skizzy the wonder lizard's writing (lizardscrawls) wrote,
skizzy the wonder lizard's writing
lizardscrawls

for intermediate playwriting

*cackle*

this is the beginning and the end of a play i am writing for my playwriting class. it's...uh...inspired by true events and real people (names have been changed to protect the innocent). i think it's damn funny, and i hope you do too.

comments, suggestions?

thanks for reading!



working title: Histronics

(Scene One. Curtain. On the extreme right of the stage is ALOYSIUS' apartment. There is a bed, a nightstand, a lamp, a clock and a dresser covered in papers. On the extreme left is VERONICA's apartment. Her apartment has the same items, except the dresser is neat and tidy and there is an ashtray on the nightstand. Each apartment has a freestanding door. Whatever color scheme is used to decorate ALOYSIUS' apartment, VERONICA's should have a clashing color. The colors should be bright and unbelievable. The doors should be painted with loud, crazy colors and should clash horribly with the other colors on stage. At rise, ALOYSIUS is rummaging wildly through the papers on his dresser. VERONICA is asleep in bed. The clocks read 3am. ALOYSIUS finds the script he is looking for and exits his apartment carrying it, walking purposefully towards VERONICA's door. He bangs on it loudly.
It will be tempting for the actor to play ALOYSIUS very grandly or sarcastically. However, every line he says is said with absolute seriousness. He believes his gaze to be "piercing," his words "stirring." He walks and speaks with complete self-assurance.)



ALOYSIUS
Where the devil-

(VERONICA sits up in bed. She grabs her clock and gives it a long, hard look. The banging continues.)

VERONICA
Who the fuck?

ALOYSIUS
Veronica! I'm not a murderer, you know.

VERONICA
No? Well, I might be, in a second.

(She pulls on a robe and stumbles to the door, yanking it open.)

ALOYSIUS
Veronica. I have a project for you.

VERONICA
It's three in the morning.

ALOYSIUS
I work better in the mornings. "It is the poet's hour. Mornings when men are new-born, men who have the seeds of life in them." Do you know who said that?

VERONICA
Why are you banging on my door at three in the morning?

ALOYSIUS
"A morning which carries us back beyond the Mosaic creation, where crystallizations are fresh and unmelted."

VERONICA
Technically, this is the middle of the night for me. What do you want?

ALOYSIUS
I have a project for you.

VERONICA
One that couldn't wait til at sunrise, at least?

ALOYSIUS
It's a theater project. It's the perfect part for you.

VERONICA
A part? You really have a part for me?

ALOYSIUS
I really have high expectations for this piece.

VERONICA
Well, what is it? What's the piece all about?

ALOYSIUS
(handing her the script) It's a piece about life. Very real. Very deep. It scours the depth of the human psyche.

VERONICA
The depth of the human psyche. Who wrote it?

ALOYSIUS
I did.

VERONICA
You did?

ALOYSIUS
Yes.

VERONICA
Oh. Well, is your theater company going to-

ALOYSIUS
(heading back to his own door) So spend the next few days getting acquainted with the script. I'll come over and update you on the rehearsal schedule.

VERONICA
I never said I was going to-

(ALOYSIUS' door closes. He goes back to rummaging around on his dresser. VERONICA stares after him for a beat, then sighs and closes her door. She flips through the script, then sets it on her dresser, pulls a box of cigarettes and a lighter out of her robe pocket, lights one and addresses the audience, smoking.)

