June 8, 2006

A Play A Day #56


Students (non-speaking)

Setting: Teacher is on up-center raised platform. Students are in chairs facing her.

Teacher: As you advance through this course, this will get easier and easier. Why? Because of trust and support. When you cut through all the make-up, the costumes, the staging, the lights, the props, the sound, the whole milieu of theatre, all you have left is the trust and support of the cast and crew. That’s it. Nothing else will ever make your performance any better; if you are not feeling that support; you will always pull back, hide in your character, and you will never really become the character in a believable way.

So, what does this mean? Several things. First, we must support each other. Must. All the time. Second: We must be willing to receive this support by remaining humble and able to listen, even, and especially, when we don’t agree with what is being said. Third: We must be honest. There is no trust in the theatre without honesty. Finally, and most importantly, we must be able to do anything on stage, at any time, if you cannot free yourself from your inhibitions, you cannot act. Others support you, but you have to be able to do things that require support. There can be no limits. If you are holding back on your acting; people will hold back on their support. We only support those actors who are taking the chances to be the best; truly stepping outside of themselves.

And this brings us to our first big exercise of the term. As you have no doubt heard from past students of this course; we take chances. (little laugh) You were even required to sign waivers, effectively abandoning your right to sue the University for any pain or emotional suffering experienced as a result of this class. That was for a very good reason. I am asking you, as I have asked so many who have preceded you, including several Hollywood A-list and Broadway stars, to think what would be the absolute hardest thing for you to do on stage. Then I am asking you to get up here and do it! No limits, folks!

We will go very slowly. You have all put your names in this bag, correct? (affirmative mumbling from students)

Alright, you’ve all known what the assignment would be today since day one... you’ve done your thinking. It’s best just to jump right in. If you’re not on stage, your job is to aupport the actor on stage. Be verbal, people. Encouragement! That is the point! You do what you never thought you could, and we’ll show you that it will be rewarded. Step out of yourself, be the other. Possess the other. We are here for the support.

Alright? First name: (pulls one out of bag) Rebecca! Get on up here, Rebecca; let’s see what you've got for us. (walking to an empty chair and sitting with the class) C’mon class, encourage her, encourage, let her know that you’re there. No judging, only support for the actor and the art!

(Rebecca starts an awkward ballet dance, this goes on for quite awhile, students encouraging her throughout, finishes, returns to her seat, everyone applauding madly)

Teacher: (standing) Alright!! Way to go, Rebecca! That’s what I mean. Obviously, she is not a trained ballet dancer, but she stepped into the role with confidence and daring! You have to be able to fit into the skin of the other! Nicely done, Rebecca! (pulling another name from bag) Joan!

(Students and teacher always encourage and get into everything from here on out, unless noted otherwise. Joan flashes her breasts at the class.)

Teacher: Alright, good work, Joan! Never easy. Next is... Wendy!

(Wendy brings a bucket on stage and stands over it without lifting her skirt or taking off underwear and pees into the bucket. Urine everywhere.)

Teacher: A bold move! Much appreciated, Wendy! Now... Roger, your turn!

(Roger uses bucket too, he whips it out and pees into the bucket in full view of the class)

Teacher: Alright! Now we’re moving along! Way to take chances, Roger! Nice support everyone! Alright, let’s see... Cal! You’re up!

(Cal drop his pants and underwear and maturbates to orgasm, class goes wild)

Teacher: Do you see what’s possible here guys! With that kind of support, any acting challenge can be met! Now, we have... Candace!

(Candace brings urine bucket back onstage and drops her pants and underwear and shits into the bucket.)

Teacher: You see! Acting is not always pretty; you’ve got to be able to get dirty and foul the air to get right into your character’s world. Well done, Candace! Now we have.... Jeremy!

(Jeremy grabs bucket and pours shit and piss mixture into his mouth and all over his shirt, face and the stage.)

Teacher: That’s it! That’s it! Who here didn’t feel the pain Jeremy’s character was experiencing? That’s just such powerful acting! Mmmm-hmmm, perfect, Jeremy! And, moving one, we have... Denise.

