June 5, 2006

A Play A Day #53

Ajed Uv


Setting: Walking around a new city.

Marla: Wow, check out that one, Tim!

Tim: Geez, that's so huge!

Marla: What do you think?

Tim: Probably a hundred stories tall, give or take five.

Marla: Yeah, that'd be my guess. Cool! Look at that, honey! There's a whole team of clowns juggling up on the corner. C'mon, let's go watch!

(Tim stands still)

Marla: C'mon, Tim!

(Tim looks to be in a catatonic state)

Marla: Tim?

(He snaps out of it, looking dazed, speaking with confused wonderment)

Tim: Whoa... That... was too weird. I... I... uhhh... I...

Marla: What?

Tim: Ummm... yeah... hey, what's that thing where you feel like you remember something... even though you could never have possibly seen or experienced it? You know what I'm talking about?

Marla: Deja vu?

Tim: Yeah! That's it!

Marla: What, you just experienced deja vu?

Tim: No, I don't think that's what you'd call it.

Marla: Yeah, like you've been somewhere, when you haven't. Memories you're not supposed to have, but do?

Tim: No, that's not it.

Marla: Not wanting to brag, sweetheart, but I was a neuropsychology major in college.

Tim: Right, but...

Marla: We actually studied it. There are several theories about it, but it's not really possible to prove or disprove.

Tim: Sure, but the building and then the clowns.

Marla: Right, we've never been here before, never been to this city; so any feelings of familiarity you have with it would be like a deja vu exerience.

Tim: Right, but that's not it.

Marla: It's not?

Tim: No, because that's what I didn't experience.

Marla: Uhhh. O.K.... so what are you all stunned about?

Tim: Oh... yeah... well we were looking at the building and then you pointed out the clowns juggling on the street corner, and this really weird feeling just washed over me.

Marla: Like you were creeped out by something? Clowns often creep people out.

Tim: No, no... I love clowns... and juggling... that wasn't it... I... I... just all of a sudden... you know...

Marla: No, I don't. Tim, you're kind of creeping me out here.

Tim: Sorry, I...

Marla: A premonition?

Tim: Huh?

Marla: Was it a premonition? Seeing something ahead of when it happens?

Tim: No, no, no, not at all... it's... uhh... kind of hard to explain...

Marla: Give it a shot... I'm pretty smart; I'm sure I'll be able to follow along.

Tim: Right. Uhhh... O.K.... I just had this weird feeling shoot through my head that I have never seen that particular building or those clowns juggling on that street corner before.

Marla: Right, because we've never been to this city before; so why would you?

Tim: Right.

Marla: But then you have a flash like you have seen it before, right?

Tim: No.

Marla: No.

Tim: Not at all; didn't you hear what I said?

Marla: Yeah, but...

Tim: I suddenly felt like I'd never seen all those things before!

Marla: Fine, because you haven't, but what is so weird about that?

Tim: It just washed right over me, and I knew I'd never seen this before.

Marla: Neither have I, but that...

Tim: Isn't that just too bizarre though?

Marla: No. Not at all.

Tim: Has that ever happened to you?

Marla: Yes, it's happening right now. I've never seen you like this...

Tim: See? Isn't it amazing?

Marla: ...talking like an idiot about the most routine things... (Tim suddenly straightens up again, lost in his head) ...you can hardly think there's anything remotely bizarre about something...

Tim: Wow!

Marla: ...like realizing you'd never seen something that you'd truly never seen before!

Tim: Hey, Marla; guess what?

Marla: What?!

Tim: It just happened again! Totally, right now!

Marla: Really? How "shocking"!

Tim: You said "talking like an idiot about the most mundane things", and that feeling washed over me again... you know, I realized that I'd never heard you say that to me before... standing in this city, on this street! Wow!

Marla: Routine.

Tim: What?

Marla: I said "routine"... "talking like an idiot about the most routine things"... that's what I said.

Tim: No, you said "most mundane things".

Marla: Tim, I know what I said.

Tim: No, see, 'cause I have this perfect recollection of it... you know, because it just hit me so hard... that I'd never heard you say that before, in this city, on this street, with the clowns juggling nearby.

Marla: Listen, you probably never heard me say "most routine things" in this city, near these clowns either, that doesn't mean you remember not having ever experienced something that much better!

Tim: What?!

Marla: Never mind, Tim!

Tim: You've got to admit, these are crazy experiences I'm having right now.

Marla: No, they're not, Tim. What you have described to me is commonly referred to as "seeing something for the first time".

Tim: Really?

Marla: Yes.

Tim: But what about the weird feeling I get where I'm aware that I've never seen it before?

Marla: Ummm, that would be simple, everyday self-awareness. Most people have it.

Tim: Really?

Marla: Umm, yes... provided they are living and awake.

Tim: Amazing!

Marla: O.K. Tim, game's over! You can stop anytime.

Tim: It's not a game! It's a very bizarre feeling...

Marla: That sentient beings have all the time, the whole world over.

Tim: Why haven't I ever heard of it before right now?

Marla: Please stop this, Tim.

Tim: I can't... it just happens on its own!

Marla: Fine! But stop talking like a frickin' dunce about it!

Tim: I'm not, it's just so...

Marla: Fucking common!! Stop it, Tim! Just stop!

Tim: I can't help it!

Marla: Yes, you can! You're a smart guy! How can you pretend that self-awareness is suddenly a mystery?!

Tim: It's more than that, Marla!

Marla: No, it's not! It's nothing special, pretty much everyone has it!

Tim: (soft, a realization) Not like me, I guess...

Marla: Yes! Just like you!!

Tim: But it washes over me...

Marla: Shut up with that! "Washes over me"?!

Tim: Yeah, there's no other way to describe it.

Marla: Really? Let me try. (pause, she is trying to figure out how to word this in as sarcastic a way possible) You have a infinite variety of things you've never seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched, done, and, somehow, by mysterious means only you possess, you recognize when any one of that infinite variety of sensations does happen to you. You can, suddenly, in a manner inconceivable to the rest of humanity, tell that you've never experienced that exact thing before! Truly fucking amazing! Wow! You should ask the clowns about joining their circus!

Tim: Well, I think it doesn't work with every possible thing that I've never experienced.

Marla: Whatever! Just shut up about this!

Tim: I mean, there's probably many tiny things that I don't notice; so I don't realize that I've never experienced them before.

Marla: Tim...

Tim: But like really big things, like clowns and the big building and being in a new city, when those things happen...

Marla: Tim!

Tim: ...then I notice them, and so then, I realize...

Marla: Tim!!

Tim: ...that I've never...

Marla: (grabbing him by the shoulders) Tim!!!

Tim: ...experienced that...

Marla: (shaking him) Tim!!!

Tim: ...particular event...

Marla: (with violence, she shakes him) Tim!!!! (slaps him hard)

Tim: (feeling his face with his hand, very softly) ...before... (Marla has turned away in anger and shame, Tim suddenly gives the lost look again) Wow! (he approaches Marla from behind) Hey! Hey! Guess what? You've never slapped me before! (looking off with mystery) The realization just, kind of, washed... (Marla turns quickly and slaps him even harder, then stomps off stage)

Tim: (watching her go, calls after her, while rubbing where she slapped him) Now, is this deja vu?!

(Tim continues rubbing face as lights fade, walks off in the direction of the juggling clowns)



emcee emdee said...


Hey! I just had this strange experience when I read this play! It was like....a vision. Only you were dancing! In a dress! (And juggling? Nah.)

I kid because I love.

Nice work on the play. How long can you keep up the grueling pace, man?


Brendon Etter said...

Not much longer, not if I want to keep writing these plays. I'm done after Cinderella, pulled my name out of consideration for Tartuffe, didn't audition for Enenmy of the People or Beauty and the Beast. Maybe next spring, I'll be in another play, but probably not since I'll be doing the second Very Short Play Festival.

I think, on average, the plays take 3-4 hours each to write, some much shorter, some considerably longer. So acting and NAGing and writing and running and working and tending to everything else becomes a bit difficult at times.

Then, of course, there are all those patients who come to me after they've had yet another /s/ experience, and so I've got triage to contemplate on top of everything else.

Anyway, thank you for the comment!

Anonymous said...

The idea of someone slowly realizing their own conciousness was funny--until I realized that I think I know some people who have not yet reached this stage in their lives. Which is scary. What if I THINK I'm self concious but I'm really not. What if I other people are laughing at me (for the first time) and I don't even know it. Oh God! I might not be self actualized! Someone help me. I'm drowning into unconciousness. I love you Die Frau. Good bye...