(Adapted from the Second Dialogue of Plato's Trilogy) (Workshop draft from The
Dollywood Ole Interpretive Opry)
Socrates. Why have you come at this hour, Dolly? it must be quite early?
Dolly. Shore is.
Soc. What is the exact time?
Dol. We're up before the cows.
Soc. I wonder that the keeper of the prison would let you in.
Dol. Heck, I'm the boss, honey. And this is just my Smoky Mountain Theme
Park's drunk tank, for heaven's sake, not prison. But I told Larry I'd do him
a favor by opening up early so I could see you. I tell ya, the quickest way to
a man's heart is NASCAR tickets.
Soc. And are you only just arrived?
Dol. No, I got here before the chickens was even up.
Soc. Then why did you sit and say nothing, instead of at once awakening me?
Dol. Well, you looked so sweet, laying there like an angel. I figured you
could use a little extra beauty sleep.
Soc. Why, Dolly, when a man has reached my age he ought not to be repining at
the approach of death.
Dol. I know I'm just a simple lady from a simple small town of good and simple
peoplefolks nestled in the beautiful Smokie Mountains of Tennessee, and I
don't have a college degree, but I've done pretty good for myself just the
same, working hard and trying to put a smile on instead of a frown even when
the world just don't seem to want to do nothing but tell you "Frown,
Dolly, frown" and trying the best I can to be a really good person and do
the simple and good things like keeping in touch with people having it rough
these days like Dom and all the busted veins in his thighs, I heard Burt won't
ever call Dom back, that's no way to go around treating your friends and
co-stars, but we gotta forgive Burt too like the Good Lord says, that's the
way I see it as a simple good lady, so right now I'm going to be as honest as
ole Honest Abe the President that was honest right up to the day he got shot
dead God bless him, yes I'm going to be honest and say that I'm just guessing
when I say that I think 'repining' means snoring. But I don't know what in the
world you're talking about death for. You take things too seriously, sugar.
Soc. That is true. But you have not told me why you have come at this early
Dol. I was worried something awful about you. You were here with me, working
for me, on the day Dollywood opened, and you're the best roller coaster
operator we ever had. So what happened yesterday was really hard for me.
Soc. What? Has the ship come from Delos, on the arrival of which I am to die?
Dol. Ship? Die? I swannee, you say the darndest things sometimes. I guess you
don't remember, but I had to take you away from your post at the Texas Tornado
because you showed up drunk again. I hated doing it, but it's the Only
Spiro-Looping Rollercoaster in the Country, and safety's first at Dollywood.
After you peed on yourself, I didn't know what to do but have Larry throw you
in here. It was a right fright.
Soc. Very well, Dolly; if such is the will of God, I am willing; but my belief
is that there will be a delay of a day.
Dol. As guilty as I feel about it, I hope the Good Lord is okay with me firing
you yesterday. So it's really too late for a delay, honey. Oh, Socrates, why
couldn't you wait till after work to go whooping it up, the way you usually
Soc. I will tell you. I am to die on the day after the arrival of the ship.
Dol. Ship? Why do you keep talking about a ship-Oh, I know what's going on…You
heard that rumor that Twitty City was building a Pirates of Pigeon Forge ride,
and you think it's going to really hurt our business, didn't you? Now, don't
you give that a second thought, sweetie poo. Twitty City will never outsell
Dollywood. Never. Everybody knows that Dollywood is The Entertainment Capital
of the Smokies.Soc. But I do not think that the ship will be here until
to-morrow; this I infer from a vision which I had last night, or rather only
just now, when you fortunately allowed me to sleep.
Dol. Now, I like the sound of my voice just as much as everybody else, but I'd
like to think that I'm not just using it to be listening to the sound of it,
right now anyway. There ain't going to be no pirate ship in Twitty City. But
I'm going to ignore the fact you're not really listening to me, and not puff
my own feathers by saying that I'm listening to you, when you're telling me
you had a bad dream. I could tell you were dreaming up a storm there at the
end, anyway. You had been so peaceful, then all of a sudden you started
scratching yourself and making all these moaning sounds. I almost thought I
should leave for a while and give you some privacy. What were you dreaming
about, if you don't mind me asking?
Soc. There appeared to me the likeness of a woman, fair and comely, clothed in
a bright raiment, who called to me a said: O Socrates, "The third day
hence to fertile Phthia shalt thou go."
Dol. Oh my Lordy, you're still hung up on Irlene Mandrell!
Soc. There can be no doubt about the meaning, Dolly, I think.
Dol. The meaning? I'll tell you what it means. You gotta just quit worrying
yourself over her. It's been almost two years since that big ruckus between
the two of you at the county rodeo. She was never good enough for you, and she
proved it way back then. Excuse my French, but I think she's just a no-good
hussie. One of these days you're going to figure out that all this pretending
like you were coming out of the closet thing of yours was just a way to get
back at her. Sure, you got some attention for a while, but everybody knows
it's plain as day that you were a born ladies man.
Soc. But why, my dear Dolly, should we care about the opinion of the many?
Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think
of these things truly as they occurred.
Dol. Well, sure, you shouldn't pay no mind to those boys over at the Skee-Ball,
they never learned what Moses said about not saying nothing if you ain't got
something nice to say and they're cruising for a bruising if they keep
whistling at high school girls, anyway. But you really should to listen to
your friends, like me, who want you to be happy and quit drinking yourself
silly over that darn Irlene. Listen: you need to keep telling yourself that
they're called Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters for a good reason.
Irelene's just Barbara's sister, Socrates. Not a true country super sensation.
But don't you worry. Someday you'll find the right person. And maybe we can
even work something out so you can be the Texas Tornado operator again one
day. Now, you're going to have to run the cotton candy machine for a
while--I'll tell everyone it's a promotion--but I bet in a couple of months
you'll be collecting Dolly Tickets for the Tornado again and reminding
visitors that they must be 39 inches tall to ride.
Soc. I wish it were so, Dolly.
[NOTE TO DOLLY: IN THE BOOK, THEY JUST KEEP
GOING ON AND ON, TALKING ABOUT ALL SORTS OF NONSENSE. I THINK THE GUY WHO
WROTE THIS WAS JUST MAKING STUFF UP, AND IT'S REAL BORING. SO WE DECIDED THAT
AT THIS PART OF THE PLAY WE WERE GOING TO FINISH IT UP BY HAVING YOU AND
WHOEVER PLAYS SOCRATES SING 'ISLAND'S IN THE STREAM' BECAUSE THAT'S ALWAYS
GONE OVER REAL BIG IN ALL THE OTHER PLAYS WE'VE DONE.]