Building Your Character

My approach to memorizing the monologue is going to be writing it out once and then speaking it out loud ten times.  I’ll do this once a day for the next 10 days or until I’ve got it down pat.

Throughout this process I’m taking notes on certain parts of the text that can hold keys to the underlying subtext.  For the sake of documentation, here are some of the insights that came up tonight:

“Me and Mom”  Kate says this twice during the monologue.  She always puts “me” before “Mom.”  I’m taking this to mean that this experience has left Kate’s mom in a deteriorating mental state so Kate has had to parent her own mother.  

“So Mom called the office.”  This is the last adult act that Kate’s mom did before she ultimately become catatonic and falls apart due to Kate’s dad’s disappearance.  Also possible that Kate’s mom thought the worst of her spouse and was actually thinking he was out cheating on her, had left the family, etc.  Not sure about that storyline yet…

“Everything was falling apart.”  Yes it is tragic that Kate’s Dad died.  But the real apex of this story is the effect it had on Kate’s mother and therefor Kate’s own development.  This line is saying that Kate’s mom was going bat shit crazy and as a 9 year old at Christmas, that was just the absolute opposite of anything she was prepared to deal with.  And it was super dark and empty and scary.  And the fact that there is no other family mentioned makes me think that Kate’s mom didn’t have a great support network to call on.  

“…so I went to try and light up the fire.”
Kate is the one taking action and getting the house warmed up.  She is also the one who actually finds out what happened.  I’m envisioning Kate’s mother staring off into space and becoming irresponsive.  Maybe drunk?  Pills? 

“gonna” and “Me and Mom”  Both of these indicate a low-level of grammatical correctness.  This could be because Kate had too much to deal with at home with taking care of her mom to also shoulder being a good student.

“Santa Claus” This is a very loaded term and imagery for Kate.  Lots of bitterness towards this tradition and kids who are so wrapped up in their Santa-isn’t-real story.

“Died instantly” Since Kate, at 9 years old, was the coherent one when her father’s body was discovered, I’m thinking that she remembers the coroner saying that her father died instantly.  This is a comfort to her.

What I’ve learned about Kate today

  • Kate is one tough cookie
  • This experience was extremely scarring
  • She is bitter about it to a detached degree, mostly because of how it robbed her of her care-free youth
  • After this day she has to be the parent to her own mother
  • Getting the picture of how exactly her mother reacted during the “falling apart” stage is key
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