Scene (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #31

DISCLAIMER: I was going to put a disclaimer here, but decided not to.

(A basement. An operating table-type thing. An actress plays the MAD DOCTOR dressed as a man, an actor plays the LAB ASSISTANT dressed as a woman, and a second actor plays the VICTIM strapped to the table dressed as a woman.)

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Where did you hide the crystals, Miss Haversham?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
I don’t even know what you’re talking about!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
I know John Courage gave the crystals to you.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
“John Courage”? Really?

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
It’s a code name, of course.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Well it’s a stupid one. It’s a stupid name. You’re stupid people. And this is a stupid getup you’ve got me in. Let me go now and I promise I won’t call the police on you! I’m done playing your stupid game!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
The police won’t help you, I’m afraid. The good doctor has seen to that.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
That’s the problem nowadays. Nobody takes a mad doctor seriously because of Hollywood movies.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
Should we make her take us seriously, doctor?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Let me go! Find someone else to play pretend with!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Last chance. Do you swear you’ve never seen John Courage? Because he told us it was you who had the crystals.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Oh yeah? When?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
My lovely assistant here had him on videophone. He identified you as you walked into that alley. And then we grabbed you.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Well let me talk to him.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
I’m afraid he’s dead.

(The LAB ASSISTANT reveals a gruesome looking torture instrument, that appears to be some sort of wand.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
What is that? What is that?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
It seems conventional methods have failed. Now we get to the fun stuff.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
Warming up?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
No! Please! I know John Courage! He gave me the crystals! They’re at home, just take me there and I’ll show you.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
You know, I was hoping you’d fail. I do so like the fun stuff.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
I confessed!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
You’ll have to give a better performance than that. Assistant!

(The ASSISTANT applies the wand to the victim’s leg.)

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Hyperadvanced heat conductor. It draws all the heat in your body to one spot, to burn you from the inside.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Ow. It hurts. Stop it. Ow. OW. AHH! IT BURNS!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Excellent! Enough.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
Did I do well, doctor?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
AHHHH PLEASE! PLEASE PLEASE HELP!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
No use calling out, there’s-

(Enter a SECOND ACTRESS, playing a ROOMMATE.)

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
Hey, what’s going on down-
Oh my god.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Chrissy! Hi.

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
Hi.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
Hi.

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
Hi.
What is this? I heard screaming…

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
Help. Please. Help. Let me go. They grabbed me off the street with chloroform and they’re playing this torture game on me-

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Ha ha ha!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
Ha ha ha!

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM
No seriously- They burned me- Please call the cops-
(the SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM continues ad libbing pleading under the next few lines)

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
Bobby, who is this? What are you doing?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
This is our friend… Jennifer H. I’m sorry for you to find out this way, SHUT UP WILL YOU? WE’RE PAUSED! OKAY WE’RE PAUSED! Sorry. But me and Annie here, who you’ve met-

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Hi.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
-are kinky and I built a sex dungeon into our basement that I hide and play in when you’re out of town. The three of us were doing a scene, it’s all fake, I mean we were pretending that this glass wand thing here can burn you-

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
It’s not hot, here.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/“JENNIFER”
It burned me from the inside!

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
Then why is she still screaming about it?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Commitment to the role. She really gets into it.
Chrissy, look at me. Do you really think I kidnapped some woman off the street with chloroform and have her tied up in our basement torturing her?

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE
…No, you’re right.
(to VICTIM)
Sorry I interrupted! Go back to having your fun.
(to MAD DOCTOR)
We’ve got to talk later. There’s so much I didn’t know about you! This is exciting. Well, have fun kids.

(The ROOMMATE gives them all a thumbs up, then exits.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/“JENNIFER”
NOOOOOOOO!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Wow.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
I can’t believe that worked. Your roommate *is* dumb!

ACTRRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Now, where were we.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Oh! Moving on to something a little more… physical, perhaps, doctor?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Excellent idea. Look at you! Brains and beauty.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Shucks.

(The ASSISTANT brings out a felt cat o’ nine tails.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/“JENNIFER”
Please! I’ll tell you about the crystals!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Oh, darling, isn’t it obvious by now? The crystals are a lie. They make the game more fun, but
they aren’t necessary. I’m still the Mad Doctor, though.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/“JENNIFER”
You have to let me go sometime! It’s not like you can bury me in the yard with your roommate here!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Oh… we have our ways.

(The MAD DOCTOR reveals a small case with needles inside.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/“JENNIFER”
No…

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
She won’t tell us about the crystals, sir! Time to apply our persuasive devices!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Show me that arm, Daisy my love.

(The two of them canoodle for a moment, then the ASSISTANT flogs the VICTIM’s thighs. [Of course, if the VICTIM is wearing a skirt, as far as the AUDIENCE is thinking, there might be football pads on the SECOND ACTRESS AS VICTIM’s thighs underneath.])

