Jitterbug, from The Earth Room, by Marge Buckley

1:

JITTERBUG (they/them/theirs)
no you
shut up.
are you aware of what your father and I survived to get you here?
four times in a row your father moved west in search of a job that would pay him a living wage
and when he finally did, he worked six days a week at that job with no vacation for nearly ten years.
i stood across the street from my childhood home and watched the United States government burn it to the ground to make way for a military base that lasted for fourteen months before it was abandoned.
has your childhood home ever been burned to the ground, Ari?
does it have a radioactive stream in the backyard?
and you
and all of your peers
you get to grow up here
away from all of that
you get to build a new world for yourselves.
i’m not saying that this one is perfect
not by any means
but
we have worked and worked and worked
to give you and your sister and your friends this chance to build something
from the ground up
and it absolutely breaks my heart
to see you squander it like this.

Context: Jitterbug and their husband George have just caught their daughter, Ari, using simulated heroin in a virtual reality chamber called The Earth Room. The intended use of The Earth Room is to allow Mars colonists the opportunity to walk around outside on Earth, since it is impossible to go outside on Mars and the real planet Earth has become nearly uninhabitable. This monologue comes at the end of a scene where Jitterbug and George are lecturing their daughter and is delivered to Ari.

2:

JITTERBUG
is my family “falling apart”?
I wouldn’t say that, per se.
don’t look at me like that.
you and your high horse, i swear to god.
no, at this exact moment
I do not know where one of my daughters is
in the grander sense
and I also do not happen to know where either my husband or my second daughter are
in the smaller-scale sense
but
that doesn’t mean
house, do you know where anybody in this family is right now?
okay, the house doesn’t seem to know either.
alright.
it is seven pm and I do not know where anybody in my family is.
but i am not going to panic.
that is not the kind of person that I am.
i am a person with a level head.
a person with their wits about them.
i am going to breathe.
i am going to live in the present moment
and i am going to wait,
because there is nothing I can control about this situation except for myself.

Context: This monologue comes towards the end of the play: Jitterbug’s daughter Ari has stowed away on a freighter back to Earth, daughter Malia has joined a protest group committed to severing all of Mars’ ties with planet Earth, and husband George is secretly participating in an extreme sport that involves racing down Mars’ sand dunes on surf boards. Jitterbug delivers this piece directly to the audience and the “house” is literally their house, which has artificial intelligence.

Playwright: Marge Buckley

Contact: margot.m.buckley (at) gmail (dot) com

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