June 30, 2006

A Play A Day #78

More Directions Less


Setting: Gary and Ruby pull over in their car, roll down the window and hail a pedestrian, Claude, for directions. Claude speaks to Ruby and Gary through Ruby's window. She is the passenger.

Ruby: Excuse me... Excuse... Yes, sir? Hi! Do you live around here?

Claude: Sure do, for almost two years now!

Ruby: Great! Could you help us?

Claude: (coming to window) Sure.

Ruby: Thank you... ummm... we are looking for... 18338 Pine... Crest Shore... Ridge... ummm... Drive?

Claude: O.K.

Gary: Great! You know where it is?

Claude: Sure do. It's real easy to get there!

Ruby: Oh good; we're already a bit late...

Claude: O.K. What you want to do is keep going on this road here, this is Lake Shore Lane...

Ruby: Right...

Claude: This will angle to the left slightly for a quarter mile, then turn to the right somewhat for a half mile, you'll be going southeasterly at that time.

Gary: Southeast, O.K.

Claude: Well, southeasterly, anyway... then after about a half mile you'll veer to the right a bit more, that's Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street.

Ruby: That's it?

Claude: No, that was Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street, not Drive... now take the leftish turn after the fourth or fifth tan house on your left, that'll be Pine Crest Shore Ridge Parkway, stay on that for maybe about a third of a mile....

Ruby: (frantically searching for a pencil and paper now, finding it, trying to keep up) Uhhh...

Claude: Now, Pine Crest Shore Ridge Parkway, curves around to right until you end up back on Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street again, but a different section of Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street that you couldn't access when you were on the main section of Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street.

Gary: Ummm... could you...

Claude: Now, you'll want to turn to the right, and you'll be on that section of Pine Crest Shore Ridge Street for about ten feet, take the left turn and double back along that road, which is Pine Crest Shore Ridge Lane, for about a half mile. Now, you'll go past Pine Crest Shore Ridge Circle, Pine Crest Shore Ridge Boulevard, and Pine Crest Shore Ridge Ridge, then drift about ten degress to the right until you're on Pine Crest Shore Ridge Avenue, follow through three full spiraling loops to the northwest.

Ruby: I'm not sure if I...

Claude: Now, here's where it gets a little tricky... at the bottom of the third loop the road will split into six streets, Pine Crest Shore, Pine Crest Ridge Shore, Pine Shore Ridge Crest, Pine Ridge Crest Crest, Crest Pine Crest Shore Ridge, and Oak Street. You could take Oak Street, but it's soccer time, and you're just not gonna be able to get by all the traffic. So, I recommend you take the obvious choice, Pine Ridge Crest Crest.

Ruby: Could you please....

Claude: Now follow Pine Ridge Crest Crest until it meets with Ridge Pine Pine Pine Lane, follow that around to a stop sign where Ridge Pine Pine Pine Lane crosses Pine Pine Crest Pine Ridge Drive at about a one hundred and fifty degree angle. You'll want to take the hard right onto Pine Pine Crest Pine Ridge Drive, take that as it arcs around the green for about three-quarters of a mile. Take the fifth right on the second Pine Ridge Crest Butte Avenue, ignore the first Pine Ridge Crest Butte Avenue, because that section of it dead ends at Pine Ridges Crested Condominiums.

Gary: Really... sir...

Claude: You're almost there, follow Pine Ridge Crest Butte Avenue onto Butte Crest Drive, then your first right on Crest Butte Lane, then a hard left onto Pine Crest Butte Road. Stay on that past four or five tan houses, then take the third left onto Four Pines Crest Butte Ridge, follow that past three condominium developments, one tan, one buff and one sand-colored, then drive through the parking lot throughway, and take the next left and that's Pine Crest Shore Ridge Drive, you'll go about a half-mile down that road, then it will split, veer to the left and follow the circle around for a little bit and you'll see 18338 on your left.

Ruby: I... uhhhh...

Claude: You can't miss it. It's a tan house with a three car garage. Mind you, it's tan! Not the taupe and beige and desert and nude houses nearby... the tan one.

Gary: So we stay straight on this road...

Claude: Yep! It's only about a mile from here, as the crow flies.

Ruby: Ummm... sir, can I ask you what happens when the ambulance needs to get to someone out here?

Claude: Ambulance?

Ruby: In an emergency, yes...

Claude: Well, it usually only takes them about forty-five minutes or so!

Gary: (horrified) Forty-five!?

Claude: Yes, I know... so fast! Especially considering they almost never come out here!

Ruby: They don't?

Claude: Nope. Nothing bad ever happens out here. It's the suburbs.

(Claude gives them a little head nod and walks off; Gary and Ruby stare straight ahead, overwhelmed, and lights fade out.)


June 29, 2006

A Play A Day #77

Arm In Arm


Setting: Set is done entirely in shades of gray, Misty and Wiley enter arm in arm, impeccably dressed in blacks, grays and whites for a late evening stroll, no sound on the stage, have them wear slippers if necessary, or run a very noisy film projector from the house, sending background imagery onto any of the stage walls. Actors should never make any noise that could be heard above the film projector. Everything proceeds as normal, except when the actors talk, they lip-synch the words, the stage goes dark, and then the words they lip-synched appear on the stage wall for long enough for audience to read them, then lights come back up. Actions between and with words should be exaggerated in great melodramatic fashion.

Misty: (Sure is dark.)

Wiley: (Don't worry, dear; you're safe with me.)

Misty: (Yes, I know, Wiley. You are such a marvelous man!)

Wiley: (Thank you for saying so, Misty.)

Misty: (I've never known a man as marvelous as you!)

Wiley: (Ohhh...)

Misty: (Then again, I haven't gone with many men.)

Wiley: (No?)

Misty: (It's true.)

Wiley: (Truly?)

Misty: (Yes.)

Wiley: (Do tell me of the others who have chased your fair hand.)

Misty: (Ohh... must I, Wiley?)

Wiley: (Verily, I do insist.)

Misty: (Certainly, it is your right to know.)

Wiley: (I must know.)

Misty: (Yes... well...)

Wiley: (Misty, please tell me. I can handle it.)

Misty: (Well... first there was Maurice.)

Wiley: (Not Maurice, the blacksmith?)

Misty: (Yes, the very same.)

Wiley: (Why? He was known in country and town as a vulgar lout.)

Misty: (Yes! I know!)

Wiley: (Surely, you were treated rudely and suffered unduly)

Misty: (Well, at first, I fell in love... with his hammer!)

Wiley: (The scoundrel!)

Misty: (The way he pounded it! So powerfully and with such speed and confidence!)

Wiley: (The clangorous cad!)

Misty: (I found out, almost too late, that he planned to use his hammer against me!)

Wiley: (I knew it! The smoke-befouled wretch!)

Misty: (I beat him off just in time, or surely I would have faced far more injurious behavior at his hands!)

Wiley: (Misty, this angers me so!)

Misty: (Do not fret; Maurice is no longer a concern of mine.)

Wiley: (He has left the county?)

Misty: (Yes, so to speak.)

Wiley: (Hmmm...)

Misty: (Well...)

Wiley: (Hmmmm...)

Misty: (Must you insist so... insistingly?)

Wiley: (I'm afraid I must.)

Misty: (I was walking with Maurice one night, arm in arm, when he...)

Wiley: (What?)

Misty: ((gasp))

Wiley: (Misty!? Tell me what it is that happened!)

Misty: ((sob))

Wiley: (Was the monster.... forward?..... with you?)

Misty: (Yes! Yes! He tried to (sob) grab my, ohh my frail heart....)

Wiley: (He tried to grab your... breast?)

Misty: (No...)

Wiley: (Your derriere?)

Misty: (No...)

Wiley: (Dear Jehovah! Not your... ummm...)

Misty: (Yes!)

Wiley: (You poor dear heart! Whatever did you, a beautiful, vulnerable woman, do at that time?)

Misty: (I did what any proper lady would!)

Wiley: (Yes?)

Misty: (I said, no man shall touch my knee lest we be married!)

Wiley: (Ohh... yes... yes, indeed!)

Misty: (He persisted, and his language became very rough and unusual.)

Wiley: (Your refusal had confused him, mayhap?)

Misty: (Luckily, when Maurice had pursued his descent to madness almost to its fullest extent, a stranger appeared.)

Wiley: (A stranger. Do tell more.)

Misty: (He challenged Maurice for my honor; they drew pistols, and, at the last possible moment, Maurice shouted something about his life no being worth it, and he shot himself dead!)

Wiley: (In your presence?)

Misty: (Yes. It was... grim.)

Wiley: (Not something for a woman's eyes!)

Misty: (So fragile eyes as mine.)

Wiley: (Who was this stranger?)

Misty: (He ran off before the smoke settled, saying only, "Return one day!")

Wiley: (Egads! What a story you tell, Misty!)

Misty: (Yes... and that's just the beginning!)

Wiley: (The beginning?)

Misty: (Yes! For it has happened eight times since that day.)

[from here to the end, Wiley's lip-synched words will stop matching what is appearing on the screen, he will notice and get more and more flustered as the scene progresses, left to protest in silence, while simultaneously playing along with the words on the screen which he believes must be exactly what he's supposed to be doing, he will be protesting yet performing as instructed, try it, it's possible]

Wiley: (Eight times? Surely a harlot like you must have allowed someone to touch her delicate knee!)

Misty: ((gasp!!))

Wiley: (Why must you gasp so, whore!)

Misty: ((gasp, gasp!!))

Wiley: dropping to his knees roughly (Up with the skirt, you precious tart!)

Misty: ((gasp!)) (Oh me! Oh my!)

Wiley: pulling at her petticoats (Come on! This is the only reason women walk arm in arm!)

Misty: (No Wiley!! Stop!)

Wiley: (Come on! Let's see those babies!)

Misty: (You are surely deranged!)

Wiley: (I want what any real man wants!)

Misty: escaping his grasp and running (Away! Away! Foul beast!)

Wiley: chasing (I will catch you, and I will touch more than your knees!)

Misty: (No, you mustn't!!)

Wiley: (Yes, I must!!)

Misty: (No, you mustn't!!)

Wiley: grabbing her (Yes, I must!!)

Misty: (Help! Help! Someone save me!)

Wiley: (No one will hear your screams out here!)

[Francis enters, dark and handsome, he raises his pistol]

Francis: (Unhand the girl, you barbarous skag!)

Wiley: letting go of Misty (Ah hah! We meet at last, stranger!)

Francis: (If you've any gentleman left in you, I will trust you turn your back to mine take ten counted steps and turn and fire.)

Wiley: (You will find that I have gentleman enough to take those steps and finish you on the turn!)

Francis: (Begin! 1...2...3...4... )[overlapping Wiley, dark on stage the whole time]

Wiley: (1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...8...hey...9...) [shot is fired, lights up, Wiley lies dead, Francis kicks him lightly to check, then crosses to Misty, long, passionate kiss with plenty of fondling, including carressing of her knees, ensues]

Misty: (Oh Francis! How I've missed you and your heroics! That was a new way to run things!)

Francis: (Yes, I was bored with the old suicide-at-the-last-possible-moment story line.)

Misty: (So simple, just force him to count wrongly, and shoot him when you reach ten.)

Francis: (Speaking of ten, that was the tenth on the list, correct?)

Misty: (Yes darling! Only three left!)

Francis: (Who are they?)

Misty: (Wendell, Winston, and Willis)

Francis: (Ahh! Veni, Vidi, Vici!)

Misty: (Yes! Then we shall be together!)

Francis: (I still can't believe your father listed me as number fourteen!)

Misty: (I know darling, but we are very nearly through the list; then he will have to honor our marriage!)

Francis: (Yes, our plan is working perfectly.)

Misty: (I must depart now.)

Francis: (So quickly?)

Misty: (Yes, so I can allow Wendell to start courting me properly; the sooner to get him here.)

Francis: (I know. Will it take a full week again?)

Misty: (You just clean up Wiley here, and wait patiently!)

Francis: (But...)

Misty: (No, Francis; wait patiently; we must never been seen together until it's your turn to court me!)

Francis: (I know.)

Misty: (You just start working on new dialogue screens for the next time!)

Francis: (Yes.)

Misty: (Your writing is getting better; you still make the man get too forward very abruptly.)

Francis: (I like right turns like that.)

Misty: (Fine, but maybe you can make it a more subtle build next time.)

Francis: (I'll work on it.)

Misty: (His name is Wendell; spelled W-E-N-D-E-L-L, and can I please tell of one of the other victims besides Maurice, the blacksmith.)

Francis: (Well, he was the first. You never forget your first scripted victim.)

Misty: (Well, whatever; I must run; watch for me in about a week, Wendell will be his name.)

[more kissing]

Francis: (Yes, I know.)

Misty: (When you see us enter the park arm in arm; start the dialogue screeens.)

Francis: (I will! 'Til then, my sweet!) [both exit, opposite directions]

(lights out, "To Be Continued..." appears on dialogue screen)


June 28, 2006

A Play A Day #76


Jules - young girl
Cyla - young girl

Setting: A swing set in a public park. Jules is swinging quite high as lights come up.

Jules: (seeing audience, she starts talking) She's coming. It doesn't matter when I start swinging, she always seems to know. She's horrible! Wait 'til you meet her; you'll see what I mean. Ohhh, here she comes...

Cyla: (entering) Hi, Jules!

Jules: (darkly) Hi, Cyla.

Cyla: You're such a good swinger!

Jules: (darkly, cynically) Thanks.

Cyla: Can you teach me how to swing that high?

Jules: No.

Cyla: Oh, why not?

Jules: I'm busy.

Cyla: Busy?

Jules: Yeah, busy swinging.

Cyla: When you stop, then you can help me?

Jules: No.

Cyla: Oh, why not?

Jules: Because I'll be busy.

Cyla: Really?

Jules: Yep, busy not swinging.

Cyla: Wow, you're always really busy!

Jules: Yes, I am.

Cyla: Too busy for me, huh, Jules?

Jules: Yes. Too busy for you.

Cyla: (long pause, Cyla sits on ground, very close to the arc of Jules' swing, pause continues) Jules?

Jules: What?!

Cyla: Why are you too busy for me?

Jules: I have a lot of things to do.

Cyla: So you don't...

Jules: (interrupting) Don't sit so close!

Cyla: What?

Jules: Move!

Cyla: Where?

Jules: Away!

Cyla: Away from here?

Jules: Away!

Cyla: O.K. (she stands and turns, Jules' arc makes her feet slam directly into Cyla's back, Cyla is knocked forward, facedown on the stage, Jules does nothing, continues to swing)

Jules: Why'd you do that? (no response) Hey, Cyla, why'd you stand there?! Cyla, what are you doing down there!?

Cyla: (stirring, she sits up, she is bravely holding back tears) What?

Jules: I asked you why you did that?

Cyla: Did what?

Jules: Stood up right in front of my feet.

Cyla: I didn't mean too, Jules.

Jules: You slowed down my swing!

Cyla: Sorry, Jules, I...

Jules: I can't believe you could be so stupid!

Cyla: I just wanted...

Jules: You wanted what?!

Cyla: I just wanted you to touch me.

Jules: Fine then. I did.

Cyla: Yes. Thank you.

Jules: Don't you have somewhere to go to?

Cyla: No.

Jules: Could you find someplace else?

Cyla: Probably not.

Jules: Why do you have to be so difficult?

Cyla: I really want to play with you.

Jules: Who needs you?

Cyla: You?

Jules: Wrong! Guess again.

Cyla: You?

Jules: Still wrong, Cyla.

Cyla: I think it's right.

Jules: Cyla, I don't need you.

Cyla: Why did you call me?

Jules: What do you mean?

Cyla: You called me and told me to come to the swingset at the park.

Jules: What!!?

Cyla: Ummm, you did.

Jules: (slowing down on the swing) I don't even know your phone number!

Cyla: My mom told me you called and talked to her.

Jules: Ha! Liar! I talked to your Dad!

Cyla: Sorry.

Jules: (slowing down more) Why do you tell such awful lies!?

Cyla: I don't know.

Jules: (stopping, but staying on the swing) You're just a liar; that's all you are.

Cyla: I just want to be your friend.

Jules: I don't need any friends, o.k!

Cyla: But...

Jules: NONE!! Got it!!

Cyla: I'll do whatever you want me to.

Jules: You couldn't do anything I wanted you to!

Cyla: I can try.

Jules: Listen, you just don't undersatnd me, alright?

Cyla: But, I could!

Jules: No... listen... you want to be my friend?

Cyla: Yes! Yes! Yes! Of course!

Jules: Really?

Cyla: Uh-huh!!

Jules: You still have that stupid cat?

Cyla: You mean Sir Puddles?

Jules: Yeah, the one with the retard name.

Cyla: Yeah, but I don't think...

Jules: Where is he?

Cyla: He's at my house.

Jules: Listen, I'm going to go get him; you stay here.

Cyla: Why?

Jules: Because I'm going to bring the dumb thing back here.

Cyla: No... why are you getting my cat?

Jules: Well, I want to find out how badly you want to be my friend.

Cyla: Real bad! But why are you going to get Sir Puddles?

Jules: You'll find out!! Just stay here and swing and something and don't tell anybody where I went!

Cyla: But I'm...

Jules: Got it?!

Cyla: Yes.

(Jules exits, Cyla starts swinging, as she approaches maximum height, she says her lines)

Cyla: She's coming. It doesn't matter when I start swinging, she always knows. She's horrible! Wait 'til you meet her; you'll see what I mean. Ohhh, here she comes...

Jules: (entering) Hi, Cyla!

Cyla: (darkly) Hi, Jules.

(lights start to fade)

Jules: You're such a good swinger!

Cyla: (darkly, cynically) Thanks. (breaking character) Oh wow, Jules, "mean teenager" is the toughest character yet!

Jules (also breaking character) Yeah, I know! Are we really going to be that mean when we're 15?

Cyla: I hope not. C'mon, what's your next line?

Jules: Ummmm... oh yeah... Can you teach me how to swing that high?

(lights out)


June 27, 2006

A Play A Day #75

Burning With Fire


Setting: Anywhere two people can hang out.

Gripe: (bursting onto the stage as soon as lights are up, he is jumping around like a mad man, shouting and screeching a thousand miles a minute) Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! No! No! No! No! No! Nooooo! Help! Someone help! Help me help me help me help me help me help me help me pleasepleasepleaseplease; someone help! (continues this with terrified and painful ad-lib as Snipe slowly walk on the set. Gripe doesn't see him for a while, jumping around and yelping and begging for help, he even goes right by him on a couple of occasions. Finally, he catches on that someone is there, and he essentially begins molesting Snipe) Dear God! Help me! Help me! You must help me! Pleasepleaseplease!! (continues quieter whines and whimpers while Snipe responds)

Snipe: (carefully considering the man before him, finally he asks, slowly and flatly) What's wrong?

G: (loud screeching again) Can't you see?!! Can't you see?!! Can't you see!!? Help me! Please!! (softly again under next line)

S: (same as first time) What's wrong?

G: I can't explain now! I'm in pain! Help me help me help me help me!!

S: Tell me what's wrong.

G: (as a madman) I'M ON FIRE, DAMNIT!

S: (checking G over again, taking his time as G jumps and yelps about the stage) Figuratively?

G: What!!??

S: I said: Figuratively?

G: What?!!

S: Are you actually "on fire", or did you mean you feel like you're on fire?

G: I'm on fire!

S: That doesn't answer my question.

G: I'm... On... Fire!!!

S: Got it.

G: Help me!!

S: How?

G: Get a hose or something!!

S: Ohhhh... so you actually think you're physically burning?

G: I don't think! I am!

S: Well, Descartes would disagree with you there.

G: What??

S: Nevermind.

G: Well... Help me!

S: (long pause) I'd rather not.

G: You have to! I'm on fire!

S: No, you're not.

G: I'm on FIRE!!!!

S: Fine, could you describe the fire?

G: It's a fire, damn you!!

S: LIke a chemical burn?

G: No! A Fire!

S: Like a match?

G: Yes!

S: How'd that happen?

G: I don't care! Put the fire out, damnit!

S: Don't have any water.

G: Idiot! Help me!

S: Help yourself.

G: I can't help myself when I'm on fire!

S: Sure you can - stop, drop and roll.

G: Shit! Forgot about that! (does so, gets up, does it again, throwing himself to the floor with great force, rolling very quickly, gets up, does it again, gets up) Ahhhh... It's not working!

S: Yeah, it worked fine.

G: No, it didn't! You fool! Help me!! Help me!!

S: I did; fire's out.

G: I'm still burning!

S: Maybe, but you're not on fire.

G: Yes, it's the same damn thing!

S: Well, they're pretty close in meaning, but I think there are subtle differences.

G: You wouldn't think so if you were on fire!

S: Or burning.

G: That too! Now help me!

S: You know, you are about the whiniest guy on fire I've ever met.

G: What do you mean?!

S: Well, the last guy I met who was of fire; you know he bore up well under the strain.

G: I think I'm doing just fine for someone who's on fire!

S: Doubt it. (mocking pained voice) Mr-help-me-help-me-help-me... jeez, get a spine, man.

G: I'm on fire!!!

S: Blah-blah-whatever, little sissy boy.

G: That was just mean!

S: (taking a full bottle of soda from his pocket, opening it and taking a swig) Yeah, well, the truth always sounds mean, I guess.

G: (trying to grab his soda bottle) Give me that!

S: What the hell for?

G: I can dump it on me to put the fire out!

S: Hey! No way! Get your own damn soda.

G: Pour it on me!!

S: Forget it.

G: Save me!

S: I'd waste a soda, and you'd just get sticky.

G: And I'd be alive!

S: Nah, the stop-drop-and-roll thing didn't work, so I doubt a few ounces of Coke would do any damage to this intractable fire raging on you.

G: Yes! It would!

S: Hey! Wait a second! Is this fire inside you or on your skin, you know, outside you?

G: Ummmm... it's on the outside.

S: Why the pause?

G: No reason.

S: No, no you don't, answer me! Why the pause?

G: I... uhhh... couldn't remember.

S: You couldn't remember where you were burning?

G: No... I'm delirious with pain?

S: Don't sound too convinced about that.

G: Yeah, I am... the pain is such that I can no longer think clearly.

S: Your speech is fine; you're arguing with me fairly rationally. Come on; what's going on here?

G: Ummm... o.k., I have to level with you...

S: Don't feel obligated, but I guess I'd like a little explanation here.

G: I'm not "on fire" per se....

S: I picked that part up myself.

G: I am, however, burning with desire for the new fall line-up on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and the WB!

S: Ouch.

G: It's pretty bad.

S: The WB?

G: Yeah, it's a sickness.

S: Fox?

G: I just get the fever every line-up announcement season.

S: ABC's still on the air?

G: And I internalize it.

S: Pure bummer.

G: And then I think I'm actually on fire.

S: 101 percent pure.

G: So, do you think you can help me?

S: (pause) Want the rest of this? (holds up his Coke)

G: Sure. Thanks.

S: Let's walk a little; you gotta shake this thing.

G: I know. I know.

(lights begin fading as they exit)

S: You know, for a second there, I almost smelled burning flesh...

G: Yeah, I can be pretty convincing when the TV passion strikes.

S: Really though, man, the WB?

G: Sorry, it's not rational, I know...

(lights out)


June 26, 2006

A Play A Day #74

The Whole Food Cafe


Setting: A restaurant, Ned and Diane, who are dating, sit at a table.

Ned: That's why we have to keep looking for alternatives to solar and wind power.

Diane: Hmmm... I always thought that they were the alternatives.

Ned: That's what Big Solar wants you to think. I think we have to move on from its iron grip.

Diane: You really are progressive, aren't you?

Ned: Well, I guess you could say that I read beyond the standard texts.

(Perry, their waiter, enter)

Perry: Good evening friends, my name is Perry; I'll be your whole food bearer this evening. (hands them menus) Have either of you eaten here before?

Ned: Yes, I have.

Diane: Not me.

Perry: Terrific! Let me explain a little about what you will experience here tonight...

Ned: Oh! Don't tell her. I want her to be surprised.

Perry: Certainly.

Ned: We'll have some water, and I'll have the natural lemonade.

Diane: I guess I'll have the cherry-raspberry, sounds delicious.

Perry: Yes, it is. I'll be right back with your drinks. (exits)

Ned: (examining menu) There are so many choices; that's one of the reasons I like this place.

Diane: (looking at her menu) A lot of salads.

Ned: Yes, that's sort of the staple food of whole food restaurants everywhere.

Diane: (flipping pages in menu) Yes, I see.

Ned: You're o.k. with that, right?

Diane: Oh, yeah, yeah... I like salad.

(Perry returns)

Perry: Here you go... lemonade and... raspberry-cherry... (he has put two glasses of water, then two more, then two whole lemons, a dozen or so cherries and raspberries, and two pices of raw sugarcane, various knives, a peeler and zester) Now are you ready to order?

Ned: Yes. I'll have the garden salad with spices and the aged water dressing.

Perry: Thank you, and for you?

(Diane has been staring at the fruit on the table since it arrived)

Diane: Wha...? Oh, yes, uhhh, I'll have the... ummm... fresh fruit salad with the natural dressing.

Perry: Wonderful choice. I'll be right back with your meals. (exits)

Ned: Well, we better get started!

Diane: With what?

Ned: Making the juice.

Diane: Ummm.... o.k.

Ned: See, I take the lemon and slice it into tiny chunks, then I use the zester to get some concentrated lemon peel in there, then I cut off a piece of the sugar cane, and chew it into a pulp and spit that into the lemon water. (he finishes this after a little bit) There you have it: one hundred percent natural.

Diane: Yes, I guess so.

Ned: Except for the glass, that's processed, but they're working on that too...

Diane: O.K.

Ned: Switching to hand-fired earthenware mugs soon.

Diane: Sure, I guess that makes sense.

Ned: Here, take the cherries and cut the seeds out and then the raspberries, then the sugar cane... (they finish it together, except Ned, in his enthusiasm, has chewed the sugar cane and spat it into Diane's glass. She is not o.k. with this.)

Diane: Ummm... you... uh...

Ned: Try it, it's so much better than anything from a co-op!

Diane: Yes, but... ummm...

(Perry returns, pushing a cart with their meals on it)

Perry: Here we go, garden salad for you. (he puts entire head of lettuce, several full spinach leaves, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, different peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, jicama, etc.. then water in a very old glass with some unprocessed spices on the side) And a fresh fruit salad for you with natural dressing (Whole apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi, peaches, pears, apricots, and more exotic fruits are laid on the table for Diane, then "natural dresing", which is a carafe of water. Perry puts several more knives and two cutting boards down on the table) That's everything; please let me know if you need any help.

Ned: Looks great, Perry; thank you.

(Perry exits)

Diane: Umm... Ned...

Ned: (who's already started shredding the lettuce) Yes, Diane?

Diane: I'm a bit lost here.

Ned: (diligently working on his food preperations) How so?

Diane: What are the benefits of going out to eat here?

Ned: What do you mean?

Diane: Ned, we have to prepare all the food ourselves.

Ned: Yeah, it's great. Keeps you connected directly with the food chain.

Diane: But, I'm going out to eat, Ned.

Ned: Right, and you're connecting with the source of your food!

Diane: You mean their kitchen?

Ned: Oh, they don't have a kitchen here.

Diane: Nothing?

Ned: Right, the food is not cooked, and it's not even prepared!

Diane: That's just stupid.

Ned: No, this place is doing really well.

Diane: (looking around) We're the only ones here.

Ned: Not the right time for the crowds.

Diane: It's seven p.m. on Saturday.

Ned: That late? That explains it.

Diane: Explains what? That's when people go out for supper...

Ned: Not raw, whole, unprepared food people. They're up at 4 a.m., and in bed around 7 p.m. most days.

Diane: So why is it even open?

Ned: Well, they only need one person here to run it, since nothing is prepared.

Diane: But why wouldn't I just go down to my co-op, buy the food and prepare it myself?

Ned: Because then you wouldn't be getting the ambiance!

Diane: No, but I'd be saving a lot of money.

Ned: You're supporting a local business.

Diane: How?

Ned: Well, they buy food from the co-op, then they sell it back to us in a retaurant setting.

Diane: So, two bucks for this orange because of ambiance?

Ned: Yes. It's what we have to do to connect to the Earth!

Diane: But this restaurant is just one more layer between me and the Earth.

Ned: No, it's facilitating you connection to the Earth.

Diane: No. Ned, I have all these foods at home. I can just eat them there.

Ned: But, these guys are experts!

Diane: At printing menus and then buying ingredients and then doubling their price for no apparant reason.

Ned: Yes, for our meals.

Diane: They don't do anything!

Ned: It's a local business!

Diane: So is my checkbook!

Ned: Whoa! Calm down there, Diane. (pause) If you're buying into that consumer culture nonsense, just tell me now.

Diane: Ned, this is consumer culture nonsense!

Ned: They are bucking every conceivable trend here!

Diane: No, they're luring in people like you who want alternative everything, and you don't see that they are simply another whole food co-op except they are reselling you your own food and not giving you anything in return except a place to eat it.

Ned: No, they are helping you remember where food comes from.

Diane: Well, I'm not buying it.

Ned: Diane.

Diane: Literally.

Ned: But, you have to buy it, the food is already here.

Diane: It's here, not -prepared and not touched by me. Our Food-Bearer can wheel it out to the next sucker who comes along.

Ned: Diane, be reasonable.

Diane: I am. I'm leaving. I think I'll head to Taco Bell. (exits)

Ned: Diane!

(Perry enters)

Perry: Everything o.k., my friend.

Ned: Yeah, yeah... better give me a to-go bag for all this.

(Perry walks offstage, immediately back on with a co-op grocery bag)

Perry: Here you go; it's the same bag we brought the food in from the co-op next door.

Ned: I appreciate it.

Perry: We don't buy the food until you order it! I'll be right back with your check.

Ned: You guys are the best. (Perry exits, lights fade as Ned stands and starts packing the food into the bag, as if at a checkout counter)


June 25, 2006

A Play A Day #73



Setting: Sofa and chair.

Dapper: (entering) Napper! Napper! Wake up! Wake up!

Napper (on sofa, waking up) Hunnhh? Wha??

D: Listen! I figured it out, Napper! I got it! Finally! I got it!

N: Dapper, leave me be; I'm trying to nap...

D: Listen! Listen! I've got the idea, man! Thee million, maybe thee billion dollar idea!

N: Again? Third time this week?

D: No! Listen! Do you want to hear it or not?

N: No!

D: Last chance to get a cut on the action, Napper!

N: No!

D: Did you hear me?

N: Yes! Leave!

D: Alright, I'll tell you! Thee billion dollar....

N: Shut up, please!

D: No, maybe even theeee trillion dollar idea!

N: Trillion?

D: Full-proof, guaranteed, fail-safe winner!

N: Uhh-huh.

D: O.K. Ready?

N: What?

D: What the most precious resource on this planet?

N: Pizza?

D: Wrong! Air! And what's the second most precious resource on the planet?

N: Porn?

D: Wrong again! Water! And what do you get when you combine air and water?

N: Humidity.

D: Well, yeah, but also, you get life! You know?! As in everything?

N: Life isn't everything.

D: Yeah! It is!

N: No, there's tons of non-living things in the world.

D: Whatever! That's not the point! The point is life!

N: Good.

D: Get it?

N: Life, yep.

D: No, the point is... who owns life?

N: Monsanto?

D: Who?

N: Frickin' huge agribusiness, gentic manipulation dickweeds...

D: Whatever, screw that... no, no, the answer is no one... no one owns life!

N: You're a genius.

D: But, what would you say if I told you that you could own life?

N: You're a genius.

D: Now, I know you can't own life, but maybe, just maybe, you could rent it!

N: Now, you're an extra genius.

D: You know how I told you when I was younger, my grandma bought me a piece of the rainforest for my twelfth birthday.

N: So?

D: Turns out she didn't buy any rainforest at all, she just paid money to this organization that was trying to protect the rainforest. You would pay them so much a year and they would "claim" a space for you in the rainforest. The more you paid; the bigger space you got.

N: And?

D: And, once a year, I'd get a letter and a small map in the mail saying "thanks for the gift and for supporting the work we are doing to protect the rainforest" and the map would have a little dot showing you approximately where your your space was in the rainforest.

N: Yeah. So now you want to do this?

D: Sort of, except on a bigger scale.

N: Bigger?

D: Yeah! I want to sell people life on the planet.

N: In exchange for what?

D: A letter once a year, saying "Thank you for supporting life on the planet Earth!" Then a picture of some living thing on the planet somewhere.

N: That's it?

D: Yeah! Awesome, isn't it!

N: No. What are you actually going to do to support life on planet Earth?

D: What do you mean?

N: Like the rainforest organization your grandma sent money to, they used the money to help save the rainforest right?

D: No idea.

N: I would assume they did.

D: Maybe, but how would I know? They could have been taking the money, pocketing it, sending out the same damn letter and map once a year to everyone.

N: Dap, they clear these organizations through oversight and federal regulations. If they're not legit, they get shut down pretty fast.

D: Sure, but who's to say I won't be legit?

N: Well, what will you do with the money people send you?

D: Put it in my bank account.

N: Then you're not legit.

D: Sure I am!

N: You're not supporting life on planet Earth.

D: Yes! I'm supporting myself. I'm alive.

N: Yes, but the point is to support life that is endangered in some way.

D: I got mugged last year.

N: That's not what I mean. You pay in to get some benefit from the service, some work done for a good cause on your behalf with your money.

D: I will give that to them. I will spend their money in Earth-friendly ways. That way I will be saving life on Earth.

N: You're not getting it.

D: I get it completely. It's my idea! People will be renting life from me. I will be the new landlord of the planet. What's not to get.

N: Can I go back to sleep now?

D: So how much do you think things should cost?

N: What?

D: Here's what I'm playing around with $10 a year for a plant, 25 for a tree, 50 for a large mammal, 100 for a human, 200 for a lake, 400 for a river, 100,000 for an ocean... there's lots of others that I could add... insects, glaciers, mountains, swamps, etc...

N: You don't own the rights to these things, and you will be doing nothing to protect them. Especially the humans.

D: I don't need "rights" to any of them. When I get enough of the world's money; I will spend it on a huge organization that will do all the protecting for me.

N: Right, sure... ummm...

D: I will own the organization, and the people of the world will be renting life from me, from my organization, we will have enough of the world's money to tell everyone exactly what they can or can't do with the life around them, and, so, we will be protecting life on Earth.

N: Protecting life from life?

D: Someone's gotta do it, Nap.

N: So, you will be the Earth's ruler.

D: Landlord.

N: And if no one buys into your little scheme?

D: That's what guns are for.

N: What?

D: Well, enough people will be suckers at first. I'll easily be able to afford small thug squads to help people realize that it's to their advantage to give.

N: Extortion?

D: Hey, anything to save the Earth.

N: Whatever.

D: So, what're you going to give?

N: Nothing! Take your stupid-ass idea out of here and let me sleep.

D: Sure about that?

N: Yes! Leave!

(Dapper exits, pause for several seconds as Napper settles back in, two large men in suits and shades walk on. They are carrying aluminum baseball bats, lights start fading, they nudge Napper with the bats)

N: Daminit Dap! (rolls over, sees the thugs) Ahhhhhhh!! (they stand there menacingly, Napper clambors upright on the couch, eys wide with fear, lights out.)


June 24, 2006

A Play A Day #72



Setting: Wedding ceremony, front of the church.

Priest: Brad and Stacy have written their own vows to help us celebrate this holy union. Stacy?

(Stacy hands priest her beautifully prepared vows, perhaps calligraphed on a delicate scroll of paper, even)

P: Thank you. Please repeat after me these words you have carefully chosen to exemplify your intentions here today. (reading the scroll) I, Stacy...

Stacy: I, Stacy

P: take you, Brad

S: take you, Brad

P: into my heart and soul

S: into my heart and soul

P: to love and be loved

S: to love and be loved

P: to take care of and be cared for

S: to take care of and be cared for

P: to fit together

S: to fit together

P: in this world forever

S: in this world forever

P: 'til the next one calls us apart

S: 'til the next one calls us apart

(long pause)

P: Brad... your vows please.

Brad: (not catching on right away) Ohhh... yeah... (digging around in his pockets for a while, tossing out some loose change, keys, condom packages, etc..., finally finding a used bar napkin, hands it to Priest)

P: (taking it with some concern) Thank you. (opening it quickly) Repeat after me. Call me sometime. Love, Debbie.

B: Call me... crap (grabs napkin from Priest, shoves it back in his pocket. Stacy is staring at him in shock, looking at his pocket, Brad is trying to cover with guestures and small laughter, finally realize that he should not have put the napkin back in his pocket at all. He takes it out, sheepishly hands it to Stacy)

S: Ahhh! (she discards it to the side in disgust)

B: (has now dug deeper and found a very used napkin which he hands to Priest) Here... this is it...

P: (with disgust, trying to open the napkin which is tearing into shreds, finally gets it open, trying to read) Dear Stacy, I .... I .... (whisper to Brad) I can't make this out at all... (Brad takes napkin from Priest, very nervously)

B: (reading) Dear Stacy, I lob you... and... I... (reading what elect words he can make out) ...picture... uhhh... heaven... grow... ummm... leave.... you... ahhhh... you.... heart.... bucket? (looking up, Stacy is not pleased) Ummmm.... why don't I start over...

(Stacy is fuming, gives him a "go-ahead" stare, during this speech, Stacy's reactions are key, as Brad is too nervous to understand what he's doing or saying.)

B: Stacy... ever since the day I met you in my roomate's shower....
I knew you were the girl for me.
You stirred something in me that I usually have to stir by myself,
and you stirred it so often and in so many different ways,
I knew I was hooked even before I'd rinsed the shampoo fom my hair.
Feelings like that don't come along very often;
so I knew you were special right away.

Sure, these past four weeks have been difficult.
We've been through a lot together.
Like that time when your mother called me a "loser"
and said I was crushing her dreams for you.
I was so mad at her. I woulda punched her,
but you stepped in and stopped my fist with your stomach.

Then she threatened to call the cops
just because I like to spark up now and then,
but you calmed her down by reminding her
about the sex film she made when she was eighteen.
That was frickin' hilarious.

Guess what, I forgot to tell you that my dealer has that movie!
You know maybe we could watch it later tonight?

My Dad always told me:
"Son, don't marry the first bitch that comes along"
Now, I can tell him, "Dad, I didn't!"
And as soon as he gets the murder charge overturned
that's what I'll say to him!
He'll be so happy to meet you, Stacy!
All four of his living wives have the same color hair as you,
but, you know, none of their tits are as nice as yours.

Well, Lisa's probably were, but she's like fifty-five now;
so you have nicer breasts than all of them!

I mean that, Stacy, from the bottom of my heart.
For the first couple weeks, I thought maybe we might be soul mates.
Then, not last weekend, but the weekend before that,
when were at Ricky's place, and you vomited all over his stereo
then you cried for a long time because there was a Phish CD
on top of it, and you told me you really liked Phish
especially if it doesn't have vomit on it,
then I KNEW we were soul mates.

Wow! I had to travel far and wide to find a girl
who liked Phish's music and didn't like vomit,
even if it was her own!

I don't care that you used to sleep with other girls.
That doesn't bother me at all.
In fact, I was hoping maybe you could start doing that again
and I could watch or something.
Maybe we could even invite other people
and they could pay to watch!

We'd be totally fucking rich!

So, yeah, I love you and I'm glad you're my wife.
With your mom's porno and the lesbian business
and Phish's music without vomit and your breasts,
I think we'll have a pretty cool marriage...

...For, you know, as long as it lasts.

(lights out)


June 23, 2006

A Play A Day #71

The Ball Metaphor

Cast: Nobody

Setting: Nowhere

(Lights up on blank stage, preferably painted blinding white, really, really long pause, at least two or three minutes, suddenly a tiny ball bearing rolls across the stage, into audience, long pause, eventually a slightly larger ball bearing rolls in the same general direction of the first, long pause, a slightly larger ball bearing rolls in the same general direction of the first two, pause, then about five hundred ball bearings roll out onto stage, long pause while the ball bearings find their resting spots, a marble travels across stage right to left, pause, then back, slight pause, then back, and back and back and back for several times getting faster and faster, at some point it is replaced by a larger marble, continues going back and forth, slowly at first, then faster, eventually replaced by a yet larger marble, back and forth, back and forth, etc..., replace by an even larger marble, continue this process until marble is quite large. Stop, long pause, then about two hundred or so ping pong balls should rain onto the stage from any direction, followed by an equal number of tennis balls, long pause, a softball rolls down aisle and slams into the front of the stage, canned laughter, pause, another softball, canned laughter, pause, a third softball, canned laughter, pause, a fourth softball, lobs down the aisle and makes it onto the stage, canned applause, long pause, very small, round balloons float down to the stage, a couple hundred or so. Pause, one very heavy shotput falls from ceiling to the stage. Pause, another, less pause, another, slight pause, about ten more fall at roughly the same time. Several plastic children's kickballs, bounce along the edges of the stage, then joined by several red rubber kickballs, then several basketballs are heard backstage, bouncing, then they bound onto stage, canned cheering. A small therapy ball rolls softly onto stage, followed by a slightly larger, different-colored model, then a larger one, and a larger one, and a larger one still, all different colors. A large, ominous bounce is heard backstage, it is the bounce of an Earthball which rolls onto stage and dominates the space, it is towing an actual globe, a larger, more ominous bounce is heard backstage and a ridiculously large ball, preferably twice the size of the Earthball, a Jupiterball, perhaps, rolls slowly onto stage, long pause, then a horrendously loud and horrifically deep sound is heard backstage, causing all the other onstage balls to vibrate and hop about, it is a Sunball, an enormous yellow thing than can only be seen in small parts, it cannot even make it onto the stage, we see a large yellow convex shape pushing against the curtains, sunrise music rises in the house, the other balls, hop about in the glory of the massive orb. Sunball retreats, music fades out, balls come to a rest, lights start fading as a very tiny ball bearing rolls toward the audience again. Lights out.)


June 22, 2006

A Play A Day #70

Three Jugs


Setting: Three chairs. Corey, Plato and Nickels are sitting with their large old-time crockery jugs in their laps.

Corey: It didn't have that, I don't know, heft?

Plato: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Nickels: Shall we motivate?

Plato: Huh?

Nickels: Let's do it again.

Corey: Nickels, can we add some more, I don't know, bass?

Plato: More bass, more bass!

Nickels: Sure, than you take counterpoint, Corey.

Corey: So you do what then, Nickels?

Nickels: I've got the bass part covered; you and Plato play off me.

Plato: Cool! Cool! Cool!

Corey: Alright, can we, I don't know, start?

Nickels: Yes. A-one, two, three and...

(Nickels, Corey and Plato attempt to play "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Copland. It goes about as well as you'd expect, meaning it's pretty much not recognizable as such, they thud the floor for the percussion parts)

Plato: Awesome! That was awesome!

Corey: Yeah, it seems more like, I don't know, complete?

Nickels: Again?

Corey: No, could we just, I don't know, ummm... start another one?

Plato: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Nickels: The next piece it is then. One, two, three, and...

(It is "Farandole" by Bizet. It's only such in the most optimistic of ears.)

Plato: That was so awesome!!

Nickels: Wow! You two have been practicing!

Corey: Yeah, I think I've been busting my chops four hours every, I don't know, day?

Nickels: I have a little surprise for you guys today.

Plato: Cool! What is it? What is it?

Nickels: Well, she should be here anytime now.

Plato: She? Cool! Cool! Cool!

Corey: Nickels, there's going to be a, I don't know, she?

Nickels: Well, we met the other day. You know how I'm always asking for more high-end out of you guys?

Plato: Yeah! High-end! High-end!

Nickels: And I get frustrated because you guys just haven't been able to deliver...

Corey: Well, it's just that we play, I don't know, jugs?

Nickels: Yes, I realized that; so I thought, maybe we could try something different.

Corey: You mean like something instead of...uhhh, I don't know, jugs?

Nickels: Yeah, something to bring out the high-end.

Plato: Yeah! Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!

Nickels: Right, so I met this woman; her name is Pokey Mikkels.

Corey: And she plays like a different, I don't know, instrument?

Plato: Nickels and Mikkels! Nickels! Mikkels!

Nickels: Yep, we rhyme, Plato, but that's not why I invited her.

Corey: Is she like your, I don't know, girlfriend?

Plato: Oh no! Ono! Yoko! Ono!

Nickels: No, she's not my girlfriend; she IS a professional trianglist, though!

Plato: Tweet! Tweet! Percussion!

Nickels: Well, actually just the triangle.

Corey: (hears a knock) Oh, I think she might be, ummmm.... here?

Nickels: (has left at the knock, now coming back on stag with Pokey and her triangle) Guys, this is Pokey! (handshakes all around)

Corey: I've heard a lot about, uhhh... I don't know, you?

Plato: Cool! Triangle! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Nickels: Well, the really good news is that, with Pokey's expertise, we can finally flesh out "Sabre Dance".

Corey: Right, we should be able to really, like, I don't know, play it?

Plato: Kha! Cha! Tur! EEEE! An!

Nickels: Let's give it a go; ready, Pokey? (nod from Pokey who stands behind Nickels with her triangle and baton held aloft)

(They proceed to butcher "Sabre Dance", Pokey trying to capture the entire xylophone portion with a madwoman's energy, failing spastically and all around the stage)

Plato: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! We win! We win!!

Nickels: Yes, that was it guys. Pokey, you really brought the right... energy.... Pokey? Pokey?

