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The exhilaration, exultation, expectations and experiences of writing plays and getting a play produced or noticed.
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1. STORM WARNING - SCENE 11

One more scene from one of the plays I'm working on. Actually, I see this more as a film script but we'll see where it goes as it progresses. Quite pleased so far.


STORM WARNING  - SCENE II
 
LEONARD
What is this? Move away and let us pass

CONDUCTOR
Please don’t create problems

LEONARD
All we wanna do is stretch our legs. Nothing more and for whatever reason, you won’t let us

CONDUCTOR
That won’t be possible

 LEONARD
This is absolutely ridiculous. You can't force us to stay here without a good reason. I’m going to walk, like it or not

MARY
Me too!

CONDUCTOR
(bending over and speaking softly)
I strongly advise you to stay put. Take my advice

LEONARD
Sorry pal – you gotta provide more information than vague hints and warnings

CONDUCTOR
Don’t ask me any more questions that I can’t answer. Look - stay put and I’ll see what I can do

MARY
My knees are really painful. Can I at least stand up and take a few steps?

CONDUCTOR
A few steps but no long walks

MARY
Promise

LEONARD
I got news for you, bud. I ain’t got any intention of staying put. You’re really over-reacting to a simple request of taking a small walk through the train

CONDUCTOR
You didn't hear it from me but rumor has it that a passenger has died

MARY
What does this have to do with us? These things happen all the time. We promise we’ll stay away from wherever they’re keeping his body

CONDUCTOR
Could be just a rumor but even if it was true, I wouldn’t be allowed to say. Company rules and all that

LEONARD
You do realize you make no sense whatsoever. Why even mention it to us?

CONDUCTOR
Like I said, can't really share any information...

LEONARD
Why all the mystery?

CONDUCTOR
Look - I was told that we'll be delayed in Timmersville. That's all I can tell you right now.

(CONDUCTOR hurries off)


LEONARD
Weird. The guy was really nervous. Kept wiping the top of his lip. If it was a heart attack or normal causes, he wouldn’t bother telling us

MARY
Trying out your detective skills, are we?

LEONARD
(staring out of the window)
That’s what you get from hanging out with reporters.  Kind’a rubs off on a person.  Well…well… police are getting on now... This is more than a heart attack for sure.

MARY
Maybe you’re right. Hmmm...wonder where Mr. Crazy Man got to.

LEONARD
We're never gonna find out anything sitting here. Don't know about you but I feel like stretching my legs

MARY
My old knees are stiff. A little walk works wonders

LEONARD
And if we happen to overhear something...

MARY
Right...

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2. Playwright ponders her plays

Right now, people reading this are probably saying to themselves, "Eleanor hasn't given us any updates on her plays. I'd love to know how things are going with her." Okay - maybe the last sentence is a bit presumptuous on my part but maybe there are persons 'out there' who are curious.

Actually, I've been focusing a lot of my effort searching for a new literary address for my "babies." This includes cyber queries as to whether they would be welcome, to be followed by the actual execution (sounds so macabre) of hitting the 'send' key taking the plays on their cyber journeys. Waiting to receive news and/or updates on their suitability is stressful especially since theatres frequently restrict their responses to playwrights with plays in which they have an interest. It somehow doesn't seem logical to send a follow up if, say, there has been no response for a lengthy period of time. Then again, perhaps a reminder could be helpful:


"Dear blah-blah,

You might not remember me but five years ago (maybe more), I submitted my play to you/your theater/your literary manager. Having never heard back, I'm wondering if perhaps you never received it or somehow, it got deleted in your files (these things happen). Let me know if you'd like me to re-send the play and I'd be happy to oblige.

Yours in waiting,

Eleanor
(P.S. I'd very much appreciate it if you could advise me as to which play I sent you, since my cat did a dance on my keyboard and lost many of my files).


In as far as the plays themselves, I'm reviewing the content of "Retribution" with the intent of submitting it to an interesting competition. At the half-way point, I've made some minor changes but still very pleased with the overall content. The subject matter definitely isn't for everybody but the play itself  is a riveting drama.

Haven't read "Old Soldiers" since receiving the rejection advisement notice a few months ago. I had a gut feeling that it was on its way but it didn't make its reception any easier. A bit of ranting and raving occurred for a day or two followed by avowing to re-write. Thing is with rejection notices, rarely is there an accompanying explanation as to the reasons for the refusal, consequently there is always the nagging question as to why and what went wrong. In any case, time for a re-evaluation and the dastardly re-write(s) that will follow. It will require a complete overhaul having been written for radio and we'll have to see whether it's even feasible to turn it into a play. Some characters will have to be dropped in addition to scene changes and adaptations.

The newest playwriting project, "Storm Warning" is on the front burner. I've completed four scenes and I'm thinking some character sketches are required to define the purpose of everyone and where they fit into the story line.

One of my oldie but definitely good play, "Dead Writes" parts of which I've shared here in this blog, requires finishing. Actually, it needs a middle before it can be ended. A comedy, the play has been started and abandoned a number of times. Maybe not "abandoned" since this implies finality. Let's say - put to rest in cyber space for periods.  No particular reason other than I became distracted with other projects.

Finally, I'm toying with idea of writing a play based on a young teenage girl and her experiences growing up in the 1960's, while attending high school. Let's just say it's something I know about intimately. First though it back to work on Old Soldiers...maybe Dead Writes should be a priority since it's an older play...then again, Storm Warning is a fun challenge... Procrastination thy name is Eleanor.



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3. ZOO DIARY 11


ZOO DIARY 11

 

SCENE: CITY ZOO. MORNING

 
The zoo opens to visitors. The animals in the zoo, which has fallen on hard times, make the usual animal sounds that visitors expect them to make

 
CHILD

Look mom – a zebra! How many stripes do you think it has?

 
MOM

Who knows. A lot for sure

 
CHILD

A trillion? Can I feed him, mom?

 
MOM

We don’t feed zoo animals, sweetie

 
CHILD

But…there’s a machine here with zebra food. All you have to do is put in some money and food falls out

 
MOM

Let’s see...five dollars to feed a zebra? Um…perhaps another time

 
CHILD

But mom – we only come here once in a while. He looks like he’s hungry. His bones are sticking out on his side

 
MOM

Five dollars is a bit too much, sweetheart. Why don’t we go see the other animals

 
ZEBRA

Um…excuse me, lady. May I interject here?

 
CHILD

Look! The zebra speaks like we do

 
MOM

Don’t be silly. Zebras don’t talk…

 
CHILD

But…I heard it with my own ears

 
MOM

There’s probably a speaker hidden somewhere in the cage. Zebras don’t talk. Let’s move along…

 
ZEBRA

They do when the situation is desperate. May I have your ear for a moment?

 
MOM

Okay. You got me. Is it on the zebra itself?

 
(she searches the cage)
 
 
 ZEBRA

Really – there are no speakers. We’ve always had this ability but kept it quiet because that’s what humans expect of zebras. However, recent circumstances call for emergency measures and this qualifies as one. Why don’t you give your son five dollars for the feeding machine?

 
MOM

I’ll bite. This is one of those TV shows where you catch people off guard, right? I’m not forking over five dollars because it’s too much money. Got that, TV people?

 
ZEBRA

See…thing is – the zoo has fallen on hard times and consequently has cut back on the amount of food it feeds us. Look at my rib cage. Mere skin and bones. I’m starving! The last time I had a meal was breakfast yesterday. Give the kid five bucks. Please! Unless you want the slow but certain demise of a zebra on your conscience

 
MOM

(laughing)

What next? When will the program be on, anyway? We might be on TV, sweetie!

 
ZEBRA

(shaking its head sadly)

Yeah – you’re right on. There’s somebody manipulating my mouth. The producer is telling me now that they need some visuals of you putting money in the machine and feeding me for the show

 
MOM

Surrrre!

 
(opens purse, takes out five dollars and enters it in the slot. She smiles broadly)

 
I’ll go along. See? Putting five dollars in the machine. Here honey – feed the zebra

 
(boy feeds food to the zebra who gobbles it up immediately)

 
What’s the name of the TV show, anyway?

 
ZEBRA

‘Desperation’ but you might find it difficult to find in your TV listings.

 
MOM

We’ll look for it. Let’s go see the cheetahs now, honey

 
(the mother and her child move along. A rat enters the zebra cage)

 
RAT

So how’d it go?

 
ZEBRA

Managed to get something to stave off my hunger pangs for a couple of hours but it was a hard sell, let me tell you!

 
RAT

Did you do your usual tap dance routine or stand there staring at them and looking pathetic?

 
ZEBRA

Neh. Told them they were part of a TV show and that the producers wanted images of them feeding me

 
RAT

You didn’t tell me we were gonna be on TV. Going to spread the word to the rest of the animals. What’s the name of the program, anyway?

 
ZEBRA

Not really…I only said that… Desperation. The name of the show is Desperation

 
RAT

Desperation?

 
ZEBRA

Indeed

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4. Fall forward - plays take cyber trips

Perhaps it's the result of the ending of summer and the arrival of autumn, but it's play submission mode time. Somehow, the summer heat plus the sun shining down prompts the brain to enter into a state of lethargy, at least it does mine. All this is to say or write that now it's time to actively seek out homes for my literary 'babies."

Before the actual act of hitting the key that will send them off to parts unknown, they've been receiving a once-twice-and more evaluation for any necessary changes or modifications. Frequently, this assessment results in a re-examination of a/some play(s) followed by muttering of bad words, the end result of which is yet more revisions. Some of the plays have been updated to the point where it's difficult to recognize the original story line and conduct an objective assessment as to which version works best.

So where is all this sharing of inner angst and trepidation leading you may well be asking yourself. Came across a competition for a ten-minute play with the focus being "The Urban Jungle." A while back I wrote a piece entitled, "Waiting for Roach" featuring the end result of a meeting up of a young punk-mode adult male and a female senior citizen, which will work perfectly. The play-ette as I call short offerings, has never been submitted anywhere before having waited for the right occasion and right opportunity to share it with the world, or at least with the people running the competition.

In addition, I decided to share one of my favorite plays, "Neighbors" now re-named "The Shrubs" with a theatre. Upon reflection and somewhat interesting, this two-act play started out as a short 10-minute play as many of them do. After years of ignoring it for the most part, I was scanning over some of the file titles and this play jumped out at me. Somehow, in the shorter version, something seemed to be lacking and after reading it through, a story began to develop resulting in a re-working and its development into a full play. In any case, it has left home with my best wishes and hopes not to mention prayers, that others will enjoy the contents as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Meanwhile, my wedding play, "Make Me a Wedding" has also taken a few cyber trips. A comedy, this was my first endeavor in playwriting and my favorite but then I say that about all my plays. It was almost performed a while back but had to be abandoned due to a breakdown in the production. Let's just say that the undertaking was akin to "Noises Off" and leave it at that. To get back to the play, it elicits laughter every time I read it through and I do frequently. Here's hoping.

Last but certainly not least, my second-favorite play, "Gin: an Allegory for Playing the Game of Life" is still seeking new digs as they say. A comedy, the two-act play focuses on the long-time friendship of three women who discuss their lives and those of people their lives touch upon, during their weekly card game. When writing plays, I always envision the actors who would best suit the various roles and today decided that Barbra Streisand, "the" famous singer/actress would be ideal for the role of Becky. Barbra if you're reading this, the role is yours for the taking when it finds a new home.

