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The exhilaration, exultation, expectations and experiences of writing plays and getting a play produced or noticed.
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Even though I have a plastic watering container, for whatever reason, punching holes in the lid of a large, empty juice container seemed like a good idea. This got me thinking - one of those "what if" moments: what if everyone reading this decided to do the same and pursue our creation on the "Shark Tank" TV program for financial backing! Would it fly?
SCENE: SET OF “SHARK TANK” TV SERIES. A FEMALE, FOLLOWED BY A LARGE GROUP OF MALES AND FEMALES HOLDING JUICE CONTAINERS, ENTERS. THE FOUR “SHARKS” STUDY HER WHILE MAKING NOTES.
VOICE OVER: “NEXT ON SHARK TANK, A GARDENING AFIENCIENADO WHO HAS COME UP WITH AN INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO A STORE-BOUGHT WATERING DEVICE. SHE’S ASKING FOR $50,000 FOR 30% EQUITY Hello moneyed sharks! My name is blah-blah and I’ve come up with an inventive and cheap alternative to the watering can. When it comes to buying gardening tools, most gardeners head to their local gardening outlet to buy their equipment. Chances are that you or your maid or whoever takes care of buying grocery supplies buy the larger sized juice containers being more economical (sharks all shake their heads in agreement and take more notes). Once the container is empty, it’s tossed in the recycling pile. But wait a minute! Don’t do that! It can be recycled again.MARK CUBAN Who are all those people you brought with you?FEMALE INVENTOR They’re the CYBER FRIENDS OF FACEBOOK group who are my strongest supporters. They’re also big fans of Shark TankKEVIN O’LEARY Yuck! Juice spilled on my very expensive tie. If you can’t wash out your invention before bringing it here… I’m…FEMALE INVENTOR Wait! Let me elucidate this great concept that’s akin to reinventing the wheel!MARK CUBAN What is this? Says here in my notes that this is about juice containers. Now you’re talking about a new wheel? Give her a chance, Mark. So why exactly have you come to us for big bucks? Are you asking us to fund a juice container with wheels? I don’t get it… FEMALE INVENTOR (visibly nervous) Honestly? All I see there is a used juice container. Maybe this isn’t for me… Okay. I got it together now. Time is marching on, lady. Get on with your pitch! As I was saying…I was about to throw an orange juice container in the recycling pile and suddenly – you know – one of those eureka moments – I get the urge to punch holes in the lid, which I did… …this is painful. So big deal! Anybody can do that! Next! …filled it up with water and then used it to water my flower boxes. No splashing and the perfect system for a gentle watering of plants So let’s see this container of yours I’ve only brought one sample. If you can pass it along… We have to share one lousy juice container and it’s sticky with juice residue You should’a brought enough for all of us and Kevin is right. The least you could have done is wash the juice container All I see is five holes in a lid of a juice container. Anybody… No everybody who buys juice can do that. I’m out Maybe this has potential and maybe it doesn’t. Tell you what I’m gonna do because they don’t call me Mr. Wonderful for nothing. I’ll give you $500 for a 75% equity. That’s more than fair I don’t know…what do you think, people? (she turns and asks the large group of people with her holding juice containers. They shake their heads indicating approval) Better hurry up and decide whether to take my offer. Your only offer Um…I don’t know what to do… (large group of people chant, “take it, take it…”(cont’d. FEMALE INVENTOR) As much as I thank you for your support, I have to decline your offer (laughing) You made a big mistake, lady. Next!KEVIN O’LEARY You are nothing to me! A cockroach looking for leftovers in the juice of life…or something. Leave and take your container with you BARBARA CORCORON Kevin – must you always philosophize when someone tells you and your offer to take a hike? You could be more charitableKEVIN O’LEARY And lose my reputation as Mr. Wonderful?FEMALE INVENTOR FOLLOWED BY HER GROUP LEAVE, DROPPING THE CONTAINERS IN THE TRASH AS THEY WALK OUT
SCENE: A BUSY SUPERMARKET.
AT RISE: A LONG LINE UP OF PEOPLE WAIT TO PAY FOR THEIR GROCERIES.
Would you believe how slow this cashier is? I probably could check out myself faster
They should open more cashes They need more cashiers. Can’t open more cashes without cashiers. Only three on a holiday weekend doesn’t do it So true. I mean, you would think that they would have thought of that. I hate waiting
Who likes it
(female customer searches the line ups) I just moved over here from the other line. This one looks like it was moving faster but now the other one is better. Always happens. Wherever I move, the other lines are faster From what I can see, there are hardly any people in the first cash
(they both look over to check it out)
That’s only for eight items or less. I’ve got a lot more than that Maybe they would take you being that they’re so busy everywhere Don’t like to take advantage, not to mention that the customers with just a few items get really upset when you try to push in with a full shopping cart. Can't say I blame them. Tried that a while back and everyone turned on me. “Are you blind?” they all yelled, pointing to the 8 items or less sign accompanied by insults. Wasn’t worth it – very embarrassing. Anyway, I’d lose my place here in line. Hey…you wouldn’t be trying to move up faster in the line here… Just trying to be helpful Why don’t you try your luck at the first cash? Maybe you'll be luckier I’ll wait my turn. You were complaining Actually, I was talking to myself and you overheard me Sorry to butt in your private conversation with yourself
Merely pointing out to myself that they need more cashiers
And I agreed. No ulterior motive intended
Sorry - I tend to get impatient in line ups. Here we want to give them our hard-earned cash and we have to wait to hand it over. Not that I would ever want to be a cashier...
(Throws her head back and looks at ceiling) Would you believe? Now they’re counting cash! This means another five minute delay at least
Nothing we can do about it Why, why does this always happen to me? Why couldn’t they have waited until they finished checking out my food items first? A conspiracy for sure. Relax – getting all worked up won’t make things work faster On top of it all, they’ve put new cashiers on a day like today. I mean, really. Okay, they have to learn but today? Good - finished their cash count. Only one person in front of us, now. Should be out of here in five…maybe ten minutes at the most, for sure. I’ll just get ready to place my items here on the counter…they have some good specials today… I don’t believe it!
Would you believe? There’s no price on some of her items and now they have to do a price check! That’s gonna put us back an extra ten minutes for sure. Is there no end to keep us customers waiting forever? (addresses customer in front of her) ‘Excuse me, but why didn’t you check your items before throwing them into your shopping cart? We've been waiting here for over fifteen minutes, y’know! Some of us have things to do, places to go.’
(male customer moves over to new cash that opens up)
(cont’d.) Hey! I was in front of you You were and now I’m in front of you, first in line. You snooze – you lose. Patience is a virtue
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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A small sampling from a play written as a joint project, which started out as an add-to-the-story writing exercise with bits and pieces added over time. Like most of my plays, it's a comedy but with dramatic overtones. Listed only the three main characters in this snippet.
Jeff SlaterBESS MALONE, 50’s, Widow
LEANN WALKER, 17, spoiled niece of Becky WAYNE SMITH, 60’s, physically-disabled old grouch and owner of dilapidated cabin in the woods AT RISE: Bess enters walking at a fast clip, arms filled with small kitchen equipment. Leann lags behind while attempting to use her cell phone, dragging a suitcase on wheels behind her
(stopping to glance back at LEANN) Don’t offer to help or anything. Of course it’s totally understandable. Strain your arms and you won’t be able to iron your hair or whatever you do with it
My cell phone’s not working and I forgot to bring a charger. D’ya have one I can borrow?
Of course! Doesn’t everyone carry a spare phone charger in case a phone goes dead. Just a minute – I’ll check my purse… Good ‘cause I promised Jeremy I’d call him as soon as we arrived. How much longer ‘til we get to where we’re supposed to be? I’m getting hungry
Forget about touching base with Jeremy. You’re far, far away from civilization and there’s not a hope that your cell phone will work here, anyway
I’m sure they’ll be some kind of phone connection at the place we’re staying. Can’t wait to take a hot shower and get out of these grungy clothes. Hey – maybe there’ll be a Jacuzzi, or even an indoor pool
BESS drops the pots and pans at the front door of the cabin
In these parts? ‘Ya gotta be kidding! Where do you think we’ll be staying? At a five-star hotel?
Wha’cha do that for? I mean, let’s get back in the car and get there already
(looking around, panic-stricken)
Tell me this isn’t the place. It’s a joke, right? To teach me a lesson? Of course it is. Nobody in their right mind would stay... here. C’mon – it’s getting dark already and I could fall and break a heel on my new shoes
Be it ever so humble, kiddo! You-you can’t expect someone like…me to stay…in a place like that. I’ll catch a fatal disease or something
You wanna knock on the front door or should I? There’s has’ta be a hotel around here. I’ll even stay in a bed-and-breakfast. Maybe if we go back on the main road…
I didn’t see any buildings for miles around driving up here Look at it this way: it’ll build character and heaven knows you need some of that. BESS searches the door frame for a doorbell and then knocks Moves back and examines the house from all angles (cont'd) A palace it ain’t Nobody’s home. Let’s turn around and call whoever from a hotel LEANN turns around and starts walking
We’re not going anywhere, unless you feel like hiking through the woods alone in the dark with all those bears and mountain lions out there, not to mention snakes I could borrow your car and go get help.
Over my dead body you will! I promised your parents that you’re spending the summer with me and that’s exactly what you’re going to do They’re punishing me for dating Jeremy! Think they can keep us apart but they’re wrong. One phone call from me and he’ll rush up here and take me away from all of…this. You’ll see
Face it, sweetie – there isn’t a cabin or means of communicating with lover boy for miles and miles. From what your parents told me, he drives an old motorcycle and that sure won’t make it up here
Why are you doing this to me? I’m not the type that can survive without my cell and friends and…
Believe me, by the time this is over, you’ll thank me for the experience
BESS knocks on the door again
(Cont.d) Why doesn’t he answer? Wha’cha gonna live on, anyway? Love? Baby girl – love don’t pay the rent or buy groceries or pay your cell phone bill. I understand that Jeremy doesn’t have a pot to piss in
He has job prospects. Last week he had an interview with a company to demonstrate toys in a shopping mall
Real career move that is. Maybe you can join him and the two of you can spend your lives window shopping. Where the heck is Wayne? Hel-lo? How old are you now, anyway? Seventeen next month and we won’t have to worry ‘bout money ‘cause I’ll be bringing in money too
You? Work? Wha’cha gonna do? Be a nail polish tester? Look – I haven’t got the patience to fight with you. I’m too tired and getting more frustrated by the minute. ‘Hello! Wayne!’ Let’s go back, then. Maybe…maybe the person who lives here went away. I mean, what human being could stay in a dump like this?
I understand he’s in a wheelchair so he’s gotta be inside. Not the friendly type either, his son told me so we’ll just have to figure another way to get in Maybe…
Lifts a mat in front of the door and picks up key Why would anyone hide the key to get in here? I can imagine what it’s like on the inside
As bad in the inside as it is on the outside…worse Eeee-uuuu! Tell me we’re not sleeping here
Well sweetness and light, unless there’s a tent tucked away in that designer suitcase of yours, this is home for a while Like…you gotta be joking! There’s no way. I’m calling my parents to come pick me up
First of all, your parents are on a cruise ship. Second, before they left, your mom and dad insisted that I take you with me to experience real life, so I doubt they’d even spring for bus fare, let alone come rescue you. Might as well give up on getting in touch with the outside world for a while Where I live, they would condemn a place like this. Gross!
