May 3, 2006

A Play A Day #20



Setting: Cheerleading practice in the gym. "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves is playing. Cheerleaders are doing a choreographed routine. Sindrek has headphones on. She is doing her own movements in a decidely non-cheery manner.

Tallie: (routine is going on) C'mon girls! Faces up, big smiles. Keep your heads nodding... that's it. We make the action! We are the focus! Our attitudes are contagious! Let's keep that positive energy flowing! Yeah! (routine ends either by error or end of song) Alright! Way to go! That was excellent girls. O.K. Still some stuff we have to work on.

Hallie: What needs work?

Callie: I think I know.

Kallie: I think we all know.

Tallie: Well, we do have some problems with uniformity.

Allie: We're doing alright with that, I thought.

Tallie: Well, we were.

Callie: (to Tallie only) We need to have another intervention?

Allie: (to other girls) Circle up?

Hallie: As usual.

Tallie: (sickeningly positive) O.K.! Circle time, girls! (all six girls sit on the floor, keep circle slightly open, so all can be seen. Tallie is upstage center, the leader of the circle. Sindrek sits on Tallie's left.)

Kallie: Will we be practicing any more?

Allie: Probably depends on how well this circle goes.

Tallie: Well, we all know from reading "The T!A!O! Of Cheerleading" that the best cheerleaders find their own center while expressing a unaminous force of spirit that carries and elevates the moods of all participants, both internal participants, like us, and external participants, like the crowd and athletes.

Callie: Especially the hot athletes! (tittering all around, except for Sindrek)

Tallie: Yes, well, anyway... as I was saying, The Cheerleader is a modern enigma. She must embrace the duality in everything. Will the shot go in or not? Will we win or lose? Is my skirt engaging my sexuality or the sexuality of others? She must retain her sense of independence while sacrificing independent thought, motion and spelling to the group, even when the group is not around. Only through embracing the ambiguity of her existence, can The Cheerleader become the confident force behind The Cheer.

Allie: We've heard all this before, Tallie.

Tallie: I know, Allie, but I think it needs to be said again.

Hallie: For the benefit of some.

Tallie: For all of us, Hallie! We are The Group. We are one. We are six individuals who have embraced and surrendered to strict codes of uniformity. We have taken that loss onto ourselves as individuals, so that we may be selfless - as a group - on the sidelines. This uniform code refers to every aspect of our lives. It is the glue that binds us. That will always bind us, for, having shared this experience, we will be true sisters forever. Always there for each other, until our dying days and beyond.

Kallie: (actually crying) I love you all! (looks at everyone except Sindrek)

Callie: You're so sweet, Kallie! (breaks down a bit too)

Kallie: (hugging Callie) I do; I just love you all so much, Callie.

Tallie: So sweet! (Sindrek is laughing) Ummm... O.K... lets have hugs later. First, we will go around the circle and offer suggestions as to how we can improve as a group. (murmuring) And! Remember the rules, please! Use "we" language. Offer suggestions not complaints - we need to look for solution opportunities! Listen completely; don't interrupt, even if the suggestion is about you. O.K. Who wants to start?

(All comments, of course, are about Sindrek, who remains remarkably impassive with every "suggestion".)

Hallie: I'll go. O.K... ummm... we want to see everyone listening to the same music when we are doing our routines.

Callie: My turn... we would like to reread the make-up code to see if it contains any allowances for black lipstick and ghostly-white base, or nose, eyebrow and forehead piercings, or bright yellow contact lenses.

Allie: Good idea for us! How about this: let's all check on the rules about proper cheerleading attire. We are very curious if black fishnet leggings, leather shirts studded arm bands, and calf-high Doc Martens are regulation attire.

Kallie: I'm wondering if we can have our hair dyed chartreuse and jet black, especially when our team colors are blue and gold.