(The VICTIM screams. The DOCTOR laughs.)

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
How was that, doctor? I know you could do it harder.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR
Of course I could. But I love to see you do it. Go on! More! MORE!

(The ASSISTANT flogs. The VICTIM screams. The VICTIM’s screams get more primal.)

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
I’ll get one right on the sensitive part.

(A seemingly ferocious flog, and the VICTIM screams just as ferociously.)

(Reenter the ROOMMATE.)

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
Okay, that was too much.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Oh- Uh-

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
No, seriously, stop-

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
But-

(The ROOMMATE starts to untie the VICTIM.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
What are you doing?

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
I’m sorry if I just don’t understand your lifestyle, but I can’t listen to that and play along-

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
Stop it! You’re screwing it up!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Chrissy!

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
We talked this over with you earlier-

ACTRESS AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
We thought you understood-

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
I got the idea, yeah- But- I thought, what if you take it too far? She didn’t say anything about being whipped! You said it was all going to be mad sciencey stuff!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
It’s a sciency whip?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
The thing that makes it hot is that they get away with it! You’re ruining it, Chrissy, please go away.

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
But-

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
The idea that I might get tortured and people who could help me are convinced it’s all a game so it goes on like it’s real… That’s the whole idea. All you have to do is IGNORE US, is that so hard?

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
Okay, geez, sorry. Sorry for being concerned. Maybe I’ll just leave.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
No no no, you have to stay! This isn’t a kidnapped-to-some-isolated place thing. It’s a normal-people-ignore-it-and-let-me-get-hurt thing. Go upstairs and ignore EVERYTHING I say. It doesn’t matter if I say “help” or “call 911” or “it’s not pretend anymore, Chrissy, help me!” it’s all crying wolf, got it? IGNORE IT ALL.

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
But what if you need actual help-

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
I trust these two. And anyways these restraints aren’t that tough, I could break out if I need to.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Just go watch some TV, Chrissy, all right? We’ll be done soon. Pretend we’re playing a loud video game down here.

SECOND ACTRESS AS ROOMMATE/CHRISSY
What? A torture game? You know what, forget it, nevermind. Continue your freaky freakiness.

(The ROOMMATE leaves.)

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Well that went well.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Are we good, Jennifer? You want some water before we go on? Some gummi bears?

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
No, I’m fine. I guess that’s the trouble with trusting strangers. Sometimes I do wish this kind of thing wasn’t my fetish, eh? Well, forget it, go on. I’ll get back into it.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Well now that Chrissy understands…

(The MAD DOCTOR and ASSISTANT share a glance.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
What?

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Yes… mwa ha ha… let’s move on to something… delicious. I mean, to finally extract the knowledge of the crystals, ha ha!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT
How about a little… electricity?

(The ASSISTANT pulls out the wand again and turns it on, and it’s electric, like those Tesla orbs you see at the novelty store.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
What is that? Hey, no no no – we said no electricity-

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
An aversion to electricity? Just the thing to extract that information! Yes, JUST THE THING.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
Wait-

(The ASSISTANT shocks the VICTIM.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
OW! No! You said you would never turn that thing on!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Turn it on and do THIS?

(The ASSISTANT shocks the VICTIM.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
OW! OWWW! PLEASE! Red light! Red light! Safeword! End the scene! End the scene! CHRISSY! HELP! FOR REAL HELP!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Ooh, you shouldn’t have told her to ignore anything you do and yelled at her for trying to help. Now we can get away with whatever we want.

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
No! Not electricity!

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Don’t act so shocked!

(The LAB ASSISTANT shocks the VICTIM.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
Oh nooo… oh nooo… oh god…

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Turn it up.

(The ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE looks confused.)

(The ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY takes the wand and appears to turn it up, hands it back to the ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE.)

SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM/JENNIFER
Hey- Uh- What- Uh-
“Please! I’ll do anything!”

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Go on.

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
(smiling)
Awesome.
Shhh.
Uh, “The doctor won’t listen to reason!”

(The ACTOR AS ASSISTANT shocks the SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM, who suddenly sits up as much as possible while still restrained, and who screams in a surprised, clipped way.)

SECOND ACTOR
(dropping character suddenly)
Too much. Hey too much.

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
If it’s too much, tell us where the crystals are!

SECOND ACTOR
No seriously get back on script-

ACTOR AS LAB ASSISTANT/ANNIE
Get back in your place, woman!

(The ACTOR AS ASSISTANT shocks the SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM, who screams the same way again.)

SECOND ACTOR
HEY! STOP THE SCENE! TOO MUCH!

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
Oh- Ha- Very clever! She thinks she can get out of the scene by being meta! But Chrissy will not help you now. No one will help you! More! More!

(The ACTOR AS ASSISTANT shocks the SECOND ACTOR AS VICTIM multiple times.)

