wood. In the original production for Hayman Theatre, Charles Wu played DONALD the country boy, Louise Cox played BEVERLY the city girl and Kirsty Marillier played NATALIE WOOD.
The play begins in a country town cinema, showing a Natalie Wood movie. The monologue is from the fictional Natalie Wood movie, a melodrama in the style of All The Fine Young Cannibals or Splendor In The Grass. The full script will be available soon on Australian Plays. Monologue here:
THE FICTION MAKERS by KATE RICE
Natalie Wood is revealed waiting in the wings of an old theatre. She is playing the part of a good little girl from a mid-western town who has run away from home and is now performing in a burlesque show. She is distracted and nervous.
ANNOUNCER (V/O): Introducing… the mysterious – the lovely – Adora Pandora!
The spotlight flares and Natalie steps into it. She transforms from tremulous to brilliant. The music fires up and Natalie does a spectacular fan dance. Catcalls and wolf- whistles from the audience can be heard. At the finale, there is the sound of the theatre erupting in applause. Natalie steps out of the spotlight and back into the wings. She walks straight off-stage and into her dressing-room. She is immediately confronted by the last person she wants to see – her father.
NATALIE: So you finally found me. Congratulations.
Natalie proceeds to go about her dressing-room business throughout the speech – putting on her dressing gown, removing make-up, taking off jewellery.
NATALIE: Did you happen to catch the show? It would be a real shame for you to come all this way and not take a peek. I’m sure Momma would love to hear about it.
Her father takes a step forward and reaches out to her. She recoils.
NATALIE: Get away from me. I don’t want your pity or your help. I know what you’re thinking. Look what’s become of my little girl. Look where she is. Look what she’s doing. What am I going to tell her mother? Well you can tell her the truth. I’m a stripper, Papa. I’ve made a huge mistake. But at least it’s my mistake. It’s who I am. Not who you want me to be.
He goes to hit her.
NATALIE: Go ahead. Hit me.
NATALIE: No. That would take guts, wouldn’t it Papa.
NATALIE: It’s no good Papa. There’s no one else to blame. My “boyfriend” who brought me here doesn’t even exist. I made him up. Maybe there is someone out there for me – someone who will love me and appreciate me for who I am. I don’t know. But the truth is, Papa, I didn’t run away because of a boy. I ran to get away from you.
Natalie stands firm as her father slowly turns and leaves. As soon as he has gone, Natalie slumps down at her dressing table and bursts into tears. The music swells. The lights flicker and THE END appears in the corner of the “screen”. Donald is revealed sitting in the front row of the cinema, drinking it all in.