April 30, 2006

A Play A Day #16

Goldilocks and the Twenty-Three Bears - A Parable of Consumerism

Cop 1
Cop 2
Grampa Bear
Gramma Bear
Great Uncle Bear
Mama Bear
Papa Bear
Uncle Bear
Auntie Bear
Uncle Bear's Special Live-In Friend That No One Talks About- Especially Auntie Bear
Big Cousin Bear
Medium Cousin Bear
Little Cousin Bear
Brother Bear
Other Brother Bear
Other Other Brother Bear
Step Brother Bear
Sister Bear
Little Sister Bear
Baby Sister Bear
Baby Half Sister Bear
Little Foster Bear
Teenage Foster Bear
Teenage Foster Bear's Illegitimate Baby Bear
Runaway Second Cousin Bear Who's Just Staying Until He Gets His Head A Little Straighter And Has Some Time To Think About Stuff, Ya Know

Narrator: In a loud and chaotic McMansion in what used to be the deep, deep forest, but, now, thanks to suburban sprawl, is just a shallow, shallow strand of trees. The Bear family, or at least the ones that are awake, are eating their morning porridge, or cereal, or Pop Tarts, or bananas and granola, or toast, or two-liter bottles of Diet Coke, or cold pizza from two days ago, or smoking cigarettes, or hiding in their bedrooms and smoking other things, or eggs. There is great excitement in the air! They are going to take a walk to the nearest park and have a barbecue, play some volleyball, frisbee, soccer, tennis, baseball, fly some kites, play with remote control cars, play on the playground equipment, listen to music, play some double dutch, ride their bikes, play in the sand box, do some in-line skating, and many other wonderful and joyous equipment-dependent forms of amusement. And, yes, everyone's going! All twenty-three of them! (lights out on narrator, lights up on house)

Mama Bear: (There is great commotion in the house, kids are fighting, Baby Sister and Baby Half Sister Bear are screaming and crying, Uncle Bear is fighting with Auntie Bear while Uncle Bear's Special Live-In Friend ocassionally throws out a bitter remark toward them both. This noise and commotion continues throughout the scene. The other bears are responsive to Mom's demands, but in generally surly ways. They mope; they fight; they complain about having to do this or that. Mama Bear really has to shout to be heard above all the rancor and complaining and improvisational lines from the rest of the household.) Everyone up! Someone help Papa Bear get the charcoal, lighter fluid and barbecue into the large wagon! Boys get in here and help me pack up these four coolers with the picnic stuff! Now! Stop! Fighting! Move it! Someone wake up Teenage Foster Bear and tell her that her Illegimate Baby Bear has been screaming in his crib for the past thirty minutes! Who's doing in-line skating?! Who?! Then get the skates! C'mon everyone; work with me! We'll clean up the breakfast dishes when we get back. We need the baseball bats and gloves and balls, baseballs, soccer, tennis! If you want to play with it, you bring it! Kites?! Someone grab the kites, should be in the third stall of the garage, up above the old freezer! Get the strollers out, we'll need all three, and grab the diaper bags!! Don't forget the damn diaper bags! Gramps, bring your walker! I know you don't need it, but what if you fall again?! Just bring it!! Gramma, twist his arm on this one, hard!! Get your bikes and helmets if you're bringing those, but you only get to walk the bikes on the way there! We're doing this as a family!! We are WALKING together, as a family! Yes! Everyone! Someone help Papa Bear with the barbecue stuff, now! Put all the balls and racket and bats in the garden wagon, we'll tow them in that. Don't forget blankets! And towels! We always need towels! (Confronting Runaway Second Cousin Bear) Look at your pupils! You can't smoke that shit in the house! I've told you that a dozen times! Yes, you are coming along. I know it's bright outside, put on your shades, and some clean clothes... and brush your teeth, you reek. Alright let's move it! We don't get there soon all the good scratching trees are going to be gone, and Lord knows I need a good sctrach right about now! We are leaving in fifteen! Fifteen! That's one-five minutes! (one of the brother bears approaches) What do you want? Yes! Of course you need to wear pants, young man! What do you think we are, anthropomorphized monkeys!? Come on! Go find a pair now! Alright what else do we need? Oh yeah, someone bring the camera and the video camera! They're in the hallway closet! Ohh! Step Brother Bear, don't forget to take your Adderall! I don't want you melting down on us again when we're just trying to relax as a family! Let's keep moving! Ten minutes! (lights out on house, up on narrator)

Narrator: An hour and a half later, the Bears had everything they needed, and they headed out to the park, only to have a couple of them return five minutes later to pick up the remote control cars, the remote controls and find some batteries for both. Ten minutes later, they were gone. (lights up on outside of house) Now, a very cute, abnormally precocious little girl named Goldilocks came walking down the neatly paved street - there were no sidewalks, poor thing - she saw the very large house and was entranced by its immensity. Imagine what sort of great toys they have in there! thought Goldilocks. She had to find out. She needed to see what the neighbors had. Going to the front door, she found it locked. She went to the lower-level door on the other side of the building, also locked. She tried a third door on the side of the house, again locked. She tried the garage door, locked. She then realized that the home had an elaborate security system in place. Such security systems, however, were no match for the pretty and precocious. She sat on the front porch and cried very dramatically. Eventually, neighbors out for a walk spotted her. Goldilocks told them she had been locked out of her own house with no key. The neighbors took pity on Goldilocks, and, although they lived next door to the Bear family, they had never met them. Therefore, they helped her through the open window above the front door, and left the scene. Then little Goldilocks went to town.

Goldilocks: Holy shit! Look at this place! Man, look at all the food they left out. (Goes to porridge) Ewww... what is this shit? Like oatmeal or something? That's just disgusting... who even eats oatmeal any more? Hmmm... some dried toast (takes a bite) Yuck, what the hell kinda jelly is that... someone got the strawberry mixed up with the KY... gross... eggs... no, I don't think so, one dead bird in every bite. Jesus, don't they eat anything good... oh... what have we here... yes! Pop Tarts! Alright! (takes a bite) Blueberry. Not my favorite, but, it'll do. Oh yeah! Lookie here, four more packages of 'em. Score! And most of a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke! Yes, it's fresh even... (Goldilocks goes on a mad gorge of Pop Tarts and Diet Coke, basically eating and drinking it all in a few seconds. Lets out a huge belch.) Shit! That's the stuff. Now, what else? She finds the opened pack of cigarettes and a lighter. There always telling us not to touch these things... must be really good then! (She lights up, inhales, starts coughing, keeps trying, eventually getting quite good at it, maybe even blowing smoke rings) Oh yeah, this is great! Mmmm... they just taste so good, and I feel so sophisticated!

Narrator: Goldilocks continued her exploration of the house, eventually getting to the family room with its myriad entertainment options.

Goldilocks: (Now, obviously feeling the effects of nine Pop Tarts, 2-liters of Diet Coke, and several cigarettes) Whoaaaa! Check this shit! What is that, an eighty-inch flat screen television? (turns it on, switches through channels at an unbelievable pace) Ahhh, man! They get every channel! Wait, let's see if they get those channels too! (Keeps flipping, eventually landing on a hard-core porn channel) Ha! They do! Horny bastards! (She turns away, finds stereo equipment, starts flipping through CDs, tossing them aside as she discounts each) Hendrix? The Dead? The Moody Blues? Pink Floyd? Gotta be a pothead somewhere in this house. (Sees two different computers) Nice set-up... these are some powerful machines. (Turns them on, then finds the game systems, plugs one in, digs through a bin holding tons of games) Ahh... man.. they don't have it! (Chooses one at random, puts it in. Takes it out almost immediately.) That one sucks. (Does the same again.) Man, they just don't any good games. (Goes back to computer, launches web browser, starts downloading porn, then turns away from the computer, she goes to the far wall where this a full wet bar, with a lot of bottles. She climbs on a stool and pulls some down) Tequila? Jim Beam? Absolut Vodka? Oh, it has a lemon on the bottle. Cool. (She grabs a glass, pours a full glass of vodka) Well, one glass won't hurt me. (She slams it back, then holds her throat and mouth) Ahhh... holy shit... wow! (lots of panting and fanning of her mouth, coughing and sputtering, then she pours herself another, and tries it again, with slightly more success) Hmmmm... I don't really feel that different. Parents don't know shit about this stuff.

Narrator: Soon, however, Goldilocks felt very different. She thought she should probably just lie down for a bit.

Goldilocks: (obviously trashed) Damnit! All these beds smell like animal fur. Totally skanky! There's no place for a girl to sleep! Hey, what are these? Oh yeah, some of my friends take these... yeah (reading label on pill bottle) Add-er-all, I've heard of this. Heard it's some good shit. I'll just take a few. (Pops a handful) Shit, I feel like ass... gotta lay down... I'll try this little bed here. (she lies down, head swirling, making a lot of moaning noises, but does "fall asleep")

Narrator: Poor Goldilocks! She has fallen asleep! Just when the bear family is returning from their day out.

Mama Bear: I don't care how long you had to carry it; it's yours, you put it away! (door opens, bears and a lot of their gear comes slowly into the house, bears fan out all over the house quickly beginning their bickering, commotion and chaos as before)

Big Cousin Bear: (in kitchen) Who the hell ate all the pop tarts! I wanted one! I bet it was one of you guys who came back for the remote control stuff! Jerks.

Other Other Brother Bear: Wasn't us! We just had to find the batteries and stuff!

Sister Bear: Hey, who drank all my Diet Coke? Which one of you bastards drank all this! I bought it with my own money!

Runaway Second Cousin Bear: Chill, girl! It costs about a buck, doesn't it?

Medium Cousin Bear: (coming in from family room, to Uncle Bear) Dad! Dad! Someone been watching porn! And it's still on!

Little Sister Bear: (coming in from family room, also to Uncle Bear) Yeah, and someone's been downloading porn, and it says the file's corrupted!

Step Brother Bear: (coming in from family room) Teenage Foster Bear's hitting the hard stuff again!

Narrator: At this point, Goldilock's system had to have an outlet for the sugar-caffeine-nicotine-alcohol-Adderall mess it was in. Poor Goldilocks was on a jag, big time, and it wasn't pretty. Let's watch!