Tallie: Even I am thinking we might not be wise to have huge black widow spider tattoos on our necks and chests, especially when our Cheer sweaters dip as low as they do. Perhaps, also, we would confuse the crowd into thinking our team name was "The Spiders" instead of "The Huskies". (long pause, generally agreeing tones die down, pause continues.)

Tallie: Ummm... Sindrek? Do you have any suggestions for us? Something that might help us as a team? Remember to use "we" language, and offer suggestions, not just complaints! O.K. (long pause) Go ahead. (long pause, Tallie remains ever-cheerful) Your turn! (long pause) I could help you think of something!

Sindrek: (speaks in very flat, bored and almost-creepy monotone) We doubt it.

Tallie: (persistently optimistic) C'mon now! I'm sure there's something we could do better. I mean we're obviously great, but maybe we could be greater! What do you say?

Sindrek: Very little. It is quite clear to us that we suck. Hardcore.

Tallie: (getting a little miffed) Hmmm... have we thought about why we might suck? Or perhaps you have a suggestion to help us all suck less hardcore?

Sindrek: Yeah. Stop cheering.

Allie: That's not helpful! Then we wouldn't be cheerleaders!

Sindrek: I always knew you were smart one.

Hallie: Sindrek, why are you doing this?

Sindrek: Doing what?

Hallie: This!

Sindrek: Being realistic? I don't expect you to be able to swallow it.

Callie: You're not realistic! Because you know why we suck, and you won't say it!

Sindrek: Neither will you, apparantly.

Kallie: I will. We suck, because you stopped being a cheerleader! You've turned into a pretentious jerk.

Sindrek. Ouch. Stop.

Kallie: I won't stop! Last year, it was so great! We were B-Team, sure, but we were good, because we were cheerleaders! All of us! Even you! It was always Allie, Callie, Hallie, Kallie, Sallie and Tallie. Everyone knew we would be A-team quality, because we worked at it! We attacked our cheering! Now, here we are: A-team and you're just not there anymore! Where did Sallie go? Who is Sindrek anyway? What is Sindrek? We looked past the name change; we looked past the hair, we tried to look past everything! We thought that, under all that zombie make-up, the old Sallie would come out and cheer again! You were always our best speller!

Sindrek: That was all sooo one year ago. People change.

Kallie: Not cheerleaders, Sindrek! Not cheerleaders! We are the leaders of the class spirit! We must hold it up for all time!

Sindrek: Well, I guess that means cheerleaders aren't real people. I always thought as much.

Callie: We're not people?! Not people?! Well, what are you... Sallie?

Sindrek: (this gets her) I'm NOT Sallie!

Callie: Yes, you are! Sallie! What are you?

Sindrek: Stop calling me that!

Callie: If cheerleaders are not people, then you are even less than not-a-person; because you're not even a cheerleader!

Allie: You look like slutty death.

Sindrek: At least I don't look the same, like you all do.

Tallie: No. But you look the same as the other Megagoths in school. Your different than us, but you're the same as someone else.

Sindrek: At least, I don't go around being phony and perky all the time.

Hallie: Maybe we like being perky and happy! Why is that phony?

Sindrek: It's phony because no one is really like that. It's not realistic.

Kallie: I'm like that.

Allie: Me too.

Sindrek: Impossible. Life is too miserable for that kind of attitude.

Callie: I think life is too miserable with your kind of attitude. Did you ever think of that?

Sindrek: That's what I like about it.

Hallie: I don't see how we can go on like this.

Kallie: It's really hurting the group.

Allie: Where's the cheer?

Tallie: Calm down! Please. We've dealt with situations like this before. We can do this again.

Callie: But Tallie, she doesn't even cheer anymore. I don't think she can!

Sindrek: I choose not to.

Tallie: Sindrek, remember the Maximum Maxim: Those who can, cheer; those who can't, fear. And what do they fear, girls?

Allie: (memorized) Our Heart

Callie: Our Spirit

Kallie: Our Charm

Hallie: Our Beauty

Tallie: And?

Allie, Callie, Kallie, and Hallie: Our Class!

