January 28, 2007

A Play A Day #290

Taking Direction

Crew (non-speaking)
Buster (non-speaking)

Setting: A movie set, boom mic held by one person, camera mounted on a jib and operated by another, filming lights positioned around, Actor1 is on the ground moving slightly, blood spurting from his neck. Director watches in a streotypical, pretentious directorial manner - framing the scene with his fingers, stroking chin with fingers, etc... - he is dressed in a pretentious fashion as well. Watches for a while.

Director: Alright, stop! Stop!

(crew relaxes, Actor1 stays in position, no change)

D: (crouching down to look in Actor1's face) What's going on here, buddy? Huh? You were so eager for this project just a few minutes ago... don't want to do the hard work of being an actor? Is that it?

Actor1: (groans, gurgles out, reaches) Help...

D: (starts pacing) Hey! That's it! That's what I want: desperation, panic, terror! I need to be convinced that you're going to die! Remember your character's spine: He's been tricked! He's on the ground, throat slit by a giant homicidal brute, he has no idea what's happening. He was an excited young college actor looking for his first big break, so he takes an offer for fifty thou for a few minutes of work. He wants it to work, wants that money, but, more importantly, he wants the experience and the exposure. Got it?

Actor1: (reaching out) Sleepy... cold...

D: There you go, there you go! Can you keep giving that to me when we're rolling? Please? You've got your motivation; now show it to us. Alright?

(D slaps Actor1 on the cheek affectionately)

D: Ahh, you're gold, kid! You can do this!

Actor1: Help....

(D back behind camera operator)

D: On my mark... 3, 2, 1... rolling.

(D is really pulling for Actor1, exhorting a performance out of him, Actor1 emits a long, quiet, slow groan, stops moving)

D: Stop! Stop!

(stomping forward)

D: Shit! Shit! What was that, kid? I needed terror, desperation, you gave me pissing your pants. Damnit! This film is good stuff, kid, expensive to make, big audiences, we don't mess around here.

(paces pensively, trying to calm himself)

D: Alright, alright... this just isn't going to work... sorry, guy, but we're going to have to let you go.

(Actor1 doesn't move)

D: Oh, yeah, right... alright boys, get the body out of here, clean up the blood, bring in the other guy.

(crew abandon their posts, one drags body of Actor1 offstage, other towels up the large blood spill, Actor2 is escorted onstage after blood is gone, Actor2 is spry and cheerful)

D: (to Actor2) There you are! Look at you, kid! Looking good! (to crew) I told you this was the guy for us, huh? (crew nods) Alright, kid, here we go. I want to see that terror, the surprise, the desperation of a man who realizes he's just been tricked, and that his life is now draining from him. Alright?

Actor2: (with great excitement) Hey! I'm your guy! Bring it on!

D: You're our guy! This'll be great exposure, kid, fifty thousand for you if you pull it off!

Actor2: Will do! Will do!

D: (retreating behind camera operator) Excellent! That's the stuff, keep that motivation there... remember your character... Let it all out, make it come alive for us!

Actor2: I'm your guy!

D: Yes, you are! (to boom mic operator) Is Buster ready?

(Boom operator checks offstage, gives Director a thumbs up)

D: Alright... on my mark... 3, 2, 1... Cut!

(Buster, an enormous and horrific-looking man emerges from offstage, marches directly behind Actor2, grabs his hair, snaps his head back, and viciously slits his throat, Buster throws Actor2 to the floor, and stomps offstage, Actor2 convulses involuntarily, gasping for breath, blood spurting everywhere, Director coaches from the sidelines with exaggerated movements.)

(Lights fading over last line)

D: Perfect! Perfect! Keep going, man! That's it! That's what we need! Wow! You really could've had a future, kid. Beautiful...

(lights out)


1 comment:

Brendon Etter said...

You don't want to know what I was going to call this sick little piece, before I settled on "Taking Direction".