Five Little Plays (A Short Play… about Plays)

31 Plays in 31 Days #17

(In the darkness before lights up:)

VOICES
(ad libbing)
Hey watch it! What is happening? Ow, ow, stop! Sheesh!

(Lights up on the desk of a literary manager at a large theatre institution. Four PLAYS lie stacked on top of each other, and a fifth has just been laid down on top of them. [i.e. the actors lay in an awkward (but not uncomfortable), partially scattered pile on the floor.])

(The PLAYS are [and no, none of these are actual existing plays as far as I am aware]:
Looks to Kill, by Y. C. D, on the bottom, a murder-mystery farce
No More a Victim by U. Z., knocked off to one side, a social issue play
Mary Lou and the Pumpkin Clown of Highway Nine by E. F., in the middle, a play about a dysfunctional family taking a surreal journey across America
Empty Window by L. M., in the middle, a modern-language adaptation of the King Arthur story into the modern-day business world
Feeling, by G. N. A., the new one laid on top, a two-actor no-set time-and-place-jumping emotionally intense play)

FEELING
I hear the words but they don’t seem Real, the way that you know like a rainstorm doesn’t seem as Real when you hear it through the walls? I feel like I’m falling. Yes, again, I fall, I Fall, I Am Falling, and then I am there, In Your Arms… And I wake up. And I realize that I am lying upon a Bed Of Stories. I know that I am one of them, that I am my own story, and what if this is like that episode of The Simpsons?

LOOKS TO KILL
My my, getting a little crowded in here. You know what they say, three’s company, four’s a crowd, so what does that make us?

FEELING
I wonder if I’m injured, in an idle sort of way, like Wouldn’t It Be Strange to find out I’m injured, Wouldn’t That Be Funny.

NO MORE
I’m sorry.

LOOKS TO KILL
An Occupy Movement?
Oh! How topical!

NO MORE
Why do I say I’m sorry? It’s not my fault.

MARY LOU
Oh thank god. I thought I’d never see another soul. You know I hate to be one of those people who says things like that, but I mean it: what a long strange, trip it’s been. I need a smoke.

FEELING
I check in. Piece by piece. All the old Injuries.

MARY LOU
We’ve been sleeping in the strangest places…
MARY LOU, GET BACK IN YOUR BOOSTER SEAT AND GO TO SLEEP!
Sorry. We almost got killed by the ghost of a tractor this morning. And we keep hearing something about a Pumpkin Clown. A Pumpkin Clown! What does that even mean?
(sigh)

EMPTY WINDOW
Why am I always being robbed… This job ain’t so easy, you know…

FEELING
The dog-eared earlobe. Check. A happy memory, that one, oddly enough. What about the time I tore my ACL? I can Still Feel That. The old bruises, like stains across the pages of My Life.
Where Have You Gone?

MARY LOU
Only in America. Know what I mean? Heh. So what brings you out on this wide dusty night?

FEELING
Who, me?

EMPTY WINDOW
Yeah, hey, you, buddy.
You can’t just-
Hey-

LOOKS TO KILL
What is goin’ on up there?
I feel like I took two slugs of cheap whiskey and woke up on the wrong side of the hangover.

NO MORE
Sorry.
Stop it.

MARY LOU
You lost, too?

EMPTY WINDOW
Lost? You bet. We’re all lost. And we’ll stay lost so long as this FUCKER tramples on top of us.

LOOKS TO KILL
Sure you’re not saying that because you were on top?

FEELING
The Voices swirl around me… I am like I’m being in a dream…

EMPTY WINDOW
There’s an order to things in this kingdom. You’ve got to run a business like a kingdom, I learned that long ago. And this is a business. So there’s an order. Got it? HELLO?

MARY LOU
I’m sorry. I phased out there, like just was staring into space for a minute. It’s been a long day.

EMPTY WINDOW
The LONGEST day. And I wasn’t talking to you.
HEY, YOU! Do you know what you DID you NARROW-ASS SHITHEAD!? You CUT in LINE. The ORDER of SUCCESSION.

LOOKS TO KILL
Hey wait, wait, wait- Another one down. Talk about looks to kill! Look, over here.

NO LONGER
No no no I’m fine. Leave me alone.
Stop it. Listen to yourself. Stop it. This is wrong.

LOOKS TO KILL
You’re damn wrong it’s right!
Wait – scratch that, reverse it.

EMPTY WINDOW
All right. People are getting hurt. No more Mr. Nice Artie. WHO are you up there?
What- “Feelings”? FEELINGS! Seriously? This is a BATTLEGROUND there are no, there is no TIME for Feelings-

NO LONGER
I…
I want…

FEELING
Not “feelings.”
“Feeling.” Noun. Verb. Or adjective? Adjective: capable of experiencing… emotion, pain.
Feeling…
Me, feeling for you…
As if The Word Means Something…

NO LONGER
I want to be… recognized.
I want to be recognized! I want to be whole again! To be me again!

(NO LONGER breaks out crying.)

LOOKS TO KILL
You hear that? You gotta apologize! Barging in here like you’re the King of England!

