Waltzing Mechanics

Chicago's Home for Documentary Theatre

"Oh My God, Are You Serious?" - Anna, Andersonville

Actresses Shannon Bracken and Adrienne Matzen memorably render this transit tale in the current run of EL Stories, playing Saturday nights at 11pm through August 18. 

Click here ("Oh My God, Are You Serious?") to hear the original storyteller – Anna from Andersonville – as she narrates the fraught encounter she had with an ex-boyfriend on the Red Line.  The recording’s transcript follows:

PATRICE: Okay. Your name and your neighborhood please. ANNA: Anna Smunt and Andersonville. PATRICE: Kay, great. So, what’s your EL story? ANNA: So last night, my friend Marina and I - who is right here - were coming home from "Hunger Games" and it was a late night showing, it ended at like 11:30 – and we’re both riding the Red Line up north – she’s sitting by the window and I’m sitting right next to her, and I – we had been talking about the movie up to this point I said “Oh, check this-- MARINA: --website, yeah-- ANNA: --website out that I had posted on Facebook. And she was reading it, and very entranced by her phone, and the essay that she was reading, and I am kind of zoning out at this point, I look up and and there’s a group of people getting on at some North stop – and I see a black jacket and a buzz head and I know right away who it is, after a SECOND of seeing it – it is my ex-boyfriend, who I thought – he was going to be the Man that I was Going to Marry, I had the Family Jewels, until I found out that he had been cheating on me with our mutual friend who was married at the time and then she had ended her marriage to be with him and I had not seen him since I found out that this had happened. MARINA: And, and they live in my building now, and like we were all friends, and ANNA: so she’s – MARINA: I’m still friends with them, AND with Anna, ANNA: Right MARINA: And - But I’m sitting on the train with Anna. ANNA: So, he used to live in her building MARINA: In the apartment that they now live in together ANNA: Yeah, so then I moved out and she moved into this building. So they're all going to the same spot, and I’m going to the same stop, um, so I, in that one second that it registers that it’s him – I turn to Marina, very calmly and I say: "Casey just got on the train." And, she goes: "(gasp) Oh my God are you serious, oh my God, where is he? Do you know that it’s him? Oh my God I can’t believe this. Is he with Kate? Of course he’s with Kate, he’s always with Kate. Oh my God, what do you want me to do? Oh my God, I’m freaking out, this has never happened to me before, oh my God, what do you want me to do? Oh my God." And I’m like: In my head thinking, "YOU’RE supposed to be the one calming ME down through this experience because I’M supposed to be freaking out in my head –" And I said out loud to her: "Calm Down. You’re reading something on you’re phone. We’re acting like everything is okay. You’re reacting to this very funny essay that I asked you to read and you’re pointing lines that you think that you want me to read because you think it’s funny." And she goes: "Oh my God, but I’ve never dealt with this before! And, oh my God, did he SEE you? And, I-eh – What do you want me to do?" And I said: "Please. Just stop being scared." MARINA: And of course in hindsight I’m thinking, well, obviously I did that to keep, you know, her mind, off of the fact that, you know, SHE should be the one freaking out, of course I did it all on PURPOSE…yeah…. ANNA: And I go: just- ssstop being weird. And she’s like: "I’m NOT being weird. And then she pauses and she goes: Yes I am. Okay. Picks up her phone and then for the rest of the ride – of -" MARINA: Where I was like, sitting with my head, I could not look up, I could NOT look up, because, I know that like – I’m friends with them, and, you know, so usually I would, you know, say hello, but I’m here with Anna and li- it’s just a really awkward situation. ANNA: So the plan was for me to exit at – one eh- one stop before Bryn Mawr, which is the Berwyn stop, and get off there and just walk to my apartment from there, but it turns out that, when we get to the Wilson stop, they say that they’ll be running Express to Granville - MARINA: Which, I don’t, I di-, I didn’t hear, I don’t know if you heard, ‘cause I was, we were so entranced with the situation ANNA: (Overlapping) I'd – yeah. MARINA: that we didn’t realize that it was going Express and then suddenly we’re at Granville. ANNA: And I had heard it, but it didn’t register that Granville was like, north of where I needed to be. So, we all had to get off at the stop together – MARINA: And like, the maneuvering to actually – er, like, NOT bump INTO each other –and I, my head is still down, I cannot look up, I’m just like, “Oh my God.” And so somehow Anna maneuvers both of us to like – Ah, av- ANNA: The opposite end. MARINA: To the opposite end and avoid, avo- you know, and we’re like at different points on the platform – ANNA: In order to then get back ON the train going south to get off at the next stop. MARINA: Yeah. ANNA: And in the end, it was fine, and nobody made eye contact. MARINA: Yeah.

The current edition of EL Stories featuring “Oh My God, Are You Serious?” runs Saturday late nights through August 18 at the Greenhouse Theater Center.  Advance tickets are available at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories