November 15, 2006

A Play A Day #216



Setting: Bare stage.

(Lights up, a cardboard box flipped upside down, flaps out, Diane enters, notices box, moves toward it, the box moves slightly from inside, a little bump and move to the side, she recoils, but she's too curious. Pauses. She moves closer after a while, box jumps again. She leaps back. This goes on for a little while, the box continues jumping and frightens Diane less and less, eventually she gets right next to the box, and it responds by jumping, thumping and bumping very rapidly all the way across the stage, away from Diane. She is no longer frightened; rather, she laughs. She stands there, thinking about what could be under the box. Just as she starts to take a step toward it, the box makes crazy thumping motions and moves with great speed toward her, slamming itself into her lower legs. It gets very aggressive, hitting harder and harder, eventually Diane runs from the stage with the box in pursuit. We hear her screeches and the thumping box backstage for a while. She runs back on stage from the other side, the box still chasing her. She stops center stage, whips around and stomps her foot down on the box. It thumps some more, but cannot move. She moves over the box and holds it down with both hands, smiles to herself, panting from the chase.)

Diane: What're ya gonna do now.... box? (long pause) I'm in charge now. (pause) You heard me, box. I own your.... uhhh... I own you. (long pause) Try to attack me, and this is what you get. (long pause, smile fades) Hmmm...okay... back's getting sore. (crouches down) Better. (long pause) Where do we go from here? (pause) Okay... I'm going to let you go, and you have to promise not to attack me... okay? (pause, she doesn't do it) Crap. The captive holds you right back. (pause, sighs) Alright, legs hurting... (sits down all the way, keeps hands on top of box) Better. (pause, lots more sighing) Not much better. (pause, angrily) Okay, box, I'm going to do it now... I'm going to get up, take my hands off you, and leave. You stay right here! (gets up, starts removing hands, just as last finger leaves the box, the box jumps viciously at her, she rapidly holds it back down and collapses to the floor next to it) Damnit box! That wasn't what we worked out! Now, I can't trust you. (long pause) Uhhh... okay... where do we go from here? (stretches arms over box, lots of sighing) Just me and my box... (tries making up a little song) Just me and my box... So hard to outfox... Nothing can come between us... My box needs ... uhhh... a... uhhh... my box needs a... between us? between us? What do you think, box? What do you need?.... Damn box doesn't even know.... ahhh, you're no lyricist. My box needs a... My box needs a...

(lights start fading, Diane stretches her upper body out on the box, lights fade out)

(lights fade up, Diane is sleeping on top of the box, Cullen enters. He is dashingly handsome, and dressed in a tux, for no apparent reason. He just is. Cullen sees Diane sleeping, shows concern and approaches.)

Cullen: Excuse me... miss? Excuse me... hello? Miss? (reaches over to touch her on the shoulder, at the slightest touch she jumps to her feet and shouts)

D: Penis! Penis... (notices Cullen) pee... nis... (box attacks Cullen's leg, he is thrown off by the two-pronged attack of "penis" and box)

C: What?! Hey! What the...

D: (slams the box back down, holding it, on her knees, extremely embarrassed) Uhhh... sorry... sorry... my box is like that... very aggressive... can't hold it down sometimes....

C: Are... are you okay?

D: Hmmm? Ohhh yes! I'm fine, I'm fine! Goodness! Me? Ha, no, I'm just fine. Just nodded off there for a while.

C: Okay, I'm sorry I disturbed you.

D: (very interested in talking to him) Ohhh... not at all... I needed to wake up anyway... I just get so sleepy after... ummm... playing with my box.

C: Yes. Sure...

D: I play and play and play, but is my box ever happy? No! She just keeps acting up!

C: Ohh. Okay.

D: Gets so bad sometimes that I have keep my hands on my box all the time, just to stop her from going after the first guy that comes around.

C: Like me.

D: Exactly!

C: What's in the box?

D: Nothing. Uhhh... just a... box.

C: Really? How did it jump at me like that?

D: Well, she's a very curious box, she'll jump on almost any man, she'll even jump at women.

C: Ohh... but how? What's inside your box?

D: Nothing. Nothing at all.

C: You expect me to believe that your box is alive.

D: Yes... she's very much alive.

C: Why were you sleeping with your box outside, in a park?

D: Well, I was tired. Of course.

C: Why didn't you just go home and take a nap?

D: Well... okay... let me be honest with you.

C: Okay.

D: This isn't my box.

C: No?

D: No.... it's my friend Angela's...

C: Angela?

D: Yes, she's very busy today, and so I've beeen watching her box for her.

C: That's commendable.

D: Except, I can't control her box like I thought I could. It attacked me.

C: Okay.

D: I had to hold it down, or it would just keeping running after me and going for my legs.

C: So, you can't let go of this box?

D: No, it will jump at me, and I don't know what's under there?

C: So there is something in the box?

D: I'm guessing so; most boxes I know don't attack people.

C: But you have no idea what it is?

D: No. Not a clue.

C: It's not your friend's box, is it?

D: No... but I didn't want you to think I was one of those women who play with random boxes.

C: I fail to see how that's a stereotype that I would've even considered.

D: Plus...

C: Yes?

D: I've been holding this box for a really long time, my knees hurt, my back hurts, but I'm too afraid to let it go.

C: Okay, why don't we take care of the easy stuff first? I'll be right back. (starts to exit)

D: No, don't leave me here again!

C: I'll be right back, I promise. (exits)

D: Stupid box. Why can't you be like other boxes I know?

C: (re-enters, carrying large rock) Here we go. (puts rock on top of box)

D: (removing hands, stretching upward) Why didn't I think of that? Thank you so much.

