August 3, 2006

A Play A Day #112

A Disturbance In The Force

Cast: Thousands of people, if they fit on your stage... fifteen or twenty will do just fine too; you know, just however many it takes to make your stage look quite crowded. People can be of any age, size, ability, in fact, it would probably be fun if you put as many different looking people on the stage as possible. They have to be able to breathe. Although, you could probably get away with some mannequins, or someone only recently dead, but too many fresh corpses tends to be conspicuous on most stages.

Setting: As has been made clear above, it's a stage, bare except for a large group of people. Paint it anyway you wanted. I like black and white striping, but maybe you'd like fake marble, or flourescent bioluminesence.

(Lights up on stage, entire cast is already in position, they are standing extremely straight and stiff, staring straight ahead. Wait a good thirty seconds or so. Small throat-clearing by one actor in back, another quietly hushes throat-clearer, another hushes the first husher, who hushes back, this slowly builds, two and three more people hushing others as it sweeps across the stage, until everyone is hushing everyone else in a rather loud fashion. Allow this to slowly die out as actors snap back to attention, silence and staring straight ahead.)

(Pause, hold for about forty-five seconds, someone from the back says "peep" very high-pitched, then another, and more, and more, all at different times, all very high-pitched, goes on until it's unbearably nerve-wracking, everyone is peeping, then it slowly fades down, until silence.)

(Pause, hold for about thirty seconds, loud fart from the stage. Long pause, finally someone starts to let out laughter that they are obviously trying to stifle. Prompts another to do the same, quickly starts swarming over the whole crowd, they let the laughter out, no more stifling, just huge amounts of laughter, people begin rolling on the floor, soon everyone is either bent over with laughter or on the floor, continues for a while, slowly people stand again, pulling themselves upward, wiping their eyes, brushing themselves off, giving a few ending laughs and guffaws, eventually they are all standing straight, silent, pause, then someone lets out a stifled laugh again, and it starts all over, long period of hilarious laughter, rolling on the floor, etc... Eventually, everyone is standing rigidly, staring straight ahead again.)

(Pause is held for at least a minute. A cough... same build of coughs, same descent to silence.)

(Pause is held for at least another minute. One actor says something like: "Are we done now?" General ad-libs asking such questions, or making simple statements saying like "They said it would just be a few minutes on stage" or "I think we were suppose to leave after the fart laughing." or whatever else expresses some confusion about what's supposed to be happening. Eventually quieting down with statements like "Maybe we should just stay here." or "I think we'd better keep going."... tapering to silence.)

(Pause is held for an uncomfortably long time, eventually one actor just walks off in frustration, pause, another follows, they start following off quicker, then a ruckus starts backstage, a stage manager's voice is heard stage-whispering at the actors, things like: "What are you doing?!", "Get back out there!", "You knew this was a conceptual piece" and "It's supposed to be boring!" Actors start arguing back, it gets louder and louder with more and more barbed ad-libs and anger, a fight breaks out, lots of shouting, banging, punching sounds, cries of pain, then a gun shot rings out, actors walk back onstage in fear and back into position, a little mumbling, then silence, but they are obviously terrified.)

(Pause is held for about thrity seconds, a loud gasp of pain is heard and an actor in the front collapses, pause, then another, then another, then they start dropping very quickly, then there is only one actor left standing, hands clenched at his side, shoulders drawn up, eyes squeezed shut, absolute terror, stands for about five seconds, then ventures to open an eye, looks around, still waiting for the death to come. Waiting, looking around, then walking around, checking pulses, etc..., looks all around theater in disbelief, then starts laughing and proudly delares: "I win! Ha! I'm the winner!!" Dances around and jumps about, great cries of joy, relief and self-satisfaction. When he is down-center on the stage; he then looks at the audience, unfurls one arm to draw in the dead actors on that side, then does the same for the dead actors on the other side, then takes the biggest bow for himself, continues bowing, eventually decides that even he has bowed enough, happily exits the stage, then a shot rings out, a guttural groan and the sound of a body hitting the floor hard.)

(Pause is held for a long time. Eventually, one actor stands up, then another, then they all start stirring and rising, face forward and silence, after about fifteen seconds, one of them whispers: "Hey, where's Jordan?" Others start ad-libbing similar questions and statements, louder, then quieting down as lights fade out, eventually just a few are talking. They say: "I hope he didn't walk off-stage too early..." "No, that stage manager looked very dangerous.", "Yeah.")

(Lights finish fading out)


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