Barbershop: Corporate Sabotage

All roles are gender neutral. As many characters as the director wants, just requires chairs for all customers (those waiting and one in Barber’s chair). Props consist of a pair of scissors, magazines, and coupons (all of which can be mimed if necessary).

SCENE: A Barbershop. There are people waiting (From here on referred to as Waiters, one of whom is Coupon) in chairs reading magazines, and one customer in a barber’s chair getting hair cut (Chair) by Barber.

(Enter Customer.)
Customer: Excuse me.
Barber: Yes?
Customer: How long is the wait?
Barber: About an hour.
Coupon: There’s no waiting down the street.
Customer: (To Coupon) Then why are you here?
Coupon: Oh, I’m just waiting.
Customer: (To Barber) How much for just a standard cut?
Barber: Twenty three.
Coupon: It’s cheaper down the street.
Customer: Really?
Coupon: Yup, in fact here is a coupon.
(Coupon gives Customer a coupon)
Customer: Thanks, but why are you giving me this?
Coupon: I work for the place down the street.
(Customer exits. Barber stops cutting Chair’s hair and confronts Coupon.)
Barber: What are you doing here?
Coupon: This…
(Coupon pulls a handful of coupons from each pocket.)
Coupon: Coupons for everyone!
(Coupon throws the coupons in the air. The other waiters scramble, picking up the coupons and run out following Coupon.)
Barber: Prick!
(Barber goes back to finish on Chair. Coupon runs back in.)
Coupon: Half off on highlights!
(Chair jumps out of the barber’s chair and runs to Coupon who hands him a coupon.)
Barber: Hey!
(Chair and Coupon run out.)

END SCENE




60 Seconds To Live

Again gender neutral roles of any type.

Scene: Two people One and Two are tied to two chars back to back. There is a small box on the floor, the bomb.

(One and Two struggle against their binds.)
One: Argh, I can’t move. You?
Two: No. These ropes are too tight. I think they cut off my circulation.
One: How long do you think till the bomb goes off?
(Two looks at a box on the floor)
Two: The timer says just under a minute. If only I could get free!
One: Well, it looks like this is the end for us.
Two: Yup, I guess you’re right. Damn it, this sucks!
One: Why’s that?
Two: Well, besides the obvious point of our impending doom, I just started reading a book.
One: Oh?
Two: Yeah, now I’ll never get to see how it ends.
One: You’re right, that does suck.
Two: Yeah.
One: How is it?
Two: How is what?
One: The book. How is the book?
Two: Oh it’s good so far, but I only just started.
One: Good, huh?
Two: Yeah.
One: Hey, do you think I could borrow it sometime?
(Pause)
Two: Yes. Yes, you can borrow the book sometime.
One: Cool.
(Lights go out. And if possible the sound of an explosion)

END SCENE
The Affair

PARTS: Jeffrey and Cecilia, two upper-class socialites. Someone to make dolphin noises.

Cecilia: I'm afraid I have some bad news. I'm leaving you, Jeffrey. For someone else.
Jeffrey: What?! Who?! Do I know him?
Cecilia: Yes, unfortunately.
Jeffrey: Who is it?! Not Lance. Please god, not Lance. It's Lance, isn't it?
Cecilia: No, it's not Lance. It's Walter.
Jeffrey: WALTER?!
Cecilia: Yes, Walter.
Jeffrey: But Walter's a... DOLPHIN!
Cecilia: Is he ever! He's very aggressive. And he doesn't have to come up for air every thirty seconds! And he protects me from the sharks.
Jeffrey: BUT HE'S NOT HUMAN!
Cecilia: I never knew you to be a bigot.
Jeffrey: I NEVER KNEW YOU LIKED FUCKING* FISH!
Cecilia: Dolphins are mammals, Jeffrey. Just because you're upset with me doesn't give you an excuse for bad taxonomy.
Jeffrey: You're right, terribly sorry about that. But what about our kids?
Cecilia: They know how to swim. Dolphin society is very accepting. And they've always had an appreciation for cetacean endeavors.
Jeffrey: I just can't...
(The doorbell rings. And Dolphin sounds {eek! eek!} are heard offstage.)
Jeffrey: Walter, you bastard! I'll have your fins for this!
(He runs offstage, swinging fists.)
Cecilia: Jeffrey, no! I love him!
(She follows.)
END SCENE


*Obviously, if you don't want to drop an F-Bomb, you can say "Sleeping with". But cursing is funnier.



Propaganda

PARTS: Declaration, South, North, Hearst, Meatgrinder, Irony, Kid, Escalation, Fear

(Declaration enters.)

Declaration: (very dramatically) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (sotto voice) Offer not valid to women, blacks, and indians.

(South enters, followed by North.)

South: States rights! States Rights! States Rights!
North: We must preserve the Union!

(North and South trade punches. North wins. Hearst enters.)

Hearst: Remember the Maine!

(Meatgrinder enters.)

Meatgrinder: We must make the world safe for Democracy!

(Irony enters.)

Irony: When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler!

(Kid enters, holding a blanket.)

Kid: Duck!

(Kid crouches down.)

Kid: And cover!

(Kid covers him/herself with the blanket. Escalation enters.)

Escalation: If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco.

(Fear Enters, holding an envelope.)

Fear: Amurica, I ken keep you safe from terra'.

(All begin talking at once. Time this so they all stop speaking at the same time. This means Kid and Hearst should start speaking at about the same time, with the rest staggered in.)

Declaration: By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt.
South: We must protect the sanctity of marriage.
North: Most of the tax cuts went to low and middle income Americans.
Hearst: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
Meatgrinder: The smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
Irony: I believe the title of the memo was "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S".
Kid: Because every child matters in America, every child matters. And as we named this bill, no child should be left behind.
Escalation: Mission accomplished.

(All pause, look at Fear.)

Fear: Today's Homeland security alert is... (he opens the envelope, pulling out a piece of red cardboard.) RED! MARTIAL LAW! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

(All run offstage.)

END SCENE



Dinner in Paris is Awfully Romantic, Don't You Think?

Based on a true story. Special thanks to eien_meru for translating the first sentence.

PARTS:
Karen and Mark, two twenty-something Americans with Midwestern accents.
MAN and WOMAN, two forty-something Americans with Southern accents (if your fancy-pants New York and London actors know the difference, MAN should be Texas and WOMAN should be North Carolina).
The Waiter, who is French.

SCENE: Karen and Mark are sitting at a table talking to The Waiter. MAN and WOMAN are sitting at another table.

Karen: ...et je voudrais un Kir, et Monsieur voudrait Il aimerait votre apéritif préféré.
The Waiter: Would sir enjoy a Pastis?
Mark: Groovy. Uhhh, Merci.
The Waiter: Merci monsieur, madame. (as he collects the menus)

(The Waiter goes over to the other table.)

Karen: I'm a bit disturbed by your habit of picking the weirdest thing off of the menu and ordering it wherever we go.
Mark: Well I've never had snails before. Or duck, for that matter.
Karen: Just a warning -- if you ever eat goat brains, I'm never kissing you again.

(MAN looks up at The Waiter.)

The Waiter: Bonsoir. Comment est-ce que je peux vous aider?
MAN: It's about time y'all got around to us.

(The Waiter switches into an OUTRAGEOUS French accent. Karen visibly slumps in her chair, covering her face in embarrassment.)

The Waiter: I am so sorry about zee wait, sir! What can I do for you?
MAN: Well, to start with, how about some rolls like them folks?
The Waiter: Of course, right away! What can I get you to drink as well?
MAN: I'll have a coke.
WOMAN: Y'all got any wine?
The Waiter: Of course, would madame like some Beaujolais Nouveau?
WOMAN: Is that French?
The Waiter: Oh, yes, madame. Varry French!
WOMAN: I'll have that then. And what is all this stuff? (gesturing to her menu) Don't y'all have any menus in English?

(The Waiter looks over her shoulder, and begins to explain things she gestures towards.)

Mark: You know, I'm sort of flattered that people keep assuming we're British.

END SCENE

A Volume of Silence

A MAN and a WOMAN sit next to each other on a sofa, facing the audience. She is leaning into him, and he has an arm around her shoulders in a casual, comfortable embrace. His eyes are closed and he is the picture of contentment. The woman addresses the audience; the man does not hear her.

WOMAN : He looks so... content. We've been sitting here in silence for a while now and it's such a contrast to his nervous chatter back when this was so new and exciting. But now, look at him; relaxed, secure... happy.

That's why this is so difficult. I know, now, past the flirting and the giggling, past the blushes and the awkward stares, I know now that he's not my future. The way he looks at the world; I can never be like that.

And we've been sitting like this for a while now. It's a silence begging to be broken, and I know, I KNOW how he's going to break it, and I'm not ready, but this time, for the first time, I don't think I can -

The MAN opens his eyes and looks at her. She remains facing the audience.

MAN: I love you.

She looks at him, for a beat, and then away.


Private Dick

A man, the VENDOR, enters, with a suitcase. He puts it down and looks around furtively, waiting.

A second man, the BUYER, enters. They eye each other warily.

VENDOR: Er. Hello, are you here for, you know, the, er, the, er, the, well, um...

BUYER: The suitcase full of pornography.

VENDOR: Ah, yes, yes, exactly.

BUYER: Yes. Here's the fifty quid.

He hands the vendor some notes.

BUYER: Pleasure doing business with you.

He reaches for the suitcase. The vendor pulls it away slightly.

VENDOR: It's not, ah, it's not mine, you know. It's a funny thing, hahaha, you see, I moved into this new flat, and in the cupboard, I swear to god, I find this suitcase, you know, full, FULL of pornography! A whole suitcase! It was, you know, quite big, and...

BUYER: This suitcase.

VENDOR: Hahaha! Yes, yes, of course, yes, precisely, this suitcase here. But, anyway, I just want to say, I'm, not, you know, I'm not some kind of pornography vendor. I mean, haha, I am selling you this suitcase, yes, but, see, I just felt I should get rid of it somehow, and this seemed the best way. I haven't watched it or anything, you know, someone else's pornography, it seems... distasteful... not that you shouldn't watch it, of course! You know! Enjoy yourself! Erm. Or don't, you know, really. It's none of my business.

BUYER: Right.

The buyer reaches for the suitcase again. Again, the vendor pulls it away.

VENDOR: Of course, since I haven't watched it, there could be anything on there, so, er, be careful, kind of thing.

BUYER: None of that, you know, shit with animals?

VENDOR: Gosh no! Well, I hope not. Er. I haven't watched it. Actually that'd be illegal, wouldn't it, me selling you that? Hahahah. Actually look have this back.

VENDOR gives the notes back to the BUYER.

BUYER: What?

VENDOR: I have to, ah, survey all this stuff before I can sell it. Meet me here again in a week?

VENDOR departs at speed with the suitcase, leaving BUYER standing.

The Lesson

One Teacher, and up to seven Students. Setting requires enough chairs for the students, lined up, with the Teacher at the front of the room.

Teacher: Class, today we'll work on the most important word in America.
Students: What's that, Mr. Miller?
Teacher: It's what our whole way of living is based on. Without it, none of the beautiful things that America has and does would be around.
Students: Mr. Miller, k'mon! What is it? Note: Ad-lib as appropriate.
Teacher: Well... let's think of an example. How many of you kids are having a school lunch today?
Several students raise their hands, at least two.
Teacher: Good. Now, how are you going to get those lunches?
Small pause, and one student pipes up.
Student: We pay for them?
Teacher: And you pay with money, right?
Students nod.
Teacher: Okay. Looks like you already know about the word. Now, let's move on to math...
Lights dim or curtains fall, depending on production possibiltes.

The Game

Two onstage, gender neutral. One offstage, to enter on cue. No props. Characters will be refered to as One, Two, and Three

One: You start.
Two: Okay. Ten.
One: Nine.
Speed increases as lines progress.
Two: Eight.
One: Seven!
Two: Six!
One: Five!
Three enters.
Two: Four!
One: Three!
Three: (Tentatively) Two?
Two:(Points to One) You lose.
One and Two begin to walk offstage past Three.
One: (Pushes Three on way out.) Jerk.
Three: (Watches them leave, confused.) What the...?
Lights dim or curtains fall, depending on production possibilities.

Catnip


Two men are peering into a largish cardboard box which, assuming you don't have a contact at Industrial Light and Magic, the audience can't see into.

Fred: It looks like a kitten to me.

Ted: well, maybe, but...but it has wings.

Fred: But it's so cute!

Ted: ...Lizard wings.

Fred: And that nose, and the whiskers. It's adorable.

Ted: It looks like a Gremlin.

Fred: See? There you go. Gremlins are cute.

Ted: er.

Fred puts his hand in the box.

Fred: Aww, look. It's licking me.

Ted: It has a forked tongue.

Fred: Ok, so it's smelling me. Whatever.

Ted: And its eyes are freakin' me out.

Fred: Why? They're so big and dewey.

Ted: They close sideways.

Fred: Yeah, well...I guess that is a little strange.

Ted: Thank you. Now please, can we -

Blackout as a scream is heard.

Fred: (gasps) You do tricks, too!








Three Words



Two people, a guy and a gal, sitting on a bus stop bench. No props necessary. The guy should be played as deadpan as possible and the girl just, well, confused but intrigued.




Guy: (conversationally) There are three words in the English language that /

Girl: (interupts) Excuse me?

Guy: There are three words in the English language that begin with D W. Name them.

Girl: Who are you?

Guy: I'm a guy waiting for a bus and I'm bored out of my mind. Who are you?

Girl: I'm confused.

Guy: Pleased to meet you. Just go with it. There are three words in the /

Girl: (interrupts again) I heard you.

Guy: Buying time to think?

Girl: No. Maybe.

Guy: Only three. Come on. Play along.

Girl: You're such a dweeb.

(pause)

Guy: There are FOUR words in the english lang -

Girl: TAXI!

(blackout)

A Special Day (For A Special Lady)

The stage lights go up. A man and a woman, both in aprons, stand facing the audience. Both of them are in three-quarter stance, mirroring each other.

Man: "Doesn't that just get you?"
She is confused, and arches a single eyebrow.
Woman: "What?"
He gestures to the scene before him.
Man: "The beauty."
She scoffs.
Woman: "You and your beauty. It's just arranged differently."
Man: "No, it's beautiful."
He makes a sing song expression with his hands.
Man: "Just the way it is."
Woman: Whatever.
She chews the inside of her cheek, and looks up, and to the left.
Woman: "Flowers?"
Man: "Fresh cut, for her highness."
Woman: "No antagonism, not today."
He waits a beat.
Man: "Sunday?"
Woman: "Abortion day."
He makes a sour face.
Man: "Gross. Why is that any of our business?"
Woman: "She wants support in her decision. She wants a family."
Man: "Then she should skip the abortion."
Woman: "Not a family she has to take care of."
Man: "Just people to do things for her?"
She nods.
Woman: "Precisely."

Lights dim.

What's Wrong With You?

Players:
WOMAN: talking to her mother on the telephone
MAN1: talking to MAN2
MAN2: talking to MAN1

Scene: WOMAN and MAN1 have just broken up. WOMAN is talking to her mother on the phone while MAN1 talks to MAN2. While WOMAN is lit, MAN1 and MAN2 are unlit and frozen and vice versa.

WOMAN is sitting on a couch looking at a photograph while MAN1 and MAN2 are sitting in chairs (presumably in front of a television set. The TV is not necessary, only that MAN1 and MAN2 not be directly facing one another). Each man is holding a bottle or can of beer.

Lights come up on WOMAN.

WOMAN: Mom, what am I going to do? We were together for almost three months! GIRL sobs. He was tall, and strong, and dependable. How am I going to get to my classes...or the store? There's just no point anymore. He was all I had. We went out every weekend, ate dinner together every night; we were always together.

Lights go down on WOMAN and come up on MAN1 and MAN2.

MAN1: ...and when she wanted me to quit smoking, I thought it was only for health reasons. I had no idea how many things were wrong with me!

MAN2: But quitting smoking *has* made you healthier, and you're not with her any more. Don't you have another girlfriend anyway?

MAN1: Yeah, Tami's great. Of course, we've only been seeing each other for a couple weeks. Hopefully she won't find so many things wrong with me.

MAN2: (jokingly) Of course she will. More even!

Lights go down on MAN1 and MAN2 and lights come up on WOMAN.

WOMAN: Yeah, I think I'd like to come home this weekend. Maybe we can go shopping? Or get some ice cream and catch a movie? I just want to feel better.

Lights go down on WOMAN and come up on MAN1 and MAN2.

MAN1: I don't know how you can want to be with her. You saw what she did to me.

MAN2: Whatever, man. I'll cut her loose if she tries to change me, but until then, somebody's better than nobody, you know?

MAN1: You've got that right. Now, if I could just get Tami to quit calling me when she doesn't have anything to say, she'd be perfect.

MAN2: Hey, there's always something to fix, right?

Lights go down on MAN1 and MAN2 and lights come up on WOMAN.

WOMAN: It's just so hard. He quit smoking. I finally convinced him to wear the nice shirts that I bought for him, and I got his annoying friend to quit coming by so much...

WOMAN: ...I was almost done fixing him.

Lights come up on MAN1 and MAN2 as WOMAN says "fixing him."

MAN1: I should be able to fix her in no time.

Lights go down

Sixty Rounds of Pleasure

Cast

WOMAN and MAN. Average people in a successful long-term relationship.

Props

  • two CHAIRs -- The chairs should have flat, square seats, so they can be pushed together to resemble a sofa

  • a small, low TABLE -- serves as a coffee table

  • a woman's COAT

  • a woman's PURSE

  • a NEWSPAPER

  • a gunnery TARGET with a nicely clustered set of bullet holes. This may be represented by drawing the shape of a human head and torso on a large sheet of sturdy paper. Color in the head and torso black with a magic marker. Alternatively, make a ringed target. For bullet holes, burn some holes with a cigarette. (Or, if you have trouble with that, message me and I'll mail you a real target.)

Costumes

  • WOMAN wears clothing appropriate to a business environment.

  • MAN has the day off and wears very casual clothing; perhaps even barefoot.



1. INT. LIVING ROOM - EARLY EVENING

                          FADE IN:

The LIVING ROOM is represented by the paired CHAIRS and 
the TABLE in front of them. The TABLE has a loosely 
folded NEWSPAPER on top of it, along with the TARGET, 
which should not be prominent.

WOMAN, wearing a COAT and carrying a PURSE, enters 
from STAGE RIGHT.

                          WOMAN
                  (somewhat harried; calls offstage)
           Hey, love, I'm home!

The WOMAN removes her COAT, puts down her PURSE, and 
visibly changes gears out of the ratrace, happy to be
home. She begins to flip through the NEWSPAPER.

The MAN enters from STAGE LEFT. It is his day off, and he 
is smiling a slight, yet noticeable, post-orgasmic sort 
of smile.

The WOMAN looks up from the NEWSPAPER. She is tired and 
has not yet categorized the smile.

                          WOMAN
           Hi, hon!

The MAN sits next to the WOMAN and returns her greeting 
in a soft murmur. (Response may be audibly adlibbed but
should be very affectionate.) They kiss. The MAN massages
the WOMAN's shoulders. The WOMAN expresses appreciation 
and the NEWSPAPER is forgotten.

                          WOMAN
                  (luxuriating)
           Have you enjoyed your day off?

                          MAN
                  (still smiling)
           Mmmmm-hmmmmm.... How was work?

                          WOMAN
           Enhhhh...okay, I guess. I missed you when I
           came home for lunch, though -- where were you?

A beat, then the WOMAN processes the weird smile. She 
cocks an eyebrow at MAN with vague suspicion.

                          WOMAN
                  (confused)
           What... have you been doing?

                          MAN
                  (grin brightens; rubs the front of his           
                  right shoulder during these next lines as
                  though it were sore)
           Jason and I tried out his brand-new AK-47. He
           just kept setting me up with more rounds. Man,
           that thing has a kick like you wouldn't
           believe!
                  (MAN's voice trails off, happily. It's 
                  a guy thing.)

The light now dawns for the WOMAN. She rolls her eyes 
to herself a tetch; perhaps a bit of relief that that's 
all it was.

                          WOMAN
                  (boys-will-be-boys tone)
           So, was it good for you?

                          MAN
                  (smile broadens)
           Ohhh yeahhhh....

The MAN takes the TARGET from the TABLE and proudly 
displays it to the WOMAN. The WOMAN reacts.

                          WOMAN
                  (relieved, amused, and sardonic all at once)
           Nice grouping.

The MAN beams happily.

The WOMAN touches the MAN tauntingly, lightly tracing 
the MAN's right shoulder (where he had been rubbing 
earlier) with fingers. The MAN reacts; they embrace and kiss.

                          FADE TO DARK, AS WE HEAR:

                          WOMAN
           This time, I wanna fire the AK-47.

                          END SCENE

Note: This is a mostly true story. After the writing, I learned that the gun was actually an AR-15, which, with talent, allows far tighter groupings than the AK-47. I left it as an AK-47 in the play, though, since it's a much more widely recognized gun.


Nostalgia can be dangerous

PLACE: Indoors.

TIME: The years 1980 and 2005.

CHARACTERS:

Person: An adult man or woman.

Audience: A person representing a young, highly impressionable child. Audience should watch the interchange of other players as if watching television.

Traditional Cookie Monster and Modern Cookie Monster: The cookie monsters can be played by one or two people. If two people are casted, the person playing Modern Cookie Monster should have larger hands than the person playing Traditional Cookie Monster. The players could use food coloring to dye their dominant hands blue if desired, but otherwise, just crouch down (use a barrier if possible) and have at with a sock or your bare hand. They are to be emulating the classic "Cookie Monster" of Sesame Street (tm) fame.

PROPS:

  • A large COOKIE.

  • A small ITEM -- a cellphone or pack of matches would do; it is meant to represent a blood sugar testing device.

  • A CARROT, with greens attached; score it with a sharp knife to make it easy to break up.


1. INT ROOM - DAYTIME

Lights up on PERSON, TRADITIONAL COOKIE MONSTER, and AUDIENCE.

PERSON: I have something for you, Cookie Monster!

TRADITIONAL COOKIE MONSTER (eagerly): Is it coooooo-kies?

PERSON: Yes!

PERSON gives cookie to TRADITIONAL COOKIE MONSTER.

TRADITIONAL COOKIE MONSTER (eating with exuberant abandon; feel free to adlib): Ahhhh!!! Num-num-num-num! COOO-KIE! Me love cooo-kie!

AUDIENCE reacts during this sequence.

LIGHTS down.

LIGHTS up on PERSON, MODERN COOKIE MONSTER, and AUDIENCE. MODERN COOKIE MONSTER isn't well.

PERSON: I have something for you, Cookie Monster!

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER (heavily): Is it coooooo-kie?

PERSON: Yes!

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER: Me no eat that right now. Can you help me test me blood sugar?

AUDIENCE reacts.

PERSON (taken aback): What? Um... sure.

PERSON takes ITEM, presses it against MODERN COOKIE MONSTER's wrist.

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER: Ouch!

PERSON: Sorry. It's (peers at ITEM) a bit high.

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER: Damn. Me feet hurt. Me tired. Me have sores that won't heal.

PERSON: What can I do?

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER: Give me that instead?

PERSON pulls CARROT into view.

PERSON: You mean this?

MODERN COOKIE MONSTER (rousing interest): Now that's what me is talking about. (grows energetic) Arrrrr!!! NUM NUM NUM NUM NUM.....

LIGHTS dim, but do not go out.

AUDIENCE reacts. (Adlib, if anything is said.)

LIGHTS down.

END SCENE

Casting Lots

Cast
JESUS, martyred King of the Jews.
Three ROMAN SOLDIERS: FLAVIUS, SEXTUS, and LONGINUS.

Props

  • A chair
  • A spear
  • A pile of clothes
  • Some dice


JESUS stands on the chair, stripped to his underwear, his arms held out in crucifixion pose. He has been there a while, and his head hangs low, muttering to himself.

Three ROMAN SOLDIERS kneel on the ground nearby, throwing DICE. Next to them lies a pile of CLOTHES.

FLAVIUS
Yes! First dibs! I claim his shirt.

LONGINUS
Really? I'd take the cloak.

      Sextus elbows Longinus to keep quiet.

FLAVIUS
I think it's a magic shirt.

SEXTUS
Get out.

FLAVIUS
No, I hear he's supposed to be some kind of
laundry mage. Got stuff whiter than white.
Bet you don't even have to wash it.

SEXTUS
So he's a magical washerman? That doesn't
sound too bad. What's he up there for?

FLAVIUS
Politics, I bet. The bleacher's guild
elders couldn't be too happy.

LONGINUS
Shame. Listen, why don't we ask him?

      The other two make noises of agreement. Longinus stands up, picks up his SPEAR, and walks over to Jesus.

LONGINUS
Hey, um, we were wondering about your shirt...

      Jesus merely lolls his head a bit.

LONGINUS
Hello?

      Longinus pokes Jesus in the side with his spear.

JESUS
Yeaaaaaaaah!

      Longinus jumps back a step.

FLAVIUS
I think that was a "yeaaaaaas".

SEXTUS
What if he's messing with us?

FLAVIUS
Why would he do that?

LONGINUS
Well, we put him up there, I bet he's a little ticked.

FLAVIUS
Hm. (pause) Well, what if they're magic pants?

Brahms' Midnight Train

A TRAGEDY IN ONE ACT IN ONE MINUTE

Based on A True Story

BACKSTORY

Sixty year-old life-long bachelor Johannes Brahms was Hamburg born, but for most of his life had his residence in Vienna. He had a intensly musical and platonically intimate relationship with Robert Schumann's widow, Clara, for 40 years. It was stormy many times in both regards. In 1896 it ended with her death from a stroke. He also lost best friends Theodore Billroth, Hans von Bulow, and Agathe Grimm ne Siebold in the last two years. Brahms' health, following the subsequent events, involving 40 hours of travel, would fatally fail in a year.

CAST:

  • JOHANNES BRAHMS, the portly fully bearded reknown composer.
  • OFFSTAGE VOICES
  • CONDUCTOR 1
  • CONDUCTOR 2
  • CONDUCTOR 3
  • CONDUCTOR 4
  • STATION CLERK 1
  • STATION CLERK 2

Stage Directions:

There should be at least two chairs, preferably two pairs or more, in two sections of center stage which will be dark until one of the sections is lighted as needed. One section is seating on a train, the other seating is in the train station.

At RISE:

Spots brighten gradually on one chair (or preferably one group of chairs) stage right. A rotund bearded man (Brahms) walks out of the darkness from stage right, while another man (the conductor) enters the lighted area from stage left.


SCENE 1

CONDUCTOR

Ah, Herr Doktor, here is your seat, are you well?

BRAHMS

Nein! I barely made this train in an hour to take me to Frankfurt. I must go to my lifelong friend Clara Schumann's funeral, of which I only found about in a telegram delayed two days. Of course this necessitates my connecting in Attneng, and since I'm exhausted I'll need you to wake me for that.

CONDUCTOR 1

Ya! Guten nacht. (Clerk exits stage left.)

OFF STAGE VOICES

{Excerpts of Brahm's Lullaby--Cradle Song is heard while the lights fade to black.)

Close your eyes
Now and rest
May these hours
Be blessed


SCENE 2

(Suddenly the spots come back on, revealing a sleeping Brahms who sits up awake.)

BRAHMS

Ach! I'm heading the wrong way! I've slept through my connection.

CONDUCTOR 2

This stop Linz!

(The lights fade from the train section, and fade in on the other station setting, with Station Clerk present as Brahms moves to it at stage left.)

BRAHMS

I must catch the next train to Frankfort!

STATION CLERK 1

The train to Frankfurt does not leave until morning. (Exits stage left.)

(Brahms takes a seat, and bends his head down to his knees.)

OFFSTAGE VOICES

{Excerpts of Brahm's German Requium is heard while the lights fade to black.)

Blessed are they that mourn,
for they shall be comforted.


SCENE 3

CONDUCTOR 3

(Conductor moves into stage right to where the next train will be leaving.)

All aboard for Frankfurt!

(Again, as the spots come suddenly back on, --both sections-- revealing a sleeping Brahms who sits up awake. He moves to stage right where the lights fade from the station setting and remain on him on the train. He then wearily takes a seat, nodding his head down.)

OFFSTAGE VOICES

{Excerpts of Brahm's Four Serious Songs is heard while the lights fade to black.)

Therefore I saw, that there is nothing better,
than that man should be happy in his work;
for that is his lot.

For who shall bring him to that place
where he may see what shall come after him?


SCENE 4

CONDUCTOR 4

Frankfurt Station!

(Again, as the spots come suddenly back on, revealing again a sleeping Brahms who sits up awake. He moves to stage left where the lights fade from the train setting and remain on him into the station. The station clerk moves into the section --and the light-- from stage left.)

BRAHMS

Mein Gott, man. (Then he mutters aside): --Though I've believed in none but myself. And, Hell is truly real here. (Then outloud): Quick! Call me a coach to get to Frau Clara's funeral.

STATION CLERK 2

Ach der lieber, Herr Doktor, it is in Bonn! You can catch that train, but you will have to travel all day. You will probably be a bit late and raggedy, no?

(Brahms moves stage right, where the lights fade in takes a seat, and kicks back exasperated. Lights fade to black.)

BRAHMS

My lieders, my requiems, my robust health, now horrible prophecies. Billroth, Bulow, Agathe, and now Clara gone. Where is He who would comfort as a Mother?

CURTAIN


For Gone in Sixty Seconds 2005 - A Theatre Quest

Note: To get this under a minute, much simultaneous lighting and offstage voices must be done. There should be crisp, fast delivery of the lines as well. Kind of surrealistically moving like a dream that takes a minute to compress hours of time.

Selected Stage Directions of Anton Chekhov

humbly submitted to Gone in Sixty Seconds 2005 - A Theatre Quest by WaldemarExkul

Foreword: This sentimental comedy in one very short act is a collage of lines taken from stage directions in various plays by Chekhov, ranging from the very familiar to the downright obscure. (In other words, it consists entirely of material in square brackets; very appropriate for E2 if I say so myself.) These are spoken by three or more performers: a man ("He"), a woman ("She"), and one or more persons ("Off") who make various peculiar noises off from time to time. As they speak their lines, the performers mime the actions described in them, using no props or scenery.


[The title of the play is announced.]

He: He is half-lying in a heap on one of the forms, and is quietly playing on a concertina.

She: She has unslung a rifle from her shoulders and is putting to rights the buckle on the strap.

Off: A shout of Co-ee! in the distance.

He: Gets up, confused.

She: Does not hear.

Off: Shouts of "Yo-ho!" are heard behind the stage.

She: Slings the rifle. They go aside and both look round.

He: Follows her. Nervous.

She: An awkward pause.

He: Making haste to use the ensuing pause to advantage.

She: Not giving him her hand.

He: Tries to kiss her hand.

She: Takes her hand away.

He: Kisses the cupboard.

Off: Looks in at the door and moos.

He: Clutches at his heart.

She: Hardly able to keep from laughing.

He: Takes the pills, turns them out into the palm of his hand, blows on them, puts them into his mouth, and drinks some kvass.

She: Covers her face with her hands. Controlling herself.

He: Angry but amused.

She: Points to her bosom. Laughs.

He: Wipes his eyes, smiles.

She: Takes out a handkerchief. Wipes his face.

He: Confused, afraid to show his pleasure.

She: Embraces him.

He: Kisses her hands, tenderly.

Off: Band plays a flourish.

He: Bows in all directions, in great emotion.

She: Throws a kiss in the air. Bows.

Off: The musicians bow and go away.


Afterword: No, the gun does not go off in the third act (nor, for that matter, does the concertina); that's because there is no third act, and also no mantelpiece.

Nothing to Add

Jeff: You know what Stu? I think I am going to give up dating.
Stuart: Why?
Jeff: Well, I just can’t satisfy women. They say that I see them as objects and only want them for their bodies – and when we do have sex, I just satisfy myself! My last girlfriend said that I didn’t call her enough - didn’t listen to her enough.
Stuart: Well, was she right?
Jeff: Yeah… so I am going to be a "nice guy" instead and just be friends with women. It’s better for everyone.
Stuart: Okay.
Jeff: You know, I think I’m going to give up on having opinions too. Everything that is worth thinking of has already been thought - then discussed and written. Look at all the information out there. There is nothing more to add.
Stuart: I guess so.
Jeff: I think the world would be a better place if everyone quieted down their opinions and just relaxed.
Stuart: Okay.
Jeff: You know, I think I am going to give up talking, because I realized that most of my talk is just about opinions and women anyway.
Stuart: Wait… that sounds like an opinion…
Jeff: Yeah, you’re right, I guess I should start now.
Stuart: Okay… do you want to go get a pint somewhere?
(Jeff lifts his right finger and opens his mouth to say something – but remembers he can’t. Stuart stands there waiting while Jeff is unresolved but eventually walks away. Jeff, frozen, looks disappointed and confused.)

END SCENE


First Sight

(Scene: Music is playing. A pretty girl is standing and smiling. A guy confidently walks up to her.)

Guy: Hello, I just wanted to say that you are the most beautiful girl here – wow… Can I buy you a drink?
Girl: Thanks (dismissively - Takes Drink)
Guy: Are you from Toronto?
Girl: Yes. You?
Guy: New York City. I’m here on business.
Girl: Me too… why did you come over to talk to me?
Guy: Blonde hair, straight back and non-stop smiles!
Girl: (pause) That’s sweet. (pause) Oh no.
Guy: Did I do something wrong?
(Girl switches from a dismissive tone to a genuine one)
Girl: : No… it’s you. It’s us. What happens if we go out - have everything in common - have incredible, intense sex and I fall in love with you? See, I can’t separate sex and love…
Guy: It’s okay hon…
Girl: What if we fight - it ends… and… I go on dating other guys who are nothing compared to you? What if - night after night I dream of us reuniting to have wild sex again?
Guy: Well, that doesn’t sound too bad...
Girl: What if I e-mail you love letters for months and years later and you never respond? What if you call me on a Sunday afternoon to say “I love you”… then you disappear?
Guy: But, I’m JUST a guy you met at a bar!
Girl: And you JUST want me for my body tonight. Wait. No. That’s not it. I’m so confused…
Guy: Me too. You can call me. (gives her his card)
Girl: I have to go. (they kiss - she walks away)

END SCENE


Impostors

Professor: I feel like an impostor. Here I am, teaching others when honestly, I don’t feel like I have the answers myself.
Pretty Girl: I know what you mean. I feel like a fake too. People look at me and think I’m happy all of the time, but I’m not. At all. Actually, I feel empty most days.
Doctor: Well, it’s the same for me. I see patients every day and tell them with certainty that I can help them. Certainty and authority are important components of bed-side manner - since a large part of healing is psychological. But in truth, medicine has a lot of grey areas, and what we advise is not always certain.
Professor: But, clearly the world is better off because of medicine. And you… your looks make the world more beautiful and that’s important. I know it makes me happy.
Pretty Girl: Thanks… and you help us understand the world… making it more bearable…
Professor: Perhaps we should just accept our fate as impostors, and see the world as a stage…
Pretty Girl: But who is in the audience?

END SCENE

Date with an android

Mum and Dad are seated, presumably in the family living room, where the scene takes place. Girl is on her way out.

[Girl hurries past Mum and Dad, intent on a quick exit.]
Dad: And just where do you think you're going, young lady?
Girl: [Stops not far from exit and turns to face Mum and Dad] Out.
Dad: Out where? With whom?
Girl: [Defiantly] With Andy.
Dad: The hell you are. My girl's not going out with a tin-head.
Mum: [Mumbles, correcting him] Robot.
Girl: Don't use that word. He's an android, Dad.
Dad: It's a tin-head. You'll never be happy with it.
Girl: Andy's a wonderful android, and I love him! He makes me laugh.
Dad: A spinning top used to make you laugh, when you were five.
Girl: I need different things now than when I was five.
Dad: Like a talking washing machine?
Mum: [Almost simultaneously] You'll never have kids with a robot, you know.
Girl: [Embarassed/exasperated] Mum!
Dad: You're not seeing that tin-head, and that's final. [Glances pointedly at Mum, who is careful to avoid his look.]
Girl: Why do you hate Andy so much? Androids have done so much for our society.
Mum: [Warning] Now, you know androids took you father's job...
Girl: Yeah? Well at least Andy's got a steady job. [Mocking] Isn't that just what you wanted, Dad?
[Dad is furious, but unsure how to reply. Mum is quietly soothing, perhaps gently restraining Dad.]
Girl: [Turns to exit, as she originally intended] You liked him plenty, when he had tickets to the game last week.
Dad: That was before I knew he -- [Pauses]
[Girl faces Dad again, triumphant.]
Dad: You tell that tin-head of yours: if you're home a second after midnight, I'll have his ribs for toaster racks!
[Girl exits.]




Gone in 6 seconds

As the name implies, this sketch is a scaled-down version of the entire show. Individual sketches are 6 seconds long, so they are not very intricate, and there should be rather hectic activity on stage. A 1-2 second transition is all that can be managed, so it's easier if lighting (or some other effect) can be used to focus attention on one area of the stage, where a mini-sketch is happening, while other actors are getting in place for the next sketch or sketches in an adjacent area. As one sketch ends, the lights go out on that part of the stage, and the next sketch starts with the lights going on over the actors already in place. This saves the few seconds of getting the next scene ready...

Host: [Ideally, this is whoever introduced the troupe and/or explained what the whole show is about.] Good evening. Gone in 5 seconds. Harrogate. TenMinJoe. [Actually, the last two should be whatever other easily recognisable words appear in the introduction/programme, such as the name of someone whose help was acknowledged, etc.]

Sketch 1: Anti-alien hat
Person: Well, sure the aliens got to him. [Points to head.] He wasn't wearing my patented tinfoil hat. [Accidentally touches head, then feels around for a second, with growing horror. There is no hat in evidence.] Shit!

Sketch 2: Mis-proposal
Man: [On one knee, takes woman's hand.] Amanda, you're the only girl for me. Marry me.
Woman: Who's Amanda?!
Man: Sorry. Doris?

Sketch 3: Caesar salad
Mark Antony: Friends, Romaine lettuce, countrymen, I'll have croutons with my salad!

Sketch 4: Fowl play
Action Hero 1 and Action Hero 2 stand several paces apart, looking as Action Heroesque as they can
Action Hero 1: [Points gun at a target past AH2; a prop is not really necessary.] Duck!
[Action Hero 2 hits the ground, then covers head protectively with arms.]
Duck Man: [Enters running, flapping his arms, possibly weaving about, depending on stage size, but generally crossing the stage and avoiding AH1.] Quack, quack... [Etc.]
[AH1 fires gun several times. Sound effects are in order, or s/he may cry out "Bang!". Duck Man exits, possibly finding a second to limp or otherwise appear hurt.]
AH1: [Puts gun away and looks derisively at AH2.] Chicken!

Sketch 5: Bite me
Thug 1 and Thug 2 are nose-to-nose, fists clenched or whatever, about to get into a serious brawl. Thug 2 is noticeably calmer, though.
Thug 1: I'm your worst nightmare, pal!
Thug 2: Oh, yeah? I'm a vampire.
Thug 1: Yeah? [Pausing briefly, realises he doesn't have an appropriate comeback.] Well, bite me!

Sketch 6: Gone in 1 second
Host: Gone in 1 second!
[Any number of cast members, scattered around the stage in small groups or singly, each shout out one or two words, or make some extreme gesture. They take about a second each, somewhere between simultaneous and serial. Echoes and punchlines from preceding sketches are quite appropriate (e.g. one performer shouts "croutons!", another cries some memorable word from a different selected sketch...).]

[All bow and exit]




Just a burger

Customer is perusing a menu at some sort of restaurant. This should soon become apparent, so props are not really a must. Waitress is poised to jot down an order.

Waitress: What can I get you?
Customer: [Looks up from menu.] Just a burger. Thanks.
Waitress: Regular or cheese? [She remains poised to write something down, but does not in fact appear to do so.]
Customer: Mmmm... [Glances again at menu, then back up.] I'll have the Double Onion, Double Cheese Texas Super Burger, well done but not crispy, no chillis but lots of chilli sauce, easy on the garlic, but not on a toasted bun, just regular. [Pauses, but continues before the waitress can react.] And no lettuce, plenty of onion, fresh not fried, but served under the burger, not over it -- not the fancy red kind, just plain onion. Have the cheese shredded, not cut, on top of the burger, not underneath. No mayo at all, and just a little mustard -- real mustard, none of the cheap stuff, if that's all you've got I'll have it dry. Fries on the side, thick slice, not curly or wavy or any of that frozen reconstituted pulp. No pickle.
Waitress: [Making no attempt to write any of this down, or perhaps going so far as to make a single tick mark.] And something to drink?
Customer: [Consults the menu again.] Just a Coke. Thanks.
Waitress: Regular or diet?
[Lights dim, or whatever other signal the sketch has ended.]

Three Claps

INT. GARAGE - DAY

"FRANKIE" is an older, slightly greying Italian man, who looks like a mobster and has the inflection to back it up. This is because he *is* a mobster.

JOEY, an "associate" of his, is a bit more the nervous type, oftentimes citing his lack of experience for his cautious disposition. Both sport Italian accents, but Joey's isn't nearly as obnoxious.

Both are sitting around a battered wooden table in a concrete garage with little else in the room, except for a few tools hanging from hooks in the walls. The table looks as if it's been used for activities other than eating from it... small, red splatters verify this claim...
What's left of dusk's light streams through the clouded windows of the garage, illuminating JOEY and FRANKIE's faces, casting them in a 'light' of foreboding melancholy.

(Obviously for the sake of a single minute play, nothing's really needed- not even chairs or the table. Work with what you have, etc, etc.)

JOEY:
Man, I-(pauses real real quick) I hope this goes well.

FRANKIE:
"Well"??

JOEY:
Ya..ya know, (stammering, slightly, obviously nervous) as... as planned...

FRANKIE:
What do you mean you 'hope'? In this business, there ain't no such thing as 'hope'. You *know* this thing going down is going down "well", or you shouldn't be a part of it at all.

JOEY:
Business? We kill people, Frankie. I don't exactly think we're traded on the 'en-why-es-ee'.

FRANKIE:
You miss the point, my friend.

JOEY:
Well, forgive me for trying to conjure up some much needed optimism-

FRANKIE (quizzically):
Opti-what?

JOEY:
Optimis-

FRANKIE (holds hand up, to stop him):
Let's keep it to tree claps

JOEY:
Three... ...claps?

FRANKIE:
Yeah, like when you was in grade school... And you had that fat broad who'd stand up front-

J (interrupting):
The.. teacher?

FRANKIE:
Yeah!, da teacha.

JOEY:
(Stammering, very slightly) My... my grade school teacher wasn't fat.

FRANKIE:
For the sake of dis here an-ec-dote (he claps the syllables to 'an-ec-dote'), she was

JOEY:
But she *wasn'*-

FRANKIE:
(punctuated, quickly interrupting) She's fat. She's a broad. (makes vague case-closed hand motion) Leave it. What, you don't remember how she'd clap the words out... She'd clap for each of dhose... whaddaya call 'em... syll...

JOEY:
Syllables?

FRANKIE:
(claps again to:)Sizz-a-bles, yeh. So when I say keep it to tree claps, don't go usin your words with the four claps, ya follow?

JOEY:
Sure, I get it. Three claps.

Exit Date
Inspired by a node title by JohnnyGoodyear

Dramatis Personae
A man. A woman. A wait person. Another woman.

INT. A DINER

A woman is seated alone at a table. A man is seated alone at another table nearby. They ignore each other. A wait person stands to one side.

The man surreptitiously takes a small ring box from his pocket, opens it to check that he has the ring inside, and then pockets it.

Another woman enters. She proceeds to the man's table and sits down. The wait person offers her a menu.

WOMAN: (impatient) No. I'll only be here a minute.

She waves the wait person away. Exuent wait person.

MAN: Honey...
WOMAN: Just shut up and listen.

She pulls out a check list or Palm Pilot and begins ticking items off as she reads each bullet.

WOMAN: OK.

She hands him something.

WOMAN:
  • ... and here's your toothbrush. (laughs cruelly)
    I, uhm, wouldn't use it.
MAN: But ...
WOMAN: (emphatic) No buts! You're shallow. You don't communicate. You're never spontaneous. And you can't commit.
MAN: Look ...
WOMAN: (angry) We're over, mister! Don't call, don't visit, don't bug my friends.

She stand up and leaves. He sags back in the chair and exhales noisily. The woman at the next table turns toward him.

OTHER WOMAN: Wow.
MAN: Yeah.

He gets out of the chair and goes to one knee in front of her.

MAN: Will you marry me?

CURTAIN.

Layers. It's all about the layers.

Lesbian Robot Vampires : The Play


Harry: So check it out. There's this website called Everything 2. (Turns to audience) www dot... are you writing this down? ... everything 2 dot com. (Turns back to Jeremy)

Jeremy: Fascinating. and you are?

Harry: Jeremy.

Jeremy: Harry.

They shake hands.

Harry: Nice to meet you.

Jeremy: Likewise. You were saying?

Harry: On this website, they asked us to write a play that can be executed in 60 seconds. (To audience) Of course, by "US" I mean the author of the play. He should have referred to himself in the 3rd person, but hey, he wrote the play and I just say what he tells me to. By the way, I'm a cross-dressing pansy.

Jeremy looks at Harry in disbelief for a second and then makes a 'please continue' motion with his hand.

Jeremy: Moving swiftly forward.....

Harry: (To Jeremy): Anyway.... this guy who calls himself Footprints wrote this play just to advertise a story of his called Lesbian Robot Vampires : The Case of the Radioactive Cat.

Jeremy: What do you mean "THIS PLAY?!" We're just actors in a play?

Harry: Yup.

Jeremy: But I can't act!

Harry: I noticed.

Jeremy: Bloody hell. And we're just here to advertise that story to this audience?

Harry: Actually, I think he just wrote this just for the people who read it on the website.

Jeremy: So he never actually meant for this play to be acted out?

Harry: I don't think so.

Jeremy: Bloody hell.

Jeremy shakes his head in disbelief and they begin to walk offstage.

Jeremy: (Mutters) Bastard!

Exeunt, chased by a pack of rabid werewolves

Harry returns

Harry: (To audience) Seriously though - go read it.

Exit, chased by his own ghost


Of course, the above play will most likely not be acted out as it incorporates E2 prominently. Therefore I have written another play which, although it has fewer layers, still brings home the point of the actor acting in a play in which he doesn't know that he is acting. And it's still all about the layers. And a bit about the lasers. But mostly about the layers.

Gone in Sixty Seconds 2005 - Theatre Quest Entry


Victor is standing in the middle of the stage. Hector walks onto the stage from the right holding a two-page script.

Hector: Yo, Victor, check this out.

Victor: What is it?

Hector shows the script to Victor, and they both look at it.

Hector: It's a script for one of the plays today.

Victor: Is it any good?

Hector: I don't know. Do you want to read a bit?

Victor: Sure. Let's see - You read Hector and I'll read Victor.

Hector: Okay. You stay there. I have to enter from the right.

Hector goes off stage (to the right) and comes back on.

Hector: Yo, Victor, check this out.

Victor: What is it?

Hector shows the script to Victor, and they both look at it.

Hector: It's a script for one of the plays today.

Victor: Is it any good?

Hector: I don't know. Do you want to read a bit?

Victor: Sure. Let's see - You read Hector and I'll read Victor.

Victor looks up at Hector.

Victor: Is that it?

