Unfinished Business

Too busy to post real stuff… (I warned you about these two posts, today and tomorrow, yesterday!)

Hereʼs something unpublishable because itʼs only the beginning of a spring play that never went anywhere (and I stole the idea it expresses at least twice anyway). I think I wrote it sometime about the mid-Nineties…

ANOTHER SPRING PLAY

another in a series of twisted tales from folk traditions

by John Randolph Burrow

As the audience enters, no programs are distributed.  As curtain time passes, the house lights do not dim, stage lights do not come on.  Nothing happens.  The light crew seems to be getting a little nervous.  The audience converses.

AUDIENCE  What’s happening here?  —Where’s the play?  —What’s going on?  —Are they going to start soon?  —Are they going to give us a play or not?  Come on, you guys, where’s our play?  —We paid good money:  let’s have a play.

ROWDIES  We want a play!  We want a play!

LIGHT CREW  Look at those guys.  What do they think they’re doing?

ROWDIES  We want a play!  We want a play!

HEAD ROWDY  Hey.

DENSE ROWDY  Hey what?

THIRD ROWDY  Hey!

DENSE ROWDY  Hey what?!

HEAD ROWDY THIRD ROWDY FOURTH ROWDY FIFTH ROWDY  Look!

DENSE ROWDY SIXTH ROWDY  Look at what?

HEAD ROWDY  Them.  They’re looking at us.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

THIRD ROWDY  Looking at us.  They’re all looking at us.

SIXTH ROWDY  They are!

DENSE ROWDY  Look at them looking at us.

FIFTH ROWDY  You want something?

FOURTH ROWDY  What’s your problem, huh?

HEAD ROWDY  How come you’re bothering us?

AUDIENCE  How come you’re bothering us?

ROWDIES  You!!?  You’re staring at us.

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  Only because you’re making so much noise!

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  Yeah!  What do you think you are?  —The play?

ROWDIES  Maybe we do.  What’s it to you?

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  Plenty.  Maybe if you’d shut up, they’d start.

THIRD ROWDY  Yeah, right.  No little play until the bad little boys shut up and keep quiet, huh?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  Maybe.

HEAD ROWDY  Hey!  Then we’ll be the play.

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  You made a rhyme there.   “Hey, we’ll be the play. “

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  You made a little rhyme.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

AUDIENCE  Hey, we’re the play.  It rhymes.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

AUDIENCE  Rhymes!  —The words sound alike.  Hey . . . play.

ROWDIES  Hey!  So where is the play?  Huh?  —Hey, lights guys, when’s this play going to get started?

LIGHT CREW  Who knows?  Maybe it’s another clever and original opening.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  It’s the spring play.  They all start weird.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  Don’t you remember?

HEAD ROWDY  Nothing more than three minutes ago.  —But if this is the cute and original beginning, something’s wrong.

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  Now you’re just being modest.  —How long have you guys been practicing this?

DENSE ROWDY  Practicing what?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  This!  This routine.

THIRD ROWDY  This is no routine.

HEAD ROWDY  We’re not the cast.

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  You’re not the cast?  Uh huh.  Right.

THIRD ROWDY  We’re not!  You see our names in the program.

DENSE ROWDY  Program?  What programs?

HEAD ROWDY  I didn’t get a program.

THIRD ROWDY  Me neither.

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  No one did.

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  That’s odd.  There weren’t any programs.

ROWDIES  How come we didn’t get programs?

AUDIENCE  What?  Do you think we know?

FIRST ROWDY  Yeah.  I do.  You’ve been in plays before.

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  Not this time.  He didn’t have a script before try-outs.

SECOND ROWDY  He never has a script by try-outs.

THIRD ROWDY  But there’s usually programs.

FIRST ROWDY  You guys.  Lights.  What’s going on?  How come we didn’t get any programs?

SECOND ROWDY  Yeah, Pick.  When’s this play going to start?

HEAD ROWDY  Don’t look now, but we’re becoming the play.  There’s more of them watching.

THIRD ROWDY  [pause] Of course, we could be.

HEAD ROWDY  Could be?  Could be what?

THIRD ROWDY  The show.

DENSE ROWDY  Huh?

THIRD ROWDY  We could be the show.

DENSE ROWDY, FOURTH ROWDY,  FIFTH ROWDY, SIXTH ROWDY  Us?!!  Yeah, right.  Be real.

HEAD ROWDY  Get serious.

DENSE ROWDY  I dunno.  We gonna get somethin’ else?

[pause]

HEAD ROWDY  Don’t look like it.

THIRD ROWDY  So . . . .

DENSE ROWDY FOURTH ROWDY FIFTH ROWDY SIXTH ROWDY  So?  So?

HEAD ROWDY  . . .  So . . . why don’t we be the play?

DENSE ROWDY FOURTH ROWDY FIFTH ROWDY SIXTH ROWDY  Who?

HEAD ROWDY THIRD ROWDY  Us.

DENSE ROWDY FOURTH ROWDY FIFTH ROWDY SIXTH ROWDY  Us?

HEAD ROWDY  Why not?  Everyone’s watching us already.

DENSE ROWDY  They are?

AUDIENCE  Yeah.  We are.

AN AUDIENCE MEMBER  And I’m getting a crick in my neck.

A THIRD MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE  Why don’t you either shut up or move it onto the stage already?

ROWDIES  Us?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  No, your twin brother . . . the one who got the brains.

AUDIENCE  You guys want to talk so much, why don’t you do it from the stage?

ANOTHER AUDIENCE MEMBER  Or are you scared?

THIRD ROWDY  I’m not scared of nothin’.

LIGHT CREW  Except good grammar.

HEAD ROWDY  What was that?

LIGHT CREW  Nothing.   We were just wondering if we should put the spotlight on you . . . stars.

THIRD ROWDY FOURTH ROWDY FIFTH ROWDY  Watch your mouth.

DENSE ROWDY  Hey, you guys.  How come the show hasn’t started yet?

LIGHTS 1  Don’t ask me.

ROWDIES  We’re asking.

LIGHTS 2  When the curtains open, then we put on the lights.

ROWDIES  So when’s the curtain go?

MIKE  When the gym lights go out.  Like always.

ROWDY 1  So what are we waiting for?

LIGHTS 1  For the gym lights to go out.

HEAD ROWDY  So why aren’t they?

LIGHTS 2  I don’t know.  Maybe you should go find out.

ROWDIES  Maybe we will.  [pause] —How about it?  —Wanna go with me?  —Up there?  —Sure.  —What can they do?  Kick us out?  —We paid our money.  —Wanna come?  —Yeah!  Why not?

[Pause]

To make something valuable of having you read this garp, observe that you do get a look at my creative process in play writing here and tomorrow. Notice that I focus on the dialog (by tomorrow the words over who says them) and have almost no stage directions. This is not because I think I am Shakespeare (I do not think so), who used precious few stage directions himself, but because I knew when I was writing that I would serve as the director and could invent business and movements in rehearsal (which, by the way, I believe is like Shakespeare, who knew heʼd be involved in the productions of his shows, too).

I also just let the words flow, worrying about who said what later (especially after I had actual actors involved). thatʼs the point of the dashes in the ROWDIES lines, dividing the words among different people, whoʼs who just not yet assigned.

One thing keeping me too busy to post intelligently—besides being at Andrew subbing nearly every day of the week lately—was that I awoke at 3:30 AM yesterday to travel to Ames to see my brother Paul receive the most prestigious award the Iowa State Education Association can bestow… Possibly I will tell you all about the experience later.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s