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)


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