Were you live, maxing your credit card is considered a hardship I figured this was a shelter for people who get lost in a storm or something
Surprise! A real live person lives here. Go grab that box with the kitchen stuff Darn! I broke a nail and I just had a French manicure yesterday. D’ya have an emery board? I can’t do anything unless I file down this nail. The last thing I need is jagged edges
Oh no! We wouldn’t want that! Hold on a minute while I look through my suitcases here. Shoot! Must’a left it back on my manicure table A nail file no less… Now move it, girl!
She looks around the room. Dirty dishes cover the surface of the table; clothes litter the floor and a torn curtain hangs from a broken rod and blackened pots and pans sit on top of the stove
SFX: person coughingWhoever you are, don’t even twitch or blink an eye. I got a shotgun [pointed directly at your heart so’s you might as well start sayin’ your prayers now
(piling dishes one on top of the other, responding to WAYNE) And you must be Wayne? Geez – when was the last time you washed these? There’s over an inch of mold growing all over them
At entrance of room in front of open door in a wheelchair with oxygen tank
I’m warning ‘ya – I’m a crack shot
Of course you are and I’m Martha Stewart, here to remodel your home. Not a good idea to use a gun ‘specially since yu’re dragging oxygen around with you
WAYNE slowly wheels himself into the room, one hand on wheelchair
control lever and the other holds the shotgun supported under his armpit
You think I don’t know how to use this don’cha, woman? Lemme tell you something lady, this here baby (taps rifle) has seen lots of action over the years. Bagged me plenty of deer in my day and a couple of bears. If you don’t believe me, look up at the wall over there
Glances up at wall displaying mounted bear and dear heads – looks away
Disgusting! Shooting defenceless creatures that can’t fight back It was either them or me. I was defending myself
I bet. That deer looks really vicious. Threatened to nibble your hand, right? If I’m gonna stay here, it’ll all hav’ta gho, along with a lot of other crap you’ve accumulated
Over my dead body!
The way you look pal that could be sooner than you think. Go back to the other room and let me do my thing Just who the hell are you, lady, paradin’ yourself in here like you own my place? You answer my ad for a wife? If ‘ya did, you not what I had in mind. Lift your skirt and lemme see your legs…
Not. Whad’ya think I am? A horse? No – don’t answer that. I don’t know much about guns and don’t take this the wrong way, but one twitch of your trigger finger and your foot is history. God knows you have enough problems without adding missing toes to the list
You’re here to rob me, ain’cha? Heard ‘bout your type. Come on to me all sweet like and then you’ll knock me out and steal everything I own after having your way with me…
…which adds up to a fat zero. For your information, your son hired me as a housekeeper, so we’d better learn to co-exist with each other. Believe me, if I deidn’t need some extra cash… In fact, I’m gonna get in touch with him and ask for more money, especially since it means living here with the likes of you
WAYNE(coughing and choking)
Sure. My money-grabbing kid gets word through the grapevine that I’m an helpless old man in a wheelchair and he sees dollar signs floatin’ in front of his eyes! Damn kids – bring ‘em up to be God-fearin’ Americans and then they try to knock you off... Where are my cigarettes...
You think that your children want to inherit…this? You’re a joke, Wayne! There is no way you're going smoke in my presence so you can forget about your cancer sticks. What else? You can barely talk from coughing, not to mention carrying around an oxygen tank
We'll see about that. Go back and tell my sonny boy, I don’t need nobody’s help and that includes yours. Tell him…I ain’t ready to kick the bucket, yet! Get out’ta here. GET OUT – and take your helper with you. I don't need no old battle-axe tellin' me how t'live my life
Sharing the first scene of my first play, "A WEDDING" a.k.a. "MAKE ME A WEDDING." A comedy, the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young couple who want a small, intimate wedding, versus the bride and groom's mothers, who want an all-out, no holds barred (expensive) affair.
In this opening scene, the bride announces her engagement to her parents.
SETTING: Greenberg family living room. Plastic slip-covers cover, kitschy French-provincial furniture, circa 1970’s. On either side of the couch are two end tables with drop “crystal” lamps on each table AT RISE: A tense MORTY GREENBERG paces, stopping periodically to glance out of a window.SADIE his wife, sits in an armchair, absorbed in her knitting. She glances up from time-to-time to watch MORTY
Five minutes later than the last time you asked me. Stop pacing already or you'll wear a hole in the carpet. It's thin enough as it is
What could they be doing in the middle of the night?
Counting toothpicks in a restaurant. What's it your business? She needs your permission to stay out late?
What'll the neighbors think?
Oh pul-l-eeze! Get a life. They'll talk no matter what she does or doesn't do and what they don't know, they make up. Sit down and watch TV
I can't focus knowing that my daughter is out there – somewhere - doing who-knows-what. Maybe we should go search for her or better yet, call the police
Not! If we brought her up right, she's okay. You stay up and wait for her if you want but I'm going to bed
Don't you wanna be here when she comes in?
Why? She doesn't know the way to her room? Come to bed, Morty! Some mother you are. What happens if… if they were in an accident or something? Maybe they're injured and can't call us Maybe the cell phone got crushed along with the car… …and maybe you should get a life? I'm staying up and waiting for her like a good father, unlike other people who are more interested in their beauty rest. Like it'll help anyway… I can’t take it anymore! I’m calling the police Enough already! Really Morty, she’s 22 years old. Sit here if you want to but I gotta get some sleep Sure, go to bed and leave me all alone to wait for your daughter
How come she’s “your daughter” when she does things that you don't like? Besides, I'm sure David is taking good care of her
Move away from that window or the neighbors will think you're a voyeur! Did I mention Becky's daughter got engaged last night? Don't think she didn't rub it in about the big diamond that her Joanie got. Two carats she tells me! Like the size of a diamond would interest me!
Of course not! Things like that aren't important to a person with your class. You materialistic? Never!
It's what's inside a person’s heart that counts, not the size of a bank account. That's what I told Becky. Honestly, that woman is so money-oriented! I don't know how we stayed best friends all these years Are you telling me that you’d hold it against a potential husband for your daughter, if he was cash-friendly?
Let me put it this way: if and I say if, the boy happens to come from a wealthy family, I wouldn’t hold it against him. I'm not prejudiced that way. Listen, I get dark circles under my eyes if I don’t get enough sleep
“And you need all the help you can get!” Dark circles aren't her only problem. The woman needs a complete head transplant. Where's that daughter of mine?
MORTY rushes to chair and feigns sleep
'Don't forget to call me the minute you get home! Mom will be thrilled when I tell her our news. Wave to Mrs. Belinsky across the road, the nosy busybody. I love you, David!'
Hi popsy. Wha'cha doin' up so late? Are you waiting up for me again?
Wha…hmmm..? Must'a fallen asleep in front of the TV. What time is it?
What am I going to do with you, pops? Where's mom? Your mother was tired so she went upstairs. She was knitting me another one of her scarves to join the other sixteen stored away in the closet. When will she realize that I only have one neck? Where were you so late? I was under the impression I can come home whenever I feel like it – at least that’s what you tell me What'll the neighbors think, a nice girl like you coming in at the crack of dawn? Would you prefer that I move out altogether and you won’t have to worry about what everyone will say? Let them mind their own business for a change
It's a lot to ask to call home and say you're alive?
Can we move on? I have something important to tell you both. Better still, go wake up mom. She'll wanna hear this
Something is wrong! I knew it! I told your mother that she should wait up but did she listen? Noooo! Her beauty rest is more important
Why do you always think the worst? It just so happens that this is fantastic news and mom will be thrilled when she hears what I have to say
Dances around room, waving her left hand
D'ya notice anything new – like - on my left hand?
You changed the color of your nail polish? Whoa! That’s new since breakfast? You do know what this means… A miracle! At last there's gonna be another male in the family and I'll have a chance at winning an argument, for a change! I didn't expect that kind of reaction but I'll take it as a sign you approve?
What's not to approve? The groom to be is David?
Who else? You know we've been seeing each other seriously and there's never been anyone else in my life, nor will there ever be. He's the most wonderful, sensitive, romantic…
And those are just his so-so qualities. Only joking, honey. He's a good guy and normal, unlike some of those other weirdos you brought home to us. I still break out in a sweat thinking about - what was his name now - Clifford? What kind’a person tattoos the name of his girlfriend on his forehead and God knows where else?
That was just a high school crush, pop and besides, I kind’a thought it was romantic at the time
Sure you would 'cause you're not a parent - yet. Let’s see now - who came next? What did he call himself - Pukey? Porky? And then there was…
I get your point, popsy
Remember your first rock concert? I couldn't hear for three days and never told your mother. Let me tell you - it was bliss! So? I'm still waiting for congratulations and a kiss My little girl - a bride! That means I’m old. I’ve never been old before How 'bout go get mom so I can share the good news with her, too? You want me to go wake up sleeping beauty? If I disturb her beauty rest, she'll open up a mouth to me but if I don't… Be right back
‘Whad'ya doing? Lemme alone Morty. I'm tired! It's not Saturday night…go watch another program or something. What about Rachel? Are you talking about our daughter,…. Get me my duster in the cupboard! The other one! That's for the rummage sale. Do you ever look at what I wear?’
SADIE rushes on stage followed by MORTY
Rachel, is this another of your father's senior moments?
It's about time! Looks like a decent sized diamond. Must be - what - a carat at least? Bigger maybe? David surprised me with it tonight. We don't want a long engagement so you won't have to plan a big party You're both so young. What's the big rush? They've been going out for five years! D'ya want she should be an old maid like your sister Miranda? I'm so excited! Becky's Joanie got engaged yesterday so she only beat you by one day! This isn't a contest as far as I'm concerned. We want to get married in three months
A summer wedding would be perfect, don'cha think? Maybe we could have it under a tent, in the back garden, just like those fancy society weddings. Mind you, indoors might be better in case of rain, but we have plenty of time to talk about the details
Did you hear what I said? We wanna get married in –like -three months
Come again? I gotta get my ears checked 'cause I thought I heard you say three months Your ears are fine, ma, and even if - and I say if - we wanted a garden wedding, pops has his old cars stored on the lawn, along with a thousand spare parts covering every square inch Listen, you want a reception in the back yard, I'll move everything into the garage… It has to be at that time because David's been invited to be a keynote speaker at a big lawyer's convention in Europe, so we'll make it a working honeymoon. It's the only time we're both free …maybe call a few scrap dealers today to see what they'll give me. At least we'll have a couple of extra dollars towards the wedding expenses… Typical! Your father is worrying about the gelt, already! You expect we should get everything together in such a short time? It takes a year at least to reserve a place and even then, we have to talk to a caterer, get a band… …then again maybe I should keep them all. 'Ya never know when my car is gonna die on me. It's going on nine years already
There’s something else I haven't told you. We want a small wedding with just close friends and family, so there shouldn't be any problems with the arrangements
Grabs chest, feigns shock and grabs MORTY for support
Do I hear right? You would deprive your parents of making you a big tra-la-la-wedding? I think I'm gonna faint. Catch me Morty!