(Pokey has collapsed on stage, she is crying quietly, then getting louder)

Corey: I... uhhhh... I think she's, ummm, crying?

Nickels: Pokey? Pokey... what's wrong?

Pokey: (lifting her head) Nothing! Nothing! It was... incredible... I never understood that song until this moment....

Plato: Alright! Rock out for understanding! The triangle gets it!

Pokey: Yeah, that's it Plato! I get it now! Wow!

Nickels: Excellent. Should we work it again?

Pokey: No! It's just right the way we did it!

Corey: Hey guys... maybe we're like, I don't know, ready?

Plato: Ready! Big time! Big time! Big time!

Nickels: Yes. I think we are ready.

Pokey: I think we can make it into the city orchestra, guys! We are definitely ready!

(lights start fading)

Nickels: O.K. Where to?

Plato: Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Corey: We always have, I don't know, pizza?

(Pokey looks at them, disbelievingly)

Nickels: I'm not talking about pizza, guys! I think we're ready for bigger things. So, quit joking around. You heard how we played! (long pause, Pokey perks up, listening) I think... the new Vietnamese place on Riverbend.

(They start exiting, ad libbing argument about where to eat. Pokey looks after them in despair; lights out.)


June 21, 2006

A Play A Day #69

Reversible Rehearsal


Setting: A stage. Amy and Stuart are embracing on stage.

Amy: (calling out to the house) Now, we're not doing this part, right?

Harris: (from the back of the house) This part?

Stuart: Yeah, it seems...

H: Why wouldn't we?

A: Ummm... welll... ahh... I...

S: It seems to be a...

H: So, why wouldn't we?

A: Ahhh...

H: I'm not hearing anything.

S: Well, it just seems...

H: Amy, what's wrong?

A: Uhhh... it's just that I think that this may be too much to ask of your actors...

S: Yes, I think that...

H: Amy, I meant in general?

A: Well... it's a very strong scene, and I can apprec...

S: Yes...

H: No. What's wrong with you, in general?

A: Ahh... nothing.... ummmm... I don't think there's anything in particular that's...

H: In general!

A: Nothing. Nothing in general either, I... ummm... just...

S: She seems...

H: Amy. Are you afraid of yourself?

A: What?

H: Are you afraid of yourself?

A: Uhhh... no... I...

H: You're not afraid of yourself?

A: No?

H: No? Does that mean you might be afraid of yourself?

A: I'm kinda confused about what you're asking me.

S: I'm not sure that I'm...

H: Simply this. I want to know if you are afraid of who you are and what you do.

A: Well... I...

H: Do you want to be an actress?!

A: I... think I already...

H: No! No! I say when you are an actress! Understood?!

A: Uhhh... listen....

H: Understood!!?

A: Yes... I...

H: Excellent! Now what's the problem?

A: It's just that... well... ummm...

S: I think I can explain for...

H: Wake up, Amy! You're in the big city now! You're not playing Benson or Sedona any more, Amy...

A: I never played...

H: ...this is Avondale, sister!

A: I know that...

H: You gotta be ready for the lights when the city crowds come walking in those doors!

A: I know, I was raised here.

H: Then you better start showing it!

A: Yes, but I don't see how this even matters in the play!

H: Even matters? Even matters?! Do you think these hard-bitten urban dwellers are going to care if you don't "get it"?

A: I just want...

H: They won't! Not at all!

A: But, I...

H: You just have to play it as if you get it, alright?!

S: Harris?

H: Amy, can you do that?

S: Harris?

H: Can you at least try it?

S: Harris?

H: We'll see how it runs...

S: Harris?

H: .. and if we have to change it around...

S: Harris?

H: ...we will, it is my play after all...

S: Harris?

H: (anger rising) ...I did spend five years writing and re-writing it...

S: Harris?

H: (and rising) ...and figuring out the perfect words to build to this moment...

S: Harris?

H: ... for a really important scene that means everything to me...

S: Harris?

H: ...only to be told by this woman I picked...

S: Harris?

H: ...because I thought she was a...a...a... professional, ready-for-Avondale actress...

S: Harris?

H: (tons of anger by now) ...who could handle a ground-breaking scene such as this...

S: Harris?

H: ...and who wouldn't waste! my! time! wondering if the scene EVEN MATTERS!! (long pause, angry breathing)

S: Har...

H: (roaring) What the hell do you want!!?

S: I'm just wondering, how you want us to play it.

H: All out! Everything, to the end!

S: Well, I appreciate that you've made such a powerful, modern, relationship drama, but I guess, for me, the rest of the play is very straight forward and then you get to this part and ... well... it's sort of absurd... which I can totally understand if that's what you're going for, sorta throw the audience a curveball...

H: Listen, both of you knew this was going to be a very, very gritty and intimate play when you signed on...

S: Yes, I like that about it, which is why I'm wondering why we redo the last three pages, when we've spent that time really building our physical relationship and sexual tension.

H: What do you mean, Stuart?

S: I mean, wouldn't we at least kiss here, or something?

H: What?

S: Just seems like you're pushing the story that way.... you know, we have all this heated dialogue and things get kind of steamy and then we embrace and then you want us to go back three pages and start over?

H: What?

S: Yeah, I guess I don't undersatnd what you're going for either, and Aaron's on for most of that page, so does he come back out too, or do we start where it's just Amy and me?

H: Stuart, what the hell are you talking about?

S: The script.

H: No, you're not, not the same script I have?

S: Yeah, ummm... see on page 72, right where we're stopped now?

H: Yes?

S: I have the line: "Let me show you my love."? Then we embrace...

H: Right?

S: ...and then it says "Do 69".

H: Right. I'm aware of that.

S: Good... so we go back to page 69 and start the romantic scene over again? Without Aaron, probably? I'm guessing that's what you meant.

H: Are you serious?

S: Well, that's kinda what I'm asking you.

A: Stuart, uhhh...

H: You're joking, right?

S: And, ohh... I just had another thought, when we go back to 69 then act through to this spot again, do we go back to 69 again, and just keep going like that?

H: No!

S: Good. I mean, I had heard you were kinda artsy, but I didn't think you'd write an unending play...

H: Stuart....

S: ...especially considering there's ten more pages left after 72 anyway...

H: Stuart....

S: ...and it seems kinda silly to end it without ending it...

H: Stuart...

S: ...especially when you've got such a nice ending already written...

H: Stuart...

S: ...and, honestly, I'd feel pretty dumb just acting the same three pages over and over until the house emptied out...

H: Stuart...

S: ...in fact, I wouldn't like that at all...

H: Stuart...

S: (anger rising) ...it'd be just like college and those horrible plays....

H: Stuart...

S: ...that all those pretentious art kids wrote....

H: Stuart....

S: ...always making me be in their dumbass plays....

H: Stuart!

S: ...they thought they were being clever by just throwing random crap...

H: Stuart!

S: ....up on stage and pretending it meant something....

H: Stuart!

S: ...like they were smart, when in reality they just didn't know how...

H: Stuart!!

S: ... to piece a story together...

H: Stuart!!!

S: (keeps building anger)...then everyone would pretend they got it, but inside we were all just confused...

H: Stuart!!!

S: ...and it always felt like the audience was...

H: Stuart!!!!

S: ...laughing AT me...

H: Stuart!!!!

S: (starting to exit stage) ...I can't do that to myself again!!

H: STUART!!!!!

S: Yes?

H: (coming onto stage, pulling Stuart aside) Let me tell you something to clear the air here. (He whispers to Stuart, ocassionally looking and pointing at Amy for emphasis, explaining exactly what he meant by his stage direction, Stuart slowly catches on, in a big way; Harris pats him on the back and retreats to the house)

A: So, what's going on? I need to know.

H: Stuart just needed a little refresher course. So what do you say, Stuart?

S: Well, Harris, it's a bold new step for the modern American theater.

A: I just don't think it's...

H: We've been through this, Amy; let's just bite the bullet, so to speak, and see how it plays.

S: I agree entirely, Harris! We do have to sacrifice for our art.

H: Great!

S: (very eager to get started) O.K. From my line?

A: Listen...

S: C'mon Amy! You have to believe in the power of the theater!

H: Well said, Stuart! From your line... (lights start to fade)

S: (pulling Amy close) Let me show you my love. (they embrace, Amy's looking out to the house, extremely terrified, Stuart's already pulling his zipper down, way ahead of himself)

(lights out)


June 20, 2006

A Play A Day #68

A Race


Setting: Man sits at small table slightly behind and left of Woman, who is standing down center, as lights come up, it's clear the two of them have been laughing, light-hearted mood pervades.

Woman: (addressing man) O.K.! O.K.! We'll get going with it then, but I think this is one of your dumbest bets ever. This is a cakewalk. This one's mine. You'll be taking me downtown for ice cream... again. Not a chance. (Man is raising eyebrows, shrugging shoulders as if to say "that's what you think", woman turns to audience) My good friend here is always doing this... everything's a competition for him; he makes up these little challenges, races, contests... sometimes it's just individual; he'll say, ohhh... "I'm going to get a sub sandwich, time me!" and he'll vault out of the car and run into the fast food place, and I'm supposed to time him; as if there's a benchmark, world-record sort of time that he has to beat. He even bought me a fancy digital watch for my birthday with about eighteen different timers on it, so I can save his best times, I guess.