Goldilocks: (looking like a mad girl, stumbling into main room, she is jittery to the extreme, drunk, high, and nearly incoherent) Wha sa fukk, fukkun bears! Jeess fukkan kryyth! (Goldilocks starts freaking out and goes on a rampage, screaming and babling about anything, throwing dishes, breaking stuff, kicking and attacking the furniture.)

Mama Bear (on her cell phone): Yes! 9-1-1? This is Mama Bear! We have an intruder at our house! 19364 Pine Lot Meadow Ridge Grove Street... right... no, no... not Pine Ridge Meadow Grove Street... Pine Lot Meadow Ridge Grove Street... no... Pine... not, no... Meadow Ridge Grove... not Meadow Grove Ridge, that's one turn past ours...
yes... Grove then Street... yes... Pine Lot Meadow Ridge Street Grove is on the other side of the trees... 19364... yes... thank you! Please hurry!

(Goldilocks is still terrorizing everyone in the house; all is chaos, all is screaming, police sirens approach, two cops run in, point their guns at Goldilocks)

Cop 1 and Cop 2: Freeze! (Goldilocks turns toward the cops and stops.

Cop 1: Put down the spatula, little girl.

(Goldilocks lets out a roar and attacks. Two shots ring out. Goldilocks thumps down heavily on the floor. Then silence.)

Cop 2: Put down the spatula, now! (To the Bears who have moved in to inspect.) Move back! She's still armed!

Cop 1: C'mon girl! Time to cooperate! (Goldilocks doesn't move in any way)

Cop 2: (unloads six or seven more shots into Goldilocks whose body twitches there helplessly, silence, then he says with heroic remorse) I'm gettin' too old for this shit...

Cop 1: (Clapping other cop on the back) Had to be done. Metal spatula's not to be messed with.

(Lights down on the house, up on Narrator who is eating fast food from a bag)

Narrator: (Between disgusting chews, talking with his mouth full) There's a moral to our tragic tale today. It's only common sense, but it bears repeating. Don't break into rich people's homes. And, if you do, don't touch their stuff; they need it. (More large bites of food) That's it... no other messages here today... nothing else to be learned from this story. She was a bad kid... you saw it... C'mon, don't look at me like that... she had it coming... Ummm... can we just bring the lights down? Please? (Long pause, nervous actions on the part of Narrator, who eventually sneaks off the stage)


April 29, 2006

A Play A Day #15

_______ Hold'Em

Setting: Poker table, one light over head, cigars and whiskey all around.


Gramps: (dealing 5 cards to each of the younger players) Alright, ante up. 10 to play. Straight poker, it's all about the bluffing, kids. All about the bluffing. And the tells, watch your tells.

Stan: Ah, Gramps, I thought we were going to play Texas Hold'Em.

Fred: Yeah...

Nate: That's what we usually play, Gramps, you know if...

Gramps: Don't know how to play that.

Buck: We can teach ya, Gramps; it's simple.

Gramps: My Grampa always used to say that if ya weren't playing straight poker then you were playing queer poker!

Nate: No, hey now, no fags here! We just like Texas Hold'Em.

Fred: You'll see... it's a great game.

Stan: You'll like it. Give it a chance.

Fred: We've been playing it almost every Saturday for 'bout two years now.

Nate: Poker night.

Gramps: Queer poker night.

Buck: No, come on, we all love it.

Stan: Yeah! Let's go. Deal'er up, Pete!

(Pete looks at Gramps and then the cards in his hand)

Fred: Little and big, start at 2,4.

Buck: Deal, Pete.

Nate: What's the delay?

Pete: It's just that... well... we've played Texas Hold'Em so long, and I'm kinda sick of it.

Fred: Come on! We always play, man!

Stan: Tradition, man; it's tradition. It's good to have some tradition, you know.

Pete: Yeah, I know, but...

Nate: Yeah, something you can count on.

Pete: Sure, I...

Buck: Deal. Pete.

Pete: It's just that I learned a new...

Stan: The game's Texas Hold'Em, Pete

Nate: Yeah, you know that.

Fred: Always has been. We play Texas Hold'Em here.

Buck: Deal. Pete!

Pete: Alright, I know, I know, I know... but there's this new game I learned...

Buck: Jesus... are we gonna get to play tonight, huh?

Nate: Alright, alright... what's the new game?

Stan: It's poker, ain't it!

Pete: Yeah, yeah. It's poker. It's really...

Fred: At least we got that.

Pete: ...really fun, you'll see.

Nate: Right... what's the game?

Pete: It's called Minnesota Hold'Em; O.K. No one gets dealt any cards, and then we start...

Gramps: No cards? What the hell kinda poker's that?

Buck: It's kinda hard to call it "Hold'Em" when you ain't holding anything, Pete.

Pete: Just a name, guys; don't worry. It's great. O.K. Everyone antes up for their neighbor. Five to play, unless you don't have it; then the person on your left also antes up for the person you were supposed to ante up for. We don't want anyone to be "the" dealer; so we each take turns dealing one card face up to the center of the table until we go around twice.

Stan: Twelve cards? Face up?

Pete: Yeah, then the betting starts...

Fred: The betting? On what?

Nate: Ummm... Pete...

Pete: The betting starts on the cards that have been dealt face up, and we take turns...

Nate: ...Pete...

Pete: Yeah?

Nate: We are all betting on the those twelve cards?

Pete: Yep.

Nate: And they're all face up?

Pete: Yeah, that's what I said, wasn't it?

Buck: (unbelieving) Yes! But you can't do that!

Pete: What? No! No! Let me explain! O.K.?

Nate: Everyone has different cards they select, or something?

Fred: It'd have to be something like that.

Pete: No... it's like this, the betting starts. The first person to bet is the person who is most able to sincerely sound like they don't actually want to bet at all. Then, when we've reached consensus on who that person is, he starts the betting.

Buck: We discuss?

Pete: Yeah, it's a very social game, you know. The betting continues around the table to the left, unless the group would rather that it go to the right, in which case it goes around to the right.

Buck: We discuss?

Pete: Right, now with the...

Buck: We "reach consensus"?

Pete: Yeah, consensus. Now, the betting is pretty...

Buck: Pete.

Pete: ...straightforward, each person gets...

Buck: Pete.

Pete: ...to bet whatever amount...

Buck: Pete.

Pete: ...they want; they don't have to call...

Buck: Pete!

Pete: Yeah?

Buck: We don't "reach consensus".

Pete: What?

Buck: Not here. No consensus. We don't "discuss" things.

Pete: Sure we do; we always discuss things during poker.

Buck: No. No, we don't. We don't discuss. Not here. We make fun of each other. We talk about poker, whiskey, tits, cunts and ass. We bullshit. We fuck around. We don't discuss. Anything. Ever. Not here.

Pete: I think we do.

Buck: You want to discuss something? Go talk to your doctor, and ask him exactly how your head made it into your ass in the first place.

Pete: Come on; just let me finish.

Nate: Leave him be, Buck.

Stan: Yeah. Finish up, Pete.

Gramps: Shit. My Grampa'd be slapping me silly right about now.

Fred: I'm with you, Gramps. Just tell how the game goes, Pete, but there's no guarantee we're playing it.

Pete: O.K. O.K. Let's see... oh... yeah, the betting. So, as I said, anyone gets to bet whatever they want, don't have to call the bet on the table, or anything like that, can raise any amount they want...

Nate: Wait. So they don't have to call the bet?

Pete: Nope.

Nate: So they fold then.

Pete: Huh?

Stan: Well, they'd have to fold, Pete. You know, if they didn't call the bet. You call, or you fold.

Pete: Well sure, in Texas Hold'Em, but this is Minnesota Hold'Em, you just bet what you feel you're able to bet, and it goes around to the right. You don't have to fold if you don't want to.

Fred: Then why the hell would you bet at all?!

Pete: Well, you bet because, if no one bet, then there wouldn't be a pot of money for anyone to win.

Fred: So! You can still win, even if you don't bet!

Pete: Right, there's the ante for people to win, but that's really not enough.

Fred: This would take forever.

Pete: No, people bet; because it's the nice thing to do. So people bet even if they don't want to; because it's polite. It would be pretty rude not to bet, actually!

Buck: Fuck, Pete, you just said we didn't have to bet at all!

Pete: Right, and you don't! But, I mean, everyone bets. But you don't "have" to.

Buck: Fuck.

Stan: So, after everyone has bet or not bet, what happens?

Pete: Well, Stan, the betting continues until there's a general consensus reached that the betting is done, and...

Nate: Wait a sec here, what exactly are we betting on until we reach consensus?

Fred: Exactly what I'd like to know.

Gramps: Yeah, count me in on that.

Pete: I was just getting to that... o.k.? You're betting on the twelve face-up cards on the table.

Stan: Everyone?

Fred: On the same cards?

Nate: The cards everyone can see?

Pete: Right! You got it! You bet on the best hand of five cards you can make out of the twelve.

Nate: Oh... so when someone claims a particular five-card hand, no one else gets to claim the same hand?

Pete: No! That would be stupid. Everyone can claim the same hand if they want to; we all have the same twelve cards in front of us, remember?

Buck: Fuck.

Stan: Pete, that makes no fucking sense! We're all good poker players; we'll all be able to pick out the highest hand!

Fred: Fuck.

Pete: No, here's how it happens: You try to help your neighbor by convincing them that you only need to take a lesser hand, and that they really should take a better hand from the twelve cards. Then the person who gets talked into the highest hand wins that round.

Buck: Fuck.

Nate: Why would you want to take a lower hand? What the hell's the point!?

Stan: Fuck.

Fred: Fuck.

Pete: You don't "want" to take a lower hand, because you want to win the hand, but everyone takes a lower hand anyway, because it's polite. Then the winnings are divided equally between everyone playing, and a new deal starts.

Nate: What?!! The fucking winnings are divided equally!? Why the fuck would you do that?!!

Buck: Fuck.

Pete: Well, you don't have to divide the winnings, but it's the nice thing to do; so everyone does it.

Gramps: Then who the hell wins?!

Pete: That's the great thing about Minnesota Hold'Em! Everyone wins! It's great! Alright, I'll start the first deal! (lights start to fade out)

Buck: Fuck.

Nate: Fuck.

Stan: Fuck.

Fred: Fuck.

Gramps: Fuck.

