August 20, 2006

A Play A Day #129

Forward Toward Onward


Setting: Blank stage.

Man: (dressed for the weather, leaning into what must be a ferocious wind, and rain must also be pelting him quite angrily as well, he speaks, throughout the play, in a heroic, shouting voice to be heard over these extreme elements) Must.... reach.... goal!

Reporter: (dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, carrying notepad and pen, talking in a conversational tone, no storm rages about him, but then again, he doesn't know that one is supposed to be) Excuse me... sir?

M: Yes?!

R: We've received some calls at the paper from people describing what they say was a man walking forward, but not really going anywhere... I'm assuming they were referring to you.

M: I wouldn't know! I guess it's possible!

R: O.K. Great... can I ask you why you're doing this?

M: Doing what?!!

R: Uhhh... walking, but not really going anywhere?

M: I'm going as fast as I can!!

R: Really... you... you seem to be pretty healthy so...

M: Yes! I am healthy!

R: ... uhhh... so why are you not moving... or moving so slowly?

M: It's very hard to move in such a powerful storm!!

R: Storm? What... storm?

M: The one that rages around us right now!

R: Really... ummm... o.k. I don't see any storm.

M: Doesn't mean that it doesn't exist!!

R: True... enough... so where are you going, so slowly?

M: Forward!

R: To where?

M: Ahead!

R: Righhht... uh... where did you start?

M: Behind!

R: How long have you been walking in this storm?

M: What time is it!?

R: About... four-thirty.

M: Almost one month!

R: Uhhh... a month?

M: Very nearly, yes!!

R: You mentioned something about a "goal", what goal?

M: Onward!

R: Onward?

M: Onward!

R: To where?

M: Onward! Ever onward!

R: So when will you stop?

M: Most likely never!

R: Wha.... why?

M: Because I'm a metaphor!

R: A metaphor?

M: Yes! An enduring metaphor at that!

R: O.K.... ummm... Can you give me a name, sir?

M: Yes!

R: (waiting) And... what would that name be?

M: How about Benjamin Franklin?!

R: Your name is Benjamin Franklin?

M: No!

R: What is your name, then?

M: I prefer to remain anonymous!

R: I think people might be better able to relate to you if you shared your name.

M: I'm a metaphor! Metaphor must be impersonal! That way it can be generalized across many different situations by many different people!!

R: Ohh. What metaphor are you?

M: I am man's quest to move ever forward, progressing at a slow and incremental pace against the very worst this world can throw at him!!

R: O.K., but what do we take from that?

M: Well, rugged individualists see the good of survival against the odds, conservatives see the progress of business, liberals see measured and sustainable development, many women see the soft-focus, human-interest story, kids see the importance of pursuing goals!

R: If I may be so blunt; I see it as fairly absurd.

M: Yes, some see that side as well! Good for them, I say!

R: The fruitlessnes of struggling against imaginary forces...

M: I see: The Power of Heroic Conquest!

R: The disabling of the mind, the disconnecting from reality...

M: The Courageous Fight against an Irresistable Force!

R: ... in the face of societal expectations... playing a useless game that brings no satisfaction...

M: The Humbling of Nature in the Face of Man's Dogged Persistence!

R: The persistence of man's doggerel to mask personal failings and deep, abiding anxiety...

M: Motions Full Of Purpose!

R: Emotions filled with pretense...

M: Signifying...

R: Signifying nothing!

M: Nothing! (snaps upright, starts talking conversationally, now) You're right. Thank you. Wanna get a burger or something?

R: Sure. Sounds good.

(they walk off together)


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