We'd rather put everything towards important things like buying a house. You should be happy with all the money you’re gonna save Happy? You're gonna kill me! What'll I tell my friends? They'll think we're too cheap or can't afford to marry off our only daughter right! You can't do this to me Rachel! Sorry? It's our wedding and we want to keep it small. The idea of inviting a lot of people we don't know is not for us! I'm really tired and not prepared to hash this out with you now. We'll continue tomorrow when I'm fresh and can think clearly. At least I'll have a fighting chance Stay right where you are! I wanna hear all about how David proposed. This is what a mother waits for! I promise to tell you everything only let me get a couple of hours of sleep. Please? Let her go to bed, Sadie. The kind of wedding you want will put us back a few dollars. I like the idea that the kids are thinking small. Small is good You would, Mr. Cheap-skate! I'm sure David's family would want a decent-sized affair, too. Open up your pockets father-of-the-bride and let the moths fly out! Small wedding - over my dead body
I've heard enough for one night. Enjoy yourselves, you two!
You don't get it, do you? A big wedding means nice gifts. Have a small wedding and you end up with a bunch of fruit bowls and vases As far as I know, the only green growing on our trees are leaves. I have to worry about the cost if you don't What's money when you're marrying off your only child? Dear, dear, husband of mine, you should keep your nose out of things that aren't your business. Planning a wedding is a woman's affair. The husband only writes the checks
0 Comments on First scene of A WEDDING as of 5/6/2015 7:45:00 PM
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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SCENE: DEN IN THE EVERYBODY HOUSEHOLD.
AT RISE: MRS. EVERYBODY IS HAVING AN IMPORTANT CHAT WHILE MR. EVERYBODY IS READING A NEWSPAPER
Why? Why must you torture me like this? What did I ever do to deserve this treatment other than heap undying love and devotion to your upkeep?
(MR. EVERYBODY glances up and returns to reading his book)
You seem to be dying slowly right in front of my eyes and I'm at a loss how to save you
You talking to me?
Fed you top of the line nutritional supplements and this is the thanks I get
I appreciate your cooking, honey. You make fantastic meals and really, I'm in great shape
You are not aging well, sweetheart
(gets up to examine himself in the mirror on the wall behind him)
For the record, I'm in better condition now than I was when we married. Sure there's a few extra inches on my stomach but that's due to your good cooking. Work out on the tread mill...
I fear it's time for us to part, sweetheart. You are halfway between this world and the next
Say what? Is it something I said?
You've given me a lot of pleasure over the years. Your nightly performance kept me riveted and it's something I will cherish all my life
Hey! There's still a lot of life left in this body! Is there somebody else? I can change, y'know!
(MRS. EVERYBODY turns around and stares at her husband)
It's just so hard to say goodbye! Did you say something?
You never said a word. I deserve to know who's the new love of your life!
Say what? What are you babbling about?
You're leaving me!
Are you insane? You thought that... That is really funny
There is nothing funny about being informed that your wife is leaving your for someone else. It's always the husband that is the last to know
Husband of mine - I was talking to my prayer plant here that is slowly croaking after 40 years and I'm about to replace her with a new one
How was I supposed to know? There was only you and me in the room and I never guessed you were talking to a...a... house plant
I've raised this houseplant from a small little stalk. Fed her...coddled her...and she gave me years of pleasure but lately she seems to have taken a turn for the worst. The writing is on the wall...or in this case, in all those brown leaves.
A plant is a plant is a plant. Don't know what the big thing is. Just empty the pot and replace it with a new one. Simple
How could you be so cruel and callous! You just can't...discard it like it that!
I dunno. Never bothers you to do that with your clothes
Besides, I read an article that said plants can sense pain and they react to it. How could I betray my friend after all the years we've been together? I feel like a killer! I feel like I'd be ripping out her guts and tearing her apart
Not that I pretend to feel what you feel but check this out
(MR. EVERYBODY shows her a page of the newspaper)
What's this? The Plant-a-atrium is having a sale on houseplants?
(turns to look at plant and at newspaper ad)
(MRS. EVERYBODY cont'd.) 'Parting is such sweet sorrow my formerly green friend. Go meet your other friends in the composter! Do not think badly of me for I shall remember you with great fondness.' I'm ready.
To make new friends at the Plant-a-atrium, silly! We all gotta go some time. I mean, it's just a silly plant for heaven's sake...
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As mentioned on numerous occasions in this blog, patience isn't one of my strong points. This usually doesn't work in my favor especially when it comes to waiting for updates/news regarding the fate of my plays. Many of them took cyber trips to numerous geographical locations around the globe in the hope that they would see a stage but so far, no response one way or the other.
According to the various playwriting related sites where this topic is discussed and digested, this is not a good sign but perhaps no definitive decision has been made as to their stage-a-bility. At least that's what I tell myself.
There is a pattern as to my follow up process, which includes avowing to myself that I will wait to receive "the word."
"Gotta give it time," I tell myself. "People don't respond because you want them to. Your plays are among hundreds, maybe thousands, that are submitted with dreams of production."
Patience today, patience tomorrow, inevitably, and when experiencing a particularly discouraging "why do I bother" or "maybe my plays suck" period, a follow-up e-mail is sent out. Usually, the end result is no response followed by a period of "why didn't I wait."
Upon reflection, perhaps a follow-up questionnaire to the submitted theatres would facilitate the process. Something to the effect:
Dear blah-blah (insert theatre name/producer/to whom it may concern),
Recently, (insert date that play was submitted), you were the lucky recipient of my play, blah-blah (insert name of play).
It has been (number of days/weeks/months/years/who remembers) since there has been any updates as to whether said play strikes your fancy. Perhaps the lack of communication on your part is a result of (pick one) a) stunning dialogue requiring further thought b) seeking a period of time in which to program the play to optimize audience participation c) unable to open file.
When could a decision on its fate one way or the other be expected: a) days b) months c)years d) never (please circle one)
Yours forever in hope,
It's worth a shot. Am I right?
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Somehow - perhaps it's the arrival of Spring and all that it promises - one anticipates updates as to the fate of one's (mine of course) literary send-outs. More specifically and to put it in simply and succinctly ('that's a lot of sss's, Eleanor'), will any of my plays see a stage this year.
Throughout the year minor dialogue changes were made, a few lines were eliminated or added but for the most part they were sent on their way based on the strength of the story line and characters, to seek their fate. Waiting to receive news about one's plays is comparable, at least for me, to sending your children out to seek their fortune in the jungle of life (feeling very philosophical today) for their own good, if not for the caregiver's good. So they're all "out there" and the wait for any updates is all-consuming wondering and hypothesizing what's happening at the 'other end', so to speak.
"How many more plays are left to be read?" a literary manager might ask a theatre producer and play readers while assessing the amount of plays still waiting to be read "Seems like there are thousands more waiting to be read."
"We have to narrow it down to just a few promising plays, already," the literary manager will/could/might declare, while checking her/his cell phone for phone messages. "Time is marching on and we have to choose some potential money-makers for the coming season."
"I've come across a promising production," one of the readers could suggest, "although the playwright doesn't have any track record. The play, though, is really a good read."
"Nothing produced, anywhere, in the whole wide world?" the producer would ask of the reader.
"Not according to her biography and CV but really - she's good and this play is and an entertaining read - really funny!" the reader would affirm.
"Could be problematic if she hasn't got a recognizable name that could sell tickets, though," the literary manager and/or producer would put forward.
"But it's a really good play," the reader would insist. "Why not give her a chance?"
"Not bankable," the literary manager and/or producer would answer, somewhat sadly (one would hope). "File away for future considerations."
Pure speculation on my part but one has to do something waiting for "the word". Then again, depending on what the word is, perhaps ignorance is bliss.
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SCENE: SMALL COFFEE SHOP
AT RISE: A FEMALE (FEMALE 1) BRINGS A TRAY TO A TABLE, PULLS OUT A CHAIR, SITS DOWN, STARTS TO UNWRAP A SANDWICH AND DRINK HER COFFEE AN ELDERLY FEMALE (FEMALE 2) AT THE NEXT TABLE EATING A SANDWICH, TURNS AND STUDIES HER. FEMALE 2
I mean, your hair is reallynice. Who does it? A local hair stylist where I live (Turns her attention to a cell phone) My children and my grandchildren have those electronic gadgets Is that what it’s called?
Very handy. Pick up my mail…see what’s happening in the world…
Hmmm… I still like a good, old fashioned phone that stays in one place Can only use my good, old fashioned, black push-button phone in my apartment, though, but that’s okay. The way I see it, I don’t want the world to hear my conversations. Not that I have anything to hide. Know what I mean? (cell rings as FEMALE 2 watches FEMALE 1 speaking on the cell) See? I heard everything you were saying. Not that I was trying to be nosy or anything. Point I’m making is there’s no privacy these days. (staring down at her cell and involved in texting, somewhat ignoring FEMALE 2) Know what? Before when I was in the bathroom, I heard a woman talking on those things while she was…well you know…peeing. That is like – so disgusting, don’t you think? I mean, couldn’t she live without that thing for the few minutes it would take to use the toilet? And she didn’t even flush! Probably didn’t even wash her hands, either, after! …appointment tomorrow at 10 a.m. with John…
I’m sorry. You’re busy.
(cont’d. FEMALE 2) You’re a coffee drinker I would guess?
(silence between them for 10 seconds)
Don’t you find that coffee loses flavor in a paper cup?
People don’t have time to take care of the little things in life, anymore, like taking the time to really talk one-on-one. Human communication is a lost art (FEMALE 1 loads her tray and starts to get up, preparing to leave, her focus on her cell)
Nice talking to you. Have a great day
Same here. (calling as she walks away) ‘Love her your hair…’
(a female (FEMALE 3) sits down at the table next to FEMALE 2 , drinking coffee and reading a newspaper)
Always good to keep updated with the latest news. I would give up lots of things before giving up a newspaper that I actually touch and flip the pages. Mind you, I think our kind are dinosaurs FEMALE 3 (inattentive) (FEMALE 2 continues to talk waiting/hoping for a reaction from FEMALE 3)
Mind you, these days people get all their latest news and speak to each other on those cell phone gadgets but I don’t own one, though… Don’t even have a computer…my kids wanted to get me one but then I’d have to learn to use it… By the way, your hair is really nice…who does it?
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Sitting down in front of the computer, chin in hand and thinking about playwriting. Again. Note the word, "thinking" but not the actual act of taking fingers to keyboard and producing some worthwhile dialogue. Still further delayed the process by going over finished plays and assessing whether they need fixing or editing, something I'm prone to do in both my writing and painting. Frequently, the end result is ruining any progress on whatever project I'm "fixing."
I'm an inordinate "fixer" of all my artistic undertakings, which really don't require further adjusting. Recently, I applied what I swore were the absolute final strokes to a black and white painting first started three years ago, which has been "fixed" over the years. Perhaps this will be the reality and then again, who knows.
In as far as my plays are concerned, some have been altered to the point where all objectivity has been lost as to the strongest version. Most often, the changes are relegated to small dialogue adjustments or altering what appears to me to be a weak a scene. In the end, a decision has to be made which version is the best version to submit, followed by a period of self-doubt and whether my plays are actually produce-able. Perhaps this is a common pattern with writers in general in that the selection of the right words is paramount to the whole story line. In as far as dialogue is concerned, the character has to utter words and phrases that suit her/his mannerisms, personality and mien and therein lies the challenge.
Although the actual act of submitting plays is a positive move, there is also the self-doubt that creeps in waiting for updates on their fate. Negative thoughts like:
- perhaps the wrong version was sent - whatever that is
- maybe I don't have what it takes to be a "real" playwright
- given the volume of experienced and produced playwrights, many of whom are familiar names to
the public and within the theatre community, do my literary gems stand a chance?
And so the uncertainty continues but something drives me to persevere. The possibility, whatever the odds that there is a theatre "out there" somewhere that will see something special in my plays is enough to keep me going and press on. Meanwhile, some fine tuning of the dialogue and changes to the story arc is required to Dead Writes. Really.