A few months ago, this guy, Aloysius, moves into my building, right across the hall from me. He was having a really hard time getting his bed frame through the door, and there wasn't anybody helping the poor guy move. I'm just coming home from the diner, I'm tired, I'm smelly, my feet hurt. But I see this poor guy struggling all alone with this bed frame, and so I put out my cigarette, roll up my sleeves, and give him a hand. Next thing you know I'm carrying boxes, unpacking dishes, even hanging curtains! I really don't know why. Felt sorry for him, I guess. I'm a sucker. Idiotic, really. Anyway, he's telling me how he's a director that just got a position in this theater downtown. And I'm like, hey! You're in theater? Me too, I'm an actress! And he is just thrilled to death that he's moved next door to an actress, and starts yapping about how the art community doesn't know how to communicate within itself, and how he really knows the true way of communication and collaboration, and some other crap, but the long and short of it is, he promised to try and get me a part in something if he could. I guess this is that part. (She goes over to the dresser and flips through the script again. She flips it shut.) Huh. Fuck that. I'll get to it in the morning. It's too damn early for theater.

(She puts out her cigarette and goes back to bed. Lights down.)




(Scene Two. VERONICA is fully dressed. She joins ALOYSIUS, DOUG, and QUINN, who have gathered center stage. The hallway between the doors has become the theater space. DOUG and QUINN are holding scripts. They are all dressed for movement.)


VERONICA
(to the audience) The first rehearsal.

ALOYSIUS
Veronica, good to see you. This is Quinn, and Doug.

(QUINN energetically bows. DOUG smiles sheepishly.)

VERONICA
Hello.

ALOYSIUS
I thought we'd start out today's rehearsal with a short but intense discussion of the script. I really want you all to feel it and to make it your own.

VERONICA
Uh, yeah. About that. There's about ten pages in here that are written in Russian.

(ALOYSIUS nods. VERONICA stares at him.)

QUINN
You have pages written in Russian? That's really interesting. Because mine has a silent character who's a revolutionary.

VERONICA
What? I don't have that in my script.

DOUG
Mine just has a bunch of guys arguing about what to get for lunch. It goes on for eighty pages and then one of them collapses.

VERONICA
I don't see that anywhere at all.

ALOYSIUS
I was going to get to that. I've given you all different scripts.

VERONICA
For the same project?

ALOYSIUS
I felt it would be more organic this way.

QUINN
(nodding intently) Yeah, oh my god. You're so right.

(ALOYSIUS and QUINN share a moment of understanding, eyes glowing. VERONICA and DOUG give them both blank stares.)

VERONICA
Al, what exactly are you trying to do with this piece?

ALOYSIUS
Veronica. Please. My name is Aloysius.

VERONICA
(taken aback) My apologies-

ALOYSIUS
I'm trying to give the audience their money's worth. Audiences today, they're just throwing their money away on that drivel, that putrid slime growing on the stage that the critics call theatre. I know what true theatre is. The sludge being performed today is not true theatre. With this piece, I really want to bring art back to the stage. It's this garbage--(He pulls a copy of A Long Day's Journey Into Night out of his pocket and very ceremoniously, without taking his eyes off VERONICA, sets it on fire)--that is ruining the audiences of America.

DOUG
Isn't that the play that your theater company is putting on right now?

ALOYSIUS
The stage wasn't built for that kind of theater. I know that the stage was built for something much more intense. Something with character and flavor. That's what we're going to create in the next four weeks.

QUINN
That is just amazing, Aloysius. I think I'm really starting to feel where you want this piece to end up.

VERONICA
Wait a minute. This still doesn't explain why you gave us three different scripts.

ALOYSIUS
This is an autobiographical piece, Veronica. People don't just live one life. They live lives with layers and undertones. I want all the layers of my life to converge together on the stage and paint one intense picture. But I want it to be entertaining. You should all read Brecht. It will change your life. The idea is to entertain our audience, to give them their money's worth-but at the same time, say something really deep.

QUINN
I can totally see that.

VERONICA
Something really what?

ALOYSIUS
Deep.

VERONICA
Did you just say, "something really deep"?

ALOYSIUS
Yes I did.

VERONICA
Did you just use "deep" in a serious manner?

ALOYSIUS
Yes.

VERONICA
I haven't heard the word "deep" used seriously since my seventh grade poetry class. I haven't heard that word used seriously by anyone over the age of fourteen. I thought people only used that word sarcastically nowadays.