(Denise removes all her clothing, rolls around in the piss and shit on stage, and then masturbates to orgasm)

Teacher: (wiping away tears, voice cracking) So good! Wow! That was daring, mixing the visceral with the primal urges. Never fails! It jut hits you right here, doesn’t it?! Alright... now we have... Stanley.

(Stanley comes on stage, strips naked, then pulls a female classmate from her seat, and forcibly strips her then has unprotected sex with her to orgasm.)

Teacher: You know, was that non-consensual? Wow! I couldn’t really tell, but, I say this everytime it happens, I know, but rape scenes are so hard for both actors! Yvonne, you get credit for doing the scene with Stanley; of course, you can always do your own thing too, if that scene hadn’t been planned ahead of time between the two of you. You know what though? It doesn’t really matter; planned or unplanned, it was a huge risk and with our support, it worked so well! Alright, hard to top! Hard to top! Moving on... with.... Ryan.

(Ryan comes on stage, undresses, fashions a crude noose out of his belt, jeans and long sleeve shirt, he attaches it to a support beam above the edge of the raised platform, puts his neck in it and step off the edge of the platform, The class is supoorting him with many great words of encouragement while Ryan twitches and finally dies.)

Teacher: Now that! Was that brave or what? Wow! There’s one actor who’s going to have a lot to say in the obituaries, huh!? Everyone will know his name, that’s for sure! And why? Why? Because he took a chance! And why did he take that chance? Support! Acting is a dangerous form of expression; it’s not about making it through the show! It’s about life and death! Thanks to Ryan for reminding us of that in such a wonderfully nuanced performance. Next we will see... Darren!

(Darren comes on stage, cuts down Ryan’s body and bends the corpse over the edge of the platform and promptly begins fucking Ryan’s dead ass. He keeps it up till he can’t keep it up)

Teacher: Darren has crossed a (makes air quotes) taboo for the stage. Necrophilia is rarely touched on, but maybe it’s time. I think Darren has the start of a one-live-man show going! Keep it up, Darren! Here’s to fresh corpses with cute asses! Now... let’s see.. it’s Lacey!

(Lacey comes on stage, strips naked, pulls Ryan’s body all the way on stage, grabs a sharp small knife from her pants, and cuts off Ryan’s penis. She stuffs it into her vagina, then proceeds to painstakingly remove Ryan’s skin. She then puts his skin on, and pulls the severed penis partly from her vagina and pretends she is masturbating as a boy, then she retrieves a bowler hat and does a quick tap dance off stage)

Teacher: Excellent! Excellent! Wonderful support, everyone, for Lacey! She reminds us again of the crucial need to fit into the skin, and even the genitalia, of the other! What style and precision! Alright, moving on with... Troy!

(Troy, pulls a full stick of dynamite from his pocket, swallows it so only the fuse is outside his lips, then lights it.)

Teacher: Oopsie! Incoming! (class and teacher run to the far edge of the stage, turning away from Troy, crouching down and protecting their heads, but, all the while, being very vocally supportive of Troy’s big scene)

(Troy explodes. Flesh and blood everywhere.)

Teacher: This is such a bold class! Let’s give it up for Troy again! I sense a powerful political statement in Troy’s performance. Somewhere among the tattered remains and lumps of steaming flesh, blood and bones, there is the spirit of a truly daring actor! Now, let’s see who comes up... Sam! Let’s see what you’ve got!

Sam: (on platforrm, lots of verbal encouragement, Sam starts a monologue) When I hear about the Iraq War and about tax cuts and wiretapping and the endless grab for more executive power, I hold my head high and say “Yes! George W. Bush is MY president, and I’m proud of him!" (teacher’s encouragement stops quickly, taking her cue, class slowly quiets down as Sam continues) He has chased the devil himself from wherever he hides in America! He has shown the world that terrorism can find no hold in our great land! (Sam, not hearing anything from the class or teacher, starts getting nervous) He... uhhh... is the... only man... who... the only man who can lead... this magnificent country... ummmm.... (teacher gives an uncomfortable cough) toward a new...

Teacher (standing up quickly) O.K. That’s enough, Sam!