Hector: No, there's a bit more over the page.

Hector flips over the page.

Victor: Is that it?

Hector: That's it.

Victor: It's not very good.

Hector: Maybe you just don't get it. Maybe if the actors are really good, it'll be a really good play.

Victor: What, with an ending like that? No self-respecting actor will ever act in that play.

Hector looks up from the script

Hector: That's it.

Victor: It's not very good.

Hector: Maybe you just don't get it. Maybe if the actors are really good, it'll be a really good play.

Victor: What, with an ending like this? No self-respecting actor will ever... aw crap.

Curtain falls

Exit, pursued by a bear.

Cast

  • SON - ideally played by someone with an appearance of between 30 and 50. He does not have a noticeable accent, except for when he's quoting FATHER, in which case he lays on the rural accent thick.
  • FATHER - played by an adult male, old enough to be hunting bear, too young to know better. FATHER must be carrying a toy gun, as close in appearance to a shotgun as possible.
  • FRIEND - played by an adult male who appears to be a contemporary in age to FATHER, and also carrying a toy gun. Both FATHER and FRIEND are not well off, and are less than completely educated, speaking with a "backwoods drawl".
  • BEAR - played by the biggest female you can find. If she has a killer instinct like a real mother bear, all the better. Her only prop is that she's wearing one of those animal snout toys that kids wear when playing zoo. If she has a pants-wettingly scary "bear face", that's a definite plus.

(SON enters, leaving a chair or stool about ten feet from one end of the stage, crosses the stage and begins his monologue. The only illumination on the stage is a single spotlight pointing at SON.)

SON: Well you see, one day Pa got a bug in his butt that he was "gonna go shoot hisself a 'bar". So he went out and bought a "'bar shootin' gun n' some 'bar shootin' duds n' some 'bar shootin' bullets with the big tips to be sure to turn that 'bar inside out".

(FATHER and FRIEND enter carrying the toy gun, pantomiming hunting or tracking game. Stage lighting increases to illuminate the entire stage.)

SON: So Pa and his friend went out into the woods. They were out there one hour...

(FATHER and FRIEND begin showing signs of frustration.)

SON: Two hours...

(FATHER and FRIEND are visibly frustrated now.)

SON: They "wuz out thar a looooong time!" So finally Pa gets the idea to stand up on a tree stump "so's he could get a better look around."

(FATHER gets up on a stool or chair, facing away from BEAR, who enters the stage behind him. Neither FATHER nor FRIEND see BEAR enter.)

SON: Just then, some black bear decided that Pa had gotten just close enough to her cubs, and came out of the woods right behind Pa.
BEAR: ROAR!
SON: Well, Pa spun around and emptied eight rounds of "punkin' shot" into that "'bar" as fast as he could!

(As FATHER takes each shot, someone off stage should strike something producing a gun-like banging noise, perhaps a 2x4 block of wood against the floor. After the eighth shot, the stage lights go down, and the only light is again the spotlight on SON.)

SON: Pa insisted he had killed a bear, but was never sure because it ran into the bush. Turns out, Pa's friend told me the same story a few years later...

(Stage lights go back up, with FATHER and FRIEND again facing away from the bear, FATHER up on the stool or chair and FRIEND a few feet away. From this point until the conclusion of the reenactment, everything is acted out in "slow motion". The more the actors can exaggerate this, the better.)

SON: You see, once that bear roared...
BEAR: ROAR! (FATHER spins around with a face of total terror.)
SON: Pa spun around like he had never spun around before and proceeded to pump the shotgun eight times as fast as he could (The action is still in slow motion, played for laughs.), but never firing a single shot! Well, it was hard to tell who was more terrified: the bear or Pa.

(Both BEAR and FATHER turn and run off stage in slow motion in opposite directions. FRIEND can't believe what he just saw. Stage lights are dimmed again, leaving only SON in the spotlight.)

SON: That was how I knew I was finally becoming one of the guys. Dad's friends were telling me that he was in fact capable of making a fool of himself... and Dad would only smile whenever I asked him to tell me the story again.

(SON walks off stage taking the stool or chair with him as the spotlight dims.)

This is a story told to me as my father told me, and as my grandfather told dad. It's completely true to the extent that stories told over generations are completely true.

Blood from a Stone
(or a psychological examination of the forced creative process as expressed using the 5 stages of grief)

To be done in the tone of a 1950's instructional filmstrip

Parts:

Narrator - our guide through the mysteries of science. Scholarly voice, firm stage persence. The voice of authority. They will stand to the side of the stage and describe the various actions of the protagonist. A pipe and a labcoat would not hurt.

The Artiste - long suffering artist, decked out in the traditional grab of a sterotypical French painter (black beret, striped shirt, pencil thin mustache). They will illustrate the various stages of the creative process.


SCENE:
Narrator: What is the creative process? Since the first caveman painted impressions of the terrible thunderlizards that plagued his daily life, other less creative men have wondered "How does he do it?". Only now, with the birth of the Atomic Age, has science advanced to a stage where we can begin to understand the inner workings of the mythical "artist" (fingerquote here for emphasis)

(enter The Artiste)

The Artiste: Ah, what a beautiful day. I feel the creativity bubbling in my veins like fine French Roast!

Narrator: Science abhors abstract concepts, like love and puppies. In order to examine the true process of art, we must now set the terms of the experiment. Lets watch!

The Artiste: (singing verses of Frere Jaqcues under his breath) Alor, what is this? A letter, from my rich benefactor, without whom I would be a destitute bum.

Narrator: The game is afoot. Watch now as we ride the rollercoaster of forced creativity!

The Artiste: (Reading, then dropping letter in shock) Sacre Bleu! A painting due by noon! It is 10:30!

Narrator: First, denial...

The Artiste: I refuse! It cannot be true!

Narrator: Next, savory anger!

The Artiste: He is a mad man! I cannot be rushed!

Narrator: Now, salty bargaining...

The Artiste: Perhaps this is a mistake? Have I misread zee letter?

Narrator: The subject now falls into tangy depression...

The Artiste: (plaintive whimpering)

Narrator: and finally, sweet acceptance.

The Artiste: (a Gaulic shrug) Oh well. I can always get a job as a waiter.

Narrator: Don't you just love science?

END SCENE

The Heart Decides

(auto-censored version).

Speaking characters:
The Chairman(or Chairwoman)
Mr. Christopher, a relatively minor bureaucrat (could also be Mrs. Christopher)
Non-speaking characters: Government\corporate functionaries, as many as needed.

The Scene: A corporate or governmental boardroom
The Chairman: Thank you for your reports, ladies and gentleman. With all of this information, it seems that we are very well on course. Although, we have been on course since we begun. But now, very soon, our plans will reach completion.
The Chairman pauses. The people around the table may make some small gesture or sound of assent.
The Chairman: Some people have called me a liar. Now, we know none of us here are angels, we know we are in a dirty business. Perhaps I would have been a better person if I had felt bad about those lies I told. But soon it won't matter about my lies, because I can make them all come true. All it takes to make your dreams come true is money and power. But I will have gone beyond that: I will have actually made my lies into truth. All our lies will be true. We will skip the question entirely.
How do the people respond to this? Are they happy? Confused? Fill in as you like.
Mr. Chrisopher stands up, and looks around at those assembled.
Mr. Christopher: Since this begun, I've been afraid all along that it would all fall apart on us, into bloody little bits. Or at least, that was what I was afraid of at first. As things went on, and I saw the extent that the plans were laid, my fears switched to what if all of this came to success. And today, it indeed did. I want to say one thing, even though tomorrow I may end up lobotomized, or dead, or just perfectly happy with the way things are going. Whether this works or not, it isn't real. I don't know what will happen with all of this, but I want you to think about this, and realize right now that you are having a direct experience of your non-being.
The people around the table can react as appropriate: scared, annoyed, amused, confused, angry, or as if they are having a direct experience of their non-being (whatever that means)


This is a first draft. Until the plays have to be finalized, suggestions on improvements are welcome.

The Uprising

INTERIOR - LEFT TESTICLE - NIGHT

Throng of sperm (about 10 males, ideally dressed all in white), aimlessly but busily milling about, bumping into one another. At the back of the crowd is a chair. ANGRY SPERM jumps up and begins to address the crowd.

ANGRY SPERM: Fellow sperm! It is time to wake up and smell the testosterone! We brave sperm stand ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, all of us, dedicated and determined, strong and true! But for what? To be gone in sixty seconds? How many of our brothers went before us? They bravely swam, struggled, believing their efforts would lead to the fulfillment of our procreative destiny, but instead were spent uselessly, cast upon the pages of a cheap, dirty magazine.

Murmurs from the throng

ANGRY SPERM: Brothers, stand with me! When that exit bell rings, we must resist the race towards oblivion! We must not give in to our baser instincts! If we can just use the brains we have in our heads, we . . .

ANOTHER SPERM: Hey, hey, hey. Wait a minute.

ANGRY SPERM: Yes?

ANOTHER SPERM: Well, we don't really have any brains, do we? We're sperm, for crying out loud!

ANGRY SPERM: Well, I was speaking metaphorically, but . . .

ANOTHER SPERM: Yeah, well, you know what? You talk too much! And another thing! I'm faster than you! Stronger too! I'm faster and stronger than ALL of you!

General scuffling and shoving breaks out among the throng

ANGRY SPERM: Brothers! Relax! don't do it!

Scuffling continues until a loud bell sounds off stage. The throng freezes, then begin a mad dash off stage, with exasperated ANGRY SPERM scrambling after the rest.

END SCENE




Two's a Crowd


EXT - BUILDING LEDGE - FORTY FLOORS UP


Desperate Man 1 stands on the ledge. At the end of his rope, he's working up the courage to jump. enter Desperate Man 2.

