Poet and author Anyssa Kim offers a play inspired by the abortion debate. Sam, a performance artist, goes off the deep end and makes an “art” piece using dead babies from an abortion clinic and… well, read on.
by Anyssa Kim
- Sam, the artist
Matt: You’re deeply disturbed. There’s no other way to put it. I can’t even look at this. This is a prostitution of art to the most deplorable degree. Where did you get all of them?
Sam: Hospitals. Abortion clinics.
Matt: What, you stole these?
Sam: No, I bought them. Some people donated.
Matt: Who let you buy them?
Sam: I already told you.
Matt: That’s sick. They ought to be arrested. In fact, I have it in mind to report all of you to the authorities right now.
Sam: I didn’t kill them.
Matt: That hardly matters.
Sam: But that’s the point.
Matt: What’s the goddamn point? You’re not making any sense! There is no point. Don’t you get it?
Sam: It was important that I did this people need to see this.
Matt: What people? Anyone who comes to see this is just as sick as you. It’s people like you who give artists a bad name!
Sam: Please, think of what you’re saying.
Matt: Why should I think of anything? You obviously didn’t think before you put this atrocity together. It’s no, you’re beyond reprehensible. I’ve never believed in the god or devil, but you you’re the devil incarnate!
Sam: They were already dead…
Matt: And this is the respect you pay them? Look at them, their faces it’s grotesque!
Sam: You’re beginning to see.
Matt: The hell…!
Sam: You’re beginning to see their faces. They’re still human.
Matt: They’re fucking babies for chrissakes! Dead fucking babies! They are rolling over in their fucking graves now… actually no, excuse me, they can’t do that because you’ve got them laced up in a pile in a fucking frankfurter cart! What kind of sick fucking joke is that?
Sam: I wasn’t making any joke. It’s a serious piece of work.
Matt: What do you think their mothers would say if they could see this?
Sam: Most of the mothers are dead too. Or they killed them. Or the father killed both of them…
Matt: Shut up! I can’t hear this anymore! So what you’re saying now is that that gives you license to objectify them on top of the fact that they’ve already been murdered? Have you no shame at all?
Sam: I’m very proud of this. It’s taken me years to learn how to embalm and retain the horror…
Matt: Horror! Horror is right!
Doc: Sam! I’m so glad I caught you!
Sam: Hi Doctor.
Doc: This is it, I see. Wow. Wow. No, not wow. It’s breathtaking.
Sam: I’m glad you like it.
Doc: I don’t think one could ever really use the word like here, Sam.
Sam: Doc, this is Matthew.
Matt: Can I ask, what kind of doctor are you?
Doc: I’m a doctor of philosophy. I moonlight part-time as a psychologist.
Matt: Oh good, I’m glad, because this woman needs help.
Matt: The one who put this vile and offensive thing together.
Sam: Please, don’t insult them like that.
Matt: Insult? Holy shit! Insult?
Doc: Please. Both of you. Give me a moment to quietly consider this.
Matt: Oh Doc, please, just be my guest. I think you might be just as sick as she is.
Doc: I beg your pardon?
Matt: Nothing. Fuck it. You heard me. You don’t need to be a frigging mind reader or some hoity-toity licensed practitioner to see how genuinely disgusted I am. I want to vomit.
Sam: Maybe it’s the smell that’s getting to you. There’s still a faint formaldehyde odor I couldn’t totally eliminate…
Matt: It’s not the fucking formaldehyde! Are you so goddamn blind you can’t see anymore? Clueless! I never met anyone so clueless in my whole… Did you have a bad childhood is that it? Doc, are you her shrink? Does she have some leftover childhood issues she’s trying to work out with this?
Doc: You need to be aware that doctors are not at liberty to compromise patient confidentiality by disclosing personal information. However, even though Sam is not my patient all I will say about her is that she is very psychologically fit very much so and above and beyond that, displays extraordinary talent and vision.
Matt: Sam, what is it? Did you have an abortion? A miscarriage? Did you accidentally kill your baby sister? Come on, you can tell me.
Sam: No. I had a happy childhood.
Matt: Well, I mean you must have had some kind of violent thoughts then, right? I mean, this is not the work of a very settled mind.
Sam: I feel fine. You heard what the Doc said.
Matt: Yeah, okay. I think I’ve heard enough.
Doc: Matt, do you know anything about the Holocaust?
Matt: Of course I do. That’s a stupid question. Everybody does.
Doc: Do you ever think of the horror of war? Or the subtle wars that go on every day between people like you and me, or the ones fulminating just below the surface?
Matt: Look, I’m not here for a history or Psych-101 class. I know what I see. And this is disgusting. Someone ought to set fire to this place, both of you along with it.
Sam: Listen to yourself, what you’re saying.
Matt: Yeah, I do listen. And it seems the only other things listening are the four rotting walls and a pile of dead fucking babies.
Doc: Sam, did you get a call from the channel today?
Sam: Yeah, we’re set for tomorrow.
Matt: Tomorrow? What’s happening tomorrow?
Doc: Well if you really want to know, Sam is going to be pushing this cart down the Fifth Avenue business district during rush hour. She’s going to stop in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then set fire to her work. It will be a symbolic pyre.
Matt: They are going to film this? What! For who?
Sam: The news.
Matt: This is a sick publicity stunt. You can’t possibly get away with this. All the mothers, the women, they’re going to lynch you for it.
Sam: Then let them. It will be part of the statement I’m making.
Matt: No! You’re no artist! You’re just a sick fuck, and I’m not going to let you do this!
Doc: You can’t do anything about it. The wheels are already in motion.
Matt: The hell they are! Get out of my way!
Sam: Hey! Stop! Don’t touch it! No!
Doc: Where do you think you’re going with that?!
Matt: Fuck you! You’re not going to get away with this shit! You! Get the fuck out of my way, you hear?!
Sam: Doc, wait! Let him go!
Doc: Sam, I’m so sorry. I tried…
Sam: It’s okay, really.
Doc: You sure?
Sam: Yeah. They’re in Matt’s hands now. All of them. He’ll take care of them, I know. He needs to do this. He always did.