It all starts with a dream and if you're gonna dream, you have to dream big. Barbra would understand.

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5. Arks to Go II - the Flood: calling Noah

SCENE: ANGIE'S APARTMENT.

ANGIE scans the telephone directory

ANGIE
Good I kept this old phone directory. Let's see here... H....J...N...What would he be listed, under? Duh! I'm so dense! Logically, has'ta be under boat building. If only I could remember the name of his company. The Ark Store? Try that. Good a name as any. Nope - not listed. How about...Arks for All... This is  ridiculous. They're a gazillion possibilities. Maybe he gave up his land phone, which would make this search an exercise in futility. Should have been nicer to him. I mean, he is old and all and meant well I suppose...and he did introduce me to a decent guy even though it didn't work out...What did I do in return in the way of thanks? Told him to take his ark and...

Phone rings. ANGIE answers

ANGIE
Hello?

She hears heavy breathing

ANGIE (cont'd.)
Anybody there?

Still more heavy breathing

ANGIE
Do we have us a pervert, here? Really, your type are so obvious. Disgusting, vile, dregs of the earth...

NOAH
Guess who?

ANGIE
...sewer slime... Noah? That you?

NOAH
Bad cold...

(he sneezes and coughs)

ANGIE
Good that you stopped me. I was about to direct some very bad language at what I thought was one of those heavy breather pieces of garbage that pollute the earth...

NOAH
(sneezes)
I understand you were trying to reach me?

ANGIE
I misplaced your number and was trying to touch base with you again, but how did you know?

NOAH
(coughing)
Let's just say that - (sneezes) -

ANGIE
...bless you...

NOAH
I am that. As I was saying...I have connections. What's up?

ANGIE
I've been thinking things over and - well - perhaps I've been too rash in my judgement of your project

NOAH
(coughing and blowing his nose)
As I recall in our last conversation, you made it clear that you didn't want to hear from me ever again

ANGIE
That was then. This is now. Sometimes my mouth gets the better of me and things roll out of my mouth that I don't mean

NOAH
As in?

ANGIE
Not giving you the benefit of the doubt and questioning your authenticity. I should have trusted in you but nooooo... Instead I gave you your walking papers or in this case, your sailing papers...

NOAH
Are you trying to say you've re-considered helping me rebuild the ark?

ANGIE
You got it - if you'll have me

NOAH
How do I know that you won't lose interest like before. Time is marching on and bad weather is just around the corner.

ANGIE
 Let's just say that I've come to the realization that there are more important things in life than finding mister right

NOAH
(sneezing repeatedly)
No time like the present to get back to work.

ANGIE
Where do we start?

NOAH
There are some conditions, though

ANGIE
I knew it was too good to be true

NOAH
Nothing that you can't handle

ANGIE
Like?

NOAH
Your duties will include keeping the interior of the ark clean, when it's built of course

ANGIE
You have to be joking. All those animals...

NOAH
I'm not finished. You will also have to play the roll of peace maker

(NOAH sneezes)

ANGIE
Bless you!

NOAH
I am

ANGIE
But...there are so many species. How do I communicate with them?

NOAH
Darn if I know but I have every confidence you'll find a way. Time is marching on and there's a lot to do. I'll  send Roger to come pick you up

ANGIE
Would this be the male representation to me? I better wash my hair...and pick my wardrobe to take with me...don't want to give a first bad impression...

NOAH
Really - Roger doesn't care about those things

ANGIE
Has he seen a photo of me, perchance?

NOAH
I did show him the one that we took together. Roger never forgets a face

ANGIE
Oh really?

NOAH
I'm sending him over to pick you up. He should be there in ten minutes.

ANGIE
Hello...? Noah...? Better get dressed for the occasion. Want to make a good impression

(Ten minutes later the doorbell rings. ANGIE opens the door)

ANGIE (cont'd)

Just a minute...com-ing! I've heard so much about you...

(Angie opens the door and jumps back)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
You're...Roger?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

















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6. Play-ing around: plays prepare to leave home

Whereas the plays are bid goodbye
 
 
"Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight 'til it be morrow."
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet 


SCENE: A work space with a computer set up

AT RISE: A playwright sits in front of a computer, proof reading plays. A rebellion is in the works

CAST:
THE PLAYWRIGHT and characters from her plays

SADIE GREENBERG , character from "Make Me a Wedding!"
KEN, Barbie's ex-significant-other
BARBIE, famous vinyl/plastic fashionista
JOE MCKENNA, from "Old Soldiers"
SHERLEEN, from "The Bra"
ROBBIE PORTMAN, from "The Shrubs"
GARRY GOAT, from "A Thief on the Beach"
PENNY FLOWERS, from "The Lemon"


PLAYWRIGHT
One last change...dot the 'i's' and cross the 't's"... Just thinking...perhaps 'and' would be better than 'in addition to...'

SADIE GREENBERG
Oh pleeze! When are you gonna stop making excuses not to send us out? I've been planning this wedding going on twenty years now and the wedding will cost me a mint

PLAYWRIGHT
It's gotta feel right. The words have to flow like a river-let of water tumbling down rocks...

KEN
Did somebody mention water? What's that I hear? Surf's up, everybody!

BARBIE
Oh Ken! Not everything is about surfing, you silly surfer boy. There are more important things in life like being a famous fashionista and being cosmetically perfect. Joe - be a good soldier and move my vinyl arm up to my head so I can stroke my perfect coiffed hair

GI JOE
Yeah. Whatever she says. Here babe - is that okay? How am I doing?

JOE MCKENNA
Crap - that's how you're doing. Who are these minor characters, anyway?

BARBIE
Come again? I'll have you know our story lines got lots of hits when she wrote us in. You can put my arm down now, Joe. I'm a legend, y'know!

JOE MCKENNA
In your own mind. Anyway....the playwright will do anything to keep us to herself. We need to see the world! I'm tired of always hanging out at the bar with a bunch of old, decrepit soldiers discussing on our decaying bodies

SHERLEEN
What are you complaining about! I've been stuck at a bra counter in a store for going on ten years, now, discussing a broken bra strap for heaven's sake. I mean, c'mon - why doesn't she just let me throw it in the trash and get a new one? And I'm only a short play

ROBBIE PORTMAN
You guys should chill out and do what I've been doing for a while now...

JOE MCKENNA
...a while would be how long? Five years...ten years...

ROBBIE PORTMAN
Can't really say. She's edited me so many times, I lost count. Anyway, as I was sayin', I've been spending my entire life in a hammock, drinking beer. It ain't so bad

GARRY GOAT
Has anybody got any trash they don't want? What about some unguarded picnic food? I'll eat anything!

PENNY FLOWERS
How about a cell phone I can use? My car has been stuck in an intersection for years now...

PLAYWRIGHT
Enough! All I hear are complaints from you all! I want to make you the best characters along with a strong story line. That takes time

SUE ELLEN
There has to be a point where the plays have to stand on their own merit and the only way that can be achieved is to submit them to theatres. Keeping things to yourself isn't healthy. Trust me on that

PLAYWRIGHT
I hear you all loud and clear. This is it. You're all being sent on your way as these words come up on the computer screen. With a click of this mouse...

PENNY FLOWERS
Hang on! Maybe I could borrow a phone from somebody. I mean, perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty

JOE MCKENNA
Yeah - she's right. A few more edits couldn't hurt

PLAYWRIGHT
You all made your feelings very clear and you're right. It's time to share you all with the world. In any case, there is always the possibility that you could end up back home, unfortunately

SADIE
Oh well, then...hit the submit button. What do you have to lose?

PLAYWRIGHT
(she sighs deeply)
Indeed...

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7. A new day - a new play. First scene of "Storm Warning"

Sometimes, when all the stars are in alignment and conditions are right, a play writes itself. This was the case with "Retribution" and it seems it's repeating itself in my latest project, "Storm Warning." I'm toying with the idea of possibly making it a dinner theatre piece but will wait for a final decision, depending on how the story progresses. Comments both pro and con always welcome. More characters are added in later scenes. 

SCENE: Interior of a train. LEONARD WILSON stares out of the train window, his eyes transfixed on the sky. Sitting next to him is, GRANT SCOTT, another passenger, who is absorbed in reading a book.


LEONARD WILSON – NERVOUS PASSENGER
GRANT SCOTT – WEATHER PERSON, KMJO TV
MARY WILLIAMS – SENIOR WITH AN AGENDA
LINDA STEVENS – REPORTER, TODAY’S NEWS MEDIA


LEONARD
(softly to himself)
Snow sky. Just what I need

GRANT
Sorry?

LEONARD
I was talking to myself that it looks like snow

GRANT
It's February.  Gotta expect the white stuff

LEONARD
They called for sun - not snow. Then again ,
they have an accuracy rate of maybe 25%

GRANT
Actually...statistically,
they get it right 50% of the time

LEONARD
Maybe  but never when you need an accurate forecast

GRANT
People think that we have an inside track with  the big guy upstairs. We interpret changing weather systems and fronts. Even then, Mother Nature likes to play tricks on us

LEONARD
By "we" does that mean you're one of them?

GRANT
If you mean do I predict the weather, I work for KMJO. Does that mean we stop talking to each other, now?

(GRANT laughs)

LEONARD
So I’m sitting next to a media personality?

GRANT
Nobody ever called me that but I'll take it

LEONARD
Are you on-camera? I mean, would I recognize you?

GRANT
If you watch the weather at the end of our news and sports broadcast, my face might strike a familiar chord

LEONARD
So...like...how'd you end up doing this? Did you go to weather college or something? Wind is picking up. Not good…not good…

GRANT
Relax, pal.  Ain’t nothing you can do about it. I have a degree in meteorology. As a kid, I was fascinated how heat and cold affect people and animals. Went tornado hunting when I got older and almost got swept away by one.  There’s something about the rawness of nature – you know…the unpredictibility… that has always interested me. Anyway, now I'm the official excuse for not going into work on snow days or cancelling picnics when it rains. You'd be surprised how many nasty phone calls we get when we're wrong. People take their weather predictions very seriously.

LEONARD
(staring out of the window looking up at the sky)
Your guess would be snow?

GRANT
Most likely. Don't take this the wrong way but you seem very tense about the possibility of a storm on the way. Guess you have an important appointment

LEONARD
(distracted)
Uh-huh...

GRANT
Wouldn’t worry too much. We're travelling by train. Never heard of a train getting stuck in a snow storm, at least not in these parts

LEONARD
But I am. Snow could cause a delay and I can’t afford that

GRANT
You might as well take it easyand enjoy the trip. Worrying doesn’t make things go any faster. A teacher once told me that

LEONARD
Look - don't wanna be rude but I don't feel like talking anymore

GRANT
No problem-o. Got’cha loud and clear. It’s my media background that makes me gabby. I'll go back to reading my book

(silence for a few minutes)

(Cont'd. GRANT)
Really looks like we're in for some kind of bad weather for sure

GRANT
Shoot! Really don't need this!

LEONARD
Sorry. I'm blabbering again, aren't I? Not one more word will come out of my mouth

GRANT
...hadn't counted on snow... Changes things...