Pete: O.K. Ante up five for your neighbor, or ten if you want to! You don't have to, but it'd be great if you did. (Lights out)


April 28, 2006

A Play A Day #14

Playing Around

Cast: Three Women (A, C and E) and Three Men (B, D and F)

(Lights up, creating three different “rooms” across the stage, each room has a bed with cotton sheets and a blanket)

A: Where were you?
B: I was gone.

C: Where were you?
D: I was gone.

A: ‘Til 3 in the morning?
B: We lost track of the time.

E: Where were you?
F: I was gone.

C: ‘Til 3 in the morning?
D: We lost track of the time.

A: You have a watch!
B: No, I lost it.

E: ‘Til 3 in the morning?
F: We lost track of the time.

C: You have a watch!
D: No, I lost it.

A: You lost it?

E: You have a watch!
F: No, I lost it.

C: You lost it?

B: I couldn’t…

E: You lost it?

D: I couldn’t…

A: Find it!

F: I couldn’t…

C: Find it!

B: I could…

D: I could…

A: I bought that watch for you for your birthday. You had begged me for it for a whole year, and when you got it, you were so happy.

E: Find it!
F: I could…

B: I know, honey; it was a very nice watch, and I’m truly sorry that I lost it.

C: I bought that watch for you for your birthday. You had begged me for it for a whole year, and when you got it, you were so happy.
D: I know, honey; it was a very nice watch, and I’m truly sorry that I lost it.

A: Who were you with anyway?

E: I bought that watch for you for your birthday. You had begged me for it for a whole year, and when you got it, you were so happy.
F: I know, honey; it was a very nice watch, and I’m truly sorry that I lost it.

B: Couple guys from work; you don’t know them.

C: Who were you with anyway?
D: Couple guys from work; you don’t know them.

E: Who were you with anyway?
F: Couple guys from work; you don’t know them.

A: Not sure I want to.
B: Oh, they’re good guys.

C: Not sure I want to.
D: Oh, they’re good guys.

A: How did you lose it?

E: Not sure I want to.
F: Oh, they’re good guys.

C: How did you lose it?

E: How did you lose it?

B: Ummm…

D: Ummm…

F: Ummm…

A: Well?!

C: Well?!

E: Well?!

B: I… I… don’t want to tell you.

D: I… I… don’t want to tell you.

A: You better!

F: I… I… don’t want to tell you.

C: You better!

B: No.

D: No.

E: You better!

A: Now! Now!

F: No.

B: No. No. No.

C: Now! Now!
D: No. No. No.

E: Now! Now!
F: No. No. No.

A: No?!

C: No?!

E: No?!

B: Yes.

D: Yes.

F: Yes.

A: Fine.
B: Now, don’t do this again.

C: Fine.
D: Now, don’t do this again.

A: Why won’t you tell me?
B: It was just a stupid mistake; you don’t need to hear about it.

E: Fine.
F: Now, don’t do this again.

C: Why won’t you tell me?
D: It was just a stupid mistake; you don’t need to hear about it.

A: I’ll be the judge of that.

E: Why won’t you tell me?

B: But I said…

F: It was just a stupid mistake; you don’t need to hear about it.

C: I’ll be the judge of that.
D: But I said…

E: I’ll be the judge of that.
F: But I said…

A: I don’t care what you said; tell me now!

C: I don’t care what you said; tell me now!

E: I don’t care what you said; tell me now!

B: Really, but…

D: Really, but…

F: Really, but…

A: Out with it.

C: Out with it.

E: Out with it.

B: O.K.

D: O.K.

F: O.K.

A: You were out with these two guys, and…
B: And, it was late, maybe quarter to one, the bar gave last call; the three of us had too much to drink by this point. We were getting ready to leave, and I knew I should get home because you told me that you had to work really late, but that you wanted me to be home by one.

C: You were out with these two guys, and…
D: And, it was late, maybe quarter to one, the bar gave last call; the three of us had too much to drink by this point. We were getting ready to leave, and I knew I should get home because you told me that you had to work really late, but that you wanted me to be home by one.

A: Yes, and…

E: You were out with these two guys, and…
F: And, it was late, maybe quarter to one, the bar gave last call; the three of us had too much to drink by this point. We were getting ready to leave, and I knew I should get home because you told me that you had to work really late, but that you wanted me to be home by one.

B: We were approached by this woman who asked us if we wanted to go somewhere where there was a lot of action.

C: Yes and…
D: We were approached by this woman who asked us if we wanted to go somewhere where there was a lot of action.

A: So the three drunk sheep followed the sheep herder?

E: Yes and…
F: We were approached by this woman who asked us if we wanted to go somewhere where there was a lot of action.

B: Yes. (long pause) We went to this large warehouse sort of building, and took an old freight elevator to the top floor.

C: So the three drunk sheep followed the sheep herder?
D: Yes. (long pause) We went to this large warehouse sort of building, and took an old freight elevator to the top floor.

A: The top floor of an old warehouse?

E: So the three drunk sheep followed the sheep herder?
F: Yes. (long pause) We went to this large warehouse sort of building, and took an old freight elevator to the top floor.

B: Yes, and it had velvet walls, a lot of loud music. The woman told us to sit there and wait. She left; then came back and took us away one at a time.

C: The top floor of an old warehouse?
D: Yes, and it had velvet walls, a lot of loud music. The woman told us to sit there and wait. She left; then came back and took us away one at a time.

A: Of course, there was no way for you to resist?

E: The top floor of an old warehouse?
F: Yes, and it had velvet walls, a lot of loud music. The woman told us to sit there and wait. She left; then came back and took us away one at a time.

B: I was drunk, and the music was disorienting. The woman knocked on a door, then opened it and pushed me inside. There was a woman in there; she was naked, and she was beautiful. She said she was just going home, but I could get a quickie for fifty, and maybe I could help her get off before she got off.

C: Of course, there was no way for you to resist?
D: I was drunk, and the music was disorienting. The woman knocked on a door, then opened it and pushed me inside. There was a woman in there; she was naked, and she was beautiful. She said she was just going home, but I could get a quickie for fifty, and maybe I could help her get off before she got off.

A: Unbelievable! You fucked her?

E: Of course, there was no way for you to resist?
F: I was drunk, and the music was disorienting. The woman knocked on a door, then opened it and pushed me inside. There was a woman in there; she was naked, and she was beautiful. She said she was just going home, but I could get a quickie for fifty, and maybe I could help her get off before she got off.

B: I laughed at her joke, and the next thing I knew my pants were off, she was on top of me and rolling on the condom.

C: Unbelievable! You fucked her?
D: I laughed at her joke, and the next thing I knew my pants were around my ankles, she was on top of me and rolling on the condom.

A: What the fuck! What a fucking bastard! And the watch…

E: Unbelievable! You fucked her?
F: I laughed at her joke, and the next thing I knew my pants were around my ankles, she was on top of me and rolling on the condom.

B: We finished, and she asked for the fifty dollars. I went to my wallet, but it was empty. She said she only took cash; then asked if I would give her the watch. I felt so bad about what I’d done that I gave her the watch. I just wanted to get out of there.

C: What the fuck! What a fucking bastard! And the watch…
D: We finished, and she asked for the fifty dollars. I went to my wallet, but it was empty. She said she only took cash; then asked if I would give her the watch. I felt so bad about what I’d done that I gave her the watch. I just wanted to get out of there.

A: Smart girl; that watch was worth way more than fifty.

E: What the fuck! What a fucking bastard! And the watch…
F: We finished, and she asked for the fifty dollars. I went to my wallet, but it was empty. She said she only took cash; then asked if I would give her the watch. I felt so bad about what I’d done that I gave her the watch. I just wanted to get out of there.

B: I know. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

C: Smart girl; that watch was worth way more than fifty.
D: I know. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

A: Just shut up! Listen, I’m going into work a little early. Don’t wait up for me; I’ll be back late, if I’m back at all. (She exits)

E: Smart girl; that watch was worth way more than fifty.
F: I know. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

C: Just shut up! Listen, I’m going into work a little early. Don’t wait up for me; I’ll be back late, if I’m back at all. (She exits)

E: Just shut up! Listen, I’m going into work a little early. Don’t wait up for me; I’ll be back late, if I’m back at all. (She exits)

(Lights fade as men hang their heads in shame, then snap their faces up. They have an idea. Lights out. New lights up, different setting, three rooms, each with velvet hanging from the walls, music in background, the beds now have satin sheets on them. The men are talking to the women, who are dressed only in black slips. Now, F speaks to A, D speaks to E, and B speaks to C. The men each have a fifty dollar bill in hand.)

B: Listen, I have the fifty dollars now; can I please have the watch back?
C: Why? I like the watch.

F: Listen, I have the fifty dollars now; can I please have the watch back?
A: Why? I like the watch.

B: Trust me; that watch might mean my marriage.

D: Listen, I have the fifty dollars now; can I please have the watch back?
E: Why? I like the watch.

C: Yeah, I can understand that. (hands him the watch, takes the fifty)

F: Trust me; that watch might mean my marriage.
A: Yeah, I can understand that. (hands him the watch, takes the fifty)

D: Trust me; that watch might mean my marriage.
E: Yeah, I can understand that, but I sold it.

B: Thank you! (He exits)

F: Thank you! (He exits)

D: Shit! (He hangs his head, lights out quickly)


April 27, 2006

A Play A Day #13

A Walk In The Woods

Setting: High School auditorium, speaker's dais and lectern on a stage. Lights up to large waves of applause and hooting from the audience. Enter Dennis. He is average in many ways. He could be described as "handsome" or "attractive", except for the fact that he has no face. His face is now one large mass of scar tissue. There is a small opening where his mouth used to be, making his speech constrained and hard to understand. His eyes have been covered over by scars. He walks with assistance from his cane. He steps confidently to the microphone.

Dennis: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Wow! What a reception! Thank you! Thank you! I want... (applause finally dies down) I want to start by thanking the Student Council and Principal Ferguson for bringing me here to speak at your fabulous school today. Since my horrible accident, much has happened to me, and much needs to be said; so I am always greatful for the opportunity to share my story with high school students and their teachers.