Sam: But... I’m... I’m not done. I have a whole page to recite...

Teacher: You’re done, Sam.

Sam: But...

Teacher: You just had to take it to the extreme, didn’t you?

Sam: I... uhhh... was just....

Teacher: I can’t stand here and let you spout such horrible things.

Sam: (excitedly) Yes! That’s it though, get it?! I hate Bush too, and I’m doing something that would be extremely uncomfortable for me...

Teacher: I get it, Sam; it’s not funny.

Sam: I’ts not supposed to be funny. I was trying...

Teacher: And you failed, Sam! You failed!

Sam: But you said... unconditional support and that we were...

Teacher: Sam! There are limits to everything!

Sam: You said there weren’t limits!

Teacher: Everyone knows that you just can’t touch some things on stage, Sam. I didn’t realize you were so naive.

Sam: I’m not naive! I need support to say...

Teacher: Well you’re not getting it here, Sam. I think it’s sad that you tried to use this classroom... this classroom where so much great risky acting was taking place... that you used it to forward your narrow-minded political schemes!

Sam: No! No! I hate Bush, get it?!

Teacher: Whatever, Sam... I’m hurt that you took advantage of all the support we have to offer. This is about acting, Sam! Not about your cynical experiments! Don’t use us!

Sam: I wasn’t!

Teacher: What would Ryan; what would Troy say?! Huh, Sam?! What? If they weren’t flayed and exploded, respectively, what would they say? Do you find it so easy to mock their sacrifices?!

Sam: No... I mean, I wasn’t mocking anyone... I...

Teacher: You have made a mockery of the great work being done here, by both your living and recently-deceased clasmates!

Sam: No! You said anything! Anything!

Teacher: Don’t hide behind my words, Sam!

Sam: Hide? But... I...

Teacher: Sit down, Sam!

Sam: I just...

Teacher: Now! Sam!

Sam: I need support too!

Teacher: And maybe you’ll find it somewhere else, but not here! Sit down, Sam!

(Sam is crying; he sits down)

Teacher: Alright, well, let’s move past that ugly incident, huh? Let’s get... Elsie... come on, Elsie, help us break away from that nonsense!

(Elsie comes on stage, she takes off her clothing, then produces a large handgun which she inserts in her vagina, then she pulls it out, licks it and turns away from class, bends over quickly and fires twice looking bacward between her legs, Sam’s body slumps to the floor, the bullets having neatly penetrated his eyes and exited through the back of his skull. Elsie reinserts the gun in her vagina and walks off the platform.)

Teacher: (looking very shocked, and shaking her head) Ohh... man.. first of all: nice shooting, Elsie! (rest of class decides it’s safe to be supportive now, lots of encouragement) Second: thank you for reminding us that sometimes you have to act before your fellow actors can do something wrong! It’s about trust, sure, but not stupid trust! Wow! You’re definitely going to be huge, Elsie! How gutsy was that performance, everyone?! That’s right! Fabulous, truly fabulous! Alright, getting down to just a few of you... and we have... Jess! Let’s see something up there!

(Jess gets up as lights fade out)



Brendon Etter said...

Yes, I know it's disgusting...

But, see, the play would be post-modern in that the actual actors would be doing things on the actual stage, but acting as if they were doing things that would be nearly impossible for them to do on the stage, and... well... see they are doing them anyway... nevermind...

It's also political...

Political, post-modern and disgusting: just like America.

Good luck finding actors that would actually do this stuff. I mean, who's going to say things like that about the President?

Yeah... I know this play will never be performed, and that's just fine with me.

Brendon Etter said...

Just a reminder to forward this blog's address along to anyone you think would appreciate it. Alternately, you could forward it to people you don't like whom you know would be horribly offended.

Mrs. Tromvestite did it; so can you! That's how blogs work.

Ohhh, also, apparently the Arts Guild has seven actors lined up to read four of my plays on June 13 at the downtown NAG, should last from 7 - 9.

Very cool. Invite friends!

Rocking good time for all. You can yell at me all you want, provided the yelling could be construed as constructive feedback. And, really, what yelling, however irrational, isn't constructive?