Sindrek: My ass.

Tallie: Sindrek. I'm not feeling that you appreciate your position as a cheerleader any longer.

Hallie: I think it's time, Tallie.

Allie: I agree.

Callie: Me too. It's time.

Tallie: Kallie?

Kallie: Well, I don't want to disagreee with the group...

Tallie: Very well; so it shall be.

Allie: Are we going to... to...

Tallie: Yes. We will Choreograph Her Out.

Callie: Wow... and the pyramid?

Tallie: It's part of the routine. It has been passed on to us; we cannot let it go.

Hallie: The Missing Cheerleader Formation?

Tallie: I'm afraid so. The group has spoken.

Kallie: The Misssing Cheerleader Formation!? Can't that break a girl's spirit for all eternity?

Tallie: So it is written.

Allie: It is a powerful weapon against the Insurgency of Independence in the Cheerleading Corps.

Callie: In this case, a weapon for the Cheerleading Corps against a Cheerleading Corpse.

Tallie: Ready girls? (They are all on their feet in front of Sindrek, who is smoking now. They begin a routine that is remarkably cheerful. Make up your own movements, but the cheer goes like this)

We are the clique
We are the group
We are the cooks
The rest are soup

We hold the spirit
We hold the key
And so you fear it
Our popularity

If you're not with us
then you're against us
If we're not with you
then we're against you

We are One
You are none
We are One
You are none
We are one
Your are none
We are one
You are gone

The pyramid shows us
It leaves no doubt
The pyramid knows us
And you are out!!

(During 'pyramid' lines, girls do a six-person pyramid, the top spot bare, when "you are out" is said, the middle two girls, each hold aloft a black pom pom where the head of the top girl would be. After pyramid comes down. The two black pom poms are laid at Sindrek's feet. Sindrek, still sitting, stares at the pompoms and starts to shake and convulse. She lifts her head to the other girls. She is crying uncontrollably.)

Sindrek: O.K. O.K. Wow! That cheer!

Tallie: It worked, girls.

Sindrek: (standing up) I can't pretend any more!

Hallie: Game's done, Tallie.

Sindrek: Please let it be done! (Sindrek starts taking off her wig, the metal, adhesive piercings, the black plastic "tattoos", grabs a towle and starts wiping her face, starts taking off clothes to reveal standard shorts and t-shirt.)

Allie: (while Sindrek transforms) Yaaaayy! It worked!

Callie: I'll say.

Kallie: Jeez, Sallie; you were good!

Sallie: (very much starting to look just like other cheerleaders) Well, I really felt the part. You know I knew that goth girl, Megan, before she went all deathy-death, and so I knew what it was like to be around that kind of sickness. I mean she didn't even want to be popular!

Allie: Unbelievable.

Tallie: Thank you, everyone! I think that went soooo well!! We'll do it again next month!

Callie: It's kind of fun!

Tallie: Well, ever since 9/11, the National Cheerleading Council has advised cheerleaders to be prepared for attack by cheerorists, insidious groups of free-thinking unpopular insurgents within our own schools. I take such threats very seriously! This month, Sallie did such a great job portraying a Goth for us! Next month, I think it's Kallie... and I think you're going to be doing a Chess team participant... ouch... tough one... lots of uncoordinated motions I would imagine...

Kallie: Don't worry; I know this kid who played chess once. I'll get some good background on it from him.

Tallie: Good! But, hey, we can tackle the next Popularity Emergency Preparedness For Extreme Solidarity Training as the time draws nearer next month. Now, let's go shopping!

Sallie: (all start gathering their stuff, and exiting, lights satrt fading) Thanks for being so tough, girls. You made it so much easier to be jealous of you! But, you know, sometimes, I wonder how we can be even more popular?

Allie: Ahhh, don't worry about it.

Hallie: Yeah, don't think about it.

Callie: I don't.

Kallie: Me either.

Sallie: O.K. I won't. (lights out)

Tallie: 'Atta girl!


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