Sometimes he sets up a challenge that I'm supposed to be in too. Today, we're talking about his Diet Pepsi addiction, and how much he drinks, and how fast he drinks it, and he says he can probably drink an entire two-liter bottle at one sitting. I thought that was pretty lame considering he didn't say how long he'd be sitting. He fancies himself a writer; so he says that he can drink a whole two-liter bottle faster than I could read one page of something he recently wrote.

I'm not stupid; so I ask him: "Is it in English?" Yes. "Is it a huge sheet of paper or something?" No, regular sheet. "With margins?" Yes. "Spaces between the words?" Yes. "12 point font?" Yes. He tells me it's just a single-spaced page of writing, everything's normal. I have to read it out loud; so he knows when I've actually finished, and he adds that I have to speak the words clearly and fully.

So, do you have them? (Man produces folded sheet of paper, hands it to woman, then produces full 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi, he opens the top, picks up bottle, Woman looks back at him, he nods, she opens the page, he starts slamming the soda.)

"It's an odd relationship. What do you call a man and a woman who have been friends for fourteen years? Yes, we've dated. Each other. We've dated each other. Off and on, but they've really been just more intense periods of the friendship. We've never seen anyone else during that time, even when we, according to some obscure technical dating manual that I've never seen, were not officially dating. No one else. Just the two of us. Lots of laughing.

(Woman looks back at man, man is still slamming Diet Pepsi, she wants to slow down to savor this letter he's written about her, but he's doggedly pursuing his goal, she continues)

"I used to tell her how pretty she was, but that's faded. Not her beauty; she's more beautiful than ever to me. My comments about her beauty have faded. I don't say it often enough. She's beautiful.

(Woman looks back again, man continues with soda, but is struggling)

"The intensity of any real relationship fades with time, yet becomes stronger. As if the tide has gone out, everything looks lower than it was, but the undertow is that much stronger, invisible, beneath the surface, pulling. We began operating in a different mode a few years ago. I was not excited when I was around her; I thought it meant I didn't like her any more. I said mean things. I sulked. I blamed her. Low tide. I missed the fact that, though we had less to be excited about, we had more depth. We had less on the surface, and more beneath.

"I can't say when I began to realize that what were doing was insane. Late nights, trips together, movies, theater, eating out, and no real committment spoken. We're just friends. Do friends last that long? Friends like us, anyway.

"I guess you could say that I wanted to test the relationship. That I wanted to see if it was done. That would be putting it nicely. I really only wanted to see if I could be excited again. I met this other woman, beautiful, glamorous, outgoing. She definitely excited me. I felt alive again. Everything on the surface. We talked, exchanged long e-mail and phone messages, grew closer and closer. This was it, I thought. I'd finally met that someone. I couldn't tell you why I couldn't tell you. We were just friends, right? I had the right to see other people, didn't I? The excitement was too much for me. I had a few interludes with this new woman. I couldn't hold back. I thought that my dreams would be fulfilled. I could marry her and still have this great friendship with you. That would have only been possible if I could have told you about her. I couldn't. She was married; that gets in the way, sure, but it seemed like she was mine... on the surface.

"I hurt you profoundly, deeply and completely. I realized too late that she wasn't leaving her husband and family, and I wasn't leaving you. I did finally tell you. You already knew. We drifted apart for a few weeks. You'd call me at midnight: What was she like in bed? Where did you do it? I'd have to remind you that we never made it into a bed, and I couldn't tell you where it happened, because you'd be spoiled on those areas for as long as you lived in this town. Had I destroyed you? You were still calling. I told you to go away; that I was worthless to you. That we were through because of what I'd done. That I was not to be trusted ever again. I forgot that you could see past the surface; that you could see into the depths of me. That you could see into the depths of us.

(Woman is breaking down now, she turns back to man, who hasn't been drinking anything for a little while not wanting to finish before she gets to the end of the letter, woamn wants to slow down to reread passages, when she turns around, man quickly starts slamming the soda again.)

"You dragged me out of my despondency; you build up my trust in myself; you never gave up. You see more than I ever could. You have your eyes closed and your heart open, and you take it all in. Why you decided to trust me again, I don't know. You just did. I wasn't able to comprehend how much I hurt you; I mean, you were taking me back in, weren't you? You let me know, though. The crying comes from you out of the wounds I've caused, and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

(Looks behind her, man quickly starts slamming soda again)

"So, where do we go now? Can this friendship last forever? I don't think it can. It's too much to ask any man and woman to keep something like this going for so long. Fourteen years, and the excitement has gone. We are at a low, low tide. I can't go on pretending that this relationship will work out any longer. If it did, I fear it would just be too dull, too predictable. I'm too comfortable with you. I need somethng new, some danger.

(She looks confusedly over her shoulder, trying to conceal her emotions a bit now, man tries to go back to the soda, only partially succeeds.)

"I tried one way to find that danger, and that road is closed now. I tried to pretend that it didn't matter how long we had been friends, that it didn't matter how much we had shared, how far into me you could see. Of course, it does, and I can't disguise that fact any more. It matters greatly. So how do I resolve this conflict? How do I rediscover the excitement; how do I honor everything that has passed between us?

(She looks back, man is trying to polish off the bottle now)

"Of course, the answer is simple. We just have to jump into the ocean together, to feel the strength of the undertow whispering away the sand beneath our feet. Pulling us under, but keeping us together. Together? Forever? Will you (man finishes off bottle, slams it on the table, looks at her proudly, she looks at him, crying profusely)... marry me?"

(she is shaking, staring at him)

Man: Yes?

Woman: (leaping into his arms, kissing him passionately) Yes!

(They start to exit, lights fading)

Man: You know, technically, I won the bet.

Woman: Yes, you did.

Man: I won it all. (pause) Ice cream?

(lights out)


June 19, 2006

A Play A Day #67

War: No Survivors

Sleeping Person - any gender, any age (here I am making SP female)
Other Sleeping Person - any gender, any age (I'm making OSP male)

Setting: Large bed, blankets, end tables, lamps on end tables, books on end tables. Dim light on stage.

Sleeping Person: (mumbles unintelligibly, rolls over, facing other sleeping person)

Other Sleeping Person: (talking in sleep) That's not my bike. (rolls over, away from sleeping person)

SP: (mumbles unintelligibly, flops arm over OSP's face)

OSP: (rolls toward SP, head into SP's chest, one leg pushed back, the other curled up)

SP: (flops top leg over lower half of OSP, talks in sleep) Yellow mittens burn well. Those, and these and...

OSP: (rolls onto back, pause, rolls until facing away from SP, longer pause, rolls until face down in pillow, short pause, rolls away from SP again, but now is facing SP, on extreme edge of bed, stretching covers very tightly between the two of them)

SP: (rolls onto back, pause, rolls to edge of bed away from OSP, facing away from OSP, this pulls the covers from OSP)

OSP: (lacking the blankets for support, falls to the floor, lays there a while, mumbles, then stands up, still asleep, lays on the extreme edge of the bed again, tries to pull the covers over himself, it's not quite covering, so OSP pulls harder, but every time the covers slip off him. Eventually, OSP pulls the covers with an enormous effort, think Herculaen here.)

SP: (is pulled hard by OSP's last effort, SP rolls all the way across the bed, wrapping herself up like a blanket burrito en route to smashing into OSP on extreme edge of bed)

OSP: (falls to floor again with the impact from SP, gets up, more mumbling, lays down almost entirely on top of SP, then slipping off. They have now switched places. OSP shivers a bit, then tries to cover self with blanket, there are no available blankets. OSP starts insinuating himself under SP's blankets in which SP is tightly wrapped, so OSP ends up forcing himself mostly under SP)

SP: (this manuever levers SP off the bed, SP thuds to the floor, mumbles, then struggles to get up, while wrapped tightly in the blankets, lots of sliding around on the floor, trying to get feet against something other than the slippery wood floor, eventually SP wiggles her way under the bed entirely, she finds the bed legs and tries to stand, but only lifts her head and hits it on underside of bed, SP continues wiggling, eventually making it all the way through the underside of bed, finds the foot of the bed and levers herself up, stands and hops mightily onto that edge of the bed, which causes a great bump)

OSP: (gets knocked off his extreme edge of the bed, mumbles, gets up and climbs into bed, reaching around for blankets, rolling toward SP, eventually reaching her, finds a loose edge of her wrap and begins wrapping himself in it by rolling the opposite way. This unwraps SP, OSP says) Broccoli fire engine beep beep.

SP: (falls off her edge of the bed, says) I don't have the matches for this. (gets up, climbs into middle of bed, proceeds to climb into OSP's wrap, it is a tight, difficult fit, lots of mumbling and some painful, wordless gripes, eventually it is done, pause)

OSP: (starts having a very active dream) Run! Run faster, come on! Go! The rainbow is fading! Putt putt, sandwich face! Putt! Go! (He is kicking the blankets down his body, SP is also being kicked and pushed down, eventually with a loud) You made it! (SP is pushed off bottom end of the bed.)

SP: (stands up, walks with blankets to her side of the bed, turns on her light, picks up book, lays it on her chest, she is still asleep.)

OSP: (turns on his light, takes her book, lays it on his chest, still asleep.)

SP: (grabs another book from end table and opens it and rest it on her face.)