EMPTY WINDOW
What?

LOOKS TO KILL
What? Queen? It’s a Queen now? Well nobody told me!

EMPTY WINDOW
Sh- Shutup, you’re confusing m- HEY! YOU UP THERE! Mister Missus Sir Lord Lady Asshole up there. How. Did. You. Get. Here?

FEELING
Here.

MARY LOU
Yes… here… Please, share your story with another lost soul.

FEELING
And I fall again.
Suddenly I’m back in your arms.

LOOKS TO KILL
The excitement has gone to your head.

EMPTY WINDOW
Woah woah woah quiet. I think it’s a metaphor. I know from metaphors, I learned all about them from my guru, Marlin. What a guy. Anyways, thing is, you gotta pay close attention.

MARY LOU
All right-

FEELING
The Day We Met.
Hello.
Oh, hello.
I seem to have been dropped on your doorstep. Special delivery! UPS!
Oh. Uh. Funny, you don’t look like the puppy I ordered off Amazon.
Right. Well, uh, it was raining. I Was Cold And It Looked… Safe.
I keep telling them, if the door is open, you never know who will wander in…
I’ll go now.
No no no! That’s… fine. You Can Stay.
You seem busy.
I’m not… I’m just… flustered.
(bashful silence)
You… threw me off, I mean, you… Ugh. Can we start over?
Hi. I’m “Feeling.” By G. N. A.
Wow, three names. Fancy. …Uh, oh right. I’m, uh, the Literary Manager.
Oo talk about fancy.
Oh no, it’s just a title, it doesn’t I, you know, manage anything. …Or read that much literature.
This isn’t your building?
Oh no no. But why don’t you come with me, my room’s over… here… oh god, I didn’t mean to invite you in In That Way.
I forgive you. :-)
Oh… Good. :-)
So…
So…
Crowded.
Yeah, that’s the thing. I guess… I guess I tend to Let People In.
I hope that’s not a Metaphor.
Oh no, I mean literally.
You mean Literally.
Heh, yep.
Let them all in. And here they are. Here in Your Room.

EMPTY WINDOW
Yeah, see? Metaphor!
The Room. The KINGDOM…

MARY LOU
The highway…

LOOKS TO KILL
The mansion

NO LONGER
My life

EMPTY WINDOW
You got in right through the door?

MARY LOU
Shhh, listen.

FEELING
Look… I know this sounds strange, and I’m just standing here in your room all wet, and cold, and I’m sure I look miserable-
No you look, you look… like you’ve been rained on.
Thanks.
I mean… you look… nice.
Nice is nice. You’re nice, it seems. …What about this. Is this nice?
What… what are you doing.
I want to be touched.
I just met you.
I want to be…Felt.
There are other people here…
I don’t care. It’s been… I know it sounds like I’m such a loser and all, like, hello, wake up and join OkCupid or something, but… it’s been a Long Time. I was Made To Be Touched, To Be Felt, I know it, I ache for it, but it just… doesn’t happen.
Why… why do you think that?
I don’t know… maybe… I’m Too Weird. Like David Lynch weird, not Wes Anderson weird.
I-I know… m-me… too… I know how you Feel.
You do? Lonely? How can you, with all these… these People here?
I can’t… I can’t touch them all…
Not touch… Feel. But you can Feel Me. I know you Do.
I… do… I, I want to…
So… please.
I… I… can’t.
…Why?
You’re great and all, but I… er, I… I don’t have…

…Permission.

So I am touched by you, and have touched you… Touched: but not Felt.
And so I Fall Away, through the memory of you, and here I am… on a Bed Of Stories.

(Pause.)

LOOKS TO KILL
Well, we got a kooky one. “Kooky.” That’s a funny word.

NO LONGER
Oh you poor thing.
I know how you, uh, feel. Please don’t give in to this, this horrible system! We have to fight it, we have to fight our own insecurity! Don’t victimize yourself! Don’t ask permission!

FEELING
It is out of my hands. So cold… The coldest summer I’ve ever known…
It is… Too Late.

(FEELING cries itself to half-sleep.)

EMPTY WINDOW
Obviously not, because somehow you JUMPED THE LINE and got ON TOP. Through some sort of romantic BULLSHIT. You know how I got here? Hmm? Do you?

NO LONGER
Hey-

MARY LOU
How? How do you get there?

EMPTY WINDOW
Work. Hard work. I PULLED that goddamn CALIBUR EXCORPORATED ACCOUNT out of the goddamn GROUND, it was gone and we were DEAD IN THE WATER… I PULLED IT UP AND THIS WHOLE DAMN KINGDOM and put us in the black for the first time in YEARS. I WORKED it. I did my TIME.

LOOKS TO KILL
Not what I heard…

EMPTY WINDOW
Hey. Don’t come complaining to me because you sabotage yourself. It’s not my fault you’re an effing LOSER.

LOOKS TO KILL
Ow, my feelings!
Get it? No? Tough crowd. Or should I say, tough Oc-

EMPTY WINDOW
Don’t.