I hope that, when I've finished today, you will be better able to understand people like me who, through no fault of their own, have been affected by AIDS. It is true that we are a small community of people, but leading health officials and zookeepers estimate that roughly 1 in 250,000 Americans have AIDS. I am hoping that my story will inspire you, humour you and maybe teach you a little bit about what it means to be alive, and I certainly hope none of you ever has to both be alive and suffer with AIDS. For the truth is that AIDS is truly a horrible problem; AIDS, or, as the medical community refers to it: Animal Inflicted Disfigurement Syndrome, can completely destroy your life. I'm here to say to you, that it has destroyed mine.

I know what you're thinking, "That's not what a famous motivational speaker is supposed to say!" and you're right, but I haven't finished: (said with growing righteous defiance) Animal Inflicted Disfigurement Syndrome did destroy my life... as... I... knew... it... but my life had to be destroyed, as a Certified Public Accountant I was a little boy lost in a world of indulgent tax codes and illicit forms. AIDS destroyed that person, but it created something so much better. Me!! (applause from crowd)

As I tour the country, I am fond of telling people that, first, I lost my face, then, I had to face what I lost, then and only then, could I show my face in public. (again, indignant pride rising in his voice) I am here today to speak out for greater recognition of AIDS victims in our society; to shout from this stage that we are no different from those among us who happen to be non-animal-inflicted-disfigured. I stand here to bravely show my face in this public place and say to you: look at me! Look at me! Look at me in my AIDS face! The pity or shame you feel toward me is your pity or shame in looking at yourself. Look at me and feel the pride that I feel in my beautiful misshapen flesh! (Wild applause)

Thank you! Thank you! Now I... (applause fades out) Now I must begin my story here today, by taking you back to what happened that horrible day 18 months ago, when my life would be destroyed so that it could be rebuilt. I'm sure many of are familiar with my story from my bestselling autobiography, "A Man With A Name Without A Face", (applause) or from the made-for-TV movie, "Defacing Dennis", (applause) that premiered last fall, or from the National Geographic documentary about the attack, "When Animals Attack Your Face", (applause) or from my album of activist songs, "Dennis: Songs for AIDS Victims", (loud applause) which won the Grammy for Best Album By A Horribly Disfigured Artist Or Group, narrowly besting a field which included both Motley Crue's and Def Leppard's comeback albums, and three new offerings from Tom Waits, or from my record seventeen appearances on Oprah (wild applause), but I feel I should always relate the story wherever I go; for, there is power in its telling. Power in its message. Power in its words; a power that may awaken something new in any of you that hears it.

So I must tell it; though it is quite painful for me to do so. If I can convince even one of you here today to confront some horrible pain in your life, be it a disagreement with your teacher, arguing with your parents, or a wild animal eating your face, then my time here today will be truly worth the $10,000 I was paid for speaking to you.

It all started on a beautiful spring Saturday and something as simple as a walk in the woods. The weather had recently turned warm, and I decided to pack a light lunch and walk on the path behind my house which wends its way for five miles through pristine wilderness. I remember seeing a few people on the path, coming out of the forest, just as I was entering. One of them may have muttered something about some growling he had heard. I ignored his faint warning. I knew those woods well. I had walked that path so many times before.

Approximately one mile into the woods, as I was eating one of the tuna fish sandwiches I had brought along, I got the sensation of being watched. I turned around once or twice, but it was while doing these gyrations that I was hit powerfully from behind. My head must have hit a rock or something, because the next thing I remembered I was being dragged along the forest floor by some very powerful animal who had buried its teeth deep into my eye sockets. I awoke screaming in agony. No longer able to see, I did not know what had me. The pain was too great, when I thrashed about the animal dropped me, then immedaitely began to sink its teeth into my neck. I passed out.

Zoologists are in general agreement that passing out saved my life. The animal that attacked me would certainly have crushed my windpipe to stop my breathing if I hadn't gone limp. When I woke up the seond time the animal was chewing on my face. I distinctly remember my eyebrows and forehead being lifted up and away from my skull, the warm flow of blood pooling inside the two holes where my nose used to be. I remember the horrible cracking, popping sound as the animal tore away at my lower jaw. The searing pain of ear cartilage being forcibly ripped off the side of my head.

I passed out from the pain and the blood-loss, but I remember telling myself, even as I lay there, blinded, face chewed off, blood issuing from my head like a bizarre flesh fountain, passing back and forth between traumatic consciousness and the sticky fingers of death... (voice cracking) that I must not give up, that I COULD NOT let this wild animal beat me! (Applause) I knew then what I know now: that this creature could take my face, but he couldn't take my heart! (Applause) At least not my metaphorical heart, for I knew it would be a small matter for the animal to crack open my rib cage with its powerful teeth and eat my actual heart as it sat feebly straining in my chest. I did not know, until after my third coma and ultimate recovery, what happened next except that I woke up in an intensive care unit at the nearest hospital big enough to deal with my type of injuries.

Apparantly, as I lay dying, a game warden, on his day off, happened to walk near where I was being devoured. Hearing the animal's loud gnawing sounds, he walked off the path, and, upon discovering me there with my face removed from my skull, proceeded to vomit profusely and defecate in his shorts. These brave actions by the warden, a Mexican-Swedish immigrant named Jesus Christianson, accomplished what I'm sure must have been their goal, or at least the goal that Jesus must have intended them to have before he passed out in a growing pool of his own vomit and feces: the animal quickly turned its attention to Jesus.

I cannot think of enough ways to express my gratitude to that man. I say to you today, in all humility, that Jesus was my personal savior before he was eaten alive. I feel it is appropriate, since Jesus literally donated 99 percent of himself to save me, that I am devoting nearly all of that remaining one percent of my film, television and book revenues, after taxes, to a foundation I have set up in his name; a foundation that will help other capable Mexican-Swedish immigrant boys - and girls! - become game wardens. (Loud applause)

After three lengthy comas, and seventy-one painful operations during which pieces of skin from my bottom were grafted to my face, I emerged from the hospital a new man, with a butt for a face and a story for... the... world! (Wild applause)

Now, you may all think I'm being coy with you today. I know that you have read in my book, or seen in the film or documentary, or heard on my album, or saw during one of my now-record seventeen appearances on Oprah - take that Tom Cruise! - (applause) that the animal that attacked me was a cougar. A big one. Larger and more ferocious than an average-cougar. After hikers discovered the newly-sated cat lying besides the remnants of Jesus, game wardens tranquilized the animal and took it to a local zoo for examination. I'm sure those game wardens would have been in shock to recognize that one of their colleagues had been devoured by the cougar, but there was little of Jesus left to recognize, except maybe a half-chewed lung, a collection of broken bones, and some hiking boots. I, miracuously and thanks to Jesus's brave sacrifice, was still alive.

What you may not remember, what may have beeen lost in all the press hype about my comas and surgeries, is that the same cougar that attacked me is still alive! (slight gasps from the audience) Apparantly, sometime during the four hours between my first coma and my second, I muttered to a nurse to "save the animal". This so moved state game officials that they put off plans to euthanize the cougar.

What you also don't know is that this same cougar is not only alive, but also with us here today! Bring'em out boys! (More shocked gasps as a large cage is wheeled onstage. It is completely covered in a large decorative cloth.) Would you like to see him? Now, one thing before I have the boys take off the cover, you must all promise to remain calm in the presence of Kipper, that's what I call him now. Kipper is especially sensitive to screaching or yelling sounds and has been known to attack randomly in noisy situations. Sound good? (general murmuring of agreement from the audience) Alright! Let's remove the cover, boys! (dramatic music and circus lighting effects) Ladies and gentleman, behold, this is the cougar that ate Jesus! This is the cougar that ate my face! (loud screams and fearful mutterings as the cloth is removed to show an empty cage). Now is that a beautiful creature? I say to you... (one of the cage movers whispers in a hole where Dennis's ear used to be) Oh... oh... dear.... ummmm... this is most unusual but we must remember that Kipper (louder screams from audience as it becomes obvious that Kipper is now roving among the seats, loud sounds of commotion and panic, followed by the pained and piercing shriek of a teenage girl) Go limp! Go limp, dear! Now! He might only eat your face... we'll get someone there to help you right away! (another piercing and pained shriek) Was that the same girl? Umm, if it wasn't, you go limp too! Ahhh... this... (lights begin to fade, screams and panic continues unabated) Uhhh.. I will be signing my book in the lobby for a small fee after my talk today. I hope some of you are able to stick around and take advantage of that unique opportunity. (lights out, screams continue)


April 26, 2006

A Play A Day #12

Extensive Exposition, On The Other Hand, Really Sucks, And, After A While, You Begin To Wish That Something That Hasn't Already Been Set-Up By Earlier "Dialogue" Would Happen - Like An Inside Joke, For Instance

Setting: The Sitting Room inside a very opulent house. There are four chairs. They should be burgandy with a gold brocade along the top, golden tassles hang from the underside of the chairs. There are end tables at the left arm of each chair. They are mahogany and stand 30 inches off the ground. They should each have one green marble coaster on them. On the upstage-right end table sits an opened bottle of Remy Martin XO cognac and a glass with approximately 50 ml of cognac in it. A large marble fireplace in the center back wall of the room contains a roaring fire of cedar and maple logs, giving the room a magnificent odor. Franklin Peavey Wharfington, III sits with a 1944 leather-bound edition of Bulfinch's "Mythology" in his hands. He is on page 74. He wears his blue-striped house pyjamas and a silk dressing robe. He is quite wealthy, most recently earning a salary of $937,515 for a year of work as a regional banking executive. His wife of nearly 20 years, Petra Lucianna Rosevillette-Wharfington, enters from stage left and sits in the upstage left chair. She is wearing a peach-colored cashmere sweater, and long, flowing skirt with a chrysanthemum pattern on it. She is dabbing at her left eye with an expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief. She has been crying. Outside the wind howls against the high Gothic windows. It is 15 degrees Fahrenheit, with sustained winds from the north at 20-25 miles per hour, and gusts reaching 40 miles per hour, making the temperature feel as low as 25 below zero Fahrenheit.

Petra: (Sitting down in upstage left chair and whimpering slightly to get her husband's attention. She crosses her right leg over her left, leans into the chair and sighs again. She is sad and has been crying.) Oh, Franklin Peavey Wharfington, III, my dear husband of almost 20 years. I am sad, and I have been crying.