LEONARD
Look. You're working yourself up for nothing. It's gonna snow whether you like it or want it. The worst that can happen is that we'll arrive late. I'm Grant by the way and you are...

GRANT
Pissed off. Like I told you, not in a talking mood

(GRANT pulls at his shirt collar and wipes his forehead with the back of his hand)

LEONARD
Really man - you're gonna give yourself a heart attack if you keep on like that. I was only trying to pass the time

GRANT
Who cares! I gotta get out’ta here

(GRANT stands up and pushes his way past LEONARD and storms down the train aisle
An elderly woman, MARY, seated in the seat on opposite side of the aisle, watches and listens to their conversation)

MARY
Hostile, isn't he?

LEONARD
(stretching the upper part of his body, watching GRANT disappear)
You better believe it!

MARY
You were only trying to make small talk

LEONARD
Obviously picked the wrong person to sit next to

MARY
Rude too! Some people have no manners

LEONARD
Never mind manners. How about plain, old civility

MARY
Did I hear you say you're a weatherman on TV? Am I sitting next to a gen-u-ine celebrity?

LEONARD
(laughing)
Wouldn't go as far as to call myself a celebrity but I do forecasts on TV

MARY
I'm a weather forecaster too, y'know!

LEONARD
You don't say. Which station?

MARY
Not a fancy prognosticator like you, of course, but when my legs ache, it's a sure sign there's gonna be something

(MARY rubs her knees)

LEONARD
And is it gonna snow?

MARY
Major snow I would say by all the pain I’m feeling. Mr. Crazy Man there is gonna freak out for sure

LEONARD
The guy’s obviously got somewhere to be. Tough luck. Mother Nature has other ideas

MARY
You know what they say: y’can’t mess around with mother nature! I’m Mary, by the way. Darn! Dropped a stitch. Now I’m  going to have to unravel this and try to pick it up. Oh well. Lots of time to do it

LEONARD
Leonard.... Leonard Wilson. My friends call me Lenny.  The people that watch me call me a lot of other not-so-nice names when we make mistakes on the forecast. That’s a lot of scarf you’re making there

MARY
People have such high expectation of each other these days.  No room for errors or leniency. You make one mistake and… Listen to me go on. There. Found it.  Not a scarf. An afghan. It’s a cover for a bed

LEONARD
You travelling alone? There I go being nosy again. That’s what I get from working in the media. How about the two of us continuing our conversation over a coffee?

(Conductor interrupts their conversation)

CONDUCTOR
‘Scuse me...sorry folks but I'm going to have to ask you not to leave your seats

MARY
(staring out of the window)
It’s starting to snow. I really hope we’re not delayed…have to be somewhere by tonight. People are waiting to meet me at the other end. Delay is not acceptable at all…not at all… Why do we have to stay seated, by the way?

CONDUCTOR (INTERRUPTING)
They’re calling for a major snow fall but this has nothing to do with the weather

LEONARD
Don't tell, me, the state police have come aboard looking for bank robbers....

MARY
…or an axe murderer …

CONDUCTOR
(nervous)
Pesky mechanical problems is all.

LEONARD
Sorry but I don’t get why we have to stay put. How does our moving around affect repairing the train?

CONDUCTOR
We need to stop over in Timmersville for a spell to get a part. Not sure how long it’s gonna take. What with a storm on its way, it would be better if you don’t wander around

LEONARD
Say what?  You expect us to sit here for who knows how many hours while a spare train part is found? Ridiculous!  We’re not planning to leave the train or anything

(starts to get up)

(Leonard cont’d)
I need to stretch my legs

MARY
Me too…these old legs can’t stay in one position for long

CONDUCTOR
(blocking them leaving)
Can’t let you do that

LEONARD
Let us pass, please. You have no right to stop us

CONDUCTOR
No can do

LEONARD
Why not?

 CONDUCTOR
Look – they told me to do this and that’s what I’m doing

LEONARD
They would be, who?

MARY
You better level with us if you want us to stay put

CONDUCTOR

For your own safety, don’t ask questions

0 Comments on A new day - a new play. First scene of "Storm Warning" as of 8/24/2014 6:37:00 PM
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8. "Retribution" - the play was read with positive feedback

As a playwright, the overall goal when crafting a play, is to create a scenario that will carry the story to an engaging conclusion. Once the story is completed, it is the hope of the playwright that the story will have legs so to speak and find the right home, in order to share the playwright's vision with the public. It's always gratifying when one's aspirations are rewarded with the opportunity to realize this goal with actors reading the words of the play. On Thursday, August 7, "Retribution" had its first date with the public via Sundog Theatre's, "Summer Reading Series" and by all accounts having not been in attendance, it was well received.

In the way of background information, the one-act play was born in a writing forum as part of a playwriting challenge a number of years ago. The only stipulation was that the subject matter had to focus on revenge. Before embarking on all writing projects, I always start with two words, "what if..." Initially, "Retribution" began as a short 10-minute play called, "A Close Shave" focusing on a barber and a man receiving a shave. Over time and during the editing process, it took on a life of its own with an adaption of the story and taking a different angle. The play itself can best be described in the quotation, "revenge is a dish best served cold."

In as far as reaction to the play is concerned, Sundog Theatre's Eric Petillo, Curator of New Works and Administrative Assistant, wrote of the actors reaction when reading the play that "they all raved about your play. They told me that it had taken them all by surprise when the script suddenly took a left turn. One of the audience members said that it was a cross between "Steel Magnolias" and a Quentin Tarantino revenge fantasy."

Ask me if I'm happy. My story being compared to a Quentin Tarantino revenge fantasy AND Steel Magnolias, which is a favorite film, is some compliment! The only complaint was that it was difficult to visualize the graphic imagery accompanying the dialogue with the  reading of my stage directions, The overall conclusion was that the whole play would benefit more from a full-scale production. Agree whole-heartedly.

For the record and in case anyone reading this is interested, the play is ready for its debut and if Mr. Tarrantino is interested, my people can speak to your people...or something.


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9. Four People and a Playwright Looking for a Decent Play

This was a time-waster while developing characters in my play, "Gin..." As the playwright plodded along adding and deleting dialogue, the characters of the play began to show signs of rebellion - at least they thought it was rebellion since they weren't exactly sure what a rebellion was. It's a longer piece but an enjoyable light one. It's cut and pasted from Word so ignore the formatting.


By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 
AT RISE:      
 
Four women are seated on fold-up chairs around a card table, absorbed in adjusting the playing cards in their hands. Bowls of popcorn and soft drink cans litter the surface of the table. On the other side of the stage the playwright (JULIE) is sitting at a computer desk, arms bent at elbows, staring out into space. She works the keyboard as the characters recite their lines
 
BRENDA
In case anyone cares, something is about to happen…very soon now…could even be momentarily…I can feel it…
                         Lays cards down on the table and thrusts remaining card in the
                         air for all to see
 
(Cont’d.) Victory is at hand – or inmy hand, in this case! Oh I’m a winner all right!
CHARLENE
                         Shoving a hand full of popcorn in her mouth
 
Goof fo' you. Paf me de drink, Miffi
 
BRENDA
Didn't your momma teach you it's not nice to eat and talk? Then again for some people, a full mouth is part of a lifestyle. Isn't that right Mitzi, honey?
 
MITZI
Jealousy will get you nowhere, sweetie.  At least I'm not a dried up where it counts!
 
BRENDA
Touchy! I was merely commenting to Charlene that well-bred people don't speak with their mouths full! But then being that you’re a multi-tasker…I mean handling more than one person at a time…
 
MITZI
Breeding comes naturally in your family, doesn't it? Did they forget to give you your cube of sugar today? Clop your hoof once for yes and two for no
 
CHLOE
(to herself)
Bicker, bicker…bicker, … It would be nice to have a quiet game of cards for a change without throwing verbal knives at each other
 
CHARLENE
I think I'm close to calling Gin…
 
BRENDA
I would stay out of this if I were you, Chloe. Is your brother eligible for parole, yet?
 
CHLOE
I'm gonna start calling you Bossy, along with the other "b" word that rhymes with itch, and usually associated with a female dog! I try to be nice to you and what do I get in return?
 
                         CHLOE stares into space for approx. 10 seconds in silence
 
What do I get in return? Does anybody know?
 
CHARLENE
Do we guess?
CHLOE
I don’t think so. My mind is a complete blank. Is that normal?
 
           Pause of 10 seconds while they all stare out into space
 
CHARLENE
I’m waiting

BRENDA
Me too. What are we waiting for?
 
MITZI
Some words and sentences I think

 
BRENDA
(puzzled)
Don't blame me for what comes out of my mouth. I just say the words. I don't create them. By the way, Chloe, what's your brother in for this time? Armed robbery or is it murder? I didn't mean to say that…or maybe I did…I’m not sure
MITZI
I really don't know why but I feel compelled to tell you…
 
                         Stands up and leans over the table towards BRENDA
 
BRENDA
(standing up)
What? Anybody?
 
MITZI
Why am I standing? I mean, what's my motivation? Could somebody tell me, please?
 
CHLOE
So sit down if you’re not sure. My philosophy is when in doubt – don’t
 
MITZI
Don’t what?
 
CHLOE
Um - I dunno. Take my word for it and just don’t. That’s all
 
CHARLENE
(excitedly)
Gin! What’s supposed to happen, now?
 
BRENDA
I’m not sure but I think something important is gonna happen. I can feel it in my bones. Does anybody have any ideas?
 
MITZI
Well…for starters, we’re all holding these hard pieces of paper in our hands
 
CHLOE
I wonder if that’s significant. What do yours look like, Brenda?
 
BRENDA
Let’s see… White background with red and black thingies…
 
MITZI
Thingies?
 
BRENDA
I dunno what you call them but they’re pretty, though. And there are numbers in the corners
 
CHLOE
Same here! Go figure!
 
MITZI AND CHARLENE TOGETHER
Ours too!
 
BRENDA
Okay. We’re making progress here. Hey! These are playing cards
 
 CHARLENE
You think?
 
 BRENDA
I know for a fact! Those words just popped into my head!
 
CHARLENE
So you say. You could’a just make them up on the spur of the moment to impress us
 
BRENDA
Have you ever heard me use them before?
 
CHLOE
I never heard them in my entire life and that’s the truth
 
BRENDA
Then you’re all just gonna hav’ta take my word for it! These things are called playing cards
 
MITZI
Let’s say you’re right. What about them?
 
BRENDA
I dunno…What comes next?
 
CHARLENE
Y’know - I’ve been wondering if I should be eating popcorn or maybe change it for something else like, candy for example or ice cream
 
MITZI
All you think about is food, food, food! There are more important things in life
 
BRENDA
Really? Like?
 
MITZI
Well…there just are. I feel it

 
CHLOE
Sometimes, I get the feeling like I'm a puppet on a string or something, bowing to someone's wishes. Do any of you ever get that feeling?
 
CHARLENE
I said, ‘Gin’! Hello? I'll try again. Gin… Gin… Gin!
 
ALL TOGETHER
So?
 