SECOND ACTOR
We tested Setting One! SettingOneDoesn’tHurtThisHurtsStopSTOPSTOP Why isn’t anyone helping me? Someone stop the scene!

(The SECOND ACTOR stops making any noise for a moment, and turns to look at the audience. The ASSISTANT continues shocking.)

ACTRESS AS MAD DOCTOR/BOBBY
That’s what you get for crying wolf!

SECOND ACTOR
Ah- Why isn’t anyone-
Aw fuck.

(The SECOND ACTOR sits up out of the restraints.)

ACTRESS (AS MAD DOCTOR)
(dropping character some)
What?

SECOND ACTOR
(to ACTOR [AS ASSISTANT])
You fucked it up!

ACTOR
(dropping character)
Dude, what are you doing?

SECOND ACTOR
We almost were there!

ACTOR
We were there…

(The SECOND ACTRESS [AS ROOMMATE] peeks out from the wings, as does the STAGE MANAGER.)

ACTRESS
It was going well! They weren’t helping you.

SECOND ACTOR
Yes, but YOU DIDN’T TURN THE WAND UP HIGH ENOUGH.

ACTRESS
What?

SECOND ACTOR
That barely even stung!

ACTRESS
You said you don’t like elec-

SECOND ACTOR
Yes, duh! That’s the whole point! I wrote this play so I could have the experience of feeling REAL FEAR and REAL PAIN in front of an ACTUAL AUDIENCE that isn’t DOING ONE GODDAMN THING ABOUT IT.
(to audience)
Yeah, sorry, y’all, I know I made this out to be a play, but I was really just making you all unwitting participants in my social experiment slash fetish. You understand though why I couldn’t make you sign a waiver? It had to be for real.

ACTOR
What was the problem though- You couldn’t play something “in character” about how “oh no that hurts but PLEASE don’t turn it up HIGHER!”

SECOND ACTOR
No. At that point I was playing “myself” as “myself” wouldn’t do that. “Myself” just needed to beg for help and not get it, so that the real myself could be shocked and alone.

ACTRESS
Have I mentioned you’re pretty fucked up, [Second Actor’s Real Name]?

SECOND ACTOR
Hey, you agreed to participate.

ACTOR
I just don’t understand how that wasn’t enough.

SECOND ACTOR
Oh yeah? Here, get on the table.

(The ACTRESS waves the SECOND ACTRESS and STAGE MANAGER away. They leave.)

ACTOR
What?

SECOND ACTOR
I’ll show you how it should go, and then we can restart the scene.

ACTOR
But it’s ruined-

SECOND ACTOR
Yeah, because YOU ruined it. Let me show you what you need to do-

ACTOR
Just show me the setting-

SECOND ACTOR
I also need to show you where to touch, and maybe give you a hint on HOW TO ACT the part where you pretend to be out of character- I mean, it’s already ruined for the audience, but, what the hell, we still have a few minutes on our time, and at least we can go back into it and pretend to not be pretending. I’m sure the audience will play along and at least I can get the idea.

ACTOR
But-

SECOND ACTOR
And ALSO, this way next show we can get the real thing.

ACTOR
I thought we were going to take this out of the next show for obvious reasons.

ACTRESS
It’s…

(The ACTRESS and SECOND ACTOR exchange a significant glance.)

ACTRESS
It’s in negotiations.

(The ACTRESS and SECOND ACTOR smile at each other. The SECOND ACTOR gives the ACTRESS a peck on the cheek, and then maneuvers the ACTOR onto the table.)

ACTOR
I don’t much want to be shocked.

SECOND ACTOR
Well, I’ll keep it low, but I need to demonstrate where to touch at least. Come on, I know you’re into it.

ACTOR
Uh…

(The ACTRESS restrains the ACTOR.)

ACTOR
Hey. Hey, that’s really tight.
Okay, I’m sorry I fucked up, can we just end the scene and move on? I’ll do it right tomorrow- These people don’t want to watch- HEY!

(The SECOND ACTOR has shocked the ACTOR after apparently turning the wand up very high.)

ACTOR
AGH!
Let- Hey- Let me go- I thought these things weren’t real-

ACTRESS
This is the best part.

ACTOR
Okayyyy what the fuck guys…

ACTRESS
You didn’t think we were scrupulous, the way we were going to pull this over on the audience?

ACTOR
This… isn’t funny… Hey, [Stage Manager’s Name], could you… could you uh…
Ha, heh…

SECOND ACTOR
What’s funny?

ACTOR
I laugh when I’m… Heh… Ha…

SECOND ACTOR
Stressed?
Scared?

(The SECOND ACTOR shocks the ACTOR, who screams and starts to cry a little. The ACTRESS gets the whip and starts whipping the ACTOR as well.)

SECOND ACTOR
Maybe I had my fantasy backwards?