Franklin: (Looks up from his book and puts down his cognac, gives his wife his full attention. He is polite to a fault.) Yes, my sweet wife of almost 20 years, Petra Lucianna Rosevillette-Wharfington, it does appear that you have been crying. Perhaps, you will be able to explain to me the nature and significance of your crying so that we might be able to gain a better understanding of exactly who you are, as a person.

P: (Looks down. Looks up. Looks down, holds that pose for nearly four seconds. Looks up again. Motions as if to look down again, but, instead, keeps looking up.) Yes, I could do that, Franklin, my kind and gracious husband of nearly 20 years. You are so polite, almost to a fault, and so it pains me to tell you this.

F: (Full attention still on Petra. He nods his head two times to acknowledge hearing what she has said and to encourage her to continue with her explanation of why she has been crying.) I'm sorry that it pains you to tell me why you have been crying, Petra, my loving and caring wife of almost 20 years, but you must be honest at times like these; so that I might better comprehend your motivations for this present episode of crying and also what significance this crying might have in determining any future actions in which you may or may not engage. Also, in telling me what is behind your sadness and crying, we will be able to know more about how we interact as a couple and what the nature of those interactions might mean about where we are today in this marriage, how we got there, and the nature of any fuuture interactions we may have. You must be honest with me, however.

P: (She considers what he has said for nearly ten seconds) I understand what you are saying, my darling husband of almost 20 years, Franklin, but alternately, wouldn't it be possible that I could choose to hide my true feelings from you at this moment. I might, for instance, choose to side-step the real issue, obfuscate my true feelings, lie about the source of my sadness and crying, issue flat denials of feeling truly sad and weepy, or issue a verbal attack against you as a way of displacing the need to tell you the truth of the matter which may be too painful to divulge? Do not people sometimes say things only to disguise the truth of their feelings because of some deep dark wound in a person's past, that might slowly be teased out only after many lengthy exchanges between that person and one or more others.

F: (long pause, approximately five seconds) Yes, that's all quite true, my sweet of almost 20 years. Everything that you just said could possibly be behind anything you might choose to say to me right now. I would not know initially if you were being completely forthcoming with me, necessitating a lengthy conversation in which we may come to understand each other better by challenging the forces and motivations and personal weknesses and character flaws which had led you to not be completely forthcoming initially.

P: Exactly, and that's why I just walked in to the sitting room to speak with you, entering by way of the dining room, not from the other entrance to the sitting room, the library which is off through that door. (she indicates stage right exit)

F: Yes, it is. You've always had a way of knowing such things. That's one of the reasons I wanted to marry you, nearly 20 years ago.

P: Certainly, yes, I remember that now. (Pause. 2.5 seconds should do.) And, you, dearest husband of mine, may remember that I was dabbing my left eye as I walked into the sitting room. I was sad and had been crying.

F: Oh, yes, I do remember that quite vividly, though I had been absorbed in my 1944 leather-bound edition of Bulfinch's Mythology. I was on page 74. It always feels so right to sit in these comfortable burgandy chairs, sipping 100 milliliters of Remy Martin XO cognac. I had finished half of the drink; so I believe the glass only contained 50 milliliters when you walked in. You had been sad and had recently been crying about something. I noticed you were dabbing at your left eye with your expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief, and then you sat down.

P: Yes. I sat down. In this chair, to be exact. I'm newly-saddened by your reference to my expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief. (She dabs at her right eye this time with her expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief)

F: My sincerest apologies. I know that I purchased that expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief for you at Christmas almost 15 years ago, when we had been married, at that point, only for almost 5 years. Yes, I remeber it quite clearly because you were quite .... quite.... (he cracks slightly, a two or three semitone change in his voice pitch should accomplish this)

P: Yes, quite big with child! It needs to be said, Franklin. We cannot dance around the subject of Ludwig any longer. Do you remember, Franklin? You must remember... little Wiggie... I will now start crying more forcefully; for it was this memory and the expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief which today has triggered my sadness and crying. (She cries more forcefully, dabbing at both eyes with the expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief.)

F: Yes, Petra, my sweetest blossom on the sweetest branch, I remember Ludwig. He was born just after Christmas, December 27th, almost 15 years ago. He weighed eight pounds and seven ounces and was 22 inches long. He was named Ludwig Franklin Peavey Wharfington, in honor of my great-grandfather who started the family banking interest almost 90 years ago. He was a healthy child who grew up with many loving friends and family in a wealthy family.

P: Yes, but the name, Franklin, remember what your mysterious and reclusive aunt told us about the name?

F: Yes, my love, I remember, that fateful night nearly fifteen years ago when my mysterious and reclusive aunt Frieda came knocking at our door. It was the night after Ludwig had been born. I was alone in the house when the knock came at nearly 10:30 at night. It was a bitter cold night, much like tonight, with winds coming from the north at 15-25 miles per hour making the temperature feel like approximately 20 degress below zero Fahrenheit. She was bundled in an elaborate ermine coat. After inviting her in; she told me that she could not stay, and only had to tell me that we should reconsider naming our son Ludwig. She told me that the name was cursed. She said her grandfather, Ludwig, had been succesful in the banking business only at the expense of his sanity. I dismissed her claims outright because I was certain such warnings were the stuff of interpretation, that my aunt's faculties had already left her years before.

P: (She dabs at both eyes with her expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief) Little did we know how true her dire warning would become. For, even though we live very comfortably, and even though you were already a successful regional bank executive in your family's company, and were well on your way toward earning the generous salary that you earn today, like the $937,515 you earned last year alone, we were, neither of us, prepared for that horrible day almost five years ago, when we were sledding as a family at the Wharfington family estate and our son, Ludwig Franklin Peavey Wharfington, who was almost ten years old at the time, wanted to show us that he could go on the steeper hills by himself. He set off down the steepest hill, and, upon reaching a terrific rate of speed, estimated by some at nearly fifty miles per hour, he was bounced from the sled and sent head-first into a large elm tree. He died instantly from massive head injuries. (She continues dabbing new tears, from both eyes, with her expensive linen monogrammed handkerchief)

F: I remember cursing that damned tree for months after. It had been planted by my great-grandfather, Ludwig, nearly ninety years ago, to commemorate the opening of his first bank. I remember cutting it down secretly one night almost four months after Ludwig's death in a fit of rage. The massive tree put up a good fight, but eventually fell.... (his voice cracks) and crushed the Labrador puppy we had purchased and named Ludwig in our son's memory. I could not see where he was in the pitch black night. He died instantly from massive head injuries.

P: This is why I've come in here tonight to speak with you, Franklin, after nearly 20 years of marriage. I am sad and have been crying remembering Ludwig, the boy, and Ludwig, the dog, but I am also very nervous; because I have new information which I must tell you, and I hesitate because I fear what your reaction to this news might be.

F: Dear, dear Petra, my ever-gracious and even-tempered wife of nearly 20 years, what could you tell me that would provoke such a reaction. Certainly, it would have to be something which I would not be expecting to hear from you at this time and at this point in the development of our intricate and emotional relationship. In some way, you would have to tell me something, which, having been your husband for almost 20 years, would be outside the standard rituals and habitual patterns we use to address one another. Something that would so rend the many layers of swaddling emotions we have wrapped around each other during our nigh on 20 years of marriage, that I would find it somehow shocking or, quite literally, incredible. Surely, this news you wish to impart could not possibly be something so fantastic or tragic. Something that might encompass our son's tragic death nearly five years ago and be of such a strange and unpredictable nature that it would shake the foundations of our time-tested, comfortable lives? Perchance, it would be something that uproots our stable lives, and leads us on individual quests to re-examine who we are as people, leading us to further question the comfort to which we've grown so accustomed, and eventually leading to the dissolution of our life together? Or, perhaps, struggling through our desire to break from one another, we will come to a profoundly new understanding of each other and continue our lives together with a fresh outlook on what it means to be human?

P: Yes. I think it is information of that nature that I must tell you. I've held it from you for too long.

F: (with slight trepidation but confidence that their marriage is solid enough to withstand even the most devestating news) Then, Petra, dearest one to me for nearly 20 years, I must ask, albeit not without some slight trepidation but also with confidence that our marriage is solid enough to withstand even the most devestating news, what do you have to tell me?

P: (Resolving herself to tell him) Very well; I have resolved myself to tell you.

F: Yes?

P: Well, approximately two months ago, on a late night walk, I found myself in a part of town where I normally would not venture. Feeling rather cold and mildly thirsty, I walked into what looked like a friendly tavern. Looking back on what happened that night, I realize how misguided I was in all my decisions. In fact, none of this would have happened if I had had the sense to leave immediately upon seeing that I had just entered "Ludwig's Pub".


April 25, 2006

A Play A Day #11

Inside Jokes Make Lousy Dialogue Unless You've Established Your Characters Through Shared Experiences And Expository Language Earlier In The Story; Something Which This Play Has Failed To Do.

(Setting: A restaurant, or a college dorm room, or a park, or a church basement, or a living room, or some other restaurant)

Mandy: And then it was like Saturday all over, except without the minty cheese! (much laughter, as the other women know exactly to what Mindy is referring. This is the theme of the play. From now on, pretty much all these lines make the woman laugh to varying degrees. The fact that you, the reader or viewer, don't get it; is entirely the fault of the horrible playwright. I'm guessing one of these women is the playwright, but I'm not sure. I have people looking into it.)

Sandy: Exactly... You bitch! (much laughter again, and every fucking line after this in some way)

Tandy: I still can't believe you said that, you're the bitch, Mandy.

Jen: Yeah! The half-purple butterscotch bitch!

S: And (exotically) guava!

T: (snobby voice) Precisely, my dear girl; it always takes two to produce such stunning work!

J: Yes, yes... (French male) and zee painting with zee woman breasts...

M: God! Don't even think about bringing that guy up again.

T: Yeah, he was too good for American pickles!

S: Not mine!

M: What would he know about your pickles? Did you give him a scrub-a-dub-dub too?

J: I never heard this!

T: Do tell, iguana-face!

S: Well, let's just say, as you always do Tantan, that sometimes the package needs to be unwrapped!

M: Then returned to sender!

J: All the way back to fucking Boise.

T: Oh yeah, where all the buttons go to stay.

M: Especially the little ones...

M, S, T, and J: (mock operatic) The bitty-bittle buttons of Boise!