CHARLENE
Darned if I know. We show up every day and twice on weekends holding these playing cards in our hands. Why I keep asking myself. Why am I here? Why are we all here? Sometimes I yell out,  “Gin!” out loud but nobody answers. Shouldn’t somebody answer me? I’ve been screaming that word for the last six months. Always the same words and lines and then I call out, "Gin!"
                         Stares out in space and babbles to an invisible person
 (Cont’d.) ‘…she tries to make the others understand but they just stare at her blankly…she must determine the reason for her very existence…’
 
BRENDA
Who are you talking to?
 
CHARLENE
I really can’t say. Suddenly a bunch of words came tumbling out of my mouth for no reason. It's not the first time this has happened
 
BRENDA
Ask Mitzi. She knows all about objects in mouths
 
MITZI
I'm so sick of your sexual innuendoes, Brenda
 
CHLOE
Why do you react that way whenever the word “mouth” is mentioned?
 
MITZI
It’s not that I want to but I feel I have to. It’s as if I don’t have any choice in the matter
 MITZI stands up with hands on hips, leans forward until her face  is directly in front of Brenda

BRENDA
Yes?
 
MITZI
And…um…something else…
 
                         Moves away from table, hops up and down and starts
 shadow boxing, fists waving in the air
 
(Cont’d.) I took a self-defense course! My hands are lethal weapons!
 
                         Cuts the air with side of hand
 
CHLOE
And that means…?
 
MITZI
You are so not with it.  It means…it means…
 
BRENDA
Oh pllleeze! She doesn’t know
 
BRENDA
Let's settle this once and for all! C'mon – right here and now
 
MITZI
Fine with me…what are we supposed to do next?
 
BRENDA
Just… keep hitting the air and dancing around I suppose
 
                         BRENDA and MITZI spar, fists jabbing the empty air
 
CHLOE
                         Stands up and places her purse strap over her shoulder
 
That's it! Nobody seems to care that I have yelled “Gin!”…whatever that means, but I'm sure it's important.  I don't know about you all but I'm leaving! Anybody else gonna follow me?
 
 MITZI
                         Attempts to attract the attention of the playwright
 
Hello? You up there? Could you stop staring at that screen for a minute? This isn't working for me at all. I'm sick-and-and tired of being a slut with a one-track mind. This play of yours is a bunch of words with no plot or direction and it breaks every playwriting rule in the book. Where's the protagonist and antagonist?
 
CHARLENE
What are you complaining about? My character is insecure, indecisive and naive, and those are her strong qualities. How'd you like to have those? I'm smart, you know! I am very smart… I think
 
BRENDA
Off the top of my head, I would guess that part of your problem is that you're a minor character, while mine plays a major role and more attention is required to develop Brenda, properly
 
CHARLENE
See what I mean? How come I can't be the smart one for a change?
 
CHLOE         
With all due respect Charlene, honey, I don't think you have the emotional range to assume an analytical role of deep thinker, like we do. Right ladies?
 
                         CHLOE and BRENDA together:  ‘I dunno’
 
CHARLENE
It's just not fair! Every day I hav'ta play the part of a simple minded female when in reality, I got it up here (points to her head) I think this is what makes the words come out
 
CHLOE
You see, Charlene, sweetie, my background lends itself to being a character with class…one of the rich, beautiful people, while you – well dear - let's just say that you have interesting words in your sentences
 
CHARLENE
I'm as good as anyone here! You're all forgetting that we are the sum total of the playwright's vision. Hey – I can talk smart too! Why can't we take turns being each other?
 
MITZI
Let's not forget here that our origins are a computer memory chip. The only rich and famous person we're connected to is Bill Gates. I say…we walk. Are you with me, ladies?
 
VOICE OF PLAYWRIGHT (JULIE)
Is there a problem?
 
BRENDA
 
                         Hands on hips, facing direction of playwright
 
We got your attention, huh? We've had it with these crappy lines! We're bored of being portrayed as vacuous women with blank minds. We're people too! We have feelings and we hurt and…
 
JULIE
May I remind you that you're nothing more than a bunch of words strung together to make a sentence? I make you who and what you are and I can eliminate you all with a push of my forefinger and a delete button. You're only communicating with me now because I'm exploring dialogue choices. You're all a figment of my imagination
 
CHARLENE
No need for threats, here, dear. There's only so much that characters can take and we've reached the end of the line, so to speak. Do you like that, ladies? End-of-the-line?
 
CHLOE
Trés wit-ty, my dear
 
JULIE
What should I say? I've re-written and re-written you all at least two dozen times and no matter what I do, the dialogue sounds… wooden. And don't even ask about the plot, or lack of one, thereof
 
BRENDA      
That's because you really don't really believe in us, do you? Deep down inside you're toying with the idea of deleting the text and starting a whole new play that will move in a new direction. Do you know what it's like living under that threat? I'll tell you – it's very disturbing
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
Did I write that? I don't remember writing those words…
 
CHLOE
Now there's a perfect example of what I'm talking about! We never know where you're gonna take us next, right ladies? It's like…there's giant hands hanging over the stage dangling precariously, ready to strike at a moments notice.  It's the uncertainty of the delete button that gets us down!
 
MITZI
For example, why do you always make me as an over-sexed whore? Maybe it would be good to be an upright female for a change.  Not necessarily a nun or anything but an intelligent woman who has a direction and purpose in life. Not somebody who dresses in clothes three sizes too tight. Let Charlene assume that part for once. Wouldn't you like that, dear?
 
CHARLENE
I'll pass but I know where she's coming from! In spite of all your attempts at re-writes, you still make me out like an empty-headed - duh! I want to be respected like the rest of them, except Mitzi…no insult intended…
 
MITZI
None taken, dear. I'm used to it by now
 
PLAYWRIGHT JULIE
I never realized you all felt this way
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10. Arks to Go II - the Flood

 A FRIENDLY RE-CALL
by Eleanor Tylbor
 
 
SCENE:   ANGIE'S APARTMENT.

AT RISE:  ANGIE IS WATCHING TV, ALONE.  PHONE RINGS
 

ANGIE
Hello?

NOAH
Guess who?

ANGIE
You have the wrong number

(She disconnects. Phone rings once more)

(cont'd. ANGIE)
Not again... Hello?

NOAH
We seem to have been disconnected...

ANGIE
Not really

NOAH
This is Angie, right?

ANGIE
Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. Depends who's asking

NOAH
I get it! You're joking with me, aren't you? Of course you are. 'hahahahahahah' See? I have a sense of humor

ANGIE
I'm not trying to be funny, I can assure you

NOAH
Oh...sorry 'bout that. I thought you were. Anywaaaay... so whad'ya think about all the rain we've been having? Think somebody is trying to tell us something?

ANGIE
I'm not in the mood for another one of your philosophical lectures, Noah. I'm gonna disconnect, now.

NOAH
I feel you're upset... Joe busy, is he?

ANGIE
I'm watching a movie. Alone. By myself.  What does that tell you?    But since you asked, Joe, as  many have before him, has moved on

NOAH
No problem-o. Would you like me to look up his new address? I have access to everyone's number on the planet...

ANGIE
I don't want to discuss this with you. Good-bye...

NOAH
Your voice tells me something is wrong

ANGIE
Something wrong? You have to ask me if something is wrong? You interrupted what could have been the perfect romantic evening by showing up at my door

NOAH
It was a friendly visit. I thought we could get to know each other before embarking on our trip

ANGIE
Excuse me? A really old guy with straggly long hair and a white beard dragging on the floor, dressed in army fatigues and smelling of animal dung, shows up at my door and starts asking my date questions about the next flood and his experience in building arks. What do you think he'd do?

NOAH
Would you like me to call him and apologize? Perhaps I could make it up to him by offering him a ride on my ark

ANGIE
What ark? You don't have an ark, Noah! Remember? Now if you don't mind and even if you do, I'm going to make some popcorn and...

NOAH
Popcorn? I LOVE popcorn. I'll be right over along with a friend or two...

ANGIE
I don't think so... Hello? Noah?

(DOORBELL RINGS. SOUND OF ELEPHANT AND MONKEY CAN BE HEARD)

(cont'd. ANGIE)  No...please no...

(Angie opens the door. Noah is standing outside)

NOAH
Hope you don't mind that brought along a few friends. They get a little crazy without supervision. So? Where's the popcorn? Tell me, Angie - have you ever thought about adopting a pet?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 



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11. Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette AT THE SUPERMARKET:

THE FRENCH BREAD
by Eleanor Tylbor


SCENESUPERMARKET BAKERY

AT RISE:  A FEMALE SHOPPER ARRIVES IN THE BAKERY AREA. LOOKS OVER THE ALMOST-EMPTY BREAD DISPLAY


FEMALE SHOPPER
(quietly to herself while squeezing all the breads)
This is like...so pathetic. Bread is at least two days old and this one is broken in three places. Who would buy it

(another shopper arrives)

SHOPPER 1
No bread, yet?

FEMALE SHOPPER
A couple of left over 2-day old breads.  They should remove them

SHOPPER 1
(bending over to look)
That happens as a result of shoppers squeezing the breads to see if they're fresh. Too many fingers pushing in one spot and the breads break in half Look - you can see the finger indentations.

FEMALE SHOPPER
Um...yeah...I see...but how else can you tell if the bread is fresh?

SHOPPER 1
Problem is that everyone squeezes the bread in the same place and this is the end result. Some shoppers have no respect for others. A squeeze here and a squeeze there...

FEMALE SHOPPERS
(uncomfortable)
Of course you're right... Looks like there's fresh bread baking in the oven. I love the smell of fresh baking bread. Don't you?

SHOPPER 1
...they'll end up having to throw out the bread of course. Disgusting with all the starving people in the world!

FEMALE SHOPPER
(looking even more uncomfortable)
Beautiful weather we're having. It's about time what with all that rain

SHOPPER 1
It's those same people that open up the strawberry boxes and exchange berries to make sure they have the best one's.

FEMALE SHOPPER
Disgusting! Some people...! Did you happen to notice if the strawberries on sale, perchance?

(another shopper arrives)

SHOPPER 2
Bread not ready?

FEMALE SHOPPER
Nope. Guess the bakers aren't rising to the occasion (laughs)

(the other two shoppers stare at her)

(cont'd) A little humor while we wait...obviously very little...

SHOPPER 1
We were just discussing how people over-squeeze the French bread to death causing it to break in half

FEMALE SHOPPER
Oh look! Here comes the baker. 'I'll take two white baguettes, sil vous plait'

BAKER
Attendez - c'est trop chaud

SHOPPER 1
What he say?

FEMALE SHOPPER
Haven't the slightest idea. I memorized my sentence from a French phrase book when I planned a trip to France

SHOPPER 1
Two whole wheat breads, please

FEMALE SHOPPER
Sil vous plait

SHOPPER 1
What?

FEMALE SHOPPER
That's French for 'please'

SHOPPER 2
Same for me

BAKER
Too hot. You must wait ten minutes for cool

FEMALE SHOPPER
How about you hand it over and we'll blow on it?

BAKER
Par-don? I know understand

FEMALE SHOPPER
A joke. You know...ha-ha-? Any-way, how about those over there on the trays? They look cool

BAKER
They are freeze. They must bake in oven

FEMALE SHOPPER
Look baked to me. Do they look baked to you, ladies?

SHOPPER 1
If he says they're not cooked... Why would he lie?

FEMALE SHOPPER
I dunno. Maybe he's saving them for friends. Look...sir. I'll take my chances with the hot bread. I promise you I'll be very careful. Really. I respect your French bread and won't abuse it. In fact, if you just put it in bags and hand it over, I'll put it in a safe place in my shopping cart where it can cool off, while I shop. I'm sure the other shoppers will also respect your bread. Right ladies?

SHOPPER 1
I can wait.

SHOPPER 2
Me too.

(SHOPPER 1 AND SHOPPER 2 walk away)

FEMALE SHOPPER
If you would give me my breads?

(he hands over the breads. She grabs them from the middle and they bend in half)

(cont'd) Oh no! A catastrophe has occurred!

(she replaces the broken breads in the empty bread display)

BAKER
Madam - your breads!

FEMALE SHOPPER
(pushing her shopping cart away
Neh! Changed my mind. You bakers take your breads so seriously


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12. Oh well..."Old Soldiers" will get older

The results are in and it ain't good.

"Don't beat around the bush, Eleanor. Give us your latest "Old Soldiers" update."

In the way of a memory jogger because some people may have forgotten, a while back I wrote a short story based on an interview conducted for Remembrance Day with army veterans for my newspaper column. Their recollections were vivid as they related their war experiences along with strong bonds of friendship created between the combatants. Reading over the notes, the story suddenly took on a life of its own and the first edition, a short story, of  "Old Soldiers" was born leading to the creation of the play version of "Old Soldiers."

Initially, it was start-stop, start-stop writing and long periods of the dreaded white-screen syndrome with minimal progress made, until the opportunity arose to enter the BBC International Radio Playwriting competition. As is my habit, a lot of time passed until the decision to finish the play and enter it as my submission to the competition. It was a difficult task having no experience in writing for radio and the story line had to be adjusted to accommodate sound effects, plus adding substantial dialogue. Eventually, I managed to finish it and sent it on its way to the BBC.

"You do go on so, Eleanor. What's the end result?"

The long list of semi-finalists was posted last week and ~ sigh ~ my name was missing. Must have been an over sight or something on their part because the play has all the ingredients of a good story, with a good mix of drama and comedy, my specialty. Thinking back and in retrospect, it would work better as a film given some of the changes of scenes but if one doesn't enter the competition, then for sure one can't win. Right? Soooooo...I'm re-writing the story (once again) this time as a proper stage play, which will require some re-thinking of the story line and changes in the characters. So what else is new.

On a positive note, my play "Retribution" will be part of "The Originals: Sundog Summer Reading Series put on by the Sundog Theatre of Staten Island, on Thursday, August 7, 8 o'clock p.m. at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens, building "G" - room 201, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY. Entrance is free of charge and I can guarantee you that the story line will hold your attention and then some.

And so, it's onward to the next re-write, new play waiting to be written and the continuing search for potential producers, theatres and the like. Is there anything else worth pursuing?

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13. Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER



SCENES FROM LIFE:  A SHORT PLAYETTE
THE CHERRY PICKER
by Eleanor Tylbor
 

SCENE:   PRODUCE DEPT. OF SUPERMARKET. PEOPLE ARE GATHERED AROUND A DISPLAY OF CHERRIES

AT RISE: A WOMAN APPROACHES THE CHERRY DISPLAY, STOPS AND STUDIES THE PEOPLE GATHERED AROUND

 

FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me…um…can I get in here?

 (people ignore her)

 
(cont’d).  FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me, people…could you make space for me?

 (people continue to ignore her)

 
(cont’d.)  FEMALE SHOPPER

Hello? Earth to cherry pickers! An outsider would like to join you all!

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER moves her shopping cart forward and gently runs into someone)

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Ouch! That hurt!

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

I tried asking politely to get close to the counter but everyone seemed deaf to my request, so I had to take things in my own hands or with my shopping cart as the case may be

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

You could have tapped me on the shoulder, y’know

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it have made any difference?

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Probably not but you could have tried

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Good price for cherries. Guess that’s why there’s so many people hanging out here. Hmmmm…where are the plastic bags. ‘Anybody tell me where the plastic bags are?’ Anyone want to give an opinion?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

(mouth full of cherries and oozing juice)

…are…none…left… Have to…ask…manager for…more…bags

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Are those cherries you have in your mouth?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…uh-huh…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it be presumptuous of me to assume you didn’t pay for them?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…hav’ta taste them, first…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You do realize that in some circles that would be considered stealing

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

And that makes it right? What are you doing! Did you just spit out that cherry pit back into the display?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Yeah…I mean, I didn’t wanna dirty the floor or anything. Somebody could slip and hurt themselves. Anyway, everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

But…your saliva has germs, which you are depositing on the cherries

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

What else am I supposed to do with the pits?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You could refrain from tasting the cherries or at the very least put them in your pocket and take them home with you or something

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everyone else is doing it. Check out the display

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER looks down at the display of cherries)

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Oh Gawd! |You’re right! To think I was about to put my hand inside there

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

You’re in luck. Here comes the produce manager with a roll of new plastic bags

 
PRODUCE MANAGER

‘Okay everyone -  move aside! I’m gonna clean up all the cherry pits at the bottom! Not healthy.’

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Aren’t you going to take a bag for cherries?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Somehow I’ve lost my taste for them. There’s a sale on strawberries on the other counter, if only I can get near it…

0 Comments on Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER as of 7/4/2014 9:43:00 AM
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14. Elvis - the Real Story...maybe

A year-long celebration to commemorate Elvis Presley's first professional recording on July 5, 1954, is set to take place on Independence Day weekend in Memphis and Graceland. There are people who believe that "the King" is still alive and that he planned his disappearance. So let's say that this was the case and that a very old Elvis is living in anonymity, somewhere, but makes rare appearances at nondescript venues like gas station diners to relive the good, old days.


Elvis – The Real Story
                                                      By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
TAMMY        40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of Len
LEN                40-something husband of Tammy
"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer

 
THE TIME
The present

 THE PLACE
Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER

 
Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play none-stop. There are a few tables with chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station products and displays of motor oil, etc.

 AT RISE:

 TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room
LEN
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)
Um…who recommended this place?
 
 TAMMY
(reading book)
The restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a difference
 
LEN
Fine dining if you’re a rat! Did you happen to notice that a cockroach just crawled out of our bread basket? Must be one that escaped the Chef’s special catch-of-the-day
 
TAMMY
Stop being so negative and take in the atmosphere
 
LEN
You mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!
 
TAMMY
You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!
 
LEN
More like early condemned. Every square inch of wall space is covered with faded Elvis photos and the man’s been dead for how many years?
 
TAMMY
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderful
 
LEN
Are you saying that this…this gas station and three table diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!
 
TAMMY
For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained diners
 
LEN
If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid up
 
TAMMY
You know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant…
 
LEN
…obviously not long enough…
 
 
TAMMY
…seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here…
 
LEN
…and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoning
 
TAMMY
Get a grip! The waiter is coming so try to act normal, if that’s possible
               the waiter dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit struts over, swinging his hips in a
              typical Elvis-like walk. He smoothes the sides of his hair with his hands,
             frequently
 
WAITER
(swinging his hips between every word)
Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…
 
LEN
No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!
 
TAMMY
Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll choose
 
LEN
So tacky. All the dishes are Elvis songs. 'Be-bop-a-lu-la' chicken wings…' The 'Love Me Tender' t-bone looks questionable and it comes with fries that are probably a couple months old and a 'I Did It My Way' salad. Look at this: says here on the menu that all their steaks are aged to perfection. Yesterday's road-kill most likely
 
TAMMY
Have you considered that your cranial spark plugs have stopped kicking in? I can’t make up my mind – so many choices…
 
               the waiter comes over to take the order
 
LEN
Are all those dishes served a la carte?
 
WAITER
(swinging hips)
No – on a plate. Uh-huh…
 
TAMMY
Just choose something already
 
WAITER
Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…
 
                                                                                                            LIGHTS DIM
 
TAMMY
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna begin
 
                                                                                            SOUND: GUITAR TWANG
 
LEN
I don’t see why we hav’ta be quiet. Cheez – I can hear the sound of someone pumping gas outside, not to mention the smell. Mind you, it's hard to tell the difference between the food and the gas
 
              (The song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is heard and the waiter now dressed
              in a mechanic’s uniform on the other side of the room walks in front of the
             counter holding a hand mic.)
 
VOICE OVER
“For your entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!”
 A very over-weight man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head
(VOICE-OVER)
“Direct from his engagement at the luxurious Pink Flamingo Laundromat and Bank Drive Thru in Tijuana, Mex-i-co, the management of Jackson’s 7/11 and Diner is proud to present, “the” King of Rock’n’Roll himself, the one – the only – El-vis!”
 
A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He stoops  over to kiss Len, who pushes him way
 
ELVIS
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checked
 
he whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket
 
ELVIS
(in weak squeaky voice)
Thank y’all very much! It’s the first time I been back this way goin’ on twenty years…or maybe it’s thirty…could be forty… Anyway… Good t'see y’all ain’t fergetten the King
              whips out his handkerchief again and blows his nose
 
ELVIS
Guess I ain’t the same Elvis you remember a ways back, huh? But then who is?
 
              starts coughing and choking. Scantily dresses nurses rush over to pat him on
             the back
 
ELVIS
See? I still got it but now I don’t know what to do with it! Thank y’all very much… Listen ladies – go see if you can find my extra set of dentures that I left in a steak yesterday.
 
              starts to choke again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting
             clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neck
 
DOCTOR
Now Mr. Elvis – honey – you know y'all gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be
 
 
ELVIS
(laughing and staring at her breasts)
Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine…at least I think it's a favorite...what's the name of the song now...nobody help me - it'll come back ...
 
              Elvis sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key
 
LEN
(starting to get up)
Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this…
 
              Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doors
 
ELVIS
Uh-oh…they’re coming back…I knew they’d find me… Damn aliens!
 
              Two males wearing white outfits move on either side of Elvis and take
              his arms
 
                                                                                                
MALE 1
C’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Home
 
ELVIS
But…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!
 
MALE 1
(shaking his head and winking at Len and Tammy)
You don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.
 
ELVIS
Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it!
 
MALE 1
Here you are…
 
               the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
              couple
ELVIS
Thank you all very much!
 
Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
 
LEN
(addressing waiter)
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!
 
WAITER
The guy is over 80 years old. Whad’ya expect? He’s got two hip replacements, a bad knee and now all that shaking he does is the real thing, poor guy. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?
 
LEN
I really couldn’t care less about the man’s autograph… In fact this is what I think of you AND your Elvis
               LEN rips up the piece of paper into small pieces
 
WAITER
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…
 
LEN
Elvis my a-s-s!
 
WAITER
That piece of paper would’a given you a free tank of gas with your meal. Oh well…uh-huh…
 
Len throws himself down on the floor picking up the pieces of paper trying to put them together
 
LEN
A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…
 
VOICE OVER
“The King has left the building”
 
LEN
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)
Hang on a minute. I can stick these pieces together… Help me Tammy – at the price of gas these days…
 
 ©Eleanor Tylbor, 2009

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15. Arks to Go II: the Flood - The Plan

SCENE: LIVING ROOM OF AN APARTMENT. LATE EVENING
 
Angie and her male friend, Joe, evening together is interrupted by a knock on the door. Angie attempts to ignore the interruption but it continues, growing in intensity
 
 
JOE
Aren't you going to answer the door
 
ANGIE
Knock? I don't hear a knock. Now where were we...
 
JOE
You're such a joker, Angie. It sounds urgent
 
ANGIE
Probably the neighbor upstairs, complaining again. She is such a pain. Bangs on the ceiling even when I sneeze. 'Get a life, Mrs. Plotnik!'
 
JOE
If you don't answer the door - I will!
 
ANGIE
O-kay...if you insist but I know I'm gonna regret this
 
(Angie opens the door to an elderly man (NOAH) with a very long white beard and hair down to the floor, dressed in army fatigues. He rushes by her)
 
NOAH
Hel-lo! Noah's my name and arks are my fame! A little frivolity always helps to break the ice in a social situation, don't you think? Angie - introduce me to your friend, here
 
ANGIE
Noah - remember I told you my carpets don't need cleaning? Call me in a few years - preferably longer. Now if you'll excuse me...
 
(she tries to lead Noah to the door, unsuccessfully)
 
NOAH
You're just joking, aren't you! We're old friends, remember?
 
ANGIE
How can I forget?
 
                                                                                                         SOUND: ELEPHANTS
 
JOE
What's that? Sounds like elephants
 
ANGIE
He comes with his own sound effects. Um - didn't I mention that Noah here, does sound engineering for movies?
 
NOAH
No I don't! Aw - you're just teasing, right? 'I'll be back soon, guys!' They don't like to be left alone. Elephants are such babies. They're afraid of the jackals and the monkeys love to tease them. You know - when the boss is away... So...Joe - whad'ya think of all the rain we've been having?
 
JOE
Haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest
 
NOAH
Maybe you should. Could be the beginning of ...
 
ANGIE
...Noah here runs a zoo. Perhaps you should be getting back to your animals, Noah! Nice of you to visit...
 
(Angie attempts to move Noah towards the door but he resists)
 
JOE
You two seem like old friends. How did you meet?
 
NOAH
Well...Angie phoned me about six months ago and asked me about building an ark...
 
ANGIE
...as a gift for my nephew. He's into arks and I wanted to give him something unique
 
NOAH
...and we've been friends on-and-off
 
ANGIE
Good to see you again. Call me sometime
 
NOAH
Somehow we lost touch with each other and I came across her number while cleaning out the parrot cages the other day and here I am! So Joe - do you like to sail boats, perchance, or maybe you build boats?
 
ANGIE
Stop with the questions, already, Noah! See you around....
 
JOE
As a matter of fact, I'm handy with a hammer and nails
 
NOAH
No! What a coincidence. I'm looking for someone to help me with a project I'm working on that involves someone who knows how to put two pieces of wood together
 
JOE
Seriously? Maybe I could help you
 
NOAH
You don't have to be an expert. I have a set of plans laid out by Someone who makes building an ark as easy as 1-2-3
 
ANGIE
Hello? Joe? I'm here. I think I hear the elephants calling you, Noah.
 
JOE
Why don't I give you my cell number? We can discuss this further over lunch
 
NOAH
No need for that. I'll get in touch. Isn't this exciting, Angie? You, Joe...building a new ark together...think of the possibilities
 
ANGIE
My heart beats with eager anticipation at the aspect of spending time with wild animals. Why do I think my life is not my own, anymore...
 
NOAH
I know what you mean. It's going to be such fun. Now Joe - do you get sea sick?
 
TO BE CONTINUED...
 
 




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16. Good news update - progress at last!

People who drop by this blog regularly or from time-to-time are aware of my moaning, groaning and general kvetching about my play writing and all the hang-ups thereof. This includes unfinished plays that appear to have potential but end up stored in the to-be-examined-at-a-later-date file. Later could mean a month or years. Sometimes though,. things just seem to work.

I've been in a play submission mode of late and decided that my play, "Retribution" deserved to be seen and heard by the world. To this end and after submitting to the Sundog Theatre of Staten Island, I am pleased - nay - delighted to report that they have selected Retribution to be part of their Summer Reading Series to be held on Thursday, August 7, 7:30 p.m. at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island.  A one-act play, a drama, focuses on revenge  specifically (adapted from the synopsis) "after years of patiently waiting and planning for their paths to cross, a hairdresser has an opportunity to exact revenge for a horrific past crime that has gone unpunished." Drop by and see the drama play out in person if you live in the New York area since admission is free of charge.

Still more progress to report in other areas. Finally finished the first draft of "Neighbors" now called, "The Shrubs." It took me a year or more to complete but I'm very pleased with the end result. This is yet another play that started out as a short 10-minute writing exercise but over the years - yes years - evolved into a one act and then a full two-act play. There were a lot of twists and turns along the way and change of story lines but in the end, it wrote itself. All the good plays seem to write themselves. In any case, I'm going to put it away for a while before embarking upon the editing process.

"So tell us, Eleanor - what's on your agenda for your next project?"

I'm planning to take a serious read-through of "Dead Writes" and see where this story can go. It's a fun play with touches of the supernatural concerning an old, crusty newspaper reporter (Felicia) who lead a rough-and ready life that focused on getting a story at any cost. Having been relegated to a holding position where a decision will be made on her next step into either heaven or hell, she accepts the responsibility of training a newly hired, naïve reporter, but doesn't anticipate the moral issues and challenges that arise along the way. Only the newbie reporter is aware of the dead reporter's presence, which makes for some interesting and humorous proceedings. Her progress will be monitored by a heavenly spiritual adviser who is assigned to keep Felicia on the straight and narrow. Think this just may work...

More news will be forthcoming on the play reading and hopefully more positive news on other submissions.

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17. The Turkey Strut

THE TURKEY STRUT
by Eleanor Tylbor


SCENE:      Barn on a farm
AT RISE:   A meeting of the fowl-est kind. A group of turkeys are meeting to discuss a course of action to deal with National Turkey Lovers Month that began in June. The sound of loud gobbling is drowning out the speaker
TIME:        Early morning



HEAD TURKEY
Can we have a little decorum here? Hello?

(he picks up a large meat cleaver and forcefully inserts it into a block of wood. There is an audible gasp)

FEMALE TURKEY
Is that really necessary? Are you trying to give us a heart attack?

HEAD TURKEY
That's the least of our worries

MALE TURKEY
A little over-the-top, aren't we? We were merely discussing the quality of the feed the farmer is feeding us

HEAD TURKEY
How about this, then. Given that June has already arrived and if the farmer gets his way, corn will be the last thing you'll have to worry about!

FEMALE TURKEY
You're always so melodramatic, Sydney.

ANOTHER FEMALE TURKEY
I got a suggestion! Why don't we all do the turkey strut! Strutting always helps deal with stressful situations

MALE TURKEY
Sounds like an idea. I'll put on the music

(they all line up and strut to the music, "Turkey in the Strraw")

HEAD TURKEY
Unbelievable! I can't believe what I'm seeing

FEMALE TURKEY
I know. We're all such good strutters. Who would believe we've been doing it for only a year. It's like we were born to do this. Come join us!

HEAD TURKEY
I was referring to the reality of the situation, which is June being National Turkey Month.

FEMALE TURKEY
(still strutting)
You mean, they actually put a month aside for us turkeys? What an honor!

HEAD TURKEY
Some honor! Let me put it to you this way. If they have their way, you'll be the main attraction on a platter at Sunday dinner

FEMALE TURKEY
At last! Artistic recognition. I mean, doing the strut on a platter at Sunday dinner is the ultimate form of acknowledgement and recognition of our talent

HEAD TURKEY
Let me make it simple that even your limited intellect can grasp. Sweetheart - you'll be the Sunday dinner

FEMALE TURKEY
Stop joking around, Sidney. 'Okay everyone - follow me! Kick up some dust!'

HEAD TURKEY
How about this. We wait until night and run for our lives! That is - if we're still around

FEMALE TURKEY
Of course we'll all be here. Why wouldn't we be?

HEAD TURKEY
Because... I give up. Uh-oh. Heads up. Here comes the farmer and his wife. Don't say I didn't warn youze all

FEMALE TURKEY
Oh goodie. We can give him a preview of our dance style before Sunday

HEAD TURKEY
(sighing)
I don't think he has strutting on his mind. See 'ya around! I'm out'ta here!

FEMALE TURKEY
Okay - all together turkeys! Puff out your chest and feathers and let's give the farmer and his wife a taste of what we're all about!





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18. Perhaps an idea whose time has come: how much is a play page worth?

I dunno - some people come up with the strangest ideas to make money. In this case, an Australian man is selling the word "the" - that's the three letters t-h-e - on e-Bay and would you believe that someone out there on planet earth, has bid $10,131 to own it.

At first I dismissed the idea as ridiculous. I mean, who would buy a word given the amount of words available to use at no charge in the English language alone. Then lights accompanied by bells and whistles along with a "hello Eleanor!" started going off in my brain.

As a playwright who is continually submitting my plays to various theatres in the hope of production, this idea possibly could work for me. Instead of one word, I would put a page from one of my plays on e-Bay or write a one-page play based on suggestions from bidders, and wait for the bids to roll in. Depending on the response, perhaps I'd even consider offering more than one page.

The seller, one "sweatyman" (not the best choice of user-names IMHO but then who am I) writes in his e-Bay description of the word "the":  "Ideal for any situation, this fun-loving item fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, wallet, or purse."

Should I decide to pursue my idea, the creation of an enticing blurb would be necessary to get the bidding going. Something to the effect:

"A playwright who has penned many a play, would like to share the witty wordage of  a one page play  to be written by a. playwright. The contents of the page will be written based on the idea submitted by the winning bidder. Be a hit at parties and let your guests be actors."

Testimonials by satisfied customers could be used to underline this novel idea. Something to the effect:

"I bought a one-page play based on the word, 'divorce' and acted it out in front of my ex-wife/husband/whoever. Boy - were they surprised!"

or

"I just want to thank a. playwright for the opportunity to bid on my one-page play, "cats." The one page play which featured my cats, Fluffy, Tiger and Buster, who did what cats usually do, which is nothing. It was a great afternoon."

All that's left to do is to decide how much to open the bidding at. A dollar seems like a fair price for a page of witty and entertaining dialogue. This could be the start of something big. Then again, maybe not.

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19. Life imitates art

On occasion during our run of the mill existence here on planet earth, life imitates art. This was the case during a recent visit from a plumber to unblock a bathroom drain. The visit was routine but there came a point during a conversation that seemed straight out of my play, “Gin: an Allegory for Playing the Game of Life.” You know how it is – that Twilight Zone/déjà vu feeling we’ve all experienced at some point where a conversation seems familiar and you’re not sure if you’ve heard it before.  

Here is the scene from the play where Lyle, the super, arrives to address the blocked sink of Becky, the main character and the cynic. SARAH, another character is one of those people who always sees the good in everyone and everything. I cut and pasted parts so the formatting isn't ideal. This is one of my favorite plays but then that's what I say about all of them.


                         BECKY opens the door to LYLE, the super, who is leaning on
                         the side of the door, engrossed in music coming out of earphones.
                         His dress is grunge with long stringy hair and grimy
                         clothes

BECKY

Well, well. Look who the wind blew in. Hello up there? Anybody home?

                         BECKY taps him on the shoulder and he jumps in response

Forgive me but you do remember why you're here? To unblock my pipes? Lyle super - me tenant?

LYLE
I know that

BECKY
Of course you do and I'm Madonna

LYLE
Hey – and they tol’ me your name was Becky Bitch. Oh… I see. Becky Bitch Madonna!

                         LYLE pushes Becky aside

Okay…what and where's the problem?

BECKY
You for a start but I gotta take what I can get. My sink has been blocked since last week

LYLE
Okay… hold it a sec…this is a good part

                         Lyle starts gyrating and playing an invisible guitar

BECKY
My God – the kid has overdosed on drugs right here in my apartment. Call 911

LYLE
(stops abruptly)
That was the best part of the CD. Bet'chu wash your hair in this sink, don't you

BECKY
And your point is? Most normal people wash their hair, Lyle, but there are exceptions, like you for example

LYLE
Ladies your age never wanna admit it but we supers know better. If I had a dollar for every time I've unblocked a sink and removed a big blob of the stuff, I’d be a gazillionaire. Wait a sec’…

                         LYLE begins gyrating

BECKY
I hope I'm not disturbing your musical interludes or anything. Listen, there's no way, my hair, blocked that drain. Maybe you don't clean the pipes often enough, did that occur to you? So? Fix it. Hello? Lyle!

LYLE

This band is like… fab-u-lo-so… We'll try chemicals first and if that don't work, we'll use the snake

BECKY
You're gonna use strong chemicals in my sink? Come to think of it, you're probably no stranger to chemical mixes

SARAH
OhmyGod! They use poor defenseless snakes to clean out drains, now? But I'm sure you use the non-poisonous type, right? Do the animal welfare people know about this?

BECKY

Sarah dear, count your cards or something. Just do what you have to do and unblock it?

LYLE
Got some news you won't wanna hear, lady

BECKY
If it means you're quitting your job after unblocking my sink, it's good

LYLE
I'm wrong about the blockage

BECKY
Told you it wasn't hair. I'm not a plumber and even I knew as much

LYLE
It's deep down in the main pipe system, under the sink

BECKY
And this means that…

LYLE
…it's gonna cost. Might hav'ta call in a plumber

BECKY
Can't youfix it? What are they paying you for?

LYLE
I'll try but I ain't making no promises. I'm gonna go look for my tools, downstairs. Whoever you get to do the job will take a half a day, at least. Maybe more

BECKY

This is really good. A handyman with no tools


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20. Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette. Miley and the Walmart Ladies:

MILEY AND THE WALMART LADIES


Sometimes, a playwright is privy to a conversation that just begs to be written. Okay. Perhaps begs is too strong but this was over-heard while standing in line in Walmart (no less) waiting to pay for some items. It went something like this.

SCENE: WALMART. Long line up of people waiting to pay.

THE CAST:

SALLY (60-ish female)
FLO (80-ish female) and mother of SALLY

SALLY
Lot of people today, mom. We're gonna have to wait a bit

FLO
People always seem to shop at Walmart when it rains. I wonder  why

SALLY
Nothing better to do, I guess

FLO
Uh-huh...maybe...

(SALLY's attention is on the magazines located in the check-out aisle. She shakes her head)

SALLY
Sad...really sad

FLO
What?

SALLY
Miley Cyrus

FLO
Who?

SALLY
Miley Cyrus

(SALLY points to photo of Miley Cyrus on magazine cover)

SALLY
You know Miley Cyrus...

FLO
Who?

SALLY
The singer?

FLO
Name sounds familiar...

SALLY
Remember she used to be in Disney movies? Such a sweet thing she was. Sad...

FLO
Is she dead?

SALLY
No - but if she doesn't change her life style, she could be

FLO
Oh...

SALLY
She was in the hospital, y'know

FLO
She sick I suppose?

SALLY
Yeah...could say that. The girl exposes herself

FLO
She's not wearing a lot of clothes. Perhaps she susceptible to colds

SALLY
I read somewhere that she has a heart murmur

FLO
Didn't know that. My friend, Phyllis has heart problems - so does Arthur... They take a lot of pills, especially the pink one's with a heart on it? Everyone I know takes them.

SALLY
Says here she was hospitalized for an allergic reaction to antibiotics. She probably over-dosed on drugs and they're just saying that to cover up

FLO
Arthur over-dosed on water pills. Couldn't stop peeing. Hadda go to the doctor. I told him, 'Arthur! Just put in a plug.' He didn't like my suggestion. Good. We're next in line

SALLY
Such a good girl, she was. Wonder what makes a girl like her suddenly do all that sexy stuff?

FLO
M-o-n-e-y!

SALLY
Her dad was Billy Ray Cyrus. Remember him? Achy-breaky heart guy?

FLO
They play that when we do line dancing at the Seniors Center. Lots of steps to remember but nobody cares when someone forgets, unless of course they trip somebody. Last week Sam forgot what direction he was supposed to go and Phyllis ended up with a sprained ankle.

SALLY
Oh well...hope Miley sees the light and gets normal again...

(replaces magazine back on stand)

FLO
Aren't you gonna buy the magazine?

SALLY
Neh. I finished it waiting to pay for our stuff. Poor Miley...

FLO
Whatever...

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21. ARKS TO GO: the flood sequel II


by Eleanor Tylbor

SCENE:  BEDROOM. 2 a.m. THE PHONE RINGS

FEMALE (ANGIE)
(groggy)
Hel-hello?

VOICE (NOAH)
Angie – it’s me

ANGIE
You…who?

NOAH
Don’t you recognize my voice?

ANGIE
It’s two in the morning and I’m not into guessing games

NOAH
(coughing and clearing his throat)
Think! Hasn’t been that long. Last year? Water? Two by two?

ANGIE
You’re one of those perverts, aren’t you? I’m hanging up…

NOAH
No! Please! If it’s my heavy breathing, I’ve got a cold. All this rain… Does that mean anything to you?

ANGIE
You’re a sick man. Get help!

(ANGIE hangs up. Phone rings again)

(cont’d. ANGIE)  Hello?

NOAH
(coughing and sneezing. Sound of elephant and monkeys in background)
It’s me again. I need your help. ‘Quiet guys! I’m trying to talk here!’

ANGIE
You wanna believe you do, but I’m not listening to what you wanna say! Are you aware that it’s illegal to keep wild animals?

NOAH
I got the word from someone high – really high up - to do this. As I was saying – I need your help

ANGIE
You’re a drug pusher, too! You sick-o. I’m hanging up now…

(sound of elephants)

NOAH
‘Didn’t I say to cool it?’ Oh just great. ‘Thanks for fertilizing the floor, guys!’ Took me two days to clean up their last mess. That’s what I get for forgetting to put diapers on them. So as I was saying before I was interrupted, I need your help

ANGIE
And as I told you, I’m ending this phone call

(ANGIE hangs up. Phone rings again)

NOAH
Time is of the essence here. I’m sure you’ve noticed all this rain we’ve been having. There’s a reason for it. Does this mean anything to you at all? Rain? Animals?

ANGIE
Hang on a minute…are you…

NOAH
Noah’s the name and rain is my game

(NOAH sneezes and coughs)

Allergy to lion hair. Is it coming back to you now? Remember last year when it rained like this and we worked together loading the ark?

ANGIE
How could I forget the boa constrictors. Nearly choked me

NOAH
Aw – they’re big jokers. They were just being friendly-like. They do that to all newcomers.

ANGIE
Just how many newcomers have there been and what happened to them?

NOAH
They weren’t the right type for the voyage, anyway. Getting back to this phone call. Seems there’s talk of another big flood. We gotta get prepared

ANGIE
That’s what you told me last time and nothing became of it

NOAH
But didn’t you meet a male like I promised you?

ANGIE
Like I said, nothing became of it

NOAH
You can lead a man to the water but you can’t make him come aboard, if you get my drift. Oh my – I made a joke…

ANGIE
Very humorous. Look – I’ve got a good job now…let me think on it.

NOAH
How long do you need? An hour?

ANGIE
Gimme a break! A day or two at least! This isn’t an easy decision

NOAH
You think I have nothing better to do? Come to think of it, actually I don’t

ANGIE
I’d have to give up a lot

NOAH
More than you know if you let this opportunity go by

ANGIE
How do I get in touch with you?

NOAH
I’ll get back to you. (sound of fighting in the background) Gotta go. The zebras are in the middle of two fueding lions and we know how that’s gonna turn out. Think about it.

TO BE CONTINUED

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22. Playright's update: yawn

Sometimes, too frequently, I bore myself.

"Why would you say (or write) a statement like that, Eleanor?"

On occasion when things are in a static state (like the sound of those two words together), I begin to question my playwriting ability. Thinking back, the impetus for taking up writing plays in the first place was my love for dialogue. It seemed only natural, at least for me, that playwriting, which consists of telling a story through the spoken word, was  a natural progression. However - it's always the 'howevers' in life that get you - there are times when one questions the quest (still more words when said repeatedly that have a pleasant sound) for recognition by theatres...producers...directors...or anybody, actually.

"So what has you bummed, Eleanor?"

Nothing new or momentous (I wish!) to report. As shared in previous blogs, I actually submitted some of my plays to theatres that seemed like a good fit in addition to entering a competition. As is frequently the case, I'm in a waiting state of being. Waiting and patience is not one of my strong points.

Rant time. Can't understand or maybe don't want to understand why theatres or playwriting competition organizers don't advise playwrights when their plays are rejected. As a playwright, hope is frequently the only thing we have to cling to and waiting is tortuous. Okay - I exaggerate. It's definitely nerve-wracking. All it would take is for somebody to write up a few sentences to indicate a rejection:

"Dear Blah-blah,

Sorry but your play doesn't cut it. We may not even have read it given the amount of submissions we receive. Or perhaps it didn't have enough potential to attract investors. Then again, it needs more editing. Go know.

Good luck.

The person who has been designated to send rejections to playwrights

Now, I mean, that seems simple enough to me. Anything is better than nothing and waiting and hoping for some news. Right playwrights?

Still in the finishing stages and last few pages of "Neighbors", which in itself is a personal achievement but it's only the first draft. It will be put into storage for a period of time and then brought out again for changes or - heaven forbid - an indefinite storage never to see the light of day. No new updates on my "Old Soldiers" submission or the play reading series in which "Retribution" will be introduced to actors - and the world - for the first time. As I've said many times, we live in hope. In the end, that's all we have.

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23. Arks to Go: the flood sequel II Scene 2

SCENE: LIVING ROOM OF AN APARTMENT. LATE EVENING

ANGIE and her male friend(JOE) are sitting on a couch, caught up in an embrace. Her cell phone rings repeatedly.

ANGIE
Ignore it. Now where were we...

(cell phone stops ringing and is replaced by the ringing of her regular phone)

JOE
Shouldn't you answer? Sounds like it's important

ANGIE
Some people might think so but not me. So...now...where were we?

JOE
You know who it is?

ANGIE
I have a pretty good idea

JOE
Strikes me that whoever's calling you, is trying to get your attention

ANGIE
Ignore him. As I recall, you had your arm here...

JOE
'Him'?

ANGIE
That is to say, it's probably one those scam companies making me an offer I'll refuse

(both phones ring simultaneously)

JOE
I dunno, Angie. Sounds like someone really wants to speak with you. You better pick up one of them. Why don't I go get us a drink while you choose?

ANGIE
Honestly! I get crank calls all the time. Why should this be any different?

JOE
(getting up)
Answer the phone, Angie

(JOE leaves the room. ANGIE stares at the phones while they continue to ring)

JOE
(from the other room)
'Answer the phone already!'

ANGIE
Why...why did I get involved in this again? Hello?

NOAH
Guess who? Is this your cell phone I'm communicating on? I've been thinking of getting one msyelf...

ANGIE
 I'm going to end this conversation, now

NOAH
...I mean, it would definitely give us more manoeuvering room. We could travel around and still keep in touch with everyone.

ANGIE
We? I don't think so

NOAH
Okay. I get it. We'll only use your cell phone. Don't wanna squander resources

ANGIE
We are not partners, got that? Now if you excuse me, I'm otherwise occupied

NOAH
Seems like a nice enough guy

ANGIE
Say what?

NOAH
Dear, Angie, my special connections allow me a private view into people's lives not accessible to humans

ANGIE
What happened to my right to privacy? It's beyond chutzpah! This conversation is over

NOAH
Would it make a difference if I apologize? It's not like I ask to have this insight. Comes with the territory. It's all water under the bridge, anyway. Always wanted to say that. Oh my - I am witty today.

ANGIE
You mean, wit-less

NOAH
Just trying to inject humor in what would otherwise be a dismal and gloomy topic. We have important things to discuss like how are we going ensure that we have two representations of all living things on this planet

ANGIE
There is no "we"! I'm not working along side a peeping Tom or Noah as the case may be. Good bye!

(ANGIE turns off her cell phone. It rings again)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
'I'm not home, Noah!'

(JOE re-enters and looks around)

JOE
I thought I heard voices

ANGIE
Watching this stupid program on TV about this weirdo who thinks he's been appointed to save the world and tries to convince a woman to join him

JOE
Sounds interesting

ANGIE
Forget about it. Let's get back to what we were doing before, better

(CELL PHONE rings again)

JOE
Boy! You sure get a lot of calls!

ANGIE
It's always the wrong number. Gotta do something about that

(Knock on the door. ANGIE answers)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
You!

NOAH
Hope you don't mind me dropping by. I happened to be in the neighborhood

(pushes by ANGIE)

NOAH (cont'd.)
Hello! I've heard so much about you and at last we meet. I'm Angie's friend, Noah. Tell me...have you given much thought to all this rain we've been having?


TO BE CONTINUED...

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24. Arks to go: the prequels

Readers of this blog are aware that I've been sharing some short pieces focusing on an encounter between a human (Angie) and Noah, he of the ark fame. Basically, the story line focuses on Angie's observation of the none-ending rain falling everywhere and her decision that drastic steps must be taken to save herself.

Yesterday, I posted the third installment in the series (yes there will be more) but thought perhaps I'd provide the blog coordinates for the first two written a short time back.

Arks to Go: Angie meets the ark builder
http://a-playwrights-ramblings.blogspot.ca/2011/05/havent-decided-yet-whether-or-not-to.html

Arks to Go: the Flood Sequel II

http://a-playwrights-ramblings.blogspot.ca/2014/05/arks-to-go-flood-sequel.html

Enjoy.

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25. Playing around: scene 3 of "Dead Writes"

Now and then - more then than now unfortunately - I actually work on plays yet to be finished. One of my favorites (don't I always say that?) is "Dead Writes" started a while back. A comedy, the story line focuses on a deceased, crusty old reporter (Felicia) who has to earn her way into the heavenly quarters by offering her experience and guidance to Chloe, a young up-and-coming writer.

In this is an excerpt, which takes place somewhere between heaven and hell, Felicia is explained how things work and given the guidelines to her assignment. My apologies regarding the formatting transferring the contents from Word.

 
 
DEAD WRITES

SCENE 111


 

TIME:  NEW YEARS DAY

SCENE: Somewhere between heaven and hell – a holding zone. Organ music is playing
 
AT RISE: FELICIA & her guide, JOSIAH, discuss her future - and responsibilities

 

FELICIA

This is just friggin' great!
                                                                             SFX: loud thunder clap
 
Sorry. New Years Day and I'm stuck here in no-man's land! This feels more like…the other place
 
 

JOSIAH

(appearing suddenly)
Heaven is a state of mind, my dear. Really, you should forget about those earthly vices
 
FELICIA
Know what I'd be doing if I hadn't croaked? I'd be sitting in my usual booth at The Flamingo Lounge toasting in the new year, with the gang from "The Sentinal." Right now, we'd probably be uncorking a fresh bottle of scotch, inhaling the fumes and clinking our glasses together, toasting every major story we broke. And let me tell you - there were a lot of 'em! Yup, yup, yup…lots of good juicy ones!
 

JOSIAH

Nobody is denying that you weren't good at your profession. It's your methods at question, here
 

FELICIA

It wasn't easy, 'ya know. There were pressures and if scotch helped me deal with them –who'd it hurt? Oh God….
 
 

JOSIAH

SFX: loud thunder clap

JOSIAH

(looking up)
…of course…she understands. Please, please choose your words more carefully
 
 

FELICIA

If I had only known -
 
 

JOSIAH

- you probably would have lived your life the exact same way. It's not the first time we've worked with you. In fact, there were many, many times before this one 
 
 

FELICIA

 

Are you telling me that I've been here, done that, before?
 

JOSIAH

We've been sending you back in the hope that you learn your life lesson. You've been close but as you say on earth, no cigar. At least not yet 
 

FELICIA

If you'd tell me what I'm supposed to learn, maybe I could fix it
 

JOSIAH

Were it only that easy. You alone have to find that out
 

FELICIA

How was I supposed to know things would be held against me in my next life? Ya think I expected to die?
 

JOSIAH

People think they're going to live forever and then – poof! You suddenly find yourselves in this state!
 

FELICIA

Listen, where are those gates everyone talks about? It's all a lie, isn't it?
 

JOSIAH

There are gates everywhere, but you can't see them since you're not ready to enter. Hopefully, you'll earn your way through. Consider this place a sort-of… holding position. May I have Felicia Pembroke's review

 

                                                  (File drops down)
 
Let's see now…
 

FELICIA

Hell – how many more times do we have to review my life?

                                                                                               SFX: THUNDERCLAP

JOSIAH

(looking up)
'I'm so sorry SIR. Believe me, it won't happen again. She knows, she knows! Forgive her SIR, she's a newcomer!'
Aside to FELICIA: You mustwatch your language! The last thing you need now, is to offend the HTM
 
 

FELICIA

HTM?
 
 
 JOSIAH
    grabbing a sheet of paper that floats down
I must make a point not to use initials when talking to newcomers. Head Team Leader? The "ultimate" head team leader, if you get my drift.  Let me see here …at their last meeting, there still appears to be a split amongst the celestial gate-keepers. The score is five for and five against. A veritable tie
 

FELICIA

This is just typical. I can't even die right like other people. I wasn't that… bad. So I lived a little hard and fast, but my heart was in the right place. I always gave to the Police Benefit and the Adopt-a-Pet funds!  That ought'ta count for something. There hast'a be a way I can get in than having to work with Chloe
 
 

JOSIAH

As I recall, you made a promise
 

FELICIA

You're not gonna hold me to that! I was traumatized at seeing my body in a casket. Now that I think about it, I haven't looked that good since can't remember when
 

JOSIAH

You assured me that you were willing to do anything to redeem your soul, and your entry is conditional based on this covenant. The young lady in question needs your guidance to make it as a reporter, and her future is dependent on your help
 

FELICIA

This is some deal you're offering.  If I refuse, it's a black mark against my record and I can't even take a sauna without passing out from the heat. She – I mean dear, dear, Chloe - can't spell to save herself, and let's not even talk about grammar. What she does to the English language would make Shakespeare turn over in his grave
 

JOSIAH

I happen to know personally, that The Bard is not offended by the well-intentioned efforts of young people. I think you've got what it takes to help her, if you can control those negative qualities
 

FELICIA

 
Let's get going. No time like the present to start
 

JOSIAH

There are some facts you should know about your life on earth, now
 

FELICIA

What's to know? I follow her around and give her advice. How we going down, this time?
 

JOSIAH

There will be some temptations that you would have to deal with
 

FELICIA

Like?
 

JOSIAH

Qualities that are left over from your earth life, that could lead you astray
 

FELICIA

Don't worry 'bout me. Nothing or no one is going to stop me from getting it right, this time
 

JOSIAH

 
Felicia, my dear, please be aware of your reason for returning to earth
 

FELICIA

I'm gonna succeed, no matter what it takes. Are we ready to leave now?
 

JOSIAH

But…whatever. It's your funeral. I am so witty lately
 

FELICIA

Don't I get a set of wings or something, to travel? I always wondered how those things work but I'm a fast learner anyway…
 
 

JOSIAH

Around here, wings have to be earned. Let me remind you that you've got one foot upstairs and the other is in a place we'll not mention, so in the end, it's all up to you. Give me your hand…
 

           FELICIA takes JOSIAH's hand

 

FELICIA

There's no place like home, Auntie Em, there's no place like home…
 
They disappear in a cloud of smoke and re-emerge in FELICIA's former office
 
Hey - she's sitting at my desk no less! I'm gone barely a day and already she's taken over
 

JOSIAH

Remember that nobody can see or hear you except me, and soon young Chloe there will be privy to your voice

 

           bell rings continuously
 
(staring upwards) 'Yes SIR... another meeting? But SIR'
 
Aside to FELICIA  Another meeting to attend – they never end! I'm leaving you now with the understanding you'll offer any and all your help to her. If you want to climb that stairway to heaven, you're gonna have to do it step by step. Those words are so appropriate…must add that to my heavenly harp composition. Good luck (looks up), 'Yes SIR, I'm coming…'
 
                                                                         JOSIAH disappears

FELICIA

Don't leave! How am I supposed to talk to this dumb… Josiah? Damn him!
 
 
 

SFX: Loud thunder-clap

Sor-ry! Hard to break long time habits
                                                                         approaches CHLOE's desk
 
Well, well, well! If it's not my pal Chloe! Hey kid, anyone ever tell you that you can't punctuate to save yourself? Shoot – this is great!
                                                                           SFX: Loud thunder-clap
 
           FELICIA looks up 
 
Alright already! I get your point!
 

CHLOE

           CHLOE is absorbed in staring at the computer screen
 
Is somebody in the office? You're scaring me!
 

FELICIA

You can hear me?
 

CHLOE

(whirling around)

Oh Lord…this is not possible! I've been over-working. Yes. That's it. I'll go home after writing this story and take a hot shower…
 

FELICIA

It's me. How's the 'puter working? I miss the old thing
 

CHLOE

(to herself)
This isn't real. I wa-was at Felicia's funeral last week, and I saw them put her in the ground! Gotta ask for some time off…I'm hallucinating
 

FELICIA

Oh pleeze! Don't be so over-dramatic! I'm dead! So what's the big thing?

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