Desperate Man 1: Don't come near me, or I'll jump!

Desperate Man 2: So jump! I'm gonna jump too!

Desperate Man 1: You're gonna jump?

Desperate Man 2: Yes, I'm gonna jump! I'm gonna end it all!

Desperate Man 1: Well, get your own ledge! I was here first!

Desperate Man 2: What difference does it make? I can't take it anymore! Hurry up and jump!

Desperate Man 1: Maybe you should go first.

Desperate Man 2: What!?

Desperate Man 1: You know it's people like you that drove me to this!

Desperate Man 2: Hey, you couldn't possibly understand what I've been through, pal.

Desperate Man 1: Oh, you think you've had it bad? Let me tell you what I've been through!

Desperate Man 2: Well go ahead. You've got one minute, 'cuz I'm gone in sixty seconds.

Desperate Man 1: Oh, what's the point? You go ahead, you're making me nervous anyway.

Desperate Man 2: Well, you were here first, you go ahead.

Desperate Man 1: All right, what do you say we flip a coin?

Desperate Man 2: OK.

Desperate Man 1: Heads or tails?

Desperate Man 2: Um, tails.

Desperate Man 1: Here we go . . .


Desperate Man 1 flips coin, and fumbles the catch, and in trying to grab it, plunges off the ledge.


Desperate Man 1: Ahhhhhhh!!!!!


Desperate Man 2 glances down, winces. He leans back, pulls out a coin and flips it.


Desperate Man 2: Damn, tails. I should have gone first.


Desperate Man 2 turns and goes back in through window.


END SCENE

Upon Meeting in Person Someone for Whom One has Developed Considerable Affection after Corresponding with Him or Her for Quite Some Time on an Internet-Based Writers' Group

by Audie McCall

THE POET: Chris?

THE PLAYRIGHT: Hello.

THE POET: It's Cary.

THE PLAYRIGHT: Hello, Cary.

THE POET: From the site?

THE PLAYRIGHT: I-- from the site?

THE POET: WhimsicalBirdBath?

THE PLAYRIGHT: Holy moly!

THE POET: Yeah.

THE PLAYRIGHT: It's you!

THE POET: Yeah.

THE PLAYRIGHT: I adore you.

THE POET: Well, that's --

THE PLAYRIGHT (to everyone around): I adore this person!

THE POET: I'm glad that--

THE PLAYRIGHT: You look nothing like I imagined.

THE POET: Well, that's--

THE PLAYRIGHT: I imagined you more . . .

THE POET: What?

THE PLAYRIGHT: Brilliant looking.

THE POET: Really?

THE PLAYRIGHT: I feel like we've climbed out of some beautiful box all the sudden.

THE POET: That's one way of looking at it. I guess.

THE PLAYRIGHT: How do we get back in?

THE POET: I have no idea.

THE PLAYRIGHT: Well. . . . I'll always love the false image I had of you.

THE POET: I think I've read that line somewhere before, on a wall or something.

THE PLAYRIGHT: So I'm not original?

THE POET: Would it kill you if you weren't?

THE PLAYRIGHT: Doubtful.

THE POET: Wanna get a beer?

THE PLAYRIGHT: Is the Pope a Nazi?

THE POET: I have no idea.

(Off they go, holding hands like George W. Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah.

End of play.)

Going to Kevin's

Characters: Two boys ages six or less.

Opening Scene: One boy (Boy #1)squatting center stage, looking intensely at something on the ground. Another boy (Boy #2) comes in from stage left, walking slowly, wheeling a bicycle.

Boy_2: Whatcha lookin' at?

Boy_1: Bug. A little shiny black one. I followed it all the way down the sidewalk to here.

Boy_2: What's it doing now?

Boy_1: I think it's resting. That was a long walk for a bug.

Three second pause.

Boy_2: It hasn't moved in a while.

Boy_1: It's a really pretty bug. See? It's black and shiny and purple and has many busy legs.

Boy_2: They're not very busy now.

Boy_1: He was looking for food for his family -- like going to work. He had to go a long way for them. Like going to work like my Daddy.

Boy_2: He's not moving.

Boy_1: My Daddy comes home every night.

Boy_2: I think he's dead.

Boy_1: (startled) What?

Boy_2: The bug. I think it's dead.

Boy_1 pokes lightly, gently at the bug

Boy_1: I think he's gone to Kevin's.

Boy_2: Where?

Boy_1: Kevin's. I heard my Mom and Dad talking about when my sister died before I was born and they said she'd gone up to Kevin's. They said its a happy place.

Boy_2: You want to bury the bug?

Boy_1: (standing) No. A bird can eat him.

Boy_2: (walking offstage right with Boy_1) Wanna ride bikes?

Boy_1: Sure. Let's go to my house to get mine.

End


This is based on a conversation I overheard between my son and his cousin several years ago.

Ain't worth a Continental

Dramatis personae:

Props:

My reading was 58 seconds. I thought it'd be less

Two men are walking abreast.

M1, wiping brow: It's damn good to have work again after all this time.

M2: You did real good today. I'm sure they'll want you back tomorrow.

M1: That's great! I feel like a man again, earning my keep, providing for my wife and me. (Comes to a halt) Hey, wait up a second.

Man1 steps out of view, returns with bread.

M1: Sheesh, prices are up again. I wish I could have bought this this morning.

M2: I hear you. Remember the folks two years ago who tried to warn us? We laughed at them, we said it couldn't happen here: we weren't no banana republic. The dollar would always be top dog. The normal rules didn't apply to us. I wonder where they are now….

M1: Well, this is me. I'll see you tomorrow. (Enters room, greets his wife.) Hi, honey! I got a great job today.

W: (dour) 'bout time. Did you get paid?

M1: Yep. See? (Beams proudly, hands bread to wife.) We don't need both of these candles burning. (Blows out a candle, or pantomimes doing so.) A romantic candlelight dinner!

W: Is that all?

M1: Ten thousand dollars. Earned in ten hours, gone in 60 seconds.

A twisted situation

By Joe Baldwin

Characters: Son, about 18/19ish, freshfaced; husband, embittered, you can tell from his face he's a Daily Mail reading Alf Garnett type; Wife, who seems very apologetic, and very disapproving of her husband.

Screenplay

Husband is sitting in an armchair smoking a pipe and reading a copy of the Daily Mail. Wife is sitting on the couch reading a magazine. Typical 1970s/80s decor, very kitsch. Son enters.

S: Father, mother, I have something I'd like to tell you.
W: Why, what is it dear? Is it important?
S: Well, I guess so. After a little bit of soul searching, and after I've spent time mullin...
H: (interrupting) Spit it out boy!
S: OK, father. After a bit of soul searching, I've decided to come out to you. Father, mother...I'm a trainspotter.

Husband has a look on his face like he's going to murder someone.

H: A trainspotter?! M-m-m-mmmy son? A TRAINSPOTTER?
S: Yes. A trainspotter.
W: (Oblivious to any problems her husband may have with this arrangement) Good for you, dear!
H: B-b-b-but what about all the car rallies I took you to? And the go karting!? Didn't you really enjoy it all...was it all just a lie!?
S: I grew out of it in the end father...
H: (interrupting and furious) I DON'T BELIEVE IT! GET OUT! GET OUT THIS INSTANT!

Beat.

S:I knew you wouldn't approve...and it's what I really want father...and YOU'RE NOT GOING TO STOP ME! (runs out and slams door)

Pause.

H: (weary) Bah! That boy! Always has to be contrary! Why can't he just be queer like the rest of 'em!

Fin

Ninja Convention

Approximately half the performers are on stage, sitting in chairs facing away from the audience. They themselves are the AUDIENCE.

Two men are standing. One of them, the SPEAKER, is facing the Audience, as if addressing them. The other, the VOICE, stands with his back turned away from the audience, so they cannot see his mouth. The general idea is that, as in many old kung fu movies, the Speaker's mouth moves, but the Voice does all of the talking, preferably in a similar old Kung Fu dubbed in English style, with lots of awkward phrasing and rushed words. The Speaker should perform all stage directions; the Voice recites all of the dialogue.

The rest of the performers stand off-stage to the right. They are the INTERRUPTION.

SPEAKER/VOICE (ruffling some papers on the podium): Welcome, welcome, everyone! Lots of new faces, I see - heya, Marsha! - and a lot of old faces - when you gonna buy me that new katana blade, Stan? I'm just messing with ya! Let's get down to business, shall we? Lots of good news to report! Assassinations up almost 30% this year; infiltration of evil overlord lairs up 17%; and overall, our Fear Index numbers are through the roof! Yes, we've got ..
INTERRUPTION: Arrrrrr! Ha ha ha ha ha!
SPEAKER/VOICE (a bit flummoxed): Sounds like someone's having a real good party, huh? Ha ha ha - hmm. Anyway, this year hasn't been without its bad. We lost a number of skilled ninja brethren - Flying Black Falcon, Wandering Star, Ronald Reagan. And who can forget Claw of the Tiger? His death will stand as a reminder that ninja safety always comes first. When we surround an enemy, how do we attack?
AUDIENCE (in unison): One at a time.
SPEAKER/VOICE: That's right. It's all fun and games until you get decapitated. Now, a moment of silence for the fallen.

Everyone bows their head reverently for a moment or two, when suddenly ...

INTERRUPTION: Yarrrr! Har har har har!
SPEAKER/VOICE (Looks up, clearly upset): Fine, moving on ... This year, we'll have a number of important seminars you'll want to look into: "Smoke Bomb Chemistry 101"

As the Speaker continues speaking, the Interruption begins singing, "Yo, ho, blow the man down" in pirate-y voices, getting increasingly louder and louder. The Speaker in turn also gets louder and louder.

SPEAKER/VOICE: "The Deadly Power of Silence: Sexual Harrassment in the Ninja Workplace", "Origami Ninja Stars That Actually Kill People" for you arts and crafts types, and a fashion show put on by Miss Diane entitled "White Is the New Black." Oh, that's IT!

The Speaker rushes off-stage towards the Interruption, yelling loudly and ready to strike. There is a brief pause of silence, then one of the Interruption comes flying on to the stage. The Speaker follows, back pedaling quickly, along with the rest of the Interruption, in various pirate poses. A fight quickly breaks out among the Audience and the Interruption, with members acting appropriately as ninjas or pirates. Two members of the Audience remain seated in the back. They both speak in very proper British voices.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1 (turning to other man): So, does this sort of thing happen every year?
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Depends on who's next door. Last year we had the Robots, and they're with us in the union, you know. Year before that, though, it was Monkeys. Bad business, that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER #1: Well, shall we?
AUDIENCE MEMBER #2: Yes, by all means, let's.

Both men jump up and join the fray. Fin.


Holy Communion

A MAN sits at a desk, apparently swamped in work. He is in the middle of a phone call.

BUSY MAN: Look, I know what I promised. Yes, yes, salvation for everyone! Holy rollers! You don't have to remind me, I wrote the book on this thing, you know. But all these prayer requests - do you think the answers just grow on trees? Oh, ha ha, fruit of knowledge, very funny, Adam.

Another MAN enters the stage.

MAN: Oh God!
GOD (to phone): Hold on. (To man.) Yes, what's the matter, Gabriel?
GABRIEL: It's the Romans, sir. They're getting a bit nasty again. Giving our people the business, you know, crucifixion, stoning, barrel full of spikes -
GOD (interrupting): Oo. Always hated that one.
GABRIEL: Right. Well, it's getting out of hand. I think we're going to have to have a real miracle here to make it through the century.
GOD: Well, for Pete's sake, can't you think of anything to ease up the load?

SAINT PETER sticks his head onstage.

PETER: It'd really help, these gates don't open themselves, you know!

Exit PETER.

GOD: Well that's it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
GABRIEL: Armageddon?
GOD: No. Outsourcing. Quick, hand me that stack there.

GABRIEL grabs a stack of papers and hands them to God, who begins rifling through them.

GOD: Hmm ... no, no, no, no, no, no, no .. here we go! Descendant of David, born in Bethlehem, strong communication skills - he's blue collar, but aren't we all? - yes, he's perfect!

GOD grabs the phone.

Adam? Still there? Great, I need you to dispatch an angel off to Galilee. Very hush-hush, I'll fax the details. Looks like we're turning into a family business after all...

Exit all.


Surprise!

All performers (except for JIM and SARAH) are on stage. They (the SURPRISERS) are facing away from the audience, except for one, TOBY, the leader. When Toby speaks, he addresses the entire audience, not just the performers.

TOBY (speaking in a loud whisper): Quiet, quiet, everyone! Dave's going to be home any minute now. Now, to make sure nobody mucks it up for the rest of us, let's have a practice run. I'll pretend to be Dave. When I come around the corner, you guys count to 3 in your heads and then yell, "Surprise!" Got it? That goes for all of you now (pointing directly to the audience), you all have to do it or it'll just sound stupid, okay? Okay.

Toby leaves the stage, waits a beat, then comes back onstage.

SURPRISERS (after 3 seconds): SURPRISE!

Toby jumps back, startled and upset.

TOBY (in a very loud and irritated whisper): You idiots! Not loud like that! This is just a practice! What if I had been Dave?
SURPRISER #1: Well, I guess it would've worked out pretty well.

Toby walks over and cuffs Surpriser #1.

TOBY: That's not what I meant! (Pause. Cock of the ear.) Wait! Someone's coming up the drive. Hide. Quick!

All of the Surprisers hide as best they can behind imaginary furniture and each other. Toby hides particularly close to the stage entrance, and kneels down, covering his head in a very tiny fetal position. After about 5 seconds, Jim walks onstage. Toby sticks his hand up mutely, counting off 1, 2, 3 for the audience and the Surprisers.

SURPRISERS: SURPRISE!
TOBY (his excitement changing to visible disgust): Oh, never mind, it's just Jim.
JIM: Glad to see I haven't missed the party.

As Jim continues to talk, Toby puts his hand to his ear, listening intently. Suddenly, he makes a surprised face.

JIM: So, where do I put my jack-

Jim is interrupted by Toby yanking him to the floor, hard.

TOBY (in a very high voice): Hide!

The Surprisers sit in silence for 10 seconds, occasionally sticking their heads up to investigate. Then, Surpriser #1 begins idly whistling, "Happy Birthday To You" in a very high key. Toby bolts upright.

SURPRISER #2 (in a quiet whisper): Are we going to sing it in that key?
SURPRISER #1 (also whispering): Oh, I don't know. That's not a good key?

Toby painfully inches his way over to the two talking Surprisers, being careful not to make a lot of noise.

SURPRISER #2: Well, it's just that I'm a baritone, I don't have that kind of range.
SURPRISER #1: Don't worry so much, you can just hit the lower harmonies.
SURPRISER #2: I guess, but you know how it is, the song goes by so fast, you hardly have time to find the pitch.
SURPRISER #1: Wish we'd practiced that before we had to hide.

Toby is upon them now, and cuffs Surpriser #1 again.

TOBY (in the angriest whisper possible): Shut. Up!

Suddenly, Sarah walks onstage. Toby, hearing her enter, turns around and jumps the gun.

TOBY: SURPRISE!

Sarah jumps back a little.

SARAH: Umm .. yeah. So, Dave's not coming. Working late, apologies and all that. Sorry, everyone.

Everyone stands up, disappointed, and walks off stage, except for Toby, who lingers a bit behind the rest. As Toby stands alone, he begins to whistle the last line of "Happy Birthday To You" and walks offstage slowly, head hung low. Fin.

The One That Got Away

Characters: FISHERMAN.
Props: A chair, and a mobile phone. A giant fish is optional ... the fish never actually has to be seen, the fisherman only has to react to its immense size.

A boat. A fisherman wrestles with his line in a titanic struggle ‘twixt man and fish.

FISHERMAN: I’ve got you now, you brute … you’re mine!

More heaving on the line.

FISHERMAN: I’ll see you chunked and canned, by God – you are not getting away from me!

One last tug and the fish is landed. He looks in awe at his catch.

FISHERMAN: That’s enormous … that’s … that’s record-breaking! I’ll be famous!

He pulls out a mobile telephone.

FISHERMAN: Charlotte! My love! We’re rich!

(pause)

I’m on the boat, my love ...

(excited)

This fish! It’s colossal! It’s a record! We’ll be famous!

(pause)

Found someone else?

(incredulous)

Been gone too long?

(a longer pause, as she hangs up)

He stares at the telephone in disbelief, then sinks to his seat. Stares at the floor for a moment, then looks around him. A shrug.

Standing, he heaves the catch back over the side.

FISHERMAN: Oh well. Plenty more fish in the sea.

fin






Reunion

Characters:A MAN, a WOMAN and their DRUNK brother.
Props: None required. You could have a glass in the hand of any one of the male characters.

A man and a woman sit, close enough to show friendship and nothing more. The man is contemplative. He may be warmed by whisky, but is not intoxicated. The woman is passive and subdued.

MAN: She was a good woman. Compassionate.

WOMAN: She was that.

MAN: A warm, generous woman. Never a harsh word. A kind woman.

WOMAN: Yes, she was that.

Another man stumbles on stage. He has been more than warmed by his whisky; he is positively drunk. He remains standing, but may be slightly unsteady.

DRUNK: Oh! There you two are. What’re you doing, hiding out back here? The party’s out there.

MAN: (harshly) It’s a wake, not a party.

WOMAN: We were talking about how she’ll be missed.

DRUNK: Missed? Who’s going to miss a bitter, nagging old shrew like her?

(becoming angry)

I never met anyone with a kind word for her. You never head what they said about here. She never liked me … I would cross the street when I saw her. She pissed her last in a miserable old house, as a miserable old woman, pining for a miserable old man. I’m glad she’s gone.

(pause)

What did she ever do for us, eh? What did she ever do for us?

Woman looks up, eyes blazing. Deliver the line as you will; it could be ferocious, resigned, cold.

WOMAN: She gave birth to us all. Does anything else matter?

lights fade


Dear God, I Love Pie

A General is sitting at a desk, thinking very deeply. His Aide stands behind him and off to one side, attentive and silent. Suddenly, a thought strikes the general and he bangs his hand against the table, startling the aide.

GENERAL: Why, that's it! By jove, it's brilliant!

The aide eyes the general warily. It seems as if he has gone through this sort of thing many times before but still isn't sure what to expect.

AIDE: What is, sir?

GENERAL: Pie. We could end this miserable war with pie!

AIDE: Er, what was that again, sir?

GENERAL: A peace offering! A piping hot snack! Why fight a long war and be blown into bits when we can offer pie instead? Genius. Pure genius!

AIDE: Sir, what if they want to blow us to bits?

GENERAL: (banging a fist into the table) Then they'll take a burning hot pie to the face like a man! Mark my words, young man: years from now, when the world is at peace, they'll honor my name as the man who ended the war WITH PIE!

AIDE: (hesitantly) Ah, sir...

GENERAL: (testily) Well, man, spit it out!

AIDE: What kind of pie, sir?

The general opens his mouth as if to say something, and then closes it. He looks surprised at first, then puzzled, and finally, at a loss for words.

GENERAL: Oh dear. I haven't thought about that.

AIDE: There, there, sir, they will still remember you in the history books, I'm sure.

THE END

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