J: Can you believe that? I mean what were they thinking when they wrote that?

S: Wait, I thought you wrote that?

J: No. I wouldn't write something like that.

T: You might shit something like that...

J: True, and remember shitting for writing is...

S and M: Writing for shitting!

T: (old guy voice) Huh? Can't beat that for a nickle!

J: (old guy voice) Have you seen my limbs?

M: (old guy voice) I thought one of you might have sat on it.

S: He was so creepy.

T: Yeah, do you think? Like Kevin-creepy or Dave-creepy?

S: Ewww... both...

M: Kevin-creepy, I'd say.

J: Too bad he was so old...

T: and out of ice cream...

S: and pickles...

J: You can't even count that as a full pickle situation!

M: No way... not pickles there...

J: Totally pickleless.

S: I disagree, there were some redeeming, almost Phyllis-level, aspects that...

M: I knew you were going to say that...

J: Oh, she's not that bad; now that she got out from under the horse...

T: Hmmm... is she?!

J: Ouch...

S: Well, she is a superstar of her time.

M: And her time meant so much to all of us.

S: She taught us so much about loving.

M: And the ancient ones!!

T: Who could forget?

J: I always wonder exactly where her bus stop was?

S: I'm sure it stopped at Central...

M, S, T and J: But she never got off!!

S: Much too harsh.

J: Maybe, but she was the bearer of all our tender gifts.

T: Yes, and spicy too?

S: Yeah... (dreamy voice) "Hot like a large, hot........ thing"

J: Never for us though.

M: No, I guess not.

S: Well, you never had to tough out the yucksies with her.

J: I loved the yucksies!

T: Me too, with the blue nob?

S: (lights start fading out) But never enough pomp! More pomp!

T: True, never could get enough to zap the wap!

M: She's just so noodled!

J: And, of course, we can't be noodled again, ladies!

M: Right, or else...

M, S, T, and J: (lights out) We'll flop-flop-flop-flunkadeeeeeeeeee-flop!


April 24, 2006

A Play A Day #10

He Shoots. He Scores.

(College library. A small, good-looking young woman sits at a table doing homework. Enter a rather loud group of jocks, blathering, punching each other, being generally way too rowdy for a library. Their conversation is essentially stereotypical; what rowdy jocks might talk about - lewd jokes, sports, boasting about sexual conquests, athletic bragging, putting each other down, homosexual innuendo, discussing great parties or stupid things they've done and now remember with pride. Their lines are improvisational and should feel out-of-control and off-the-cuff. After a while of this, they sit at a larger table near the woman, toss their backpacks down, continue the rude talk, and one of the men, obviously the alpha-jock, grabs a lose sheet of paper, crumples it up, indicates his target - a small trash can off-stage - and lets the paper wad fly. It "goes in". He takes a few bows, raises his arms and shouts)

Alpha-jock: He shoots! He Scores!! Did you see that shot?!

(Rowdiness and ad-libs continue; the woman gets more and more annoyed. Alpha-jock crumples another sheet and tosses it to another unseen trash can - it doesn't matter where the trash can is exactly, the main point being that this time the paper wad should be thrown over the woman's head. It "goes in". This was a harder shot. The jocks roar and demean the alpha-jock, who lets out a loud shout)

Alpha-jock: He shoots!! He Scores!! Holy shit! That was an amazing fucking shot!

(More rowdiness, same routine. Alpha wads up paper, puts it in his mouth and gets it soaking wet. He hurls it against a portrait hanging on the upstage wall. It hits with a huge splat of spit and partially-digested paper. Same routine.)

Alpha-jock: He shoots! He scores! Oh man! That's freaking awesome!

(Woman is quite noticeably upset by this latest display; she let's out a loud, frustrated, angry sigh. This is a mistake. Lewd comments start coming her way; first indirectly, but then getting more and more personal and direct, although they never directly address her. Alpha-jock wads up paper again, tosses it in a high arc so that it lands right in front of woman. Much laughter and mocking of alpha-jock and his target. "How could you miss the trash so badly, man?" "That was the worst pick-up line you've ever thrown at a girl." etc...)

Alpha-jock: Hey! He shoots, he scores, right?

(General acknowledgement that this somehow constituted a "score" in their eyes. Woman tries to remain calm; she's not going to let these pricks win this game. She resolves to show no emotion. She calmly turns her chair slightly away from the jocks. Jocks notice, teasing continues, Alpha-jock chews on another wad of paper, tosses it in high arc at woman. Disgusting splat very close to her, possibly on her book. Lots of hooting and laughter from jocks.)

Alpha-jock: (roaring in conquest) He shoots!! He scoooorrrrressss!!

(Woman brushes away spit wad nonchalantly. Jocks get more directly abusive toward her, trying to one-up each other with lewdness or, at least, loudness. Alpha-jock takes off his shoes and socks. He balls up the socks then tosses them directly at the woman. They hit her. Rowdiness increases.)

Alpha-jock: He shoots! He scores!

(Jokes get very direct and graphic; they begin addressing her personally, making up crude names for her, etc... The alpha-jock pulls the nearest guy to him and whispers something in his ear as tauntings continue. The alpha-jock's accomplice stands up, moves very close to woman's table, turns his back on the table and bends over, butt facing woman. Alpha-jock makes an exaggerated show of lining up his friend's butt with the woman's head, pretending to be do so with military-like precision and rigor. At his sharp command of "Ready!" his friends pulls down his pants and shorts, mooning the woman, "Aim", the friend offers his finger to alpha-jock, and "Fire", alpha-jock pulls finger friend farts toward woman.)

Alpha-jock: Oh yeah! He shoots! He scores!

Laughter everywhere, much high-fiving, etc... Alpha-jock sees that he's not getting much of a rise out of woman. Abruptly decides to try a different tack.)

Alpha-jock: Hey, just knock it off, guys! I think we've done enough. (Woman looks up slightly; she is surprised by this, but she also knows better than to show it.) Let's just cool it, alright? (He gets up and approaches woman) Hey, listen, I'm sorry my friends here have been so rude to you. We'll back off. I'm really ashamed about everything they just did. Sorry. (She gives him only the slightest acknowledgement, maybe a slight head nod. She accepts the apology for what it is: half-assed and probably false. Long pause. Alpha-jock crouches down next to woman, begins in a stage whisper) Truth is... I noticed you a few weeks ago; I just wanted an excuse to get to know you. Then these guys... I shouldn't have brought them along. They can be such asses. So, again, I apologize. Friends? (He offers his hand; she tentatively takes it.) Hey, looks like you're quite a student! Man, I wish I had your ability to concentrate on all my homework like you do. I could use some serious, professional help with my research, right now... it's just not going anywhere... can I take you to the caf? I'll buy you supper, and you can help me understand my topic and research, you know? (pause) Sound o.k. with you? We could go right now? O.K.? (Woman nods, then starts gathering her books, turns her back to the audience and starts filling her backpack.) Oh... hey! That's great! You'll probably be the perfect person to help me, you know, it's a great topic, but you really need two people when you're researching the history of oral sex! (Turns back toward his gang who are laughing uproariously now. He makes a basketball shot motion and shouts) He shoots!!! He scoooooorrrrrresssssss!!!!! (Turns back to the woman with a cruel smirk on his face; she has been expecting this, she quickly stands up from her backpack and whips around to face the alpha-jock. She is smiling and holding a sawed-off pistol-grip double-barrel shotgun. She levels it at his stomach, the jocks at the table haven't even noticed yet. She pulls the trigger; alpha-jock flies backward, holding his insides in, blood everywhere. He moans and rolls about the floor. Woman moves toward the table of jocks. She is reloading and pointing at alpha-jock and saying in mock excitement and frivolity)

Woman: Hey guys! Look! Look! (She finishes reloading, pointing gun at random jocks in turn) He's shot! He's gored! Get it? Get it? (She attempts to get high-fives from the jocks, but they are too busy whimpering in fear as the lights fade out)


April 23, 2006

A Play A Day #9

Selected Transcript of the Director's Notes from the First Technical Rehearsal for the Stage Play "The Curse of The Thing"

Setting: Interior of a very small community theater; director is addressing his cast after completion of the first full technical rehearsal for their staging of the play "The Curse of The Thing". Actors are referred to by their character names, as happens often in director's notes sessions.

Director: O.K. I know it's late, but I do have some important notes; so let's get to them right away and then we can all get out of here. Well, the first thing is what I've been saying to you all since our first read-through. This play has some technical elements which we might struggle with, but I've promised my son that I would do my absolute utmost to see his vision come alive on the stage. He spent many hours in rehab writing this play, and I think it must justly see its place in the American Theatre come alive by an accurate presentation of the play's messages and mores. I believe it has great cultural significance, and the technical elements are vital to show that significance. That being said, there are a few minor adjustments we might have to make.

(General grumbling of actors who don't like what they are hearing. They are prima donnas one and all; and they want to be awash in the play's special effects. This grumbling and chatter should rise and fall as the director makes his speech and either disappoints them or placates them with the various concessions to reality.)