C: Now, what's in the box?

D: I really don't know. What's your name?

C: Cullen. It's got to be a small animal of some kind.

D: Do people call you Cully?

C: No. It might be rabid, acting like this.

D: Why are you so dressed up?

C: I'd rather not say. We'll have to figure out a way to let it free.

D: You look very nice. Were you at a wedding?

C: No. Yes. I was. My own.

D: Ohhh... (disappointed) You just got married? Congratulations!

C: Thanks, but no. My bride never showed. I got a call saying she couldn't go through with it. That was it.

D: Ohhh... (relieved) I'm so sorry. That's horrible!

C: Yeah, I know. I've been walking around for the past hour, trying to sort it out.

D: And then I annoy you with my box problems...

C: Hey, I'm the one who woke you up, remember?

D: Oh yeah... but any way... Why don't we just leave the box there, and I can walk with you and help you sort things out.

C: I don't want to be cruel to some poor animal. It won't survive under there.

D: Someone else will come along and...

C: Be attacked if it's rabid? No thanks. We need to do something.

D: What?

C: Listen, you go get a stick, a good one, thick.

D: Okay. (exits)

C: (removes rock while stepping on box flaps to keep the box in place) Okay, now...

D: (returning, brandishing heavy stick) Got one.

C: You stand near the box, be ready to hit the animal if it tries to attack us. I'm going to flip the box over, okay... ready?

(C flips the box so it's right side up, D whacks out with the stick hitting C very hard right in the shin, C crumples to the ground)

D: Ahhhh! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Ohmigod! I'm so sorry, Cully! I didn't mean... I saw your shoe and it looked like... I'm so sorry!

C: (in pain) It's okay... okay, I'm alright, I'm alright... (tries to stand)

D: (putting hands on his shoulders and kneeling down next to him) Stay there, stay there... let me look at your leg... (starts taking off his shoe and sock, rolling up his pant leg) Ohhh... I'm so sorry, that's pretty bad...

C: It'll just be a bad bruise with a little cut on top. (she starts blowing on the cut and bruise) Ummm... what... what are you doing?

D: Shhh... (continues blowing)

C: (pause) I'm sorry that I couldn't help you with your box problem. (pause) Why are you doing that?

D: (stops) My mother always blew on our fresh booboos when we were little. I guess I've always wanted to do it for someone else.

C: Well, it's nice... but it's seems a little forward.

D: I'm sorry... ohh no... you don't think that I...?

C: No, no, no! Not at all... sorry.

D: (sitting next to him) You know there was nothing in the box.

C: I know. I'm trying to decide whether or not to be mad at you?

D: I'm sorry about the leg.

C: Not the leg, the box. Why'd you do it?

D: Do what?

C: Lie about the box to get me to help you?

D: I wasn't lying about the box! It attacked you; you saw it!

C: Did you have a string or something?

D: No! I thought it was an animal too; I did, and I held the box down for a long time before you came along and...

C: I don't see how an empty box could attack anything. If it was truly empty, then we both have a lot to be afraid of.

D: ... rescued me... (with growing wonder, tears starting)... you rescued me... your really rescued me... you woke me up, and you were a dream... and you rescued me.

C: Whoa... I put a rock on an empty box... that's all.

D: And you've been left at the alter, but you still are gentleman enough to rescue a fair maiden in distress.

C: Okay... I really should get going now. It's been nice meeting you... I can't say it's been fun. Interesting? Does that work? (turns away, starts to go)

D: Don't leave.

C: Why?

D: Stay.

C: Why?

D: What if there are other boxes?

C: Avoid them.

D: Come home with me.

C: No offense, but I really need to stay away from women for a while.

D: I'm better than her.

C: You might very well be.

D: Let me try.

C: I don't even know your name.

D: Yet you still saved my life.

C: And I still don't know your name.

D: It's Diane. (reaches out her hand, C takes it, she snaps into his arms)

C: (awkward hug, pause) Diane?

D: Yes, Cully?

C: Please let go.

D: I will...

C: (pause) Diane?

D: When the time is right.

C: Diane?

D: Shhh... she didn't deserve you... she didn't... I can tell... I can feel your goodness...

C: Ummm...

D: You can let it out, don't be afraid to cry. You've been hurt badly.

C: (relaxes into hug, closes his eyes) Yes...

D: (she starts slowly rocking him back and forth) Let me help you... I won't leave like that... I know a good man when I see one, and you are a very good, kind man. (C starts to cry, softly) There... there... yes... let it out... you'll recover. It's all for the better, getting stood up at your wedding, meeting a woman in the park, saving her from what she feared... you are a prince, Cully, a prince... to me.

C: I was so nice to her, all the time...

D: I know you were, I know you were...

C: I don't know why she would do this...

D: You didn't deserve it. It's done.

C: (pulling away slowly) Where do you live?

D: Two blocks away.

C: Can I just go there and talk to you.

D: Of course you can.

C: What about the box?

D: Welll... (turns to box) Are you coming along?

C: Please...

(box moves quickly toward C and D, right side up now, flaps moving about like a big-eared puppy, it's demeanor has changed completely, it nudges and rubs up against them)

D: Ahhh... that's better...

C: What the... ?

D: I thought that's what it was.

C: What what was?

D: The box... we let it out... when the box captured it, it captured the box. It's free now.

(box starts moving offstage, lights start fading, C and D follow)

C: I don't get it.

D: You don't have to, just let it be.

C: What did we let out of the box?

D: Shhh... follow the box, it knows where to go.

(they are offstage, lights out)


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