ACTRESS
Oh, you mean hurting someone *else* onstage in front of an uncaring audience?

ACTOR
I don’t want to call for help…

ACTRESS
Then don’t.

ACTOR
Well… JESUS FUCK…

(The ACTOR struggles MIGHTILY against the restraints, but they hold fast.)

ACTOR
HEY! REALLY! [Names of anyone in the audience the Actor actually knows], I’m serious, they’ve fucking lost it, I didn’t know these amateurs before I signed on OWWWW! OWWW! STOOP! HEEELP! NOT COOL! NOT COOL! [Stage Manger’s Name] what the FUCK are you DOING?

(The ACTOR leans over and whispers to the SECOND ACTOR something which makes the SECOND ACTOR turn pale and stop speaking. Then the ACTOR continues shocking the SECOND ACTOR, who whimpers and yelps.)

(The SECOND ACTRESS reenters.)

SECOND ACTRESS
Is this… improv or something…

SECOND ACTOR
Oh hi, [Second Actress’ name].

(The SECOND ACTOR hands the SECOND ACTRESS the electric wand. The ACTRESS continues whipping the ACTOR.)

SECOND ACTRESS
(whispering, about the audience)
Don’t they-

SECOND ACTOR
(whispering)
The power of psychology.
Hmm?

SECOND ACTRESS
(whispering)
Awesome.
(out loud)
Oh, uh, well, this is funny. What a funny scene, roommates. I’m so bad, here I am playing along! You’ve totally made a freak out of me too! Do do doo…

(The SECOND ACTRESS turns up the wand and then shocks the ACTOR, who writhes uncontrollably and starts looking faint.)

SECOND ACTOR
You don’t have to do that. Just act naturally and they’ll think it’s the scene.

SECOND ACTRESS
Well shit this is amazing. What a world!

(She continues shocking. The ACTRESS continues whipping.)

SECOND ACTOR
While you two are having that fun…

(The ACTOR goes to retrieve something.)

ACTOR
Hey… audience… I know some of you find this sick… so how the fuck about even if you don’t fucking believe this is fucking real because of the fucking sick-ass play that we were just doing how about you stop it on account of it freaking you out? Just stand up… someone…

(An AUDIENCE MEMBER stands up and starts approaching the stage.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER
Uh-
You’re doing that pretty hard, even if it isn’t real could you possibl…

(The STAGE MANAGER has stepped out and in front of the AUDIENCE MEMBER, shaking his/her head. The two of them whisper inaudibly for a moment.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER
Really?
Jesus-

(The STAGE MANAGER whispers a bit more.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER
Um.
Sorry.

(The AUDIECE MEMBER mouths ‘sorry’ to the general AUDIENCE, and then sits back down.)

SECOND ACTOR
Uh-
Excellent!
While you two are having that fun…
Here’s the grand finale!

(The SECOND ACTOR pulls out the case of needles.)

ACTOR
Oh God.

SECOND ACTOR
Hold back, ladies.

ACTRESS
Oh, here you go. Right here in the arm.

ACTOR
Oh my God. [Second Actor’s name]. [SECOND ACTOR’S NAME]!
Oh god oh god oh god this is going to go into the science journals isn’t it I can’t wait for my parents to this on the news when you get arrested…

SECOND ACTOR
Here’s a hint, [Actor’s name]. We’re all getting away with it. Because people are amaziiing. Wave to the audience!

SECOND ACTOR, ACTRESS, SECOND ACTRESS
Bye! Bye!

(The SECOND ACTOR sticks the needle in. The ACTOR stares at it in disbelief. The ACTRESS pet’s the ACTOR’s head. Within a few moments, the ACTOR seems to lose consciousness and goes limp.)

(The SECOND ACTOR, ACTRESS and SECOND ACTRESS all smile at each other. They are all clearly nervous. They nod to each other in secret signals.)

SECOND ACTRESS
And…
SCENE!

(The STAGE MANGER enters with a trumpet and parades around the stage. The SECOND ACTOR, ACTRESS and SECOND ACTRESS all take a grand flourish of a bow together.)

(They all cheerfully jog afterstage, including the STAGE MANAGER.)

(Nothing else happens offstage and they appear to be gone. The ACTOR remains lifelessly limp on the operating table.)

(The AUDIENCE MEMBER, who has clapped if the rest of the AUDIENCE clapped, and has not clapped if they didn’t, either way stands up at this point and casually leaves with his/her companions as if the play was over.)

(The SCENE on stage remains the way it is, with the ACTOR unmoving, until the AUDIENCE either does something about it or all exits.)

(End of play.)

writing time: 2:10

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One comment

  1. […] wallet Came from having NO IDEA what to write and just starting with a woman returning a wallet 31) Scene – something is happening, but the audience doesn’t know what it is Came from having had the […]

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