September 30, 2006

A Play A Day #170

Post Surgeon

Dr. Gallant

Setting: An operating theater, where surgery is performed, not a perfoming arts space that is in business, those are mythical places.

(Enter Announcer, crosses to down center to a spotlight)

Announcer: Every year in this great land of ours, countless dozens of medical miracles are tirelessly performed. They are called "Surgeries" or "Surgery" or just "Surge" if you like the brevity thing or are simply a "Dude". These surgeries are often not successful, when the unfortunate happens and the surgeon just can't handle the surgery any more, those patients are transported here - to this operating room; where they are assured the tireless, loving care of a modern day miracle worker: Doctor Amless Gallant. For over ten years, Doctor Gallant has worked tirelessly with his tirelessly bubbly team of interestingly-dressed nurses to tirelessly undo the damage done by tirelessly faulty surgeries the country over. He is, in the seldom-heard vernacular of his profession, a "Post Surgeon" . One of only a handful of post surgeons in the world, and, by all accounts, the best in the business. Dr. Gallant has tirelessly agreed to open his operating theater, meaning a place where surgeries are performed, not a performing arts space that is in business, that's fairyland dreaming. I welcome you all to this extremely rare glimpse into the work environment of a post surgeon.

(lights up, a "surgery" bed with Dr. Gallant working on a patient, his two interestingly-dressed nurses, Tuti and Vava, hover around him and the bed, moving about checking anything, this goes on for a few seconds, then Dr. Gallant suddenly hangs his head, drops his tools on the floor, and starts roaring)

Dr. Gallant: NO! NO! NO! NO!! NOOOOOOO!!!! (starts pounding on the chest of the patient)

Vava: What's wrong, Doctor?

Dr. G: We're losing him, Vava! We're LOOOOSSSIIINNGGGGG HIM!!!

Tuti: It's a woman, Dr. G!

Dr G: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Then it's worse than I thought! He's dying further and changing gender!!!

V: This is horrible!

Dr. G: Pass me all the tools!

T: All of them?

Dr. G: I have to throw everything I have into this or we're going to lose him her!

T: (Hands him a big box of tools) Here you go, Doctor.

Dr. G: (stoically composing himself, taking the box) Wish me luck!

V: Good luck, Doctor!

T: Go get her him!

Dr. G: (searches briefly in the box of tools, then upends the whole box directly on the patient) Work! DAMN! YOOOOUUUUUUUU!!

V: (checking pulse and vital signs) He she's gone gone, sir!

Dr. G: (collapses to the floor) NOOOOOO! It can't be..... (whimpering, pulling himself to his feet) Well, I gave him her everything I had.

T: Nothing could be done, Doctor.

Dr. G: (puts a loving hand on her shoulder) Perhaps you're right, Tuti. Even though you're only a dumb nurse, perhaps... you're ... right.

V: Good point, Dr. G.

Dr. G: Thanks, Vava. You were defintely included in that last comment by the way. In my heart of hearts, I meant both of you.

V: I know, Doctor; it's nice to hear it again.

Dr G: Well, no sense crying over spilt death, get the next patient in here.

(Tuti wheels one bed out, Vava wheels in a new one. Dr. G: addresses Vava as the patient is wheeled into place)

Dr. G: Where did he come from?

V: The waiting room, sir.

Dr. G: Good. Where did he come from before that?

V: It's a woman, sir.

Dr. G: Another one! Let's get started on her him right away.

(Tuti has returned, she and Vava are picking up the surgical tools, breathing on them and shining them on their clothing)

Dr. G: (poised over the patient with tools in each hand) What's his her problem, Tuti?

T: (reading chart) Seems to be clinically dead, Doctor.

Dr. G: I thought something smelled bad.

T: Died during surgery.

Dr. G: When?

T: Around lunchtime.

Dr. G: When?

T: Around last Monday.

Dr. G: Where?

T: Around Denver.

Dr. G: Rocky. Mountain. Die!

V: Colorado.

Dr. G: Cause of death?

T: Dying, sir.

Dr. G: From what?

T: From life.

Dr. G: Sounds like a bad one, ladies.

V: Looks like a worse one, sir.

T: Where will you make the first incision, doctor?

Dr. G: Is she he insured, nurse?

T: Oh, yes, handsomely so, sir.

Dr. G. Then I shall make the first incision in... the patient!

V: Excellent choice, sir!

Dr. G: But I will have to make many, many incisions. As many as it costs (half a beat) takes.

T: We'll be here for you, doctor.

Dr. G: Good, because we could be here a while.

V: You work so tirelessly, doctor!

Dr. G: And handsomely so.

T: Certainly, sir.

(lights fade as Dr. G begins slicing randomly without really looking, spotlight down center, Announcer reenters)

Announcer: There you have it, folks, a tireless surgeon and his tireless task. I have to be honest with you, as talented and tirelessly handsome as Dr. Amless Gallant may be, success is fleeting in his line of work. Very.... very.... very... fleet... well, it's non-existent. Which is why Dr. Gallant soldiers on; his is the fight of the brave, the fight of those in hopeless situations hoping to create hope with hopefully helpful handfuls of tools, a never-say-die-again attitude, and a glint in their eye that says: "Hopeful hope" and "Yes, I'm single tonight". I think I join all of you here tonight when I say: Fight on bravely, good doctor! (lights start fading) Fight on, fight on, and then fight on some more, and then just keep fighting and fight after that a bit more and then once more to the fight, where you can fight on some more, and then fight, fight, fight and (lights out) then maybe find it in your heart to fight for a little while longer. You will definitely succeed.... some day.


September 29, 2006

A Play A Day #169

Under Advisement


Setting: Outside. A sidewalk - so, a bare stage is fine.

(enter Don, quickly waving to someone coming his way)

Don: Chip? Chip Henderson? Hey, Chip!

(enter Chip, with Bryce walking slightly behind his downstage shoulder where he will remain throughout the play, he stops in front of Don, and Bryce leans forward, Chips leans back and Bryce whispers into his ear. Chip then reaches his hand out in front of him, Don shakes it with a little awkwardness.)

Don: So, wow... I haven't seen you in a while! How've you been, man?

(Chip holds up a finger to Don, the "wait just one moment" finger, Bryce leans in and Chip turns his head back slightly to hear whatever Bryce is whispering, this goes on for twenty seconds or longer, Bryce adds a few hand gestures to punctuate his rather long statements, Chip's face never shows acknowledgment to Don about how awkward this whole process seems, finally, Chip leans forward again, and says in a very wooden way)

Chip: Fine.

Don: (getting a little concerned, decides to be assertive) I'm not sure I've met you before, name's Don... Don Shelser (reaching out a hand toward Bryce, Bryce step backward to avoid the hand, Don retracts his hand slowly) Ummm... so.... uhhh... Chip... uhhh, what's it been? Three years?

(Another consultation from Bryce, shorter this time)

Chip: That would seem to be an accurate description of the length of time during which I have not knowingly had social or other contact with you or your assigns.

(long pause, very awkward)

Don: Yes... yes.... uhhhhhhh.... okay, sooooo... what have you been uhhh... up to?

(Consult, fairly long, Chip leans forward to say something, then Bryce quickly pulls him back and whispers something else)

Chip: Could you clarify that question, please?

Don: Well... ummmm... just wondering what you've been doing for the... uhhh... last three years... you know? Since I've seen you last?

(long consult this time, a lot of gesturing from Bryce, some of it fairly strange in nature)

Chip: I have been living a law-abiding life, hurting neither no one nor no thing, I have a caring wife who supports me in all of my perfectly legal activities.

Don: Riggghhht.... ummm, can you, just, you know.... talk to me? Directly?

(Consult, consult, consult)

Chip: I wish to say that I tentatively agree with your question.

Don: Uhhhh... okay... so.... so how is Janet?

(Chip makes motions as if to respond, quickly pulled back forcibly by Bryce, lots of whispering, audible but not distinctive enough to be discerned, the whispering is quite fervent, lots of gestureing from both, Chip whispering to Bryce as well, they take turns, conversation goes on for a while, finally...)

Chip: Sadly, my wife's name is no longer Janet.

(Bryce is not happy with this, pulls him back, emphatic whispering)

Don: Hey, listen... I really... good to see you again...

(Chip's not listening to Don, but rather to Bryce, leans forward, interrupting)

Chip: I would like to retract my most recent statement regarding the name of my wife.

(long pause)

Don: Okay... yeah, sure... consider it retracted... (to himself) I'll just delete it from my memory...

(pause again)

Chip: (after brief consult) It was nice to see you again.... (consult) Don.

Don: Yeah, Chip... maybe I'll see you around... (a cursory wave, Don exits very quickly)

(brief consult)

Chip: (turning around, calling offstage) Yes. Good-bye.

Bryce: Dodged a bullet there, Chip.

Chip: Sorry.

Bryce: We simply have to keep the Janet thing off the table in these situations.

Chip: Yes, right.

Bryce: Otherwise, that went alright. No major damage.

Chip: Good.

(lights start to fade, they start to exit)

Bryce: Just remember, act naturally.

Chip. Right, naturally. Naturally.

Bryce: No one will ever suspect a thing.

(they are off, lights are out)


September 28, 2006

A Play A Day #168

Denial / Denial


Setting: A table in a deli. Lang sits drinking a coffee and picking at a sandwich. Ava comes in and quickly moves toward him; Lang notices gets up and gives her a big hug and a kiss on the top of her head.

Lang: (still hugging her) Ava! Ava... Thanks for coming so quickly!

Ava: Of course, of course, of course my dear... why wouldn't I?

Lang: (they separate and sit down) Well, I'm always needing your help with so much...

Ava: Hey, I'm here for you... We made this committment to be there for each other...

Lang: I know, I know, it's just seems like you're pulling most of the weight, most of the time.

Ava: Is that a fat joke? Ha! Just kidding. (grabbing his hands in hers) Lang, listen: You're going through a rough patch right now. You'll pull through. If I can help you, then I will.

Lang: (kissing her fingers) I know, you're the best... how did I get so lucky?

Ava: Keep kissing my fingers and you're going to get quite lucky, right here, right now.

Lang: Probably not the best idea.

Ava: Not the best idea, but certainly a nice thought.

Lang: Ava, that's kind of why I need to talk to you.

Ava: Yes?

Lang: Something's come up, and I just can't hide it any more.

Ava: Like, I said, keep kissing my fingers and I'll be happy to help you with whatever's come up.

Lang: Ohh... stop. I'm serious.

Ava: Sorry, it was too easy.

Lang: Like you?

Ava: Ohhh... Now who's being sooo serious?

Lang: Alright, alright... It is though.

Ava: Serious?

Lang: Big time serious.

Ava: What is it?

Lang: Well, we've been together a long time, and it's been great. I mean, you're just the greatest person for me. So kind and caring, and I really feel like I don't deserve you and...

Ava: (a little nervously) You're dying or something?

Lang: No, no... I... ohhh this is really hard for me to say.

Ava: (more nervously) Maybe... uhhh... maybe you just shouldn't say it?

Lang: I need to. It's not fair to you. I can't just keep it in any longer. It's not fair to either one of us. I need to let it out, or it's going to kill me.

Ava: (quite concerned now) Ummmm.... Lang? What... What's going on? What is it?

Lang: (long pause, then this is said with grave difficulty and strain in his voice) Ava... I... well... I'm... gay. (he starts crying out of relief and fear)

Ava: Wha... Lang? Lang? You're... gay? Gay? Like homosexual-gay?

Lang: (in tears and shaking) Do I look happy-gay to you?

Ava: I can't believe this... all these years... you've been keeping this from me for all these years?

Lang: I was in denial... I didn't want it to be true, but it is. It's true. It's who I am. I'm gay.

Ava: I feel like our time together has just been... ummm... dishonest?

Lang: I know, I know, I know, I'm sorry, I'm sor...

Ava: You just didn't know? Didn't want to know? So you kept up this charade?

Lang: Ava, I'm telling you now; so we can start the healing. I will make it up to you. I will.

Ava: How?

Lang: I don't know yet, but let's figure something out...

Ava: This is going to mean a lot of changes for us.

Lang: We'll get through it.

Ava: Wow... I can't lie to you, Lang... this... this one hurts.

Lang: I wish it didn't; I really do.

Ava: (pause) Does Brian know?

Lang: I haven't told him yet. I don't know if I can.

Ava: Lang! You have to! You've been married to him for six years, and you haven't told him you're gay?

Lang: I know, I know. It's not right.

Ava: No, it's not! You have to tell him right away!

Lang: But what's it going to do to our marriage?

Ava: You have to take the risk, Lang. You can't stay married to him based on a lie.

Lang: What do I say to him?

Ava: How about, "Brian, sweetheart, I'm gay."

Lang: You make it seem so easy.

Ava: Listen, you did it with me; you can take this step with Brian too.

Lang: What if he freaks out; he's such a sissy.

Ava: He's strong on the inside. He just has a flamboyant personality. He's naturally going to be upset at first, but he loves you; he's your husband. He'll work through it.

Lang: Yeah.... maybe... I just don't want to crush him.

Ava: You won't.

Lang: He's so sensitive... you know, sometimes I wonder if he might be a little bit gay too.

Ava: I don't know. I don't know him as well as you do.

Lang: This is just so hard.

Ava: You're going to do it, Lang. You did it for me. It's not going to be easy, but we'll figure out how to go on from here. You have to do as much for Brian.

Lang: (picks up her hands again, and starts kissing them) Thank you, Ava! Thank you so much. You're the best friend a newly-gay man can have.

(lights start fading)

Ava: You know this still turns my crank, even though you're gay... we'll definitely live through this just fine.

(lights out)


September 27, 2006

A Play A Day #167



Setting: A dimly-lit table, one overhead lamp. Nick, Raines, Weetz and Andy, sit around the table, not doing much of anything.

(long pause, all is silent, then there is a knock on an offstage door. Raines gets up, walks offstage toward the door, we hear door open and close, then a man's voice.)

Holt: Hi! Hi! I'm Holt! (walking on stage holding out hand, Raines takes it and sits and gestures to an empty chair at the table, Holt walks to chair holding his hand out) Hey there! My name's Holt, and I heard about this group ...

(The other four men all) Shhh!

Holt: The... oth.... er..... day.... ummm... (confused, holds out his hand to Nick) Hi, my name's Holt and...

Nick: (shakes hand) Shhh!

Holt: (holds out hand to Weetz) Holt Tarra...

Weetz: (shakes hand) Shhh!

Holt: (holds out hand to Andy) I...

Andy: (shakes hand) Shhh!

Holt: Okay, well, I was just....

All Four: Shhhh!

Holt: But...

Raines: Really... shhhhhh.

Holt: Ohh... okay...

(annoyed looks from the guys for saying that much, they all continue sitting, very, very long pause, at least a minute or two, Holt is trying to catch someone's eye to see if a conversation can be started, no one's biting, he is growing increasingly frustrated, eventually he can't hold back any longer)

Holt: Ummm, are we going...

All Four: Shhhh!

Holt: Right, I got that, but...

All Four: Shhhhhhh!!!

Holt: But, I was...

All Four: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

(More sitting, nothing happening, Holt has grown rather annoyed by now, long pause, followed by several other long pauses, each interspersed with Holt nearly building to the point of talking and the other four memebers all looking ready to shush him again. Finally, he can't hold back any longer.)

Holt: Could someone please tell me what is up here?!!

All Four: Shhhhh!!!

Holt: No! I won't be shushed anymore....

All Four: Shhhhhh!!!!!!

Holt: I'm a grown man, and you can't...

All Four (turn their chairs to face away from Holt) Shhhhh!!!!!!!

Holt: Nice! Real nice!

(long pause again, at an unknown signal, the other four all stand up, put on any coats or anything and start to leave, Raines is the last one to leave, Holt grabs Raines by the arm as he begins to go off stage)

Holt: Will you please talk to me?! 'Cuz this here, what I just went through, was really frustrating, and I felt belittled, and I want to know what the point of the group is.... my friend told me it's about men seeking inner peace, and I'd like to learn, but I can't go to a group where nothing happens.... so, please, talk to me?

Raines: Sure. We're done for tonight.

Holt: What was that? The meeting.

Raines: That was and is Quiet Club.

Holt: Quiet Club?

Raines: It is the last refuge of the tormented, the over-stimulated, the speed-chasers, the self-doubters, the overachievers, the jacked-up and jerked-over... for those who pursue inner peace in the only way possible, through absolute quiet.

Holt: So, you don't talk about inner peace?

Raines: Why would we talk about something like that. It just adds more doubt. More murmurs to trouble the ears, the brain, the soul.

Holt: But how will I know how to achieve inner peace?

Raines. You won't. You can't achieve inner peace. Everyone saying otherwise wants you to buy their formulas, their paths, but that just clogs the spirit with more noise. The only thing that you can achieve is inner quiet.

Holt: Inner quiet?

Raines: Much like inner peace, but more about shutting the hell up.

Holt: So it's like a meditative thing?

Raines: No. Meditation is a chore to be accomplished. We simply sit in as much silence as the surroundings provide.

Holt: Just sit.

Raines: Concentrate on nothing, not our breath, some stupid mantra or anything, just silence.

Holt: Why don't you do it by yourself?

Raines: We formed the Club because many of us discovered that the silence of the many reinforces the silence of the one.

Holt: So you meet and do nothing.

Raines: Tecnically, we don't even "meet", there is no acknowledgement of the other. This is our space, we come in as we want, some of the group have hit on regular schedules, but it's usually just by coincidence.

Holt: Wow.... and this really works?

Raines: No idea. We just like it... or, at least, I guess the others like it. They keep coming back.

Holt: So, I just come back here whenever I want.

Raines: Yep, provided you don't do anything, including talk, like you did tonight.

Holt: Sorry about that... I didn't know the rules.

Raines: Rule, singular. There's only one rule in Quiet Club: You don't talk in Quiet Club.

Holt: Yeah... I got that.

Raines: Took you a while there.

Holt: Well... no one told me the rules.

Raines: Precisely. (pause) It's "rule" - singular - by the way.

Holt: Okay, yes, rule... Do you want to go out for coffee, tell me more about the Quiet Club?

Raines: No, I'll go out for coffee with you though.

Holt: Uhhh.... oh, oh, yeah.... okay. Sounds good.

Raines: Things rarely do.

(They exit, lights fade out)


September 26, 2006

A Play A Day #166

Puppy Loathe


Setting: A park, a bench in the park, a bench in the park with a lamppost near it, a park with a bench near a lamppost and a garbage can. Lisa is playing with her adorable puppy - one of those tiny-widdle, cute-widdle balls of fur, and it's just the cutest-widdle fing, yes, it is. Yes, it is.

(Enter Galt, sits on the opposite side of the bench. He's pretending to read a newspaper; he's not very good at pretending though and stares more and more at Lisa and Lisa's dog.)

Galt: Aren't you the cutest little doggie?

Lisa: Oh... yes, he is. Thank you.

G: I was talking to the puppy.

L: Uhhh... right... I was just...

G: Well, I mean, you thanked me.

L: Because... I thought you complimented my dog.

G: I did... it's a very cute puppy.

L: Yeah, but then...

G: Well, I meant I was telling the dog that it was cute.

L: Right.

G: That's all.

L: Okay... then, uhhh.... what was the bit about talking to my dog?

G: I was just telling the dog that it was cute, and you said "thank you."

L: Well, it was a nice compliment.

G: That's my point, I wasn't complimenting you.

L: Right, my dog, you were complimenting my dog.

G: So you didn't need to thank me.

L: Well, I'm Scoot's owner; so I take comments about him somewhat personally.

G: You shouldn't.

L: No?

G: No, you didn't make him cute right? It is a male dog, right?

L: Yes, a boy.

G: A male; boys are humans.

L: Yes, I know.

G: So you didn't make him cute, right?

L: No, of course not...

G: I mean, you take care of him?

L: Yes.

G: Baths and stuff, brush his fur?

L: Of course.

G: But, even if you didn't do that, he'd still be a cute dog, right?

L: Probably.

G: Yeah, he would; wouldn't ya, Scoot?

L: I'm sure he would; he's a puppy. They're almost all cute.

G: My point exactly: Scoot's adorability has very little to do with you.

L: Right, yes, I'm not disagreeing with you, I guess.

G: So, you don't need to thank me for complimenting the dog.

L: I guess it feels like I should say something. Scoot can't; so I...

G: You want to step in and fill the gap.

L: Just being conversational.

G: You assumed then that I was talking to you?

L: Well, yes...

G: Through the dog?

L: It's pretty normal for people to do that.

G: Talk to each other through animals?

L: Yes.

G: Seems like it might be hard to get a message through such channels.

L: It's not literal; it just means...

G: Lot of potential for broken links in that communication chain.

L: (pause, changes tone, she's not going to play any more) I'm glad you like the puppy. (turns away)

G: Oh, I don't.

L: Okay.

G: Hate dogs.

L: Alright, fine...

G: The cuter they are, the more I hate 'em.

L: (she protects Scoot with her arms, turns completely away from him) I get the point.

G: (looking at her back) Wellll, so do I. Hey. You're doing it again.

L: What?

G: I'm talking about your dog, and you're taking it personally.

L: He's MY dog. Why wouldn't I take it personally?

G: That's a big part of the problem. You think you own the dog.

L: I do. I rescued him from the humane society.

G: Yeah? You break in late at night though a ceiling vent, subdue three guards with precision martial arts moves, untie little Scoot here from the railroad tracks right before the Midnight Express rolled through the kennel?

L: Ha. ... Ha.

G: But you don't really own the dog. It's an animal.

L: He's mine.

G: Willingly?

L: What?

G: He's yours willingly? Or do you just keep him with food?

L: Yes and yes.

G: Can't have it both ways. He's either yours willingly, in which case he doesn't need to be kept with food; or you keep him with food, in which case he's not yours of his own free will.

L: Listen... nah, forget it. I'm going.

G: Face it, lady, your dog's a whore for food.

L: (standing up, then turning on him) What is wrong with you? You get off ridiculing people for having pets; you're like some hypocritical animal liberation freak... no pets, set them free, but then you say you hate them?!

G: No, I just hate dogs, whether they are pets or not. I don't hate all pets.

L: Who cares?! You're just mean, that's all.

G: Yes. I know.

L: Well, stop it!

G: Why do you care?!

L: (she doesn't know why she cares, this throws her) Uhhh... because... I don't want you walking around... and... and... like... making fun of people for trying to talk through their... their.... ummm... uhhhh....

G: Pets?

L: Yes!

G: Again, why do you care?

L: Listen, I don't, alright?! I mean, you're cruel. Making fun of puppies?

G: I'm not making fun of your dog.

L: You called him a whore!

G: Figure of speech.

L: Figure of speech?

G: Yeah... must have hit a chord in you though.

L: You.... You pathetic.... jerk.

G: Again, I was talking about the dog, not you.

L: Stop hiding behind that!

G: I just don't like dogs, and I think people should speak for themselves.

L: How can you just expect people to not stand up for their pets when you treat them like that?

G: Treat whom?

L: Their pets!

G: Well, you could let your dog defend itself.

L: It's a puppy. It's defenseless.

G: Well, I mean it could defend itself with rigorous debate.

L: You're a... unbelievable. It's a dog!

G: Yeah, I know.

L: It doesn't defend itself through debate!

G: Right. You know why?

L: I don't want to hear from you about what stupid...

G: Because it can't understand what we're saying.

L: Yes, they can! Dogs can!

G: Ohhh... they get little things; their names, very common words that promise them reward, but I can guarantee you that Scoot here doesn't have the slightest inkling what a whore is.

L: That's not the point. It's just cruel and wicked to say!

G: If the dog doesn't get it, has no understanding, why is it cruel?

L: Because it's unneccesary and the sign of a horrible person.

G: Okay. Glad we got that squared away.

L: (turns away from him, slowly decides to say something else) Why did you talk to me?

G: Because I love people.

L: This was about me, right?

G: Noooo.... jeez, you just love yourself.

L: You're hitting on me.

G: No.

L: Yes. You are. You're hitting on me.

G: Why would you care?

L: I just... like to know.

G: Listen. (long pause as he leans toward her) You have a cute.... dog.

L: You hate dogs.

G: But they don't know that.

L: So?

G: If I tell you that you have a cute dog, what does that mean to you?

L: Now?

G: Yes, after everything you've learned here today.

L: Well... If you told me that I have a cute dog, now, then I would figure you were setting me up to cruelly attack the dog, me, and the whole concept of pet ownership.

G: Therefore...

L: I would realize what a prick you were.

G: And...

L: I would leave.

G: Exactly.

(L looks at him in confusion)

G: You... haven't.

L: (pause) Left?

G: Bingo!

L: So?

G: You have not left. That's all that needs to be said.

L: I just... uhhh...

G: I'm not holding you here.

L: I know... I... was going to go...

G: I've insulted your dog. I've insulted you.

L: I... uh...

G: What's your name?

L: No...

G: (insistent) What's you name?

L: I can't...

G: (more insistent) What's your name?

L: You're horrible...

G: (shouting) What's your name!!?

L: Lisa.

G: (a few heavy breaths) Hi, Lisa. My name's Galt.

L: Hi.

G: Why do you have the dog, Lisa?

L: I ... I... like dogs.

G: No. You don't.

L: I... uhhh... (long pause, she sits down heavily) I don't.

G: You wanted me to hit on you through your dog, didn't you, Lisa?

L: Well, not just you.... anyone.

G: Sure, but today it was me, and I bit.

L: Well, yes.

(G takes the puppy and ties its leash to the back of the bench while talking)

G: I knew this about you. You had that weird look in your eyes that said, "Ask my adorable puppy if you can sleep with me."

L: I didn't think it was so obvious.

G: Yes, it was, but I'm freeing you of this, Lisa. You don't have to be ensnared in this fool's game any longer. You can ask for love yourself.

L: It's not possible.... it never works.

G: (becomes a personal coach now) It is possible, and you're going to do it right now!

L: No... I can't.

G: (standing up in a "power" position) You WILL do it!

L: But...

G: Compliment me.

L: No, it's not going...

G: Tell me I have a handsome face.

L: Well... (long pause)

G: Do it!

L: (quickly, with much shame) You have a handsome face.

G: And nice hair.

L: And nice hair.

G: No! What about my hair is nice? Find it, Lisa, find it!

L: It's so... combed?

G: Now, personalize it.

(L looks confused)

G: "Ohh, Galt, I can't believe how inordinately sexy your hair is!" or something like that, but include my name!

L: Ummm... yes... Galt, your hair is very stubbornly sexy!

G: Close enough. Now, heat it up, Lisa. Be the woman, be the very woman, damnit!

L: (does some awkward seductress moves, not good at them) Uhhh... like this?

G: No! Damnit! No! Stand up! Good... now, grab my ass!

(L looks terrified, long awkward pause)

G: Grab it! Grab it now!

L: (doing so, awkwardly) Okay?

G: Now, pull me in closer, and rub your body up and down mine.

(she starts to do so, very quickly)

G: We're not trying to start an actual fire here. Slowly. Slowly.

(she slows down, let's go of his ass)

G: Hands on the ass! Hands on the ass! I cannot over-stress the importance of keeping your hands on my ass!!! And slower still, alright? No aerobicizing needed.

(L does so for a little while longer)

G: Good. Good.... very good... now look at that dog, Lisa. Look at it.

L: Do I keep my hands on your ass?

G: No, no, not necessary... stand up straight and look at that dog, Lisa. Just you and the dog. Lisa, there's been a lie told here today. I told it. I said that dog was a whore, Lisa. I was wrong. No, Lisa, that leash runs both ways... you are the whore, Lisa. And that chubbly-wubbly li'l ball o' fur right there? That is your pimp.

L: No!

G: Yes!

L: Say it isn't so!

G: I can't lie to you again, Lisa. You don't have to do this... waiting around in the park for guys to pick you up through your dog! Suffering under the brutal demands of this flamboyant puppy-pimp... no, today, Lisa, you set yourself free... say good-bye to your Kibble-Daddy, Lisa... you needn't be a pet-pimped prostitute any more.

L: Really?

G: NO! Now you can be independent! A free-lancer! A hooker off the hook! You choose the sex, you collect the money, you pay no one!

L: (very excited) I'm... I'm... (quickly crashing back to reality) not a prostitute.

G: Not with that attitude your not! Now, let's get back to your independence.

L: I was grabbing your ass?

G: Well, it's time we move on from there. You live around here?

L: About five blocks that way.

G: I think we'd better start some private lessons, Lisa. Today will be the first sex of the rest of your life!

L: Wow... really?

G: Yes, Lisa, and it will hardly cost you anything.

(G grabs L's hand, and they start walking offstage)

G: Doesn't it feel better already, Lisa? Getting away from that terrible, cute thing?

L: Welllll... yes. Yes. I... I guess it does.

(They are offstage)

G: Okay, grab my ass while we walk. Ooo! That's it.

(lights fade on the whiney and cuddley Scoot, he whimpers as he sits on the bench)


September 25, 2006

A Play A Day #165

Art Wins


Setting: Bare stage, smoke pours from one wing onto the main stage, Allen, filthy from smoke and ash, stumbles onstage. He feels his way around for a bit, rubbing at his eyes, starts hollering.)

Allen: Jojo!? Jojo! Jo?!! (pause, looking about frantically) Jo! Jojo! (pause) Jojo! Jojo! (realizes she didn't make it out, turns and runs back into the smoke)

A: Jo!? Jo!! Jojo! Jo! (emerges carrying Jojo, who is also filthy, dressed in a nightshirt, he coughs mightily, lays Jojo down on the opposite side of the stage, checks her breathing, starts to administer mouth-to-mouth, this lasts for a few breaths, Jojo starts coughing and rolls to her side, she rubs her eyes, sees Allen kneeling there)

Jojo: Allen...

A: Don't talk, sweetheart. Takes some breaths. Breathe, breathe.

J: (coughing horribly for a while, trying to sit up) What... the house?

A: (gently keeping her on the ground) Yes. It's gone.

J: (more coughing) But... where's the fire department? Where are they?

A: I couldn't call them; by the time I noticed the fire, I couldn't get to the phone.

J: My cell...

A: Is probably in your purse, your purse is by the phone where you always put it.

J: We can call...

A: No one's going in there, Jo. It's gone. We can only hope one of the neighbors sees the fire and calls.

J: We live over a mile away from the neighbors.

A: They'll see smoke.

J: It's too dark.

A: It's gone, Jojo. (they hug for a long time, still hugging) We have to accept it... we'll have to accept it; we might as well start now.

J: How... how did you get out?

A: Fell asleep in the basement after the game... they won by the way... and I just woke up to the smoke detector. It was so dark, no lights on, just the TV, then I smelled the smoke and headed up stairs, there were flames everywhere, the living room, the kitchen. I just got really low and pushed through it all, and came outside.

J: But, why didn't you get me?

A: I thought that you would be outside already.

J: I wasn't?

A; I ran back in, pulled you out of bed... you must have passed out from the smoke...

J: Wow... you just did that? ... I... would have been...

A: Shhh... don't think about that, please... please...

(they both sit and quietly observe the house burning down)

J: Should we back up?

A: I think we're safe here.

J: (pause) I don't hear any sirens.

A: It's probably for the best.

J: The house burning?

A: Yes... completely, I mean.

J: What?

A: Just let go of it all... a clean break...

J: I... why would you say that?

A: No pathetic scrounging for... or saving of half-charred, smoke-damaged artifacts.

J: Pathetic... I hardly think that trying to recover a few sacred memories from the destruction can be considered "pathetic".

A: I understand... but it takes the bad with the good.

J: What bad... this was our dream house...

A: Yes... I realize that, Jojo, but...

J: No! No! Don't talk like this, Allen. Our dream house... seven years in that miserable city, basement apartment, pipes groaning all day... we saved... you worked two jobs most of the time... up til 4 a.m. most nights, finishing your architecture degree...

A: Loved that apartment though... so many good memories... right in the city...

J: You wanted to live out here... you said you wanted to be able to have space around you, to let your art unfurl, that's what you said...

A: I did. I did. You're right. I did.

J: So what are saying?

A: I... just need the people, Jojo... I need the vibe and that constant hum of the city...

J: But, you designed the house... you are a prize-winner, Allen... this house won awards...

A: I am very proud of it...

J: Your designs are being praised across the country; you've flourished out here.

A: Yes, I guess I have...

J: So... why are you being so glib about the house burning down?

A: I am so proud of this house.

J: Right... I know! That's what I'm saying. How can you celebrate its destruction?

A: Because it's not our house.

J: (pause, very confused) What? I... What?

A: Well, it's our house. You know, it is owned by us... conventionally, yes, it's our house... but, in the broader sense, it is not our house.

J: What are you trying to say? Stop being so cryptic.

A: It is art. Art is not there to be possessed. No one owns art. Art is the idea, the design... the house had run its course.

J: Run its course? We lived here! This was where we lived. It was art, I agree, but...

A: No, no, no, no dear. (pause, his finger is up) It IS art.

J: Fine, yes, whatever, the idea is still there, yes, that is art... and it was beautiful...

A: Jojo. (long pause) This. Is. Art.

J: I agree, honey, but I'm really upset that you...

A: Not the house. The burning.

J: What? Allen, what the hell are you talking about!?

A: The idea was art, the execution was practice, the destruction of the idea is its own art.

J: I... ummmm... Allen?

A: Art is a process. Beginning, middle, end.

J: No... you're not understanding our lives were in that house.

A: I understand. It performed exactly as planned.

J: What did? The house?

A: Wires sag over time, flash paper burns quickly. Art results.

J: This is not art! This is our life!

A: I never knew when it would happen exactly, but I guessed about five years. It made it six. Close enough. It stayed true to its design.

J: You... I could have...

A: The art unfurls, dear. Art wins.

(lights out quickly)


September 24, 2006

A Play A Day #164

A Game Of Words


Setting: None

B: On your marks...

C: Go! No.

A: Get set....

B: On your marks...

C: Get very set...

A: Set..... set....

C: Wait.....

A: Get ready...

B: On your marks....

A: Start getting ready...

C: Again.... now, again...

B: On your marks!

A: Off...

C: Step down...

A: End.

C: End.

B: On! Your! Marks!

A: Stop.

C: Completely.

A: Refuse to play.

C: The race is not a race if it is run.

B: On your marks right fucking now!

A: Having run, where will you have been?

C: Having gone, where will you have went?

A: The race is not so much over as it is always starting.

B: Listen to me! You must, MUST, gets on your marks!

C: It is always starting only if it never starts.

B: I'm really sorry I swore at you a few moments ago...

A: If the race starts, we won't be able to end it.

C: It must continue, endlessly.

B: I lost my temper...

A: We tried to run it before...

C: We could not stop...

A: Experience has taught us to listen to experience.

C: It is an endless game.

B: I should have taken a deep breath...

C: He wants to believe that the race can be run.

A: But it can't, because you can only run in something if there is an end.

C: Otherwise you are always running.

B: I forget to breathe, and I'm liable to say stupid things when that happens...

A: You'll never stop, there isn't an end.

C: No finish line.

A: You may think that the joy of the race is in the process.

C: But you are wrong.

B: I think it's very important that we not pay attention to what these two are saying....

A: In fact, is it even a race?

C: If there is no end, there is no winner.

A: A race is a contest.

C: Someone wins.

A: A method must be universally agreed upon.

C: A method for determining the winner.

B: Please, I'm begging you, don't listen to them! They don't even know what they're saying, they...

C: There must be an end point that can be objectively measured or observed.

A: If there is no end, can there ever really be a beginning?

C: Yes there can be, but only if you concede that you are beginning.

A: No one can force you to begin.

B: They... uhhh... I'm not forcing anyone... it is in your own best interest to begin the race now...

A: Don't do it.

C: You'll never be allowed to stop.

A: Only with death will the running stop.

B: Nonsense... they don't... listen! There's a glorious finish up ahead, but you have to run the race to get there!

C: Then your children will have to continue the running.

A: Until their deaths.

B: It is not even that long a race, but you have to get on your marks!!

C: The less the race has to offer.

A: The longer it will take.

C: It can offer nothing without an end.

A: There is no end.

B: Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!! Get on your marks!!

C: The less the race has to offer, even in the running, even in the moment, the louder they become.

A: They will dance and pound and squeal and claw the ground loudest when there is no end.

C: It takes a lot of convincing.

A: We have to be taught that the race is worth running.

B: Stop listening to them, and get on your marks...

A: We can't be taught that the race is worth running, if there is no end.

C: If there is no end, there are no marks on which you must stand.

B: I'm sorry I yelled again, but, look, look! The marks are right there! Look!

C: Because there is no beginning.

A: There is no race.

C: There is no race, if you refuse to run it.

B: Fine! Forget it! Forget it! Only I know what must be done! I will get on my own marks.

(B does so)

A: Get set....

C: Die.

(B begins to crawl with great effort; A and C observe him for a while)

A: It's worse than we thought.

C: Not only has the race begun...

A: Not only is the race being run for us...

C: Against our will...

A: Not only is the race unending...

C: Not only is it impossible to call it a race at all...

A: Not only all of these problems...

C: But our runner doesn't even know how to run.

(lights out)


September 23, 2006

A Play A Day #163

Like A Simile


Setting: The mall, or some equally delightful commercial site.

Wendy: Like, it was so, like, he didn't care? Like, like, I wanted him to, and, like, it just wasn't like real, ya know?

Tiff: Wendy, I so, like, told you that this would, like, happen to you with, like, a guy like that. I, like, totally, warned you like days ago?

W: Like, I know that, Tiff, but, like, it was , like, something, I had to, like, figure.... out? like, for myself?

T: Yeah, I guess, like, that's, like, true? Like those, like, capri pants you, like, bought? like, this summer?

W: Like, no way are you bringing that up right now? That's, like, so mean? I'm, like, breaking up with my, like, boyfriend over here, and, you're all, like, what about those, like, ugly capri pants?

T: I know, I'm, like, so mean!

W: Yeah, you're, like, the meanest, like, best friend I have, like.... now?

T: So, like, are you going to, like, do it? Or are we just, like, going to, like, talk about it? like, all day? You know?

W: Like, hold back, Tiff, it's, like, not nice to, like, push me? about this, like, trauma, like, really hard? because it's, like, so potentially traumatic?

T: Hey, like, I'm totally not, like, pushing or anything 'cuz, like, I know how like, traumatic it must be? You two have been, like, such soul mates and, like, stuff? for the past, like, month and a half? It's hard, like, I know 'cuz, like, Ricky was my, like, soul mate so much through, like, most of the first quarter, like, freshman year? It, like, totally, like, crushed me when he started dating, like, other cheerleaders?

W: You, like, totally understand me, like, it's no wonder we're, like, totally, like psychic, like, sisters or whatever? We, like, never can, like, separate!

T: That's so, like, awesomely, like, true?

W: Alright, you, like, have totally, like, inspired? me. I'm so going to, like, break up with him. Like you're such my best friend? you, like, help so, like, much? when I have these, like, major life, like, crisis, like, issues and things?

T: Well, you need to, like, assert? yourself? in these, like, things and stuff; so, like, that's, like, so totally what friends, like, are there for?

W: Hey, like, look who's coming. It's like, Like.

T: Totally it is, like, Like? Like, Like is, like, the coolest? like, girl, like, ever!

W: And I, like, totally, like, love, like, her name?

(enter Like)

Like: Wendy! Tiff! Ohmigod! I, like, totally, never thought, like, I'd see you at, like, the mall? together. That's, like, awesome!

T: Like! Ohmigod! Like, Like, like, where did you get that, like, top? That's, like, the cutest, like, blouse, like ever?

W: Totally, Like; it's like, the cutest, like totally, like, awesome top, Like!

L: Oh! Like, you two, are, like, so, like, sweet? to, like say so. I bought it at, like, Fashion Whore?

T: Ohmigod! I, like, love that store, like, so much! I, like, totally want to, like, date? that store!

L: I know, it's, like, got the hottest, like, clothes? in the whole, like, mall.

W: For the like, Fashion Whore in, like, all of us! Like, you, like, always, like, find? the, like, best clothes?

T: Totally, like, Like, how do you, like, do that?

L: Oh! Like, it's totally, like, easy? you just have to, like, come? to the, like, mall, every day? and keep, like, an eye? on what's coming in?

W: Awesome? I'm, like, totally, going to, like have? more time to, like, dedicate? to the, like, mall now too.

T: Yeah, you totally will.

L: Like, why? is that?

T: She's, like, totally, like, breaking up with, like, Erik?

L: Ohmigod! He's, like, so much, like, your, like, soul mate? I mean, like, you tow have, like, totally been, like, together? like thirty-five, like, forty, like, days?

W: Like, try, like, forty-two, Like!

L: Ohmigod, you're totally, like, breaking up with, like, your boyfriend on, like, your monthandahalfiversary?

T: She, like, totally is, Like!

W: PLease Like, like, don't, like, tell? anyone. I want, like, Erik? to, like, be, the, like, first to, like, know? about this, like, Like? Like, okay?

L: I will, like, totally, not, like, tell? anyone.

W: Great, Like, like, I'm, like, really, like, not, like, worried? like, about, like, you, Like.

L: You're, like, the sweetest, like, best, like, friend? I've, like, ever had.

T: Like, you are too, Like.

L: Like, ahhhh..... (as in "that's so sweet")

W: (pulling out cell phone, pause, talking) Hello, Erik? It's, like, me? Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yes! Like, uh-huh. Uh-huh? Uh-huh? No? Like yes? Totally. Listen, Erik? I, like, am, like, breaking up? with you? Okay. Like, great. See you around! Love you. Bye. (quickly puts her cell phone away)


T: (hugging W) Ohhh... like, you are, like, so, like, brave?

L: (hugging her too) That was, like, so, like, beautiful. We should, like, shop together now.

W: Totally, I'm, like, so stressed? right now. Let's, like, totally, go to, like, Fashion Whore, and, like, Tiff and me will, like, totally, like, buy? that same top.

T: Wow! That's, like, the best idea... ever! And you're, like, still in shock from that whole, like, boyfriend catastrophe you just, like, went through? and you, like, totally managed to, like, think of your friends and shopping, like, first?

(they start walking off, they stop)

L: Ohmigod, like, look who's, like, walking? over here?

T: It's, like, Abby?

W: Like what is she, like, wearing?

(Abby enters, she is wearing essentially the same top as Like is wearing)

W: Abby!! Yay!! Like, it's, like, so awesome to, like, see you here!

L: Ohmigod! We were, like, just talking about you!

T: We totally were, Ab! Like, that is, like, the cutest top ever!

W: It, like, totally is.

A: Ohhh! You guys are, as, the, as, cutest and, as, bestest friends!

L: We, like, were just like, going? to Fashion Whore? Like, you want to, like, come too?

A: As, that would, as, be, as, super? if I, as, didn't have to, as, find my, as, sister and, as, her friend?

W: That's like, so, like, sucky? You should, totally, call me, like, sometime?

L: And, like, then Wendy, will, like, call Tiff and, like, me, and we could, like, do something? or something.

A: That would be, as, awesome, as, totally! Sorry, as, I, as, gotta, as, shoot? to the, as, food court?

T: Totally, we'll, like, see? you, like, around.

W: Yeah! Like, that will be, like, the greatest, like, time?

A: As, fabulous! I, as, gotta run. As, see, you three, as, at school?

L: Like, totally, we will. Like, good-bye, Abby.

(Abby hurries off, the other three continue off in the direction they were heading before Abby came on stage, shaking their heads, lights fade as they exit)

W: Does she, like, not know, like, how, like, stupid? she sounds, like, talking like that?

L: I think, she, like, doesn't even, like, realize it?

T: That's, like, so sad? We should, like, help her? or something.

L: No way, like, did you not, like, see? that blouse? she was, like, wearing?

(lights out)


September 22, 2006

A Play A Day #162

An Actual Conversation Painstakingly Recorded By The Author. The Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Actual Speakers. At Least, I Am Assuming The Names Have Been Changed. The Author May Unwittingly Be Giving The Charcters Their Actual Names In A Poor Attempt To Protect Their Identity. Perhaps, The Author Should Have Asked Them What Their Real Names Were So He Could Have Been Assured That He Was Not Using Their Actual Names. Well, Too Late Now.


Setting: A space.

Friend1: Hello, Friend2.

Friend3: Really funny, Friend1, but you know I'm Friend3.

1: Where's Friend2?

3: He's not here.

1: You're right.

3: Yes, I am.

Friend2: Now, I am here.

1: Oh, hello, Friend2!

3: Friend2! So nice to see you!

2: Yes, it is nice to see you both here.

1: We were just wondering where you were.

3: Yes, we didn't know where you were.

2: Well, I am here now.

1: Where were you?

2: I was masturbating with Friend4.

3: How is he doing?

2: Friend4? He's doing well.

1: How was the masturbation?

2: Oh, o.k., I guess.

3: You guess?

2: I wasn't paying any attention at all.

1: Fabulous!

3: Neat!

2: I thought so.

1: Have you eaten recently?

2: Are you talking to me, Friend1?

1: To both of you.

3: Do we have to answer together?

1: That is funny.

2: I ate on Wednesday.

1: Now, it is Saturday.

2: Hmmm... then I am hungry.

3: I never eat on Saturday.

1: That is too bad.

3: I once ate on Saturday, and I vomited on Sunday.

1: Again, that is too bad.

2: I hate vomiting on Sunday.

3: Yes. Saturday made me vomit on Sunday.

1: So you don't eat on Saturday.

2: Out of sympathy for your plight, I will also not eat on Saturday.

3: We are friends. It follows.

1: Well, I am not friends with both of you enough to not eat on Saturday.

2: We always suspected you of poor friend-keeping abilities.

3: True, we have secretly been suspecting that you were not a really good friend.

1: You have been talking behind my back?

2: I don't know.

3: Which way do you usually face?

1: Oftentimes, I stand facing this way.

3: Hmmm... yes, then we have spoken behind you back.

2: I believe Friend3 is correct in that assessment of our back-behind-talking-of-you activities.

1: I appreciate your honesty.

3: We are your friends after all.

2: True, we are. At least, I am.

1: Are you not my friend, Friend3?

3: I believe I am.

1: Well, do you like me?

3: Oh, yes. Quite a lot.

1: Hmmm... do you enjoy partaking in certain activities with me?

3: Well, like what?

1: Friendly activities: snooker, picnics, vandalism?

3: "Yes" to the snooker, "no" to the picnics, "somewhat" to the vandalism.

1: You might actually be my friend then.

3: That's good news.

2: I am glad we are so happy.

1: Me too.

3: Not me.

1: Yes?

3: I am happy we are so glad.

2: Oh my. That's completely different.

3: Well, I'm hungry. Let's get something to eat now.

1: You don't eat on Saturdays.

3: Yes, I do.

2: You told us that it made you vomit on Sunday.

1: So you don't eat on Saturdays.

3: No, I just don't eat on that Saturday.

2: Which Saturday?

3: The Saturday that made me vomit on that Sunday.

1: That Saturday?

3: Yes, I will never eat on that Saturday again.

2: True, true. You won't.

1: Well, we should eat then.

2: Yes, we should. I should mention though, because I am such a good friend to you, Friend3, I will not eat on that Saturday ever again either.

3: You are very kind.

1: Truly a generous friend.

2: Tell me, how do we end this conversation?

3: I imagine we stop talking.

1: That would seem to be one way to do it.

2: Great. Let's do that.

(very, very, very long pause, nothing at all happens, they just stand there, looking at each other)

3: It almost felt like we were still having a conversation there.

2: I thought so too.

1: Let's try it again to see if we can both stop talking and end the conversation.

3: Sounds good.

2: Then we can all eat... on Saturday.

1: Great idea.

(they stop talking, long pause, lights start to fade, they look up at the gathering darkness, confused, eventually lights go out)

2: Seemed to work better that time.

3: Yes.

1: Got dark rather quickly though.


September 21, 2006

A Play A Day #161

The Moral


Setting: A living room with sofa and armchair and end table.

(Dad enters, struggling against himself, making exaggerated gasping, gagging and funny noises, he trips over the back of the sofa, flips off the sofa seat and flips hard onto his back on the floor, tries getting up but slips on some unseen object or fluid, slams chest and face directly to the floor, slowly pulls himself up using the armchair, he stands mostly, but puts way too much weight on one of the arms of the chair and crashes back down to the floor with the chair. He stands, picks up the chair, looks around in confusion for where to put it, in so doing, trips over the end table, slamming down onto his back with the armchair landing on top of him, he staggers to his feet, whips blood from his nose and face, puts the armchair back safely, then wiping his brow in an exaggerated manner, flops down on the sofa, he jolts back to his feet, screaming in great pain trying to reach with both hands behind his back, turns his back to the audience as he struggles and we see a large knife stuck into the center of his back, blood quickly rushing out. He struggles some more to reach the knife, spinning about wildly to do so, he eventually gets weak and dizzy from the blood loss, the spinning and the screaming, and falls hard on his back. He lets out a horrible scream. We hear laughter offstage, toddler laughter and a grown woman's laugh, Mom enters holding Toddler, both laughing.)

Toddler: Again!

(Dad slowly gets up, walks to Mom and turns around, Mom unceremoniously pulls the knife out of Dad's back, Dad lets out another wrenching howl of pain, Mom adlibbing joyous sounds and exhortations with the toddler, Dad repositions the knife in the sofa cushion, Mom and Toddler exit, Dad exits, lights down, lights back up, Dad stumbles back on stage and repeats the entire performance.)

(Note to directors: Repeat this whole sequence as often as you want; just as long as you think it might take until you have successfully taught your audience the moral of the play - Toddlers Are Dicks.)

September 20, 2006

A Play A Day #160

A Clever Play About A Husband And Wife Who Find Themselves In An Odd, Unpleasant Situation, And Then, Using Clever Means, Deliver Themselves From Their Predicament In A Completely Unexpected And Shocking Way Which Involves Both Of Them Dying Simultaneously Because They Shoot Each Other In The Face. I Call It "Clever".


Setting: An Opulent Sitting Room. Late at night.

(Lanford enters quietly, lights are very low, he tiptoes slowly cross the room, lights turn on quickly)

Lanford: (startled) Wha... oh... Chelsea! Hello, Rosey Bits!

Chelsea: (sitting in a leather arm chair in a bath robe, by which I mean she's in the bath robe, not the leather arm chair.... did I mention that Lanford is in pyjamas and a smoking jacket? Well, he is.) Hello, Lanford.

L: What are you doing up?

C: I might ask you the same thing.

(L waits expectantly, a long time)

C: Yes?

L: What?

C: Why are you standing there?

L: Waiting to see if you've made up your mind yet.

C: About what?

L: The question.

C: Question?

L: The question you might ask me. (pause) The... uhhh... what-are-you-doing-up question.

C: I already asked it.

L: Well... hate to be a snip, Pumpkin Patch, but you said you might ask me the same question... might.

C: Yes, that was the question, Lanford.

L: Again, not to disect too preciously, Blossom Bosom, but "I might ask you the same question" is a statement... a declarative sentence... ending in a period, you see.

C: It's a rhetorical statement anyway, Lannie.

L: Good point.

(long pause)

C: So?

L: Yes?

C: Why are you up?

L: Ahh... that... yes. (pause)

C: Well, why?

L: (thinks, then very deliberately and slowly) I might ask you the same thing.

C: You can't...

L: (interrupting) In fact, I already did. Well... I mean, technically, my Dimpled Diamond, I asked you "What are you doing up" and not "Why are you up" which is not the same question, if one parses them out. "What" and "Why" being subtly different interrogatory qualifiers.

C: Are you going to answer my question?

L: I might ask you the same thing. (a little chuckle to himself on that one)

C: Alright. Since you're not being open, I will lead the way.

L: You've always been a self-starter, my Little Lick Of Love.

C: I am awake, and I am sitting here, because I have been waiting for you to steal it.

L: Steal what?

C: You know to what I'm referring, Lanford, don't pretend that you don't.

L: I won't.

C: Well?

L: I'm not pretending.

C: So, you admit that you were going to steal it?

L: No, I'm simply not pretending, my Seductress-In-Chief.

C: You're not pretending about what?

L: Yes, I am.

C: Pretending?

L: No, I am not, Push-me Pull-me.

C: So, you're admitting that you snuck in here tonight to steal it?

L: (gets very technical, he's not being coy, he sincerely doesn't know) Am I admitting that? Hmmmm.... let me think... I may just be pretending not to admit it, or not pretending that I'm not, or, perhaps, I'm only pretending to admit it, or pretending that I'm operating under the pretense of not admitting it.

C: Lanford... you've given me a headache.

L: Sorry, Cuddle Chum.

C: Were you planning to steal it?

L: Oh... ummm... let me be very, very honest with you, my Fuzzy Kitty; yes... no... I was perhaps not going to steal it.

C: How dare you! It has been in my family for over half a generation...

L: Yes, it has.

C: It has great worth to me, sentimental worth... in addition to being valued at nearly three billion dollars.

L: Wow! Three billion?

C: Yes, and that's why I'm so protective of it... for the... sentimental value.

L: Certainly, my Lumpy Bumpy Baby Boop. (to himself) Note to self, don't start the bidding at one dollar.

C: That's why only I have the key to the elaborate case in which it is held....

(they both look around)

C: (thinking fast) Which I've hidden in a very large safe...

(they look around again)

C: Which also is not in view here...

L: I see, my Licorice Whip...

C: Where? (she's looking for it)

L: Rather, I don't see, but I understand that it is hidden.

C: Then why do you sneak in here, late at night, in a smoking jacket, only to be discovered by me...

L: (interrupting) Oh! Hey, my Cherry Pit of Heaving Desire, that makes me wonder. How did you turn the lights on?

C: What? When?

L: When you discovered me here, tonight. The lights just turned on, and you were seated in that chair, but the light switch is on that wall.

C: I'm quite fast.

L: Yes. Yes, you are.

C: I might also ask you this: Is that...

L: Yes, you might.

C: I will! Is that a hammer and a kit of safe-cracking tools in your pocket or do you now have an erection which happens to look like a hammer and a kit of safe-cracking tools, which, since I have had ocassion to see your erections in the past, would make me very concerned about your urological health as it would seem that you might have mutated in some way, perhaps falling victim to a rare disease which makes your erect penis resemble a hammer and a pair of safe-cracking tools, or are you just happy to see me?

L: Always happy to see you, my Li'l Love Magician, and I have a hammer and a kit of safe-cracking tools in my pocket.

C: How could you do this to me, Lanford!? To us?

L: I haven't done it yet, my Slobbery Saltlick.

C: But you were going to!

L: Welllll...

C: How can I trust you any more?

L: It will be difficult for you, I'm sure, my Cushiony Love Pillow.

C: I can never let you have it!

L: I feel the same way about it that you do.

C: What does that mean?

L: I might ask you the same... (interrupts himself) No... just kidding there... Umm, yes, but, seriously, My Amore Whore, I can't let you have it either.

C: It is mine.

L: Not for long. (Pats his pockets) Remember my mutant erection over here?

C: I thought this might be how it turned out; so I've made some alternate plans. (pulling large handgun from behind her back, pointing it at Lanford)

L: Yes, I see. Well, I thought things might not go entirely according to plan either; so... (he moves very slowly and carefully with his hands pulled back, and ultimately, reaches behind Chelsea) Pardon my reach, my Puddly Wuddly, oops... hey, not being frisky here... just... trying... to... there! (and pulls another huge handgun from behind her back. He slowly walks back to where he was standing, then levels his gun at her) I've also made some alternate plans.

C: Damn you, Lanford.

L: Damn you, my Fluffy Dollop Of Mashed Potatoes.

C: We can't on on like this.

L: Yes, my arm's already getting sore... this is a big one. (referring to the gun)

C: No, I mean, we can't go on like this, as in we'll never be able to trust each other.

L: Yes, I see. That might be a bit of a rub, huh?

C: Yes. We must divorce.

L: I can't let you do that: Then, if I steal it, it would be stealing.

C: So, are you going to shoot me?

L: I might ask you the same thing, my Cupcake of Lust.

(long pause, lights start fading, come back up, music starts, gets very, very dramatic, peaks, and fades out, lights fade out, come back up, lights fade out really quickly and bounce back up three or four times, nothing doing. Lights come back on, house lights come up, actors step forward take their bows, walk offstge, then they each run back on, and shoot each other in the face... a lot... like ten quick, loud shots from each gun. They collapse to the floor.)

(House lights go out, stage lights start to fade)

C: (gagging, spitting blood) My headache's gone, Lanford.

L: (same, but cheerfully so) Yes, good to hear, my Semiautomatic Siren.

(lights out)


September 19, 2006

A Play A Day #159



Setting: In a public library. Lil is searching in the stacks. She is looking frantic and nervous, flipping through books, consulting a small piece of paper in her hand.

Lil: (mumbling but audible) Phobias, phobias, phobias, freeing yourself of, Live Without Fear, Fear Nothing... don't see how that's possible... Claustragorarachna: The fear of being outside inside enclosed spaces filled with spiders... guess that's better than being inside spiders that are outside... think everyone would be afraid of that... Ahhh... where is this... the computer said it was here.... (Sky enters, she notices him, he doesn't see her, she begins whatever sort of manipulations are necessary to make sure that Sky does not see her.) Crap... crap... crap... oh woman, no... no... no... I knew I shouldn't have come out here... I knew this would happen... I knew it... (she continues her attempts at hiding, much nervous adlibbing, she begins constructing a wall of books by rapidly removing all the books off the shelves and stacking them hurriedly in the aisle. When she has pretty much finished this task, but not quite, Sky crosses in front of her aisle, Lil has ducked down behind her wall of books, Sky is pretty intrigued, so he walks over to look at the book towers, as he gets closer he sees Lil hiding behind them, jumps back a little)

Sky: Oh... hey... hi... sorry, didn't see you. (Lil has scurried away from Sky, up the aisle where she stands in a very nervous state. She is pushing backwards against the shelf, staring at Sky in horror, legs pushing, always moving in some way.) Ummm... sorry... I... (long pause, he is wondering what the hell is going on with this woman) Are these all yours? (picks up one of the books from the stack)

Lil: (blurting out, panicky) Dontouchthat!

Sky: (the book flips clumsily out of his hands) Sorry... I... ummm... are you... okay? (she is nodding her head almost painfully fast, in denial) Can I... do you need... some help? (she continues nodding, realizes it, switches to shaking her head very fast) Okay... well... ummmm... my name's Sky... (starts to hold out his hand, realizes that a handshake isn't in the cards, withdraws it.)

Lil: (indicating the books) Please, don't cross the wall. (pause, Lil fumbles in her pocket for a cigarette and a lighter, gets them, starts lighting a cigarette, smoking)

Sky: Ummm... what... you really shouldn't... I mean... you can't smoke in a library... you really should... ummm... listen, I know you don't know me, but... I know this, they will kick you out really fast if they catch you... and they'll smell the smoke right away... I can already... you know, smell the smoke (she continues) Really, uhh... you just can't do that... in here...

Lil: (whose speech patterns and stresses are of a very nervous person) I... have to.

Sky: What? No. Listen, you can smoke outside. Why don't you just do that? It's a nice night... really, put it out... they are not going to look very kindly on this...

Lil: I'll pass out.

Sky: What?

Lil: (the cigarette is calming her down now) The fear. I'll pass out.

Sky: You'll pass out? From... from fear, you'll pass out?

(Lil nods a lot, quickly)

Sky: Can I ask what fear will make you pass out?

Lil: Androphobia.

Sky: Andro... phobia?

Lil: Can you go now?

Sky: I'm sorry... I just was worried when I saw you there and the book stacks, and then you started smoking... and I thought...

Lil: No... I know... but you have to leave.

Sky: Okay... (starts to go, turns back) You know, talking about what you're afraid of is a great way to not be afraid.

Lil: Tried it! Doesn't work!

Sky: Okay, okay, sorry... I'm just saying that if you want...

Lil: I'm going to smoke another cigarette if you don't go.

Sky: That's... well.... that's more of your problem...

Lil: Yes, but you're doing it!

Sky: What? I don't get what...

Lil: (hissing) I already told you: the cigarette keeps me from passing out...

Sky: But what's the fear? I mean, what is it...

