End of the Male Narrative, So Sorry

Clip from Act Two. DAUGHTER and MADISON talk story and KIMBERLY comes by dancing. 56 seconds. Unmixed audio.



From the rather straightforward form of “The Dress,” our narrative builds out in the second story of Acts Of Witness, titled “The End of the Male Narrative, So Sorry.”

Web SoF 23

Her mother’s gloves.
Production photo by RhaeAnna Flanigan

In this second act DAUGHTER, still dispersing pieces of her mother’s clothing, finds herself at a party in the company of MADISON, a bright young doctoral candidate in English.

These two share a common critical knowledge and deep need of story, but Madison resists Daughter’s contributions.   He is unable to acknowledge the commonality between them.

As their conversation becomes increasingly intense, Daughter lets fly her intellectual side.  She feels their exchange as an energetic, fibrous connectivity that expands and contracts in its spread between them.  Another manifestation of this connectivity arrives in the character of KIMBERLY, Madison’s wife.  She swings by to get Madison to dance with her.  By now fully engaged in his literary exchange with Daughter, Madison passes on Kimberly’s invitation, as Kimberly does on Daughter’s invitation to stay and join in their discussion of “the end of the male narrative.”  “No thanks, I’d rather dance,” Kimberly responds.

Frustrated by Daughter’s refusal to simply listen, Madison ups the ante to tell his boyhood story of capture by social constraint and expectation.  Daughter recognizes his tale of the Master watching from behind the veiled windows of his towers as a story Madison’s worked hard on, been encouraged and trained to tell, but it holds no meaning for her.


In exasperation, Madison heads out the door for a smoke.  Daughter follows.  In the “wilderness” of the sidewalk, she lays out her case that Madison is practicing an entrenched and ancient way of telling stories (the “male narrative”) that has brought us here (out of the cave) but can no longer give us emotional or spiritual sustenance.  This practice is crippling his ability to experience and, most importantly for the storyteller in Madison, express the connectivity which is life itself.  She hopes to help him open to the idea that we are at this moment ready and in the process of creating a “narrative otherways”: stories that might give us more nourishment of meaning for our travels through these times of emotional upheaval and repositioning.


And it is possible Madison finally allows himself to hear Daughter.  For when Kimberly follows them out to invite Madison once again to dance, this time he goes with her, leaving Daughter alone but swirling from the energy of their converse.