Director: I know, I know, I know... it's not what I want to do, but you have to understand that there are a few things that we will have to... alter... to get the play off the ground with the resources we have. O.K.? First, we've been having some trouble with the trees. We had thought of a forty-foot tall superstructure and were going to use expensive metal ribs for the trunk, but Paul pointed out that the ceiling is only 18-feet high at the peak, and that no one in the set crew knows how to weld. We tried contacting some welders, but their base rate is $65 an hour, and we just don't have that kind of budget. We've decided to use something that's a bit more representational - two coat trees - but I really believe it will work, and Paul says we have one in the prop room and he has one on his front porch. Since they are the only two we can locate, we've decided that they really can't be burnt, so we're knocking out the trees burning in that scene. Paul will be working with our capable volunteers to glue and wrap actual branches onto the coat trees; it should look really nice. Moving on, the graves really can't be "dug" into the stage. Our stage is a foot off the actual floor of the theater. We will try to get some topsoil that we can mound on the stage, but Paul tells me we really can't do too much, because we have to change the scene, and apprantly large piles of dirt can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming to move. I know. I've discussed the situatio with actual grave diggers who have offered their professional guidance, but their base rate is $45 an hour, and we just can't afford. What we can do is, perhaps, put some dirt in a couple buckets and mime the shoveling into the stage and then careully placing the dirt into the bucket nearest the grave being dug into. Now, the car... wow... this was a tough one for me to give up, but in discussing the situation with Paul, I found out that none of the doors at this theater are wide enough to even allow the entrance of a very small car. Additionally, the floor may not have enough structural support to hold a car's weight. We are also lacking enough space in the wings to accomodate the car. I've spoken with mechanics about the possibility of cutting a real car in half and helping us reassemble it in place backstage, but their base rate is $85 an hour, and we just can't afford that, or the cost of purchasing even a very old car and cutting it in half. Paul tells me we can put some casters on a park bench that his neighbor will loan him; Brant and Melissa will then "drive" it on stage by pulling forward with their feet. We have a pie tin which should work fairly well as a steering wheel for Brant. Now on to the dry ice and tombstones. We are going to have to can the dry ice. Turns out it's really expensive and our smoke machine is broken; Paul has tried to get it fixed, but the base rate on fixing a specialized piece of equipment like that is $115 an hour, which is about what a new one costs. What we will be trying instead is a white sheeet that will be ruffled by the big fan that we found in the attic at Paul's girlfriend's house. The tombstones... well... after looking into the stonecutting industry - with a base rate of $75 an hour - and talking with a rather disreputable grave digger, and, again, having to make concessions for both the structural integrity of the stage and the 18-foor high ceiling, we have decided to make them out of styrofoam and gray paint, if we can find the gray paint that Paul's swears he just bought last year, otherwise, they'll be black. We are looking into ways to make them explode in fiery blasts of lightning, but, after discussing the matter with several professional electricians and demolition experts, apparantly, the sytrofoam will just sort of melt after exploding, and since the ventilation systems are not up to code, we wouldn't be abe to get the fumes from the buning styrofoam out of the building fast enough, and we would run the risk of people passing out or lapsing into comas from the lack of oxygen. The electricians referred us to some heating, ventilation and air conditioning guys, but their base rate is pushing $95 an hour and the newer fans and ventilation ducts would cost over $15,000. We couldn't make those costs fit in the budget. We will, instead, simply push the tombstones over with a long pole when the lightning flash occurs. Unfortunately, they cannot collapse into the floor; in fact we are trying to figure out how to keep them from bouncing when they hit the stage. So, Brant and Melissa, you're probably trying to igure out how you are supposed to "burn" convincely for the audience. You're going to have to dig deep with your acting mine to come up with some good "Help, I'm on fire" emotions. I suggest a lot of pained writhing, and we will also give you both some red saran wrap to wave about you to represent the flames consuming your flesh. And, again for Brant and Melissa here, speaking of consuming flesh... we're apparantly going to have a really hard time getting live wolves to gnaw on you. I spoke with the nearest zoo and with the Department of Natural Resources, and, well, I don't even want to tell you how hard it is to find a competent professional wolf handler these days or what they charge! The Department of Natural Resources very nicely reminded me that wolves are, technically, wild animals, and letting them loose in a crowded theater might spook them a little too much. I guess we would run into some legal issues there; I wish I could say that I could consult a lawyer about this issue, but with a base rate of $155 an hour, we are just going to have to assume that we would somehow be at fault for any wolf-mauling of audience members that might possibly take place. Paul tells me, however, that he knows some local kids who might be willing to portray wolves if we get them some candy; so we are looking into that. Paul thinks that we might be able to get his friend, Candace, to sew some wolf suits for the kids. At the end of the scene, we apprantly are going to have to nix the rain and just go with a sound effect. Paul tells me that any water on stage would run down toward the audience, go through the floorboards and damage the electrical wiring in the basement, which, in turn, could cause the building to burn down. We spoke to a local electrician who came in yesterday and looked at the situation, told us not to do it, and then asked where he could send the bill. We won't be paying him; not if I can help it. And, on that note, I guess I should mention that it may be a bit dicey trying to set the stage on fire. We had counted on the rain naturally putting the fire out between scenes, but, since we can't use the rain, we are going to have to cut the rain. The good news is that we have several roles of red saran wrap that Paul got from his Mom; we are looking into getting a couple more fans and having them blow the saran wrap in a fire-like manner. It should look great. The really good news is that, now that that new place opened up just around the corner, we should have plenty of fried chicken for you, Karl! That should really help us preserve some crucial character lines for you, Karl. I think the chicken bit really ties the scene together.

Now. For the second scene... yeah, the full-size in-ground pool... well...


April 22, 2006

A Play A Day #8

Selected Scenes from the Stage Play "The Curse Of The Thing"

Scene 1: A graveyard, should have trees that are large and creepy and sturdy enough to be climbed, yet lightweight for their easy removal at the end of the scene. Dry ice but also a strong wind moving the low branches of the trees which creak under the strain. Lightning and thunder moving in. Sinister music should provide a low bed throughout the scene, except when noted. Large tombstones are arranged across the stage. These must be real granite for the tombstone tipping scene to have its proper impact, the largest tombtones should be placed near the false floor spots to facilitate their breaking through "the earth". There are several recently dug graves- large piles of dirt next to each of them. Karl, standing three feet deep in a grave is digging feverishly, tossing shovelfuls of dirt everywhere as he works, the wind blows the dirt around the stage. A large car pulls up beside Karl's grave, Brant and Melissa exit from car. Karl doesn't notice anything, shovels dirt onto the hood of the car. The car headlights provide most of the illumination on stage, except for some periodic glow of the moon as clouds race in front of it.

Brant (in loud whisper): Hey, watch the dirt! Hey!

Karl: (panics upon hearing a voice, cowers down into grave) Wha...

Brant: Karl! Karl! It's alright, man; it's just me.

Karl: (emerging, eating some chicken, mouth full) Man! You scared me!

Brant: Why are you eating chicken?

Karl: I'm hungry.

Brant: Yeah, but you gotta get this done soon. It looks like it's going to rain pretty hard. (lightning and thunder increase, wind picks up in intensity, add more dry ice)

Karl: Listen, this is the fourth one; it's got to be in this one. I know it's in here. (Continues digging throughout)

Melissa: O.K., but don't you think we're pushing our luck, the cops, your parents. I mean your Dad's a Senator.

Brant: Not to mention you're tempting fate.

Karl: I don't believe in that crap! Those are just rumours, old stories that maybe used to scare'm fifty years ago.

Melissa: But what about the fourteen missing kids; none of them ever found? I told you this thing is cursed.

Karl: You can leave anytime you want, you know; you didn't have to come tonight.

Melissa: I want to help, but maybe we should do more research first?

Brant: Yeah, Karl, let's pull back a little. I'm worried about the curse too.

Karl: Just help me; you know you want this thing. You know you want the power it could bring us! Think of it!

Melissa: It's protected. It can't be found.

Karl: (Shovel strikes something, he stops and dives down, with excitement) I hit something! I think this... is... it... (he is scrounging in the dirt below stage level, dirt is flying out of the hole) if I can... just get... my fingers... (massive lightning strike on tallest granite cross tombstone, tombstone explodes and burning chunks of granite fly everywhere. Melissa and Brant both get hit. They are both screaming in terror and pain. Melissa's dress starts on fire, she runs around on stage on fire for a while screaming the whole time. A fist-sized chunk of burning granite has smashed Brant's face in, he moans and stumbles about with the flaming rock embedded in his face. A hologram of a forty-foot tall hellbeast appears on stage and speaks to Karl and his burning, screaming, moaning friends.)

Hellbeast: Oh! The Curse lives! You can not escape its power. It will consume you.
(Hellbeast hologram exits through backstage wall with piercing screams. In the distance, we hear wolves howling, a heavy rain starts, the stage runs with mud and blood.)

Karl: (out of the hole now, he holds the thing in his hand, he has already started going mad with its power) Brant! Melissa! I've found it! I have the power! The glory is mine! The world is mine! (Brant and Melissa are not responsive. They've collapsed moaning and burning to the stage; Karl doesn't notice their problems. He jumps in the car and peels out on stage, whipping around and driving off stage left. The wolf pack enters stage right, and begins feasting on Brant and Melissa. Lightning strikes again, exploding several tombstones and collapsing other tombstones through the ground. Several wolves catch on fire, wolves exit through right and left aisles in the house, dragging the half-eaten corpses of Brant and Melissa. Wolves on fire run into the trees, which catch on fire. Lights fade as lightning and thunder continues and trees and remnants of stage begin burning intensely.)

Scene 2: Lights up on a pristine white stage, interior of the perfectly-appointed Art Deco mansion of Karl's father, The Senator. Nearly everything in the mansion, from the five sofas in the sitting room, to the marble fire place, to the kitchen counters and twenty-seat dining table, to the deck and diving boards of the pool and the pool house stage left is a dazzling white. Enter the Senator, he proceeds to the pool, takes off his bathrobe and executes and beautiful swan dive into the pool. He comes out picks up a towel, dries himself off. Enter Karl. He is obviously not well, his hair is bleached platinum blonde and he has a matching evil-looking platinum blonde moustache. His skin gives off a slight yellowish glow. A foul smell wafts across the stage and follows Karl wherever he goes. His footsteps have an odd, hollow ring to them. He is completely lost inside his owwn head, paying no attention to his own father.)

Senator: Hey, son. What's the news? (pause) That's fine, don't tell me. It's probably about me, and they're probably making it sound as bad as possible. (small laugh, pause) Karl? Son! I am talking to you! What is going on? What did you do to your hair? Are you turning yellow? Hey! Karl! (getting right in Karl's face) Son, you had better shower; what kind of stink did you roll in? Wha... what's wrong with your eyes, son? You'd better say something now!

Karl: (looks at Senator, his eyes start glowing bright red, his hair starts on fire and yellow steam escapes from his mouth. He steps back from the Senator, raises his arms skyward, and bright red lasers shoot out from his eyes and coil themselves aound the Senator who is lifted rapidly toward the ceiling. With jerks of his head, he starts the now-screaming Senator spinning rapidly and flying up and down. He shakes his head violently, smashing the Senator into the walls, the fire place, the pool house, large blood spatters cover the surfaces the Senator has hit. The Senator is now unconscious. Karl slams him into the pool to revive him. He holds him underwater for a full minute with his laser eyebeams, which have changed color many times and are now back to the original red. He pulls him out, the Senator is coughing and mostly conscious now. About twenty feet above the pool, Karl meets his eyes and says in an incredibly low, growling voice that echoes and reverberates) Something... now! (The lights begin to fade as the Senator's body is ripped in half and his internal organs plop into the pool waters below.)


