Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer born in Hartford, CT. Silverman is drawn to characters in extreme states of transformation, and her work often seeks to trouble and blur lines of nationality, identity, and gender. Her publications include Six Bright Horses and The Land of the Dead, LA Review (2011) and Bath Poems, Ploughshares (2012) as winner of Ploughshares 2012 Emerging Poet Award. Readings and plays produced include Phoebe In Winter, Clubbed Thumb (2013); Crane Story, Playwrights Realm, Off-Broadway at Cherry Lane Theatre (2011); and Bones at the Gate, Gallatin School, NYU (2012), commissioned by Gallatin.

Silverman’s awards include Writer-in-residence, The MacDowell Colony, NH (2012 and 2013); Writer-in-residence, The Millay Colony, NY (2012); and Writer-in-residence, Hedgebrook International Writers Colony, WA (2009). She received her B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Excerpt from WINK, a full-length play.

 

The office of Doctor Frans. Gregor reclines on the leather couch.

 

GREGOR

I skinned the cat.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

I see.

 

GREGOR

With scissors.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

I see.

 

GREGOR

I couldn’t use the knives.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

And why is that?

 

GREGOR

Sofie has become a vegetarian. She cooks with those knives.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

That was very thoughtful of you.

 

GREGOR

Thank you.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Do you feel better now that you have skinned the cat?

 

GREGOR

I think I do. Yes. It’s hard to tell. But yes.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

How do you feel?

 

GREGOR

Right after the event—I felt as if I had a new lease on life. A great liberty. A ringing—clarity, if you will. I felt very clear. I walked out on the balcony. I took several deep breaths. The city was so bright! The sunlight was so—light! The air! It was very airlike.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

This is good, this is very good.

 

GREGOR

I looked at my hands. They appeared to be hands.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Yes yes, wonderful.

 

GREGOR

There was blood, of course.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

That is natural.

 

GREGOR

And hair.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

One cannot skin a cat without a little hair.

 

GREGOR

So: that is how it was.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

I congratulate you.

And how is work?

 

GREGOR

Depressing.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Ah.

 

GREGOR

It fills me with depression.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Yes, that is normal. You are very normal. You are responding to treatment very well.

 

GREGOR

That’s a relief to hear.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

And how has your wife taken the news?

 

GREGOR

About what?

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Your interaction with the cat.

 

GREGOR

Well.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Yes?

 

GREGOR

You see.

I have not told her.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

So you have non-consensually skinned this cat.

 

GREGOR

I am afraid so, yes.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

It was an act, not agreed upon beforehand, not strategic, not a reconfiguration of the values of your home?

 

GREGOR

It stinks, this cat. It scratches. It has eyes like a goat. Sofie shows it preference. I skinned it.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Hmm.

And what did you do with it after you skinned it?

 

GREGOR

I buried it in the garden.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Hmm.

(beat)

Perhaps you should take Sofie on a vacation.

 

GREGOR

A vacation?

 

DOCTOR FRANS

The two of you could be alone together.

 

GREGOR

What would we talk about?

 

DOCTOR FRANS

You might use the opportunity to behave—romantically?

 

Beat.

 

GREGOR

There is one other matter. Regarding the cat.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

I think it is best to move on from the cat.

 

GREGOR

I cannot. I cannot yet move on from the cat.

After I skinned the cat—

I—you see. The fact is.

I have kept the skin.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

The skin.

 

GREGOR

In a box.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

In a box.

 

GREGOR

Beneath the floorboards.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Ah. Hmm.

 

GREGOR

And at night. When I can’t sleep. I take out this box. And I open it. And I look inside.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

And how do you feel?

 

GREGOR

I feel…aroused.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Aroused.

 

GREGOR

Strangely aroused.

 

DOCTOR FRANS

Ah. Hmm.

 

GREGOR

Is it normal?

 

DOCTOR FRANS

No. No, it is not normal.