P.S.: just read that Larry David's new play, "Fish In the Dark" is a big hit on Broadway. It should only happen to me! Mazel-tov, Larry...or Mr. David. Good to note that good comedy will always draw a crowd.
Thought I'd share some thoughts about submission - of the literary type. As is the case with most playwrights, I'm continually searching the web for possible good fits for my literary babies. They really are like babies given the attention, work and copious amounts of love that go into their creation. As is the case with offspring who reach maturity, there is a point where one has to part with them for their own good - and mine.
Progress has been achieved in the submission process including a rejection letter accompanied by a wonderful critique and evaluation of the submitted play. Theatres that are open to unsolicited submissions must be the recipients of thousands of plays and understandably, responding to playwrights individually isn't practical. It's commendable, therefore, when a theatre takes the time to not only respond to a play submission but actually take the time in writing to point out the plays strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions as to changes that would strengthen the overall story line. Let's say that it was one of the nicest rejections received to date.
Some of my other plays were sent packing to try their luck and as yet there has been no response. As if the playwriting process isn't difficult enough, the waiting period to hear back one way or the other is equally if not more stressful. Frequently, there is no response, which in itself is an indication of their fate.
I'm now taking precautions to e-mail my plays to myself before sending them out to ensure that it is in a readable format for the recipients. This move came about after encountering a problem submitting a play electronically when converting one of the older files to the latest version. Checking to ensure the play was successfully sent, somehow the text ended up in the wrong visual format. After a period of ranting and raving and some hair pulling, literally and figuratively, I decided to re-send in spite of a nagging, internal voice telling me to hold off for a bit. Re-sent it, anyway, accompanied by a two-sentence explanation only to discover the next day upon re-examination that the text somehow had adjusted itself and was visually perfect. Also re-confirmed my belief to always heed that inner voice.
While waiting for news, I'm continuing working on "Dead Writes", a fantasy with some comedic tones combined with interesting moral messages and dilemmas for the characters. Definitely a challenge but one worth meeting. Then again, the act of writing plays is always a challenge, no matter what.
When asked the question of the time it takes to complete a play, I quote the line expressed by Edward Albee: "People often ask me how long it takes me to write a play, and I tell them 'all my life." And then some.
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Started writing this play a while back and have been slowly - accent on the slowly - adding-to and tweaking the play over time. Recently gave it yet another read and after deep thought and concentration, have finally come to what I believe and hope to be, a good ending. Still not finished, yet, but I've been making progress, which in itself is a good omen. Sometimes omens are all we have to propel us along.CAST OF CHARACTERS
I've shared bits and pieces of it here before but here is the latest incarnation. The cast list will most likely grow slightly. I've adapted it for this blog but the cutting and pasting isn't ideal. Comments welcome.
The story: Sometimes lessons in life come at a cost especially when the cost involves sacrifice on behalf of another.
CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK: 50-something; former reporter, deceased JOSIAH: Heavenly "Spiritual Adviser - Disembodied Souls Division: MIA STEVENSON: Ambitious young reporter
SETTING: A funeral parlor AT RISE: A group of people are seated in a funeral chapel, socializing for the most part, while waiting for the service to begin. A coffin is situated on an elevated stand in the middle of the room. CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK, wearing a diaphanous flowing dress lays next to the coffin. Slowly she sits up, looks around in a confused, slightly stunned state. Touching her arms and body parts, she moves to an upright position and pulls at the material of her dress CHARLOTTE
Really must'a tied one on last night. Weird, though. No hang-over like usual.
Stands upright, moves closer to coffin, straining to see inside. A funeral organizer passes by without acknowledging her presence. She pokes him in the back, to no avail.'Scuse me…hello'? Could you tell me…? Wait a minute. Don't ignore me. You are so rude!’
He ignores her, focusing on the coffin Lemme be blunt like the real me: who's the corpse? Man continues to ignore herWhat is your problem? A name - that's all I want! It's not a lot to ask. Fine. Suit yourself. I'll find out on my own…creep! A man, JOSIAH, enters and stands directly behind CHARLOTTE. Dressed entirely in white, he glitters from head to toe
There's really no need to yell. I can provide you with that information
Startled, she whirls around to face himCHARLOTTE
You could give a person a heart attack sneaking up like that. And I thought I looked bad in this outfit? If you don’t mind me saying, sir, you look like a bad case of indigestion after eating too many Halloween candies. I've been trying to find out what's going on but the guy over there is ignoring me. Some people just don’t have any manners
It’s not like me not to remember some details of the night before but my mind is a complete blank. Not even a few flashes. Nothing
Not surprising. You’ll get used to it
I get it now! This place is one of those new theme clubs and you're the bartender, right? Explains a lot especially the look. So – like - you doing Liberace? That would explain my dress, too. Go figure a funeral parlor would double as a club. So where’s the booze?
The one thing I can assure you is that this is not a nightclub. You know…if you really want, Icould tell you who's in that coffin
How would you know that unless… What’s wrong with me? Here's me going on about nothing and you're burying someone who means a lot to you. That’s it, isn’t it? Sometimes I'm so dense. My sympathies.
You could say I’m related to that dead person. In fact - I'm close with most people that pass through
In a way. Death is the human equalizer, don't you think? Everyone is on an equal plane no matter how important your life was or how much money you had or how much power you wielded
I suppose so - can't say I've given it much thought, lately. You wouldn’t happen to know how I ended up here, though, would you?
Do these mourners strike a familiar chord? CHARLOTTE glances at the mourners Vaguely... Hang on a minute! These people work with me! (Aside to mourners): ‘This is a surprise party, right? It's all a big joke. I should have known. Whose birthday is it? 'Ya don't hafta worry 'bout me giving it away! Hello? I’m talking to you all!’ Weird. They're all ignoring me like I wasn’t here or something. Dumb…dumb…dumb. Ignorance, thy name is Charlotte! This is a "for real " funeral. That has'ta be it and this here is a real body in a real coffin! Okay –so – then - why am I here? Must be somebody I knew… She strains to see in the coffin again without results
You seem to know a lot about this. Was it Don McGrath or Pete Winston? Don't know how many times I warned them both to slow down, but did they listen? ‘Course not! What does an old broad like me know, right? Burn the candle at both ends and you’re gonna burn your light out, I told them time and time again. Everyone thinks they’re gonna live forever
It wasn't either one of them
That's a relief 'cause we're the last three old farts left at The Sentinal. Started out together at the same time and we've seen 'em come and we seen 'em leave. Some on to bigger and better and some like this here person, in a wooden box. Things are sure different now. Back when we were in our prime, the only thing we had'da know was a keyboard. Nowadays everything is electronic - cyber this, cyber that. They'll soon find a way to replace us all with computer systems and you know what? Nobody will give a damn
They'll always be a need for the human touch
Look at 'em all…young kids just out of J-school. What do they know about getting’ a story? How can you write about life if you never experienced it? This really is a real funeral, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, you are correct
Guess you were a friend of the corpse, then, or related?
I'm friends with a lot of people. You can say that I help them through a difficult period
So you're one of those - what do they call them - grief councillors? Bet you go to a lotta funerals
I can honestly say that I've never missed one
Never in all the years I've been assigned here
Have we met somewhere before, maybe a long while back? The more I look at you, the more familiar your face seems to me. Wait a minute! It’s so obvious as the nose on my face. You're a new bartender at Pat's watering hole. I'll pay my tab next week, I swear, it's just that I've been running a little short lately…
We've had a few close encounters in the past, Charlotte, but this is the first time we've met one-on-one. My drinking days are history in the true sense of the word but you seem very caught up with alcoholic beverages
Got it now. You own the new funeral parlor down the block and you're here to scope out the competition
Not…exactly but you could say I'm in the funeral business since I make a point never to miss any. In fact, funeral parlors are where I first connect with…
Hey! You're not one of those slimy creeps who pick up rich, lonely women at funerals. Listen buddy, I'm not rich and certainly not in the market to add a new man in my life. Been there, done that, too many times. Know what I mean?
You're quite priceless, my dear. Trust me when I say my interest in you is anything but corporeal in nature. You do like games, don't you, with all your questions that I would be glad to answer. There really is no secret
It's my nature to snoop and dig for answers
You don't have to. I'd be most happy to supply you with the necessary information but if you insist. Have it your way
Strikes me that this corpse wasn't too popular in life judging by the amount of people who showed up here
It's all quite sad, actually. She believed she never needed people and in the end, seems that people weren't there when she needed them most Mourner moves to front of room and stands in front of coffin So the departed is a female. Looky who's here! It’s my friend and co-worker, Janice. Hey girl, we were supposed to meet for lunch yesterday! I showed up but what happened to you?
Miserable, lying witch! At last you made a useful contribution to the world and left it! Good riddance to bad rubbish
Is that the way to talk about the dearly departed? Even dead people deserve respect from the living. Your mama never taught you any manners? JANICE touches the coffin and returns to her seat (aside to JANICE): ‘Janice? You-hoo! It's me.’ (aside to JOSIAH) I'm not surprised! She was always a grudge holder. We better take a seat…the minister is here Gives Janice "the finger" while passing her by and sits with others, accompanied by JOSIAH (Cont’d. CHARLOTTE - aside to male, PETE): ‘Heeeey Pete-eee! So, how things goin' with you? Sorry 'bout that story, but I just couldn't help myself. In fact, I did just that. I'll return the favor in the future. You know how it is in our biz’ (PETE) ignores CHARLOTTE and talks to female on other side (Cont’d. CHARLOTTE) Still mad at me, huh? See if I care! That’s the last time I share a lead with him, let me tell you
He can't hear you
What are you talking about? Of course he can but he's busy chatting up the new receptionist. Probably still pissed 'cause I stole a lead on the story he was after! Far be it for me to beg forgiveness. He knows that's the way things work. First come - first served!
And you certainly helped yourself, a lot, didn't you?
Listen, if something falls into my hands, who am I not to take advantage? I needed a lead and Pete was nice enough to do the legwork for me. We're old friends anyway. He'll come around, won't you sweetie?
You find a way to justify everything. Has it dawned on you, yet, why you're here and that people are ignoring your presence?
What other reason than to pay my respects to someone in the paper 'biz. Really bugging me, though, how I got here and landed up lying next to a coffin. I've covered practically every kind of story but I can't ever remember spending the night in a funeral parlor. Maybe I was after a story but why is my mind blank?
Merely a temporary fog that will clear after you -CHARLOTTE
- sssh! Talk softer. We're gonna get kicked out and I'll never find out who's in the coffin
MINISTER steps behind podium
'She didn't have any, so move on!'
..we are here to bid goodbye to one…
'Good riddance to bad rubbish!'
…a…good reporter, a good friend and colleague. This dead person must'a really screwed them over but good, but she – you did say it was a woman? Like I was saying, the dead deserve some respect too. CHARLOTTE stands up and addresses everyone
'That's no way to speak about the dead, you bunch of parasites. Have some respect!'
Is there anyone here who has something positive to say, about the departed? Surely there must be one person in this entire room that could say a few nice words about the late Charlotte Pembrook?
Excuse me? I can speak for myself, thank you very much… What's with this "late" junk?
No one? Then we'll proceed with the service
What in the hell is he talking about? 'I'm still among you, in the flesh! Look! I’m here’
Please try to control using the "H" word? I've been trying to tell you that no one can hear you – or see you, either
They're doing it on purpose to teach me a lesson. ‘Well, it won't work people! I'm on to you all!’ CHARLOTTE stands up on chair, waves and screams on top of her lungs
‘Charlotte is here! The old witch is alive and kicking. You can't ignore me forever’ JOSIAH walks to the front of the room and stands behind the coffin
I'm the only person who can see you, at least for now
Calm down, Charlotte. There’s a very simple explanation for all of this. I’ve had too much too drink and this is just a nightmare. Soon I'm gonna wake up and everything will be like it should. That’s it. A nightmare. What’s the last thing you can remember? Food! I was at The Rib Rack gnawing on a rib. Must’a been a bad rack or something to give me a nightmare like this. Alright – gotta calm down. I’m okay…gotta will myself to wake up…time to wake up now… C’mon body – wake up!
Come over here and take a peak inside CHARLOTTE moves slowly to the front of the coffin and peers down. She jumps back
If this is a bad joke, I don't have a good sense of humor, today. Enough is enough, already. I don't know how you did this, Joey or whatever your name is to make a person look just like me. A dummy - it's a dummy, right? Hey - it's been a blast meeting you, but I got things to do, places to go… ‘Okay you guys. You pulled off the ultimate practical joke. Got me fair and square. I give in. C'mon – don't be such grudge holders! You know I was only doing what you would'a done in my place’
It's you in there for real
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Today would have been Elvis "The King of Rock'n'roll " Presley's 80th birthday. It is generally believed by most that Elvis is no longer with us as in gone to that great jam session in the sky. However - love those howevers of life - there are those who believe he arranged for his disappearance and is out there somewhere, doing gigs. What if they're right? You just never know.
TAMMY 40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of LenLEN 40-something husband of Tammy"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play non-stop. There is a table with two chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station displays of motor oil, etc.AT RISE: TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)
Um…who recommended this place?
TAMMYThe restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a differenceFine 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-dayStop being so negative and take in the atmosphereYou mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!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?
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderfulAre you saying that this…this gas station and one-table-diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained dinersWas that before or after he turned into the Goodyear blimp? If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid upYou know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant……obviously not long enough……seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here……and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoningGet a grip! The waiter is coming to 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
(swinging his hips between every word)Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll chooseSo 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 likelyHave 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 orderAre all those dishes served a la carte?
WAITERNo – on a plate. Uh-huh…Just choose something already, will you?Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna beginI 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)
“For you entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!” “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!”
An over-weight bordering-on-obese 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
A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He bends over to kiss Len, who pushes him way
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checkedHe whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket
(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
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 onthe back
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. He chokes again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neckNow Mr. Elvis – honey – you know you gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be
(laughing and staring at her breasts)Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now before the spaceship comes to take me away, I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine… ELVIS sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this… The man is obviously senile Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doorsUh-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 armsC’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Homeut…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!
Shaking his head and winking at Len and TammyYou don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it
the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!
The guy is 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 bastard. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?
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
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…
That piece of paper would’a given you a 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
Don't just stand there, Tammy. A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…
“The King has left the building
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)
Hang on a minute. I can put these pieces together… gimme some of that leftover barbeque sauce...
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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Wrote this a while back but have done some editing and bringing it back being that it's almost Christmas.
Molly Rigby, 88, senior citizen David Grey, 20-something reporter Paul Seaton, camera man SETTING: Recreation hall of a senior's residence. A few seniors are dozing, some in wheelchairs, others are in regular chairs.
AT RISE: A reporter (DAVID) enters the room in preparation for an interview with MOLLY RIGBY, who claims to have communicated with whom she believes to be, Santa Claus
DAVID enters the room, taking notes and practicing his introduction "We're here at the Happy Hollows Seniors Home to interview resident, Molly Rigby, who claims to have been visited by old Saint Nick, himself. Come Christmas Eve, Molly has stated she will be leaving on an extended trip…” PAUL enters, holding a TV camera So…what’s the story, here? I mean, it’s Christmas Eve! Couldn’t this one have waited? Hey – it’s not my decision! The brass wants us to do a “feel-good” story and interview an old granny claiming to have met the real Santa Claus, Yeah and the tooth fairy is alive and well. Is she like…’all there’ if you get my drift?
Who knows. It's one of those seniors sleeping over there.
DAVID approaches the trio, gently shaking each woman. Um…’scuse me… Misses… Ladies…Hello? Molly? Which one of you is Molly? MOLLY stirs, sits upright Who wants to know? That a TV camera? You’re another one of those TV wisenheimer news guys! Take a hike! I’m sleeping
Really – this will only take a few minutes. The world wants – needs - to know if it’s true! Like I said – make like the wind and blow away MOLLY goes back to sleep. DAVID shakes her gently. Paul - this is the lucky lady we were discussing who’s met Santa I was having such a nice dream ‘til your friend here came along and popped it Meet Dave Grey, Molly, the reporter that's made WGMZ the number one station in the market I'm sure Molly doesn't care about those things You're like all the others. You think I’m a little ‘cuckoo’ in the ‘woo-coo.’ Well I’m not, you know! Oh ‘ye of little faith! If you’ll stand next to me right over here and we’ll do the interview…
I know what I saw and no one’s gonna tell me diff’rent. Now let me go back to sleep so’s I can be rested when he comes for me It’ll only take a few minutes and then we’ll be gone. Come on, Molly! It’s Christmas Eve! A time for miracles. Don’t you want to share your good luck with everyone? Think you're the first reporter to doubt me? I may be old and crotchety but I’m not crazy! Okay – go for it but only because you’ll be the last. Hey - watch where you put that microphone. We’ll do the interview and then we’ll be outta your hair. Really Better make it fast ‘cause I’m expecting my special visitor real soon now Guess a family member is taking you home, being that it's Christmas Eve? I suppose you could call him that being that we’re very close friends now. He’ll be coming for me in a big, big sleigh that flies faster than the speed of light. We’re gonna go up, up and fly high in the sky. Just him and me and … This special ‘friend’ of yours… would he, like… be dressed all in red with a long white beard and wearing black shiny boots and white gloves? Last time he was here, told me t’pack a couple of things for our long trip just the two of us is gonna take. and he'd be 'round to get me on Christmas Eve. Tonight is Christmas Eve, right?
This… friend of yours, would he…like…have big white wings and wear a halo or was he dressed in black and carry a big sickle… …don’t mind him. Thinks he’s funny. When did this… ‘friend’ first show up? Can we sit down? I wanna save my strength for tonight. Yeah - he first dropped in ‘bout a month ago. ‘Why me?’ I asked him. ‘Why not you’, he says. Can’t argue with that logic… How'd you know he was the real one? I mean, there are a lot of people claiming to be Santa this time of year …and y’know what else he said? ‘Molly - you never stopped believing in me.’ That’s what my friend told me., ‘Cause I believe! How do you get in touch with him? I don’t get in touch with him, silly! He sends me messages How’d I know you were gonna say that? Only I can receive his messages (points to head) – right here Oh fer… We’re wasting time. Let’s wrap up. You think I’m crazy and hear voices, don’t you? I know-what- I-know! Wanna hear how we became friends? Last Christmas Eve at this very time, I sent him a letter asking if I could go along t’help deliver toys? I mean, being that I’m 88 years of age, who knows if I’ll even be around next year so I told him in my letter that it was now or never This man…your friend answered your letter? Did it have a stamp and a post-mark? Always with the questions – and doubts. You young people can’t accept that people can be nice to each other for no reason. I didn’t bother checking for a post mark. I don’t hav’ta because - - I know. You believe. You have to admit that there are a lot of phonies running cons at this time of the year Oh ye of little faith, sonny boy! He never has asked me for anything. Not one cent! Wanna know how he introduced himself? By telephone and he asked you to make a donation to his toy campaign? Found him sitting on the end of my bed, watching Seinfeld re-runs and laughing his head off. That old fart has a good sense of humor, y’know! Suppose he has to what with all the doubters he meets. I mean - you can imagine how shocked I was t’see a stranger watchin’ TV in my room. ‘ He told you that he was Santa and you believed him? You sound like all the rest and they doubted me, too. Why wouldn’t I? You hav’ta understand that it's not everyone who gets a visit from Santa in person We almost finished, here? I’d like to make it home to open gifts with my kids Told me he was gonna take me away on his sleigh, t’stay with him...forever! Me! Molly Rigby, going t’ live with Santa Claus and his elves. I just couldn't believe it! Me neither. So, you took him up on his offer? Are you serious? Wouldn't everyone? Are you're telling me that you went for a ride with… …Santa Claus? You bet'cha your perfectly sprayed hair, I did And I suppose there were the reindeer parked on the roof, or maybe outside your bedroom window? How does an elderly lady – no disrespect intended – climb into a sleigh? I see you use a walker Somehow - and I don't know how he did it - I found myself floating in the air, right out of the window. It was one of those high tech sleighs with flashing lights… A…high…tech sleigh? Led by high tech reindeer too, I guess? Now that I think about it - their antlers did look like antennas…and the sleigh had colored flashing lights all around And was this…Santa… on the - small-ishside with a big head, large black eyes and grey-ish white skin color? Could be but then I'm color-blind. D’ya wanna meet him? Him – who? You mean, Santa? Why not? If nothing else it’ll make a good Christmas story and we can expose a holiday phony Now you hav’ta promise me that you won’t try recording us leaving. Santa doesn’t like publicity or anything. He’s a very simple, private man Yeah…course…no recording… Right Paul? Promise me you won’t! Y’a gotta promise! We’re leaving? I’m ready when you are To capture the moment that Molly, here, leaves the rest home for the North Pole
0 Comments on THE VISIT - a Christmas play-ette as of 12/23/2014 5:32:00 AM
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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At the Mall
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SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE. AT THE MALL SCENE: PARKING LOT OF A LARGE, BUSY MALL. BEFORE CHRISTMAS. AT RISE: MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY SEARCH FOR A PARKING PLACE Told you we should have left earlier. Now there’s wall-to-wall cars. We’re never going to find a spotMR. EVERYBODY Excuse me? Were you or were you not talking on the phone to Chloe for a good 45 minutes?MRS. EVERYBODY First of all – it wasn’t 45 minutes and second of all, we had important things to discussMR. EVERYBODY Like what? Which stores have the best prices?MRS. EVERYBODY So? Those are important things. Don’t you want me to save you money? Don’t you just love all the Christmas decorations?MR. EVERYBODY Come again? How do you figure that buying stuff saves me money? Well, take today for example. Everything in the mall, the entire mall mind you, is twenty-five percent off! This is a bigggg saving. If I hadn’t spoken to Chloe, I would never have know that. Listen – they’re playing Silver Bells over outdoor speakers. Don’cha just love that song? Puts you in a Christmas moodMR. EVERYBODY Would I be going round and round if I did? We’ve been going in circles for so long, I’m getting dizzy. You mean the “spend-spend-spend” songsMRS. EVERYBODY Try and get close to an entrance. You’re so cynicalMR. EVERYBODY You’re fussy where you want to park? Beggars can’t be choosersMRS. EVERYBODY Let me put it another way. Try not to park fifty feet away in no-mans-land. It’s cold out MR. EVERYBODY And let me make this perfectly clear. This car will turn in to wherever there’s an empty spaceMRS. EVERYBODY You could at make an effort to look MR. EVERYBODY And what am I doing now? As far as I can see, there are no empty parking spaces near a mall entrance, or anywhere else for that matter. Maybe we should just go home and forget about it…MRS. EVERYBODY Not! And miss the sale of the year? Okay. How about this. One more time around and then you can go park in Siberia like alwaysMR. EVERYBODY One more time …here we go again…MRS. EVERYBODY Stop! There’s a car pulling out. Quick – get over there or that guy is gonna grab it before usMR. EVERYBODY It’s in the next line over. I’ll have to drive around. I’ll never make it MRS. EVERYBODY Just put your foot on the gas and cut the car off!MR. EVERYBODY This is not the wild west and I have no intention of being part of a showdown. If we don’t get it – we don’t get itMRS. EVERYBODY Mr. Philosophical has spoken. Just…hurry! You’re not going fast enough! The other car is closing in from the other direction…MR. EVERYBODY You are obsessed and possessed – you do realize that, right?MRS. EVERYBODY We’re talking about a primo parking spot right near the front, no less! This is indeed our lucky day! You gotta be aggressive if you wanna grab a good place. Trust me. I know about these things.MR. EVERYBODY You and your knowledge of parking spaces wouldn’t happen to know anything about the nice scratch in the front right fender by any chance, would you? MRS. EVERYBODY I’m getting so forgetful these days. Y’see…last week, me and Chloe were here for the Fashion Flare Shop Going-Going-Gone Out of Business sale and there was a parking space and I was sure this car could fit but unfortunately, I misjudged the size of the spot against the size of the fender and like…the fender somehow ended up sliding against a cement pillar that was in my way. Why they put pillars in the middle of parking lots is a mystery, anyway. Hurry – that other car is getting ready to turn in!MR. EVERYBODY Perhaps it’s a plot by the mall to get drivers like you to scratch your fenders against them. They’re light standards, FYI. Oh well - guess it matches the scratch on the left fender… Uh-oh both our cars are there at the same time. I’ll let the other car park. Doesn’t mean that much to meMRS. EVERYBODY You’re just giving in? Hold your ground for a few minutes. Show the other car we mean business!MR. EVERYBODY We’ll go to the back of the parking lot. Plenty of space thereMRS. EVERYBODY MR. EVERYBODY What’s this world coming to? You’ll have to walk a few extra feet. I mean, really…MRS. EVERYBODY Open the window and let me speak to the driver and explain the situation. I’m sure he’ll understand and let us parkMR. EVERYBODY MRS. EVERYBODY (MRS. EVERYBODY opens the door and talks to the driver of the other car) MRS. EVERYBODY ‘Hello – it looks like we both want the same parking spot. Could I, as a fellow citizen of this planet, prevail upon you to allow us to have this precious parking spot? As you probably know, there is a twenty-five-percent off sale and I have been waiting to buy these divine shoes that have finally been reduced and gone on sale… What? Of course ... I see… Have a good day.’MRS. EVERYBODY (Cont’d.) Just drive. When something seems too good to be true, it usually isMR. EVERYBODY What happened to your convincing sales personality?MRS. EVERYBODY The woman sitting next to him has crutches. Broke her leg and ankle skiing so I couldn’t very well justify taking the spot given all the snow on the groundMR. EVERYBODY You're all heart. You do know what that means -MRS. EVERYBODY Siberia here we come… Know what? I got a great idea. Why don’t you leave me off in front of an entrance – any entrance - and park? Or better still, drive around for an hour or so and when I’m finished, I’ll call you on my cell phone and you can pick me up? Isn’t that a good idea? It’s a win-win for both of us. Right here will do…see you later…(MRS. EVERYBODY gets out of the car and heads for the mall entrance) MR. EVERYBODY (calling out of the car window) Wait a minute! Hello? You have my cell! You forgot yours at home!
SCENE: CITY ZOO. DAWN'S EARLY LIGHTSome of the zoo denizens are gathering together in preparation for the daily opening of the zoo. A whistle breaks the morning silence. The whistle is repeated again and again. A boa constrictor (MR. SQUEEZE) slither's out from the shadows.MR. SQUEEZEHello? Anyone? RATOh fer… That wasn`t the signal! It was supposed to be a bird callMR. SQUEEZEI think not! As I recall during the last meeting, we took a vote and decided on a whistle.RATYou left before the meeting ended. Remember?MR. SQUEEZEPerhaps…my memory isn’t what it used to be. Um…Ratty dear – you do have a lovely body…so smooth….so tempting…not a blemish anywhere… I mean, you keep yourself in such good shape. Your tail is especially attractive as a nice, little snack… I mean to say, located right there on your backRAT(running his hands up and down his tail)You think so? I have been told that by many… Why are you staring at me like that?MR. SQUEEZEHow about a nice hug, from one friend-to-another?RATYou have had supper, right?MR. SQUEEZEIf you can call cat food supper. The financial cutbacks here at the zoo leave me hungry and wanting moreRAT(backing up)Where is everyone, anyway? MR. SQUEEZEIs there any more news about the zoo being on the verge of bankruptcy? What will happen to us? It’s getting to the point that everyone is looking very – um – appealing – in the looks sense of courseRATThere’s no limit to what changes they’ll make to save a buck. We’re at the top of the list for sure. (A shadow emerges into the zoo light)(cont'd.) RAT Well it’s about time!ZEBRAI was memorizing my lines my dear man. We must emote. We must open our mouths to properly enunciate the words like this: “loooo-loooo-loooo…la-la-la-la…Me-me-me…” That’s the secret in being an adept thespian, like me. I’ll be doing a solo in the show tonight so I have to be readyRATYou haven’t heard? The show is cancelledZEBRASay what?MR. SQUEEZEUm…zebra - has anybody told you that you have a striking body structure? Do you mind if I lick you a bit? I mean, to say of course, what makes you tick as an actor?ZEBRAWhy thank you! Appearance if very important for an actor, y’know! Body appeal and all…audiences expect it, unlike other animals who shall remain unmentionedRATLet's practice in case they want us to perform for the paying customers. Who has the script, anyway?MR. SQUEEZEThe cheetah was supposed to make copies for everyoneCHEETAH(bouncing out from behind a tree)Somebody talking about me? Cheetah’s my name and running is my gameZEBRAWhere are the scripts or did you use them to line your den, again? CHEETAHA cheetah needs to make renovations now and then! You are looking particularly delicious tonight, zebra baby…that is to say, very fat and luscious… Of course I mean to say, so masterful in a leadership kind of wayZEBRAYou forgot to take your appetite depressants again, didn’t you? Ohmygawd! Run and hide!CHEETAHHe’s at it again, accusing me that I’m off my meds! Anybody tell you you’re very appealing – in an intellectual sort of way, zebra? Why don’t we go back to my den and discuss it? I’d like to show you my etchings…ZEBRAOh you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Just like the last actor you invited up. All we found of him was a paper fragment with the word HELP! You disgusting beast!RATEnough! Everyone – back to your cages. It’s almost dawn and the visitors will soon be arriving. Does everyone know their parts?MR. SQUEEZEI lay around and look hungry. No problem there.ZEBRAI’m supposed to run back and forth and chew what is left of the one pathetic patch of grass. The ground is almost bare and my bones are beginning to stick outCHEETAHI like to suck bones… I mean, that is so sad!RATAnd we rats will be…rats. A few fights - a few deaths… Okay – places everyone. The zoo is openingCHEETAHMmmmmmm – that young visitor looks quite delicious…of course I’m referring to that cotton candy he’s eatingRATNow Cheetah, let’s not have a repeat of last week’s incident. Okay everyone – look cute! The paying customers are here! Places everyone! The show must go on!
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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ZOO DIARY –THANKSGIVING – TURKEY’s DILEMMASCENE: CITY ZOO Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrationsOnce again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving festivities Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human
SOUND: GOBBLE-GOBBLE… GOBBLE-GOBBLE….
Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight? ‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’ Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself… A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’ Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb… …I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!RAT Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left
What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned
(MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)
Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet? Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh… That’s the last thing we want…being that we’re your friends and all…that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs… As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure NOISE: GOBBLE-GOBBLE GOBBLE-GOBBLE… There it is again. Sounds familiar-like… (a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree) A tree chicken. Never knew chickens live in trees. I am a turkey who requires sanctuary …turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course I am. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today(slithering closer) Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way(slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY) Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places. Why don’t you come back to my pit and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us That’s a very generous offer on your part – - Manny – TURKEY Manny Anything for a friend in need. (the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place) The farmer takes good care of me. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit. Oh I intend to
(cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh
Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around…
THE MYSTERY OF THE SOCKSSCENE: THE KITCEN OF MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY. MRS. EVERYBODY IS LOADING THE DISHWASHERAT RISE: MR. EVERYBODY ENTERS THE KITCHEN CARRYING HIS SOCKSMR. EVERYBODY
What's wrong with these socks?MRS. EVERYBODY
Just a sec - I'm loading the dishwasher...this new dish set we bought is too large. Takes up too much space... MR. EVERYBODY
You had to have them, remember?MRS. EVERYBODY
Excuse me? May I remind you that you also were very anxious for me to get them 'cause they were on sale. Why are you holding two socks? Are you making hand puppets? 'Get...in...there...dishes...or...you're...gonna...feel...so...sorry...'MR. EVERYBODY
Like I said before, what's wrong with these socks?
Just another sec...let me start the dishwasher. Okay. Now you have my full attention. So I see two socks...navy blue to be exact. Look to be your size. I'll go out on a limb and say that they're yours Oh look! I made a play on words. Out on a limb...sock...leg... Get it?MR. EVERYBODY
You should get your own comedy show. Now take a good look at them. Come closer. What do you see now?MRS. EVERYBODY
What do I get if I give you the right answer?MR. EVERYBODY
Stop with the snarky remarks and look closely at themMRS. EVERYBODY
Here - hand them over. Okay. Like I said before, "a" pair of socks. Should I be look for something else? Are they socks from outer space?MR. EVERYBODY
Do you notice something...off, perhaps?MRS. EVERYBODY
Hmmm...can't say that I do... The left one is worn out a bit at the toe?MRS. EVERYBODY
(holding up a sock in each hand
Now what do you see?MRS. EVERYBODY
One sock in the left hand and another in the right. What's this big mystery?MR. EVERYBODY
How about the size of both of them?MRS. EVERYBODY
I dunno...you take a size 10 shoe. I'll go out on a limb here and say that those socks, those very socks are size 10. Can we stop playing quiz show and get to the heart - or toe in this case - of the sock issue?MR. EVERYBODY
You're right that these socks are navy blue but something is offMRS. EVERBODY
Of course! You're barefoot. Put them back on and the mystery is solved. MR. EVERYBODY
Getting closer to the point I'm trying to make. What do you think would happen if I put them back on?MRS. EVERYBODY
Your feet would be warm? I dunno!MR. EVERYBODY
Here - let me show you(MR. EVERYBODY puts socks on his feet)(Cont'd.)
Now what do you see?MRS EVERYBODY
Uh-huh...I see now... One of your legs has shrunk. That happens in old age. MR. EVERYBODY
Not! They do not match. Not partners. Single socks. Looking for mates. Get the picture?MRS. EVERYBODY
Now I see what this is all about. You know - your pant legs cover up the socks. Nobody knows and I can assure you I won't tellMR. EVERYBODY
That's not the point. Somewhere in the sock drawer...MRS. EVERYBODY
...or sock bag. There are a lot of single socks looking for a partner...MR. EVERYBODY
You mean, there could be a matching sock to this one? Last week I wore a black sock on the left foot and a blue one on the rightMRS. EVERYBODY
I'm sure nobody noticed. Did anyone say anything?MR. EVERYBODY
They were probably too polite to mention anything especially since I was wearing a grey suit at the time!MRS. EVERYBODY
These things do happen. You should check more carefully next tmeMR. EVERYBODY
"I" should check? MRS. EVERYBODY
Uh-oh! Darn dishwasher is acting up again. Sounds like somebody is playing a set of drums. When are you gonna call a repair guy? The neighbor upstairs is gonna complain again and there she goes, right on time! 'Okay Mrs. Bud-inski! I know!'
I better go upstairs and calm the poor woman down.MR. EVERYBODY
What about the sock situation?MRS. EVERYBODY
What about it? Why don't you go take a look in the sock bag in the cupboard and maybe you'll get lucky and find your sock's mate. Then they can live happily ever afterMR. EVERYBODY
The last time you went up to calm down Mrs. Bud-inkski, you disappeared for a couple of hoursMRS. EVERYBODY
Is it my fault she makes yummy strawberry cheese cake and buys off my silence? NEXT TIME: AT THE MALL: THE EVERYBODYS' LOOK FOR A PARKING SPOT
Just read a piece that Nia Vardalos is doing a movie sequel to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". As much as I really enjoyed this film - I've seen it many times - my play, "A Wedding" which could be described as a Jewish equivalent, is as funny if not more. Here's a taste and scene out of the play to see what I'm talking about and see if you agree. It's part of one of my favorite scenes - but then they all are. Some of the formatting has been lost cut and pasting and transferring from Word.
THE SCENE: At the Greenberg house. The bride and groom's family are meeting for the first time for dinner. Lenor, mother of David, groom-to-be, is on the snobby side unlike his father Charles who is down to earth. Meanwhile, Sadie, mother of the bride, Rachel, is middle-class and in competition with Lenor while husband, Morty, is realistic and down-to-earth like Charles. Morty has done a lot more than taste the wine as his mother, Sylvia, arrives unannounced. The leg of a dining room chair is broken.
Excuse me people…what kind of person visits at this time of night? SADIE re-enters with her mother-in-law, SYLVIA
And here is the answer to that question
Ma? Whad'ya doing here? I fought you were shtaying wiv Elaine until shummer Can a mother visit her only son, without having to announce her arrival before? Maybe I should check into a hotel and come back tomorrow, since you have dinner guests. Are you drunk? My poor baby boy! See what living with you does to him, Sadie? The man has turned to liquor for escape. I warned you, Morty, what life would be like living with…her An excellent idea, Sylvia. Why don't you come back tomorrow…or maybe next month…next year? Never would even be better Don't talk shtupid! Shadie, put mom's shutecases in the rare shpoom. You've come jus' at the right time. You ate already? Your sister packed me a sandwich and fruit for the train but I finished that hours ago. Just make me some toast and a glass of tea and I'll go to my room until your company has left Nonshense! Rajel, go get a chair from the kitchen, for your…your… bubie. You heard our good news? Does anybody tell me anything? Who am I anyway? Just a sick, old woman shipped from place-to-place, because nobody has room for me. Why should anyone share their news with me? Our Rachel here is… em-em-gaged to be marry, ma! Uh-huh… So, you couldn't have picked up the phone to tell me, Sadie? You forgot my phone number, maybe? After all,…I'm onlythe grandmother. Why should you share a happy event with me? So, introduce me to your fiancey David, this is Grammy Sylvia, my best friend in the whole world! And what am I? Chopped liver? Sadie dear, look at yourself as the pickled herring: always a hors d'oeuvre but never the main course. How many times have I told you that she always liked me better than you? Come again? Morty – you better tell her… Now ma, you know you shouldn't tease Sabie like that. You shtill ‘aven't tol' us why you here Your sister, Elaine, went on a cruise so I landed up here on your doorstep. That cheapskate husband of hers didn't even pay for my fare. I tell you – nobody has respect for the aged anymore. In my days… Will you be honoring us with your presence for a long time, she asked, afraid of the answer? She jus' got here f-fur crying out loud. You-you can shtay for has l-long has you wan, ma
MORTY gets up to get another drink and SYLVIA
You want I should stand all night or maybe I should leave, better? I'm a weak, old woman…my legs don't hold me up any more. Oy! The pain! Starts in my big toe and travels all the way up my hip and stays there! Soon I'll need a wheelchair! Pain is my constant companion! Rushing over to pull chair away
Trust me ma, you don't wanna shit on that
Weak like a bull! Rachel honey, go get your grammy a chair from the kitchen. Morty sweetheart, you don't look comfortable. Wouldn't you prefer to drink…sit in your favorite armchair over there, so you can relax? But…I wanna be able to…to…talk wid eberyone…
I'm sure we can sacrifice your…witty observations of life, so that you can be comfortable!
MORTY staggers to the armchair
The truth is you really don't want me to join your dinner party, do you. Don't worry 'bout old Sylvia. She'll watch television upstairs, all alone in her room, listening to everyone laughing and having a good time. Excuse me, people, for bothering you…it's past my bed time…just get me a glass for my teeth, Sadie, and I'll get out of your way
You know you're alwaysh welcome and you'll shtay 'ere to celbrate wid ush! RACHEL enters with chair; MORTY follows her Places TV tray in front of MORTY MORTY Cont'd. Absolutely! There's nothing I love more than a visit from your mother. Almost as much as an appointment with the dentist. Set a place for your bubie, Rachel Attempts to sit in armchair but jerks to an standing position, waving arms as he speaks Shadie mape her besh dish tonight, ma. Roast ducky in orange sauce, wiv orange booze Duck? I couldn't possibly eat that! Too fat and it's bad for my cholester-ail Couldn't you gib her shomething else? MORTY teeters over to SADIE, tries to kiss her on the cheek but she pulls away
Oh something springs to mind alright, but I could get arrested for homicide
Moves a chair in back of SYLVIA, who sits down
I'm sure you could find something for grammy, mom, couldn't you?
I'll go check what I have in the fridge. How 'bout a cheese sandwich, ma? …Where's your manners! Don't be so rude Morty and introduce me to your guests MORTY is drinking another glass of liquor
Meet Dabid's parents, Lee-oree and Ch-Charmie Skybird
So, what do you think of my granddaughter? Is she not a beauty?
You have a lovely granddaughter, Sylvia. And what do you think of our David?
Seems like a nice catch but he makes a living for my Rachel? She's used to good things! He's a corporate lawyer with a very good practice He's a partner in the firm, maybe? I'm sure that will happen in the future. After all – he's got all the right ingredients – a good family background… Has my mother in law been telling you all the family secrets? Here's your cheese sandwich, ma, with low-fat dressing, just like you asked. Now close your mouth…and enjoy! So where's the lettuce? Salad greens are good for my constipation I'm definitely getting a migraine! Any particular kind…iceberg,romaine…bib…? Your wish is my command your majesty…I mean, Sylvia Rachel sweetheart, bring me my small suitcase. I have all my medication inside So what pills are you taking these days or do you have one of everything?
With all my conditions, they're so many. This is for my vangina and this is for…
…thank you for sharing, but I'm sure our guests aren't interested in all your pills I'll be at the wedding as long as my vangina doesn't act up but you never know How c-come n-n-nobody tol' me you 'ad am…vam-gi-na? I-I'm the son! Do you feel up to cutting us some more duck, dear?
MORTY stands up and teeters over to the table.
He grabs the carving fork, thrusts it in the
Morty…dearest, the duck is dead already! There's no reason to keep stabbing it!
LENOR takes her napkin and wipes her dress.
SADIE distributes plates of duck. When MORTY
takes his portion, he lifts the plate to his
lips and drinks; LENOR is horrified My Shabie makes the bes' gravy! You-you make dood guck, honey-bunny Did I mention I mixed up my medication and ended up in the hospital emergency room? I could'a died, y’know! Rachel dear, bring me my blood pressure thing-ie like a good girl No such luck - I mean, isn't it dangerous taking your own blood pressure? You could over pump and then… Why don't you let medo that for you?
MORTY puts on TV and an
ear-piercing screech comes from the TV.
Everyone jumps in response Look ad dat! My faborit all-time mooooomie is playing on our big screen TV too – Night of the Living Dead. Reminds me of our supper tonight…just a joke
Thank you for sharing, sweetheart…
Don'chu love zombies? They scare me shi-… - dearest, shouldn't you close the TV when we have guests? Why? We could all watch it togevver. Shabie – go make some popcorn for eberyone Let him watch his movie! It bothers you? You always were a fun killer I think you should close the TV – NOW – and we'll discuss this later, dearest? You start clearing the table, mom, and let me take care of grammy SADIE clears the table of dishes Morty dearest, be a darling and help me? MORTY gets up but loses his balance and falls backward on the broken chair, which collapses under his weight You gave him that chair on purpose, didn't you Sadie? Don't think I'm not on to you trying to collect on his insurance. Your wife wants to trade you in for a new model, Morty. Better leave now while you still can! Oh God! She's over-medicated herself again You could have married Roseanne Epstein and her family would have given you the world. She was crazy for you, Morty, and I hear she's divorced from her third husband. It's never to late to find real love You're such a kidder, grammy! She loves pretending to hate mom, don't you?
SYLVIA looks away and doesn't answer
(getting up from sitting on floor)
Shabie is my one and only true love! We m-may not be rich in dollars b-but my Sadie has a lot of sense. Get it? Dollars…cents…?
SADIE re-enters holding a cake with sparklers
Morty…sweetheart, why don't you give your mouth a rest…I mean, relax and watch your movie. You've had a long day but not half as long as this evening has been Wow! That's some cake! I bet it tastes as good as it looks You outdone myself, my sweet bon-bon! You baked this for us? It must have taken you hours It was just a little something I whipped up My Shadie is good at whipping things, aren't you my little pickle? Who wants coffee and who wants tea? Nothing for me since both keep me up at night
I know exactly where you're coming from Leoree. Drinking liquids before I go to bed makes me pee all night too! Sometimes I think I spend more time in the bathroom than I do in bed
Charles dear, we really must leave now. My migraine is getting quite intense
LENOR stands up
Sadie, it's been wonderful meeting you and Monty… We have to have a slice of this special cake Sadie made or she'll be insulted. Won't you Sadie? Just a little sliver…please? Remember your cholesterol, dear… …you too? What pill are you taking for that? Wanna see all mine? I'll take half of the sliver you gave Charles Now this is what I call a supper. Everything was perfect. Why don't share your recipes with Lenor? Anything is better than the grass we eat We really must leave dearest. I have a busy schedule tomorrow. Call me Sadie But… arem't… you… Lenor? If you…you wam me to call you Shabie, than Shabie it’ll be. I got a g-good idea! I'll call Shabie, Lemor, and Le-le-more, Shabie!
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 upAT RISE: A playwright sits in front of a computer, proof reading plays. A rebellion is in the worksCAST: THE PLAYWRIGHT and characters from her playsSADIE GREENBERG , character from "Make Me a Wedding!"KEN, Barbie's ex-significant-otherBARBIE, famous vinyl/plastic fashionistaJOE 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"
One last change...dot the 'i's' and cross the 't's"... Just thinking...perhaps 'and' would be better than 'in addition to...'
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
It's gotta feel right. The words have to flow like a river-let of water tumbling down rocks...
Did somebody mention water? What's that I hear? Surf's up, everybody!
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
Yeah. Whatever she says. Here babe - is that okay? How am I doing?
Crap - that's how you're doing. Who are these minor characters, anyway?
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!
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
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
You guys should chill out and do what I've been doing for a while now...
...a while would be how long? Five years...ten years...
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
Has anybody got any trash they don't want? What about some unguarded picnic food? I'll eat anything!
How about a cell phone I can use? My car has been stuck in an intersection for years now...
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
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
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...
Hang on! Maybe I could borrow a phone from somebody. I mean, perhaps we shouldn't be too hasty
Yeah - she's right. A few more edits couldn't hurt
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
Oh well, then...hit the submit button. What do you have to lose?
(she sighs deeply)
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Arks to Go: the Flood II
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SCENE: ANGIE'S APARTMENT.
ANGIE scans the telephone directory
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
She hears heavy breathing
Still more heavy breathing
Do we have us a pervert, here? Really, your type are so obvious. Disgusting, vile, dregs of the earth...
...sewer slime... Noah? That you?
(he sneezes and coughs)
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...
I understand you were trying to reach me?
I misplaced your number and was trying to touch base with you again, but how did you know?
Let's just say that - (sneezes) -
I am that. As I was saying...I have connections. What's up?
I've been thinking things over and - well - perhaps I've been too rash in my judgement of your project
(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
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
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...
Are you trying to say you've re-considered helping me rebuild the ark?
You got it - if you'll have me
How do I know that you won't lose interest like before. Time is marching on and bad weather is just around the corner.
Let's just say that I've come to the realization that there are more important things in life than finding mister right
No time like the present to get back to work.
Where do we start?
There are some conditions, though
I knew it was too good to be true
Nothing that you can't handle
Your duties will include keeping the interior of the ark clean, when it's built of course
You have to be joking. All those animals...
I'm not finished. You will also have to play the roll of peace maker
But...there are so many species. How do I communicate with them?
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
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...
Really - Roger doesn't care about those things
Has he seen a photo of me, perchance?
I did show him the one that we took together. Roger never forgets a face
I'm sending him over to pick you up. He should be there in ten minutes.
Hello...? Noah...? Better get dressed for the occasion. Want to make a good impression
(Ten minutes later the doorbell rings. ANGIE opens the door)
Just a minute...com-ing! I've heard so much about you...
(Angie opens the door and jumps back)
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Blog: A. PLAYWRIGHT'S RAMBLINGS
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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.
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 makeCHILD
Look mom – a zebra! How many stripes do you think it has?MOM Who knows. A lot for sureCHILD A trillion? Can I feed him, mom?MOM We don’t feed zoo animals, sweetieCHILD But…there’s a machine here with zebra food. All you have to do is put in some money and food falls outMOM Let’s see...five dollars to feed a zebra? Um…perhaps another timeCHILD But mom – we only come here once in a while. He looks like he’s hungry. His bones are sticking out on his sideMOM Five dollars is a bit too much, sweetheart. Why don’t we go see the other animalsZEBRA Um…excuse me, lady. May I interject here?CHILD Look! The zebra speaks like we doMOM Don’t be silly. Zebras don’t talk…CHILD But…I heard it with my own earsMOM 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)
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 conscienceMOM What next? When will the program be on, anyway? We might be on TV, sweetie!ZEBRA 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 showMOM (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)RATZEBRA 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 meRAT 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 DesperationRATZEBRA
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:
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,
(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.
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 IILEONARD What is this? Move away and let us pass Please don’t create problems All we wanna do is stretch our legs. Nothing more and for whatever reason, you won’t let us That won’t be possible 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 Me too! (bending over and speaking softly) I strongly advise you to stay put. Take my advice Sorry pal – you gotta provide more information than vague hints and warnings Don’t ask me any more questions that I can’t answer. Look - stay put and I’ll see what I can do My knees are really painful. Can I at least stand up and take a few steps? A few steps but no long walks Promise 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 You didn't hear it from me but rumor has it that a passenger has died 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
CONDUCTORLEONARD You do realize you make no sense whatsoever. Why even mention it to us?
Could be just a rumor but even if it was true, I wouldn’t be allowed to say. Company rules and all that
Like I said, can't really share any information...
Why all the mystery?
Look - I was told that we'll be delayed in Timmersville. That's all I can tell you right now.
(CONDUCTOR hurries off) 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
Trying out your detective skills, are we?
(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.
Maybe you’re right. Hmmm...wonder where Mr. Crazy Man got to.
We're never gonna find out anything sitting here. Don't know about you but I feel like stretching my legs
My old knees are stiff. A little walk works wonders
And if we happen to overhear something...
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In honor of Remembrance Day or Memorial Day or whatever and however its remembered, the first eight pages of yet anther rewrite of "Old Soldiers." I'm adapting parts of it from other versions to make it into what I hope to be, a new play. As always, comments always welcome - and appreciated.
SCENE: A PUB/BAR. MID-MORNING
AT RISE: JOE MCKENNA, DRESSED IN FULL UNIFORM, SITS AT A TABLE, READING A NEWSPAPER WHILE WAITING FOR HIS BUDDIES TO ARRIVE. A SMALL BAR WITH A DOZEN TABLES FILL THE ROOM WITH BACKGROUND MUSIC SUPPLIED BY AN OLD JUKE BOX. B/W PHOTOS OF PEOPLE COVER THE WALL
Yup…yup…yup… The way things are going, won’t be long before we’re all gone. Poor old, Percy. Died alone without anyone there to see him on his way to the battlefield in the sky. ‘Here’s to you, Perce! You’ll be missed’
Lifts glass in the air and lowers it
JOE’S FRIEND, MIKE, DRESSED IN UNIFORM
COMPLETE WITH STRIPES AND MEDAL, ENTERS THE
ROOM AND JOINS HIM AT THE TABLE
Damn cold out there. Wind cuts like a knife. I see you got a head start. Buying us a round?
You just got here and already trying to mooch a free drink?
When it comes to mooching, you got that covered and then some. When’s the last time you paid?
(pretends to take out imaginary book)
Let me check in my diary here…last Wednesday at three in the afternoon. Do you wanna buy or not
You are a cheap bastard! I’m stuck with the bill, again. ‘Vince – two whiskeys’ See you’re in full regalia. If I don’t wear it today, when will I wear it? Take it out once a year. The rest of the time it’s stored away in the back of the cupboard. Pee-ew! What’s that stink?
Threw in a dozen or so moth balls when I store the uniform
At least put it out to air a couple days before you wear it. It really stinks VINCE, the bartender, brings over drinks One of you guys forget to wash? Joe here uses moth balls for his uniform No insult intended but you’re stinking up the bar. Wouldn’t hurt to go out and air yourself off a bit. Here are your drinks, guys. Who’s paying, he asked hopefully? Put it on my tab, Vince. The man’s as cheap as they come. You’d think for a special occasion he’d spring for a round but that would be asking too much for an old friend, who’s always short on cash
Whoever – one of you pay cash for a change. Need I remind you that your tab goes back a year now. Let’s see here…you owe me $2500.34. I’m feeling generous today so drop the thirty-four cents and make an even $2500 You’re all heart. Where d’ya expect me to find that kind of money on my service pension? Oh please. At least give me something towards it. Anything! I have bills to pay, too, y’know Okay. Next cheque I’ll give you a couple of bucks. May have to give up some food items and my dog will have to get used to eating a few days a week… Why don’t you lay on the guilt a bit more. You guys…honestly… Mac’s supposed to meet us here Seriously? The man doesn’t drive and uses a walker. How’s he getting here? I dunno but he wants to join us for Percy’s funeral, too Amazing. Never lets his condition stop him from doing anything. Sometimes I wonder how he gets around but he does. Mind over matter I guess. It’s either that or give up and die. Mind you, sometimes when pain takes over, it don’t seem so bad He just walked in. Poor guy can hardly move. ‘Here Mac!’ The man’s 87. None of us are peppy anymore, in case you hadn’t noticed. My glass is empty by the way Yeah and? I bought last time
It’s your turn, el cheapo! Maybe you can convince Mac to buy you a round Really…windy out… there – and cold. Hope the wind… drops for later. Damn hard to get around in this kind of weather, ‘specially with a walker. What times the funeral, anyway? You really planning to attend, Mac? Not trying to discourage you or anything but it’ll be hard pushing your walker on grass and that wind… I’ll manage. Old Percy is one of the last few members of our group. He deserves our respect and would do the same for any of us. Can’t believe he’s gone… Really cold and windy today You look like an ice cube and your hands are turned blue. Why didn’t you wear gloves? How’d you get here, anyway? By bus. Took me forty-five minutes if you don’t count standing at the bus stop waiting for it to arrive for twenty minutes. Damn busses never stick to their schedule Why didn’t you take a cab? You gotta be kidding. Like I can afford a cab? I’m here so stop jabbering and order me something to warm me up Gonna be freezing at the cemetery for sure. Who knows if anyone else will show up
We don’t get to choose the kind of weather t’get buried. It’s called for noon
You’re buying hima drink? What about me? He just got here. The man needs to warm up Say what? What does that have to do with anything? Remember I’m your old army pal who stayed with you in thick and thin? I paid you back a long time ago. What’s your poison, Mac? Whiskey like always? Neh. Hot coffee will do me fine With a shot of whiskey t’give it flavor, right? Plain, old coffee with milk and sugar Straight coffee? That’s it? Can’t a person have a coffee without getting the third degree? No problem-o. Just weird especially since you’ve been a scotch man since way back when Look – if it bothers you that much, I’ll just go back home and… If you want plain coffee – you got it. ‘Straight coffee for Mac, Vince!’ Whatever…I suppose you’re not taking sugar, either? On a diet, are we? If you eat any less, you’ll fade away altogether There comes a time when a body starts telling a person no more liquor. I’m at that point The last thing you need to do is go on a diet. You dropped more than a few pounds, lately. You eating right? Well he ain’t eating fillit mignown on our pension! Seriously, though, Mike’s right. You’re looking real thin these days I didn’t come here to discuss my eating habits. Can we drop this discussion? So who’s going to the funeral, anyway? VINCE brings MAC a coffee I put the cream and sugar on the side since I don’t know how you take it. First time you ordered a coffee Is there anyone here who hasn’t got an opinion about me drinking a lousy coffee? Maybe coming here was a mistake after all Sor-ry. We didn’t mean to rile you up. You drink as much coffee as you want. Anyway, my body tells me I need a refill
And this will be paid for by…
Did I ever say I wasn’t gonna pay? Did I? Don’t forget we’re sick, old soldiers on a small pension who helped keep this country free so that you could own this bar, and this is our only outing. Do you wanna take that away from us, too? Don’t try lay on the guilt. I got bills to pay Liquor don’t agree with me, anymore. Been havin’ a lot of heart burn lately. Wakes me up in the middle of the night and my legs get so numb I can hardly make it to the bathroom on time Not the first time you complained about heart burn Maybe see a doctor? Could be something serious
He’s been carping about his pains as long as I can remember. Ain’t that true, Mac? Am I right?
Look who’s talking! You’re like a walking medical dictionary. Every day you come in whining about something else Is it my fault I got bad pains left over from the war? Don’t forget my knees were smashed to the point where snails move faster than me and meegrainsso painful I can barely see Yeah-yeah. We all have pains but keep it to ourselves Thank you, so-called good buddy. I can always count on you not to be sympathetic. By the way – my glass is empty Whad’ya want from me? So tell Vince to fill it In your dreams, buddy-boy! Don’t even think about it Body feels like one gigantic ache. Forgotten what it’s like not to feel pain, anymore…
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