OSP: Tank bubbles... (flops arms over onto SP's face, smashing her open book onto her face hard.)

SP: (painful shriek, pulls book and OSP's arm off her face, rubs her nose, turns pages in the book for a little bit, lays it over her face again, never waking up)

OSP: (same as previous, another book on his chest)

SP: (same as previous, a large book now on her face)

OSP: (one more time, he now has three books on his chest)

SP: (pattern reverses, SP reaches out a thumps OSP on the books on his chest, takes one opens it on her face, flops arm out again, lands on his books, she lays that one open on top of the other open book on her face, then again, until all three books lay open on top of each other on her face.)Gall bladder picnic basket, anyone?

OSP: (His hand feels his now empty chest, reaches for another book, grabs table lamp instead, places it on his chest, still on, still plugged in.)

SP: (Her hand flops onto his lamp, she pulls it so that is also resting on her face, partially leaning on top of the three stacked open books) Butter Butter Monkey Train.

OSP: (feels chest again, reaches for another book, grabs end table, places it upside down on his chest.)

SP: (arm flops onto end table, she pulls it so that it is on top of the lamp.)

OSP: (feeling cold, grabs edge of the blankets, pulls very hard, grumbling, SP rolls toward him throwing books, lamp and end table toward OSP)

SP: (Snuggles up to OSP, tangled up in everything)

OSP: (Turns toward SP, hugs and kisses the lamp shade) Turn off the light, honey.

SP: (not really able to move, she stretches her feet out behind her, eventually going perpendicular to OSP, her feet find the other lamp on the end table and promptly kicks it over, it stays on.)

OSP: Thanks. (kisses lamp shade again)

SP: (pulls her feet back into bed, but they end up at the head of the bed, and she slowly works her head down to the foot of the bed, she kisses OSP's feet)

OSP: (tickled by the feet kiss, he kicks out, into her head)

SP: (pained shriek, and she kicks out, kicking the lamp first then his face, and pulls back from his feet, her head and arms hang down from the edge of the bed, her mouth is bleeding profusely.)

OSP: (recoiling in pain, he falls off the bed again, taking lamp, books and end table over with him, his nose is bleeding profusely)

SP: (slowly, very slowly, slips more and more off the end of the bed until her head is on the floor and her body is curled over the top of her, feet on the stage closer to the audience.)

(long freeze, looking for all the world that there's been a horrible battle and both combabtants are dead... but sleeping soundly, lights out slowly)


June 18, 2006

A Play A Day #66



Setting: Table, two chairs. Derek and Layla sitting, discussing

Layla: What about women who had their breasts surgically removed?

Derek: What, for fun?

L: No. Cancer, other things.

D: What other things?

L: Like an accident or something.

D: Like get the left one caught between the elevator doors?

L: Anyway, you know what I mean.

D: Yes.

L: So what about that?

D: Are you trying to say that's why you did it?

L: No, not really....

D: Not really?

L: Yeah.

D: You almost got breast cancer or something?

L: Oh, c'mon...

D: Nearly cut one off?

L: No, I...

D: Trimming the bushes...

L: Derek...

D: ... and the shears slipped a bit.

L: Stop it.

D: Well, what did you mean, "not really"?

L: Just that I did it for other reasons.

D: You're thirty-two. Your tits looked great before.

L: Thanks for noticing.

D: So, I don't understand this pre-emptive strike against cancer or whatever...

L: It wasn't that at all.

D: I guess now, you'll just be able to trade up if you do get breast cancer, huh?

L: No.

D: Just return 'em to the store.

L: Oh, shut up.

D: They're broken, get a new pair...

L: Blah, blah...

D: Hope you saved your receipt!

L: I had my own reasons, o.k.!

D: Such as what?

L: It's just... uhh...

D: Just what?

L: Stop interrupting me, o.k.? It's hard to explain.

D: Yes, definitely harder than before.

L: Ha ha.

D: Sorry, anyway...

L: Anyway, it will help me in many ways.

D: Like what?

L: At work.

D: At work?!

L: Yes.

D: You're a real estate agent!

L: I know that.

D: I mean, you sell houses!

L: Yeah, I know that too.

D: I know you do, but...

L: It goes with being a real estate agent...

D: Yeah, yeah, but...

L: I learned that the first day...

D: What does...

L: They drove me to a house, dropped me off, and told me they'd be back when I sold it.

D: Ha ha, Layla.

L: Here I thought I'd be sewing buttons on shirts all day.

D: You're avoiding the issue.

L: Yeah, so?

D: Why'd you do it for work?

L: Your personality helps sell the house as much as anything.

D: Yeah... and?

L: This adds to my personality.

D: How? It adds to your chest, that's it.

L: Listen, it's well known in the industry that attractive real estate women sell more homes at higher prices, especially when men are the purchasers.

D: So, this is an attempt to do more business?

L: I'm paid on commission, Derek.

D: Yeah, so you changed your body to get higher wages?

L: I want to be successful.

D: You were plenty attractive before.

L: Thanks.

D: Your breasts looked fine.

L: A little uneven.

D: That's totally normal, even I know that, and my breasts are even!

L: Very funny, but they were.

D: And you were worried about this because you frequently sell houses topless?

L: Hey, anything for the commission.

D: Seriously though, there was nothing wrong with your looks before this.

L: Now there's even less.

D: I don't think you can say that.

L: What? Ohh...

D: They must have noticed at the office; I mean you work with pretty all women, right.

L: They liked it. Most of the the other agents have done it too.

D: Unbelievable.

L: It's perfectly normal.

D: Like some sick competition.

L: No, not at all. It was my choice.

D: So you read this "study" or whatever, and it plants this idea, and pow! Layla 2.0 is born.

L: Kind of; I didn't really read the study...

D: You just heard about it.

L: Deb told me that it was well known.

D: Your boss?

L: Yeah, Deb.

D: Who gets a commission on your commission?

L: Yeah.

D: So, she believes this study...

L: I guess.

D: She figures, mo' boob, mo' money?

L: I don't think it's like a calculation on her part.

D: Yes, it totally is!

L: Well, she wants the business to succeed.

D: She would know about using tits to sell things...

L: That's mean.

D: Ol' Double-D Deb.

L: Her breasts are real.

D: Now, yours aren't. Ironic.

L: Not really.

D: So, is her official title "Madam" now?

L: Stop it, Derek.

D: Got her little stable of fillies she lets out to lassoo customers, lead them in the front doors with their breasts.

L: What about you, Derek?

D: What?

L: How's Shelby?

D: Left last year.

L: She had rather large breasts.

D: Yeah.

L: If you liked my old breasts so much, why'd you walk as soon as the cute young thing moved in next door?

D: She's a year younger than you.

L: With tits that didn't stop, huh?

D: They were big.

L: And fake.

D: I didn't know that, at first.

L: You could've asked me! Women always know.

D: Didn't seem like the appropriate thing to do.

L: But divorcing your wife of five years to move in with your lover next door?!! That's fine!

D: I couldn't keep it up.

L: No comment.

D: I meant the marriage.

L: Yeah, no comment.

D: I did love you.

L: You never did.

D: I still do.

L: No, you don't.

D: I do.

L: So, you call me here to make fun of my new breasts, and tell me you still love me?

D: Well... I...

L: (starting to cry) I.... I... can't fucking believe you!

D: You didn't have to come...

L: I figured I'd fake it one more time, Derek.

D: Alright...

L: For you, honey.

D: I just wanted to see you. It's been too long.

L: Stop, Derek... just stop...

D: O.K. Listen. I'm just really surprised you did it.

L: I was surprised you did it too.

D: I meant your breasts.

L: I meant Shelby's.

D: I want you back.

L: I'm not yours to have back.

D: I want you to be. I want to be yours again.

L: I.... (tears, long pause).... no.

D: Please. Layla. Please.

L: Please go.

D: No. I never loved Shelby.

L: Surprise.

D: She left me because of you.

L: What?

D: She said I was still married to you.

L: No. I've got the papers.

D: In my heart, I mean.

L: I knew what you meant.

D: She was right.

L: Yeah?

D: So were you.

L: Yeah?

D: Layla... please.

L: (long pause) No.

D: We'll start small again.

L: I know you will.

D: What?

L: Get a dick implant, and we'll start negotiations.

D: Layla! What?! That's sick!

L: That's o.k., you never felt very good anyway.

D: I can't!

L: Rather, I never felt you very good.

D: Not everyone has to have fake parts, Layla.

L: I know, but I figure I've got the upper hand here.

D: This is about love.

L: Is it?

D: Not just sex.

L: Yeah, I want to love sex.

D: Size doesn't matter.

L: I got a drawer full of dildos that disagree with you.

D: You're all about plastic these days, aren't you?!

L: Yeah, I guess I am.

D: I can't believe you!

L: I can't believe me either! I'm totally hot!

D: You're a phoney!

L: (She unbuttons top two buttons of her blouse as she says) Nice to see you again, Derek. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a very large house to sell to a very horny man.

D: Whore!

L: No, remember, I didn't take you back. (she starts exiting)

D: Don't trip on your tits on the way out!

L: Thanks, I won't. (looking back, big smile) Better cross your legs, (air quotes) "Big Boy". (Derek crosses his legs to hide his erection, embarrassed, Layla continues out) Though I doubt anyone will notice.

(lights out)