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)


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