April 21, 2006

A Play A Day #7

Quarter-baked and Half-cocked

Stuart: (opening door, letting in Tammy, hugs and greeting kisses) Hello, Tammy! So nice to see you again; glad you could make it. You're the first one here.

Tammy: Oh, that's not like me at all! (laughter) It's nice to be back.

S: Yeah, how was Oklahoma?

T: Well, it's still flat; and I drew more than my fair share of stares pretty much everywhere I went, but I expected that. Always happens.

S: Yeah, I bet.

T: It's beautiful there though; I've always thought that there's so much more beauty in the harsh and rugged and austere.

S: Well said!

T: You know? Definitely more beauty in someone who's plain and unashamed than in someone who's gorgeous and glamorous but hides behind their appearance.

S: (pause, Stuart appraises her with impressed nods) Wow! Sounds like a philosophical trip for you.

T: Yeah, I guess; I didn't even know I'd been thinking these things until now. (knock on door; Stuart opens door)

Gus: Hey! Stuart! Brought some wine. Picked up some old skank, thought she might like a little party. (Olivia enters behind Gus)

Olivia: Thanks scum, with you it's always a little party. (lots of little greeting chatter, hugs, kisses, standard fare among good friends) Oh, Tammy, so nice to see you! Wasn't expecting you so early.

S: Well, Olivia, we were just discussing that Tam had a bit of an aesthetic awakening on her trip back home.

G: Oklahoma opened you right up, huh?

T: Yeah, sort of... It just reminded me how much beauty there is in those things that seem, on the outside, dull or ugly or creepy.

O: Well, we would all certainly know about that, wouldn't we? (laughter all around)

S: Definitely a theme in my life.

G: Speak for yourself! (more laughter)

O: You're just the cattiest halfie ever... you've always struck me as fermish.

G: (catty) Bitch! I was born as strong a merm as a good herm can be.

S: Listen to you two tossing out the taboo phrases! What would (said as a word," is-nah") ISNA say?

G: Fuck'em. I didn't even donate this year.

T: Seriously? You've got the spare cash.

G: Ah, I figured: they're so concerned with language, exactly what to say and when. It's not natural. It's like all big advocacy groups; they get stuck on what to call themselves, you know.

O: Yeah, it becomes so arduous that whatever they decide on instantly becomes its own stigma.

G: Exactly.

S: Well, I gave this year, again.

G: I agree with what they do; just not how they do it.

S: Yeah. Alright.

T: Hey, why don't we get (air-quotes) "the meeting" going. (they progress to a sofa and easy chair and sit)

O: I've always loved this couch, Stu. So cushy.

S: Thanks.

G: So where's the shit?

S: Huh?

G: The shit?

S: Didn't you bring it?

G: Umm, no, not my turn.

O: What?

T: You didn't bring any?

G: No, just the wine...

S: But, I thought...

G: I was supposed to bring the wine; so I...

S: Shit! Really?

G: Petty sure.

T: What should we do?

S: Hold on; I'll check in my drawer, bound to be plenty in there. (leaves)

O: You know, this is just the best group.

G: Oh yeah! Best in this town at least.

T: (laughing) Easily.

O: It's one thing to even find three other intersexuals in a town this size, but to find out they all share your love of weed. Wow, just perfect, you know.

T: Ohh... and they're all really fabulous-looking people too, don't forget that part.

G: Can we just agree on "hermaphrodite"... I hate "intersexual", sounds so medical.

T: Come on, don't go there again, Gus. Use whichever terms you want.

O: Yeah, or we'll just become a tiny version of ISNA.

G: I know, it's just that "intersexual" sounds like some bizarre synonym for "bisexual" and that's not really the hermie issue.

T: Yeah, but "hermaphrodite" reminds me of the church ladies whispering and pointing when I was a little girl.

S: (returning) Bad news! I scraped the last of my stash, and I could only come up with one.

G: One joint?

T: Well, we'll share, of course.

G: Yeah, but it takes me one strong joint, by myself, to get a good buzz.

T: Well, me too, but we'll just savor it that much more.

O: Yeah, Gus, we don't need to get a huge buzz.

S: Sorry guys, I'd like a whole stick too, but there was obviously a mix-up on who was bringing what.

O: Don't worry, Stu; it was always more about us four herms being together to get support than to get baked.

G: Yeah, sorry, not trying to be a buzzkill. Light it up.

T: Hey, this situation just made me think up a joke.

O: Your own joke?

T: Yeah, just popped into my head, just now. (joint is being passed)

S: Well, let's hear it! (lights start fading out)

T: O.K. What do you call four hermaphrodites with only one one joint?

G: (lights out, pause, in the dark) I don't know, what?


April 20, 2006

A Play A Day #6

The Actors Spell

The Author

First: I woud lik to beleev efrything that they toght me wen I went to there scools, even wen I wos verry yung, even in elamentery scool. Thads wy I stayd in scool so long, evenchully grajawateen from colij and than starding my doktorate dugree at Prinzdon. I wanded to beeleev. If I jist kood haf ben abul to get past that voiz, that voiz that honts us al, that voiz that tells u that u cand do it. It tares u up insid, and it nefer, efer shuds up. Wy cand I hav sum ...

The Author: Ummm... could you hold on, please?

F: Shur, wods up?

TA: Is something wrong today? You feeling alright?

F: Yeh, feel fyn, wy do u asg?

TA: Well, you're spelling is, how do I put this? It's, uhhh... way off?

F: My speleen?

TA: Yeah, like a kindergartner, except without the refinement.

F: My speleen?

TA: Yes, your "speleen", what's so hard to understand about that?

F: Im jist akteen up heer; I dont get how my speleen cood meen enitheen?

TA: Hey, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, O.K? This isn't about your acting.

F: It isent?

TA: Not at all. Your acting is top notch; believe me, I wouldn't have let you go on as long as you did if I hadn't been enjoying what you were doing with the character.

F: O. Gud.

TA: But I just couldn't listen to that putrid spelling any longer.

F: Ryt... ummmm... I stil don get it.

TA: I'm sure you just lost your concentration, huh? Let's go back and try it again, o.k.? From the top?

F: O.K.

TA: Whenever you're ready.

F: (considerably more nervous as he starts) I woud lik to beleev efrything that they toght me wen I went to there scools, even wen I wos verry yung, even in elamentery scool. Thads wy I stayd in scool so long, even... (TA is noticeably upset, approaches F) chully ...

TA: (trying to smooth it over, showing F the script he has written) Here's the monologue O.K.? I just want you to refresh your memory here. Maybe you're just tired; I understand. You need some time to get into it.

F: But u sed my akteen woz fyn.

TA: Yes, yes, it is.

F: So, wy did u stop me ugen? (indicating script) Em I nod sayeen theez wurds?

TA: Perfectly! It's just the spelling, that's the only issue.

F: But Im jist speeken; how do u evan no wod the wurds ar spelt lyk?

TA: Listen, I'm the author, alright. I know how I spelled the words, and you just can't seem to spell them correctly in your acting.

F: Im not trieen to spul them; Im onlee akteen!

TA: Let's not fight, O.K. Let's just go to the beginning and I'm sure we'll work out the kinks. O.K.?

F: O.K...

TA: Start when you're ready.

F: (very nervous and confused, he stumbles through the first part) I woud lik to beleev... efrything... that they toght me... bekuz... wen I went to there scools, even wen, ummm... even wen... even wen...

TA: Alright, alright, listen just have a seat for a while, take a breather out in the hall, here's a copy of the script. Read through it some more; pay close attention to the spelling. (pushing him off stage) Send in the next person for me, would you? Thanks. (F is gone) Unbelievable, you take all that time to write something, and they can't even get the words right. (Second enters.) Ahh, hello! Welcome. O.K. We are going to take the opening monologue, from the top. Now the character is lamenting his inability to believe in himself; he's lost in unfulfilled dreams... he doesn't really even know which dreams were his, and which were implanted by his high-pressure, win-at-any-cost peer group. He's in a lot of pain, bam, right from the start. That's what I'm looking for, O.K?

Second: O.K.

TA: Whenever you're ready.

S: (pause as he takes a breath, gets into character) I woud lik to beleev efrything that they toght me wen I went to there scools, even wen I wos verry yung, even in elamentery scool. Thads wy I stayd in scool...

TA: Stop! Stop. Stop. Ummm... yes... uhh... did you talk to the first guy or something?

S: No.

TA: Because, it's not a very funny joke.

S: Im not jokeen, thow.

TA: (takes a deep breath) Listen, here's what I wrote down; let me just read the first line of the monolgue: "I would like to believe everything that they taught me when I went to their schools; even when I was very young, even in elementary schools." Did you hear that?

S: Yez, isent that wod I sed?

TA: It's exactly what you said, but you spelled it completely wrong!

S: Speld?

TA: Yes, "speld". Completely wrong.

S: Im jist ackteen thow; Im not speleen.

TA: Clearly, you're not.

S: So, wod do u want?

TA: I want to hear it spelled correctly! It wouldn't hurt to be able to hear some apostrophes too.

S: O.K. Surtenlee.

TA: From the top. Please.

S: (more nervous) I woud lik to beleev efrything that they toght me wen I went to there scools, even wen I wos verry yung, even in elamentery...

TA: Why don't you go back out to the hall. Ask the first guy to look at his script when he's done with it, and send in the next guy when you get out there. (He stands exasperated as S leaves, Third enters.) Hi, hi. Alright let's get to business, now I'm going to want to start with the opening monlogue and... hey... before we do that, let me just know how well you can spell.

Third: Spel?

TA: (slight grimace at that minor error) Yes.

T: O... Im a reel gud spelur.

TA: O.K. Listen, this just isn't going to work out... I need someone who can spell what I wrote... please leave... just go... good-bye... send the other guys away too... (T leaves in great confusion) Jeez, you get these great actors, and none of them can really spel the pard for u. I meen, wodz nekst, itz jist not rite! Evrywon shood haf to no how to spel... oh shid... uve god to be kideen, now Im doeen it to my owen wurdz! Hoo rites this krap eneeway? (exits, lights down)