Lil: You! Alright?! It's you!

Sky: What? You mean you're afraid of me? So much so that you're going to pass out... if you... if you don't smoke in a public library?

Lil: Yes!

Sky: Do I know you?

Lil: No!

Sky: I haven't done something that harmed you... in... uhhh... some way that I wouldn't necessarily be aware of?

Lil: No!

Sky: Ohhh... do I look like; like someone who was ... uhh... mean to you in the past?

Lil: No! (mumbling again) please... please leave.... go away go away go away (continues under his next line)

Sky: Then why are you so afraid of me? (sniffing himself) Is it like a smell or something?


Sky: (aware of the volume, trying to bring her volume down by quieting his words a lot) A man?

Lil: Yes...

Sky: Well... yeah... I mean... I know I'm a man, but why...

Lil: Androphobia!

Sky: (catches it this time) Fear... the fear of... men?

(Lil nods vigorously)

Sky: So, I'm making you smoke, because I'm a man (she continues nodding) and you fear men... all men... (she continues nodding, stubs out what's left of her first cigarette, searches in her pocket for more) I'm... really... sorry. I didn't know... I would have left a lot... (she frantically searches for another cigarette, she is coming up empty) Ohhh... I... I guess I'm not helping at all, am I? I'll just... ummm... I meant it, what I said about talking about your fears... so... if... well... good-bye. I'm really sorry about all the... uhhh... well... (starts walking away)

Lil: (giving up her cigarette search) Stay!

Sky: (turning slowly, stepping back toward her wall of books) What? Stay?

(she nods)

Sky: Ummm... okay... (long pause) Did... did... you want to talk... about your ... ummm... fear?

(she shakes her head)

Sky: Uhhh... so what's... ummm... what... why do you want me... to stay?

Lil: (quietly) I'm out of cigarettes.

Sky: Right... okay... Ohhh! I get it... do I have one? No. I don't smoke, never have actually.

Lil: That's... that's not what I meant. I don't have any more cigarettes.

Sky: Okay... yeah... I get that... but, what?

Lil: I smoke the cigarettes when my anxiety gets too high. It calms me down.

Sky: Sure... I gathered that... (long pause) Is that it?

Lil: No... no... I... need something else to calm me down...

Sky: Right... I was leaving so you wouldn't have more anxiety...

Lil: No! I need... love...

Sky: Love?

Lil: Physical... love.

Sky: Uhhh... sex?

Lil: Yes.

Sky: So you're a lesbian?

Lil: What?

Sky: Well, I'm not female, so I don't...

Lil: I'm straight.

Sky: What?

Lil: I love men.

Sky: Men?

Lil: All men.

Sky: How... how is, uhhh... well, just how?

Lil: I have a compulsive sex drive.

Sky: Okay... but you're terrified of men.

Lil: Yes. That's what makes it so great.

Sky: How? I don't...

Lil: If I'm with a man, my anxiety climbs to outrageous levels, I control the anxiety through smoking, if I'm out of cigarettes, my anxiety runs right through me, unabated, which feeds my sex drive, almost makes me pass out, and leaves me with the most amazing orgasms known to womankind.

Sky: Is this... are you a nymphomaniac?

Lil: Would you like to find out?

Sky: I don't think this is really healthy... for you... or for me.

Lil: How would you know?

Sky: I just mean, why don't you masturbate or something?

Lil: The anxiety isn't there then. No anxiety, no drive; no drive, no sex.

Sky: Well, I'm not sure I want to be just another one of your anxiety... ummm... encounters.

Lil: What you mean? You think I do this all the time? I hardly ever run out of cigarettes!

Sky: Well, but you've done it before.

Lil: Yes, a number of times, but I'm careful. I get tested. Condoms are always used.

Sky: Listen, I wish I could say I'm flattered, but being used just to satisfy your sexual desires doesn't seem right.

Lil: Why else do two people have sex?

Sky: Love.

Lil: Ohh... don't give me that...

Sky: What? Love? C'mon... I don't even know your name.

Lil: (getting very antsy) It's Lil. Now do you want to fuck?

Sky: No...

Lil: Okay... then could you please go, because right now, you're feeding my anxiety with no promise of release.

Sky: Welll... okay... but... would we be able to talk after?

Lil: After what?

Sky: The sex.

Lil: I don't know. Usually, I leave very quickly.

Sky: So... this sex would be at my place?

Lil: I don't like the presence of a man in my living space.

Sky: So, only sex?

Lil: Probably.

Sky: Wow.

Lil: I'm just being honest.

Sky: Yes, I can tell.

Lil: I need to know now.

Sky: No strings attached?

Lil: Sorry, there can't be.

Sky: (thinks) I can't do it.

Lil: Okay. Best lay you never had, Sky.

Sky: Can I... just get your phone number?

Lil: What for?

Sky: So we can talk... about your fear of men, maybe.

Lil: I don't think that's a good idea. I can't get nervous if you're not there, and I can't fuck you on the phone.

Sky: So... this is it, then?

Lil: Listen... if I fell in love with you, I wouldn't be afraid of you; so we'd never have sex anyway.

Sky: Alright. Good enough. (holds out his hand toward her) Good-bye, Lil.

(Lights start fading, his arm is extended, she looks at him, then looks at her own arm in surprise, she starts slowly raising her arm, lights out as both arms are fully extended and their fingers are only a couple inches apart, they are staring at each other longingly)


September 18, 2006

A Play A Day #158



Setting: A garage, old car in one stall, chairs, beer cans, tools scattered in the empty stall, it looks like a crappy old garage, have a fling. Turk and Mips sitting in beat up lawn chairs, both have had a lot of beer. Turk has had more than Mips. The conversation is loud and erratic. Pacing doesn't have to be regular, there can be a lot of weird drunken pauses. Classic rock plays quietly from a boom box on a shelf.

Turk: (sitting) Nahh!

Mips: (also sitting) Yeah!

T: No shit?!

M: Yeah! No shit, man!

T: Shit! It's true?

M: It's true.

T: Fuuuuuucccckkk! Really?

M: Yeah, saw it myself, man.

T: Geezzz... whatthehell? Huh?! Whatthefuckinhellhuh?!

M: No idea, man. Saw it and shit!

T: You wouldn't, you know, cuz this is fuckin' serious, man, you wouldn't, cuz I love the guy.

M: You callin' me a liar?

T: No, no, nooooo, but, geeezzz, fuck, man, what the fucking hell is all I'm sayin', shit, I just, fuuuuck...

M: No lie, man.

T: This is too much... swear you're not lying?! Cuz if you...

M: (interrupts) Fuck no, no, man, shit...

T: (getting suddenly belligerent and errantly threatening as drunk guys do, interrupting Mips) ...if you were fuckin lying... I'd fuckin' kill you! I would!! Don't fuck with me, Mips, not about something like this, man, don't fuckin' fuck with me about something this fuckin' serious, man, cuz I'd fuck you up and shit, you know I would... just don't...

M: (interrupting) Not fucking lying, Turk!

T: (steamrolling right through Mips' line, getting more verbally aggressive and bellicose) ...cuz I fuckin' love the guy, he's my fuckin' brother man, fuckin' same frat, man!! Alpha Tau!!!! You don't fuck with that love, man, or I'll fuckin' cut your dick off and shove it up your own ass! No fuckin', Mips! He's my fuckin' bro... mutherfuckin' Alpha Tau, Mips... You lying, you dying, mutherfucker!

M: (trying to restore a bit of calm) I know, man... I know... I know, Turk... Alpha Tau, man, I know... I know, man... loyal to the guy... you should be, he's a good guy, Turk, I know...

T: He's a mutherfuckin' Great Guy, Mips! Great Guy!

M: Yeah, he is... my friend too, remember, you know? So, I know, man... I know... It's painful.

T: Great Guy!!

M: Yeah, I know, Turk. He's a great guy.

T: Great Guy!

M: Yeah, I know, Turk.

T: Great Mutherfuckin' Guy!

M: Yeah, yeah, he is, Turk.

T: Greatest mutherfuckin' cocksuckin' guy! Eeeevvveeerrrrr!!

M: Yeah, I know, man...

T: Fuck.

M: Yeah.

T: Fuck.

M: Painful, man.

T: Fuckin' Alpha Tau, man... Alpha Tau... shit (starts getting blubbery like drunk guys often do) I mean... fuckin' Alpha Tau, Mips... why can't it... Alpha Tau... why can't life be like that? Like Alpha Tau! You know! Shit... I mean it was just so fuckin' cool... just the guys, man! Before the fuckin' wives, man... we get shit jobs, live in shit houses, with shitty women and our mutherfuckin' horseshit kids! Fuck... you know... fuck...

M: Yeah. I hear ya.

T: Don't get me wrong, I love those fuckin' kids, Mips, they're fuckin' kids, you know... you gotta love the fuckin' kids, Mips... you gotta...

M: Yeah, Turk, you do...

T: I mean, you know? Don't you?

M: Yeah.

T: But that fuckin' bitch naggin' me all the time, why can't it be like... you know, fuckin' college... you know.... fuckin' Alpha Tau.

M: No idea, Turk.

(Owly enters)

Owly: Hey, guys!

(T and M exchange an ominous glance)

O: Beer me!

(T tosses him a beer, Owly catches it, sits down, he opens the bottle with his teeth, spits out cap, pause, Owly looks at both of them)

O: What the fuck's up, homos!?

(long pause)

O: Fuck, you faggots suckin' dick before I came in or something?! Shit, man! (pause) Fuckin' "Hello" or something would be a typical thing to say here.

T: (obviously been crying, quietly) Hi, Owly.

M: Hey.

O: Yeeooowwccccchh! You fuckers are stone-cold stone cold, man; what the shit's goin' on?

(M and T exchange somber glances again)

O: You fuckers cryin' 'bout some shit or something? Whatthefuck? Shit, you guys ain't saying anything.

M: Whatchya been up to, Owly?

O: Like, today... up to today?

M: Yeah.... whatchya up to, today?

O: Nothin' much, hanging at home... tying to figure out how to give the wife the slip. She's wants me to clean the fuckin' garage... (mimicing wife's voice) "Louis, get out there and clean that mess right now, or you'll sleep in it tonight." Whatever.... I tell her it's a fuckin' garage... supposed to be messy, you know...

T: Yeah.

O: So, I been hiding in the basement all day...

M: That's it?

O: Yeah... pretty much, sitting on my ass, (makes air quotes) "reading" some fine pornographical literature, you know...

M: In the basement.

O: Yeah, that's where I keep the stash, you know... I've shown you the stash, right, Turk?

T: Yeah, you've shown me...

O: Fuckin' right, Alpha Tau brothers, mutherfucker! (O and T do a secret handshake ritual, T does it half-heartedly)

T: Alpha Tau, man.

O: (to Mips, pointing at Turk) This fucker knows everything about me, man... where all the stashes are.... Alpha Taus, life to death, man. (slow, seriously) Life to fuckin' death. (wraps an arm around T for emphasis, then removes it)

M: Yeah.. I'll bet... do anything else today, Owly.

O: No... what the fuck is this, Mips, you a private dick alla sudden?

M: No, just wondering, Owly. Just wanted to know, you know?

T: Just curious, Owly...

O: Wha... you fuckin' jumpin' on my ass too?! The fuck?

M: Just wondering where ya been all day.

O: My wife put you up to this? 'Cuz you guys soundin' like big bitches to me right now.

T: (with difficulty) Naahhh... it's just... uhh... Mips here... says... he says... he saw ya downtown...

O: Yeah... oh, yeah... I had some errands to run this mornin'...

M: Around 3 this afternoon, you mean?

O: Wha... uhhh... yeah, there were a lot of errands and shit... so... uhhh... maybe it was around three when I was gettin' done...

(long pause)

O: Soooo?! What the fuck is this shit, guys?!

M: I saw you right near the corner of Hamden and Terrant.

O: No! I... I...

T: That's MY! Fuckin'! Corner! Owly!!

O: Shit, Turk! No! I was... I... was just doing errands, man! ... errands...

T: In MY pink leather miniskirt?!!

(O looks with increasing panic from T to M and back, as lights fade quickly)


September 17, 2006

A Play A Day #157

Circles And Options

Teenage Boy
Teenage Girl

Setting: Somewhere where they can be lost. Lights are slanting in and getting lower throughout the play.

Teenage Boy: Help! Help!... Help!!

Teenage Girl: Be a man! That's not going to help!

B: Someone might hear us!

G: Here?! You crazy?

B: I might be! You'd better watch out!

G: No, you're not. You're just a coward!

B: At least I'm trying to help.

G: No one is going to hear you!

B: We have to try! The rest of the class might still be within earshot.

G: No, we have to think first. Then, we try.

B: Like what?

G: I don't know; thinking isn't instantaneous... let's compile a resource list.

B: What?

G: What do we have that can help us? You know... resources... at our disposal?

B: Ummm... I have a set of keys.

G: Great. Not sure why, le's just assume anything can help us at this moment... so, a set of keys, what four or five?

B: (pulling them from his pocket) More like twenty-five...

G: What the hell you need that many keys for?

B: Well, this one is for my bike lock, this is my locker key, this is for the back door on the ...

G: That was not a question that needed to be answered.

B: Oh...

G: What else?

B: Water bottle.

G: How much water?

B: Ummm... None.

G: Crap. So, one water bottle.

B: Tennis shoes.

G: Me too.

B: Ummm... that's... that's it from me, I guess.

G: Okay, okay, okay... I've got shoes. Water bottle, 32 ounces, maybe 28 left...

B: We'll share?

G: Yes. Uhhh... hat, a granola bar, windbreaker, dental floss and a hair brush.

B: Hair brush?

G: It gets tangled up sometimes.

B: Seems silly to bring a hair brush somewhere like this.

G: Like you need your keys out here?

B: I like to know where they are.

G: So we both have some weird things, now...

B: Oh yeah, I forgot, I have a compass.

G: You have a compass!? Why didn't you say so?!

B: I didn't know if we needed it.

G: What do you mean?! Of course we need it!

B: Okay! Okay! (fishing keys from pocket again) It's on my key ring; it's kinda small. I don't use it much.

G: It doesn't go bad...

B: (continuing over her line) I put a rubber band on the end so it wouldn't jab me. (hands keys to G)

G: Jab? ... what? (holding it up) Oh, this is a geometry sort-of compass! Man! What are you just not thinking?!

B: I won it for being the second-highest scorer in Math League last year.

G: Congratufuckinlations. It's worthless!

B: You wanted to know every resource we had; so I forgot and I thought...

G: We are not going to get out of this by drawing tiny, perfect circles everywhere!!

B: Sorry. Sorry.

(long pause)

G: No, here (hands keys back to him)... I shouldn't have yelled... I mean we could use it to... uhh... poke wild animals if they try to attack us.

B: Yeah... I suppose... (miming this part) I could like, draw a little target on the animal and then we could stab it in the bull's eye... guaranteed kill... perfectly concentric circles in the target...

G: Hey, if it happens to be a bull...

B: Yeah! Right in the eye...

G: Ouch!

B: Bull would be so pissed.

G: Yeah.


B: Probably not a lot of cattle around here.

G: No. Probably... not likely a cow could get here.

B: No.

G: So, you were in Math League?

B: Ummm... yeah... I guess...

G: It's okay, I don't care.

B: No... I don't care either.

G: That... that didn't make any sense.

B: What?

G: Did you mean that you didn't care about Math League, or that you didn't care that I didn't care?

B: Both?

G: Listen, it's okay. I meant that I didn't care that you were in Math League... uhh... wait that... didn't come out right...

B: It's okay, I don't care.

G: No! (oops, softening) No, no... don't say that... I meant to say that I don't care that you're in Math League in the sense that I'm not thinking you're some horrible geek, you know? Like, it doesn't bother me... like that?

B: Oh... yeah... ummm... wait, really?

G: Yeah, really. You should be proud of it... you're good at math. What's wrong with that?

B: Ummm... this is weird... really weird...

G: No, it's just telling the truth; you know, don't try to pretend that you're something you're not.

B: Uhhh...

G: Just be yourself, and people will like you much more... Not that they don't like you now! I mean, just that people get more comfortable around people who are just being themselves, you know, and you should be happy to be on the Math League... not try to hide it from me, or be ashamed of it.

B: But, in school, you aren't nice... you know, you hang out with some mean people, people who pick on me.

G: Well, they're my friends, and... they have different standards than you...

B: What's that supposed to mean?

G: Ummm... just they... uhhh... they...

B: Like being jerks?

G: They aren't jerks. They just have to consider the options.

B: Options?

G: Okay, okay... (pause) you sure you want to hear this?

B: Why? Is it something you're ashamed of?

G: (thinks for a while, which surprises B since it was a rhetorical, mocking question) It might be. Okay... my friends and I have a limited group of people we can be safely seen with. Whenever we bump into someone who doesn't fit into that group, we have three possible options: we can ignore the person, we can ridicule the person, or we can be nice to the person. The problem with being nice to the person is that it confuses them, and makes them think that they might also be a member of the group in some way.

B: (pause) You condescending bitch!

G: No... I told you that it was something...

B: You should be ashamed of that!

G: I... I... think I am... I just...

B: You know exactly what you're doing and you keep doing it, and then you tell me to not be ashamed of something that you and your friends spend years making me and my friends feel ashamed about!!

G: No! The truth is that we don't care about you and your friends; we just have to protect our group!

B: From what!? From what!!? Marauding packs of Math Leaguers looking to calculate the best way to implode your perfect circle!?

G: No! We have the right things going for us! There's a lot of pressure on us to keep being popular! It's a sorta game, a very difficult game.

B: Pity on you!

G: Every new person we let into the circle is one more variable we have to control.

B: (starts crying) And every person you keep out of the circle is looking up to you?! Is that what you think!? I mean do you honestly think we all stand back and stare and secretly wish we were part of your pathetic group!?

G: (she looks at him for a long while, her eyes soften) You tell me.

B: Fuck off! (he turns away, still crying, it's getting pretty dark on stage by this time, long pause) I meant.... yes... yes... We do want to be part of your horrible group.

G: I'm... sorry.

B: You know Math League is very difficult sorta game, too.

G: Yeah, I bet.

B: Sometimes, you really don't know the answer so, you limit down the choices to the possible options.

G: You get stuck?

B: Yeah, you're trapped, and the tests are timed, so you often just have to pick the best of several possible options; because you only have so much time.

G: Sounds tough.

B: It's very stressful.

G: Why do you do it?

B: 'Cause I'm good at it, I guess.

G: Same as me.

B: You're good at math too?

G: I meant, the popular group, the perfect circle. I'm good at it.

B: Oh.

G: I'm pretty good at math, but I kinda have to hide that.

B: What? Really? Why?

G: It's not well-accepted in the circle.

B: Why don't you step outside the circle?

G: I... I... don't know... I guess I'm scared. A coward.

B: Me too. Scared of your circle. I don't need to be.

G: Please... don't be.

(A scuffling noise from above, we hear a distant voice shout, "Over here". We see the light of flashlights pointing straight down on B and G. The lights train on the two of them, forming two perfect circles of light centering on each of them. Other stage lights fade out slowly. Voice shouts "I think that's them! Joey?! Amanda?!")

B: (turning around and craning his head upward) We're here! We're right down here!

Voice: We're going to be sending some climbers down to get you out! Are you hurt?

B: No!

Voice: Stay right where you are! We will keep these lights on you! Stay right there! It may take a while to get to you!

B: Okay!

(long pause, they stand in their circles, looking up)

G: So... we're rescued.

B: Yes.

G: (looking at and then indicating her circle of light) Is this a perfect circle?

B: Maybe. I can't really tell without using...

G: (interrupts him softly) Ummm... can I... can you just...

B: (looking at her) What?

G: (looking at him) Take a step.

B: Where?

G: (indicates toward her) And I'll...

B: (nervously) Toward me?

(G nods head, they each step toward the other, the lights don't follow immediately, then they snap to them standing face to face, pause)

G: (looking around them) Is this the best possible option?

B: (very nervous) We'll... uhh... we only ... only have so much time.

(G takes B's hands and places them around her back, then she leans in and kisses him passionately, he starts out awkwardly then slowly melts into it as the circle of light tightens on them, then quickly goes out)