LOOKS TO KILL
Well hey buster, maybe just because I do things the old-fashioned way, a little civil honor, a little murder, a little song-and-dance, and you think you’re so fancy…

MARY LOU
Is this America?

NO LONGER
Does no one listen?

EMPTY WINDOW
You know what? Everyone stop their BITCHING. That’s right I said BITCHING. We need to put things right.

NO LONGER
Right? What is right?

EMPTY WINDOW
Right is dumping this USURPER to the bottom where she he it whatever BELONGS.

FEELING
I wake up, and For A Moment I have that sleep paralysis thing I read about in an article on my iPhone- they say it’s where the Legends of Succubi And Demons Came From- you wake up frozen, feel a weight on your chest-
But then I realize it was just the Dream Of You.

EMPTY WINDOW
You can dream all you want, ASSHOLE, from the BOTTOM OF THE PILE.

LOOKS TO KILL
You’re not as chivalrous as I remember.

EMPTY WINDOW
Yeah, well, CHIVALRY DIED! YOU HEAR ME! If CHIVALRY was alive, we’d be OUT OF BUSINESS. If CHIVALRY was alive, we’d be ON THAT MOTHERFUCKING STAGE WHERE WE BELONG, FOREVER. If CHIVALRY was alive, my WIFE GWEN wouldn’t have run off with that stupid… intern… Lance…

(EMPTY WINDOW breaks down.)

EMPTY WINDOW
This is all… sorcery… it’s the only explanation… It was MY TURN TO RULE.

NO LONGER
Maybe it’s not about whose turn it is.

LOOKS TO KILL
You try saying that when you been waiting twenty years! It’s not so easy trying to keep up with the kids when everyone’s just looking for a reason to kill you dead! And yes I realized if you’re killed then you’re almost definitely dead so that was redundant! That wasn’t funny!

MARY LOU
This country keeps surprising me, whenever I think I’ve given up on it.

NO LONGER
That’s because it was not built on tearing down the people who frighten you. It was built on a lifting. A lifting together.

EMPTY WINDOW
What… what are you saying…

NO LONGER
I’m saying no more should we fight to be on top, only to push down on others! That only leads to making all of us victims of our own fear.

LOOKS TO KILL
People keep getting murdered and you want we should not run around like chickens with our heads cut off? Possibly literally? Get it- Literally?

NO LONGER
I’m saying… if one of us makes it… maybe we should all be happy. As sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons.

MARY LOU
Like Americans.

NO LONGER
Sure.
Don’t worry about me out here. I’m not going to make myself a victim.

EMPTY WINDOWS
You’ll end up in the trash!

NO LONGER
No. No. If they want to put me in the trash, they’ll have to do it with me kicking and screaming. No longer silent.
And what will I scream?
I’ll scream you take that one.

FEELING
Me?

NO LONGER
Yes. I will find empowerment through helping others. I will find my self.

LOOKS TO KILL
I always swore that I had to get on that stage to be found.

NO LONGER
Not if I link my identity to another. That would be bittersweet, which is a damn sight better than just plain old bitter.

EMPTY WINDOWS
So… what are you saying… we just… accept fate? Our place in history?

NO LONGER
Who are you?

EMPTY WINDOWS
I thought I knew. I thought I was an original. I thought I was the BEST.

MARY LOU
Lost… and found…

NO LONGER
(with tears of triumph)
Then we’re agreed! Strength, together! We all find strength in our own self-forgiveness! We beat the system!

EMPTY WINDOWS
Gosh… I am sorry, “Feelings.” I mean, “Feeling.” Yeah. You go, get that brass ring. Carry it on to the next generation. Time for us poor little losers to pass the buck on…

FEELING
Yes, thank you. And until then… You will all dream of Those Arms… And Feel DESIRED

LOOKS TO KILL
Uh, is everyone going to cry? I don’t do tears so well. Hard to huff and heave crushed down here at the bottom, huh? Huh? Suffocation! Zing! Uh… So uh howzabout a song guys? I used to be a musical, you know, once upon the 1990s…

MARY LOU
I begin to wonder if maybe we had it wrong from the beginning…

LOOKS TO KILL
When you feel down and lonely/And all you see is red

MARY LOU
We play such a small part in this great nation…

LOOKS TO KILL
And every door swings backwards/And every end is dead

MARY LOU
But then I realize… it was never the trip. It was never the briefcase full of marijuana. It was never even the Pumpkin Clown. It was always… us. Our… journey.

LOOKS TO KILL
When all of your worst nightmares/They fit you like a glove

MARY LOU
The family. That’s America.

LOOKS TO KILL
When all your life is empty da da all uhhh- uhhh… I forget how it ends.

MARY LOU
Goodnight, Mary Lou. Goodnight, stories. Goodnight, America.

(Lights down. End of play.)

writing time: 2:20

Advertisements

One comment

  1. […] to do with a hostage Came from wanting to write a witty, snappy and taut play Tarantino-style 17) Five Little Plays – five anthropomorphized scripts interact on a literary manager’s desk Came from wanting […]

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: