Dadbutante by William Krieger


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


Beth (at her home in North Carolina): "Everyone gather 'round and
pick up your drinks. (Holding her glass high and looking into the
crowd and then directly at Carol) Ladies and gentlemen, my friends,
may I present to you my dad . . . !" (Fade group noise. All drink
and cheer and applaud along with Beth).


ACT ONE, Scene 1

At Chris's home with Nick, after Chris and Elaine have gone to work
When Nick enters, he participates in a complicated but silly handshake
sequence that he and Carol, dressed "unisex," have apparently done
many times before.

Nick: (Laughing) How long will you be here?

Carol: Just a few days.

Nick: You look kind of different.

Carol: It's nothing.

Nick: Lose weight?

Carol: Really, I'm fine.

Nick: You're okay?

Carol: Fine, man.

Nick: Well, I wish that I had known that you were coming. You
could've stayed with Karen and me.

Carol: I know. Thanks. But I needed to spend time with Chris and
Elaine too and I could only make a short visit.

Nick: Well, what's going on? You sounded stressed on the phone.

Carol: I needed to see you-in person.

Nick: I haven't seen you for-my gosh-years. How long, four
years since the class reunion.

Carol: About that. (Nervously but urgently) Nick, I've got to tell
you something, something really important but very hard for me to
tell. And if I wait, I'll lose my courage.

Nick: Oh, that sounds big. What? You're not getting a divorce?

Carol: No, I'm still married.

Nick: Kids are okay? Your health?

Carol: No. I mean the kids and the grand-kids are fine. Health's
good for an old person.

Nick: Hahaha! Don't remind me. (Pauses) Okay, well, what's up
then? Having a sex change! (Nick laughs some more).

Carol: Well, actually yes.

Nick: What, what (he stammers)?

Carol: Actually, I am going through a change. That's why I look
different. I've been taking some medications, uh, hormones.

Nick: What?

Carol: Medically prescribed hormones.

Nick: Hormones! Is this some kind of joke? I don't believe this.
You're kidding.

Carol: It's real. Testosterone blockers and estrogen. And I'm
going to start a drug called Lupron.

Nick: Are you nuts! No. No! This is crazy!

Carol: I know that this seems crazy to you, but it is true. And it
is what I want.

Nick: What you want? Do you want to be some kind of freak?

Carol: Of course not.

Nick: Then what? What? A woman? What is this?

Carol: I've been struggling with this for years, decades really.

Nick: Can you even do this? I don't want to hear this. Why, why
did you invite me here, to . . . to . . . I don't know! What?
I'm leaving!

(He starts for the door).

Carol: Wait! Don't go! Please!

Nick: (Stops and turns back) You've done some wild things in your
life, but if you're serious, this takes the prize! And I'm going!

Carol: So you're just going to leave? Without anything? Without
talking about it? Please . . . ! You're my friend!

Nick: I'm going to get away from you. You're crazy! Call me
when you come to your senses!

Carol: You'd run out on one of your best friends because she's

Nick: She? You're nuts! This is wrong! It's not natural! You
are a man and you have always been a man. That's what you were
meant to be. It's just wrong!

Carol: How do you know that? How do you know that I wasn't meant
to be a woman?

Nick: I've known you most of your life. You're a man! But now
you're confused. You've gotten mixed up. Maybe you need Viagra
or something.

Carol: I'm not confused. Right now, I'm as clear about my life
as I have ever been. I used to be confused and ashamed and fearful.

Nick: Well, you sure hid it well. Confused and ashamed about what?

Carol: About my feelings as a woman, or wanting to express my
femaleness. I didn't even know what to call them or what they
really were.

Nick: "Femaleness"! What is that? When was that? During or
after the conference football championship? During one of your
wrestling matches? When? While we were shooting at deer?

Carol: Actually, yes, but not really during those events.

Nick: What were you-faking it? This is absolutely crazy!

Carol: No, I wasn't faking it. I loved those competitions. I have
great memories of them. But I always felt that something wasn't
right about me. And all of that time, secretly, absolutely secretly,
I was moving in and out of the female world. Not understanding why I
felt the way I felt.

Nick: In and out? This sounds like a mid-life crisis or some kind
of male menopause or something to me. And I think that you are making
a really bad choice. It's nuts! And it's wrong!

Carol: "Choice"! You think that I'm choosing! I have lived
with this my whole life. I have tried to stop the feelings, tried to
stop the behavior. I simply can't.

Nick: I think that you're stronger than that. Way stronger.

Carol: You have no idea. And believe me, I did not choose the
anxiety, the shame, the guilt, the fear! Choice, ha!

Nick: So you think that this is what you were meant to be?

Carol: Yes! I do.

Nick: Then how come you've lived like a male all these years? How
come you've done all these male things, including the sexual ones?
You have fathered children! You didn't get pregnant; you got your
wife pregnant! We're you just pretending? And why now?

Carol: I couldn't do this back then. I didn't know what to do.
I had these impulses and thoughts and I didn't know what to make of
them. I didn't know what to call them, how to name them. And I
thought that I might get into a lot of trouble, jail or something worse.

Nick: That's because it's wrong!

Carol: Do you remember showing me that magazine you had when we were
in junior high? It had an article about a man who turned into a woman.

Nick: Magazine? No. No. No, I don't know.

Carol: It was about a man who was turning into a woman.

Nick: I guess so but . . . .

Carol: You laughed. I think that I laughed too, but I was so
curious. You thought that it was weird and crazy. But I thought that
it might be possible! I wondered about it.

Nick: You were having those thoughts in junior high! How long has
this been going on?

Carol: Almost as long as I can remember. Do you remember Christine

Nick: Christine Jorgensen, right. Everybody heard about that guy.
In the Army. And you want to be a woman too?

Carol: At first, I just had the impulse to wear women's clothes. I
didn't know why. I had heard about cross-dressing and I had heard
bizarre tales of hermaphrodites and other kinds of things. I wore out
our copy of Life magazine when the Jorgensen story came out. I
probably talked to you about her and others as jokes. And we probably
laughed and mocked her. I didn't want anyone to guess why I was
interested. I wanted everyone to think that I was just a regular guy.

Nick: You are a regular guy. A good regular guy. So why change?

Carol: I learned more.

Nick: About what? Chicks with dicks, ha!

Carol: Right, chicks with dicks. Homosexuals, cross-dressers,
trans-genders, and gender benders. All kinds of stuff. Bizarre,
confusing. I read a lot of that stuff.

Nick: I know more about them now than I did then too, but I don't
want to be a woman. That's nuts. You're nuts!

Carol: I have thought about that too, being nuts-crazy, I mean.
Off and on, I have thought that maybe I'm deranged or psycho or
something. I've thought that I might need psychiatric help.
Nick: You do need help. Are you gay?

Carol: No, I'm not gay. And I've been getting help. I've
spent many hours with psychotherapists.

Nick: Psychotherapists! You know what they are . . . "Psycho the
rapists!" You have got to be kidding. You are the last person that
I would expect to hear that from. You're the rock. The smart guy.
The star student and athlete. Not some whacko!

Carol: No, I'm not a whacko. But I have had my doubts a few times.

Nick: What, do you get off on women's underwear and you have to
wear them to get a hard-on? And you can't stop?

Carol: I used to wonder that too. I thought that maybe I just had
developed a fetish.

Nick: It sounds like it to me. You need to get into some
"anonymous" group.

Carol: I don't think so, Nick. I know that it's a shock to you.
But it's who I really am.

Nick: I know who you really are, and this is NOT it.

Carol: You do know me well, but you never knew about this.

Nick: Your mom-did she know?

Carol: She never knew, at least I don't think so.

Nick: She would have been appalled! I'll bet she would not let
this happen.

Carol: I don't know what she would have done-if I had ever talked
to her about it. I wish that I had, but I was too scared.

Nick: Scared, huh. Well, was all that other stuff I know about you
just lies? Were all of our great guy-times together just you pretending,
just faking it?

Carol: No. I loved doing those things. They were real. I didn't
have to fake football, wrestling, hiking and hunting-the joy of
freezing our tails off in the mountains.

Nick: But were you wearing women's clothes all the time we did
those things?

Carol: At home alone, yes. All the time I could without getting

Nick: What about your girlfriend? Did she know?

Carol: No. She never knew.

Nick: And you were doing this in high school?

Carol: Yes.

Nick: In college?

Carol: Yes.

Nick: Did you go out in public?

Carol: Not then. Only more recently.

Nick: Are you wearing women's clothes now?

Carol: Yes.

Nick: Oh, shit! You're nuts! I don't want to hear this! I
don't want anything to do with this!

Carol: Nick, you're my friend, one of my best friends!

Nick: Not anymore!

Carol: Nick!

Nick: Good-bye! (Leaves and slams the door behind him).
Beth, stunned, begins to sob and whispers, "Nick."


ACT ONE, Scene 2

Chris and Elaine talking near an exit door

Elaine: So I should get beer and some snacks . . . anything special
for dinner or breakfast tomorrow. She's leaving tomorrow, fairly early.

Chris: She. God, I can't believe this. She.

Elaine: Chris, you have been her friend for over thirty years.
You've got to believe it and be supportive. I know that it's
hard. It's hard for me. But it's hard for her too.

Chris: I know, I know. But it's as if the friend that I've known
so long has died. And this woman has come, uninvited, into our

Elaine: I've read some about this, Chris. Just let her feel that
we will listen and accept her without judging. She needs our support
and love. Especially now.

Chris: I know that that's the right thing to do. But my friend, my
friend. What about my friend?

Elaine: She is still your friend.

Chris: But my friend was a man, a very strong man.

Elaine: You have other female friends. Why not open yourself to
having this one who happens to have a different history with you?

Chris: Yeah. Right. Well, I'll try.

Elaine: I know. I know that you'll do the right thing. Just
remember to be kind about it. And tell her how you feel too. If
you're going to be her friend, the friendship will have to be based
on honesty.

Chris: How do I do that without hurting her?

Elaine: You've worked through other difficulties with her.

Chris: Nothing quite like this.

Elaine: I know that you're up to it, honey. I've got to go.

(She hugs him and leaves).

Chris (Turning away from the door and toward SL): Uh, Carol? Carol!

ACT ONE 1, Scene 3

In a family room that leads to the patio at Chris and Elaine's home;

Elaine has just left to shop for groceries. Both Chris and Carol, now
wearing a dress, wig, and make-up, are standing at a small bar.

Carol: It's like jumping-not diving, jumping-off a high diving
board. So, you think that you can stop any time because your feet are
underneath. You know, you're not going head-first. Like that's
different. Ha! It's all the same. Once you leave that board,
you're out there. In the air. And you won't stop until you hit
the water and swoosh underneath and come gasping up for air with water
spurting out of your nose and mouth and sloshing all around you.

Chris: Ha! Haha! Right. Okay.

Carol: (Laughing with Chris) Yes, right. (More serious) And then
there's no going back. There's no retracing your path and undoing
the jump. It's done.

Chris: Like unringing a bell?

Carol: What? A bell?

Chris: Right. Like when you ring a bell. It's done. You can't
unring it. Or like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
Carol: Unringing a bell? Okay. Like that. If you didn't want to
look like a ruptured goose in the air, it's too late. If you
didn't want to get wet, it's way too late for that. You can't
take one inch, one splash or slosh back from that jump.

Chris: Okay. So what?

Carol: It's just that it's terminal.

Chris: That's sounds morbid.

Carol: It could be. You could die. I don't mean "stop
breathing." But the life you knew before you jumped has probably
ended. It will never be the same. Everything has changed.
Chris: Come on! Just from a leap off the high dive-well, an
announcement. Just from telling people something totally new about
yourself. Come on.

Carol: Come on, yourself! You didn't tell people—you still
haven't—that you have diabetes. And you just developed that.

Chris: I don't want people to treat me differently. And it's
just been diagnosed recently. I've got to come to grips with it.

Carol: Right. Well, this has been a secret in my life for years!

And I've got to come to grips with being open about it too.

Chris: Well, that's different.

Carol: It is. And my therapist told me once that "shock" would
be the default response in people about my transitioning. But
that's nothing compared to what else can happen.

[End of Extract]


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