QUINN
But no...it was used in such a context that the societal meaning was not present. I think there could be no other word used.

ALOYSIUS
Exactly.

VERONICA
What do you mean, exactly? Neither of you are making any-

ALOYSIUS
Perhaps we should continue with an exercise, to get us all started. Let's all begin with a little Tai Chi, to get our energies on the flow.

(He begins to lead them in a series of Tai Chi movements, saying each movements' name as he goes.)

Okay, now:
Beginning movement. Part the wild horse mane. Brush knee and twist step. Hand strums the lute. Step back with whirling arms. Grasp the bird's tail. Single whip. Wave hands at clouds.

(At this point, the movements are no longer real ones. ALOYSIUS has either forgotten them and is making them up off the top of his head, or he never fully learned them in the first place and this is what he has done to fill in the blanks. The movements get wilder and wilder and less and less like Tai Chi.)

Frog eats the fly.

VERONICA
Hey wait a min-

ALOYSIUS
Handkerchief at the bottom of a pocket. Sun over Nantucket. Fold legs. Obvious bee stings. Popcorn in the microwave. Boiling water. Tornado touching down. Cross hands aaaaaand...closing movement.

(ALL but ALOYSIUS collapse.)

All right. Good job you guys, good job. Now let's come together.

(He gathers them all into a semi-circle, himself in the middle facing the audience.)

Okay. So, what did you all think of that exercise? For me, it brings a whole level of focus and energy into my work. It really helps to call up my inner performer.

QUINN
It felt really good. I really felt the energy getting stirred deep inside of me. You know, those movements? It was like I really was strumming a lute. Parting clouds. Boiling water. It was just so...yeah. So yeah. Hey, I like that.

(ALOYSIUS nods profoundly.)

DOUG
Uh, I liked it okay. It really got my blood pumping.

ALOYSIUS
And you, Veronica?

VERONICA
I thought it was bullshit.

(QUINN gasps. ALOYSIUS puts his arm around VERONICA and gently leads her to the side of the stage.)

ALOYSIUS
What's wrong here, Veronica? Talk to me. I really need my actors to talk to me. I really need honesty from every cast member.

VERONICA
I did just talk to you. I very honestly just told you that that exercise was bullshit.

ALOYSIUS
And why do you feel that way, Veronica?

VERONICA
Well, for one, you used the phrase "inner performer." Seriously. Secondly, that wasn't even Tai Chi.

ALOYSIUS
I know what true theater is. True theater is change. You can't let yourself be tied down to the regular conventions of Tai Chi. Free your mind, Veronica. That is what theater is. The great Charles-

VERONICA
Thirdly, I'm still confused as to what the hell is going on here. For example, why are we in a warehouse? Why aren't we at your theater?

ALOYSIUS
The Northern Sun Theater is rehearsing A Long Day's Journey Into Night for the next four weeks. I don't see why they can't give me space to work in as well. For all the money coming into that theater, you would think-

VERONICA
Wait, wait. If Northern Sun is putting up their show in four weeks...where are we going to put up this show?

ALOYSIUS
This is going to be theater the way it was meant to be. It's going to be put together in a way that can be performed any time, anywhere. Theater for the people, not for the bureaucratic stuffed shirts that taint the theater today.

VERONICA
Theater. For the people, you say.

ALOYSIUS
Yes, and what better way to do that than through the voice of an average Joe? My story can reach the hearts of our audiences, and entertain them at the same time.

VERONICA
We've been over this. I get that part. I'm still stuck on the three separate scripts part. Just how is this supposed to work?

ALOYSIUS
Well, I'm hoping we can all find that journey together.

VERONICA
Wait...you don't know?

ALOYSIUS
Theater is a journey, Veronica. At least, good theater is. I know what good theater should be.

VERONICA
(to the audience) And this was just the first rehearsal. I should have stayed in bed that morning.

(Lights down.)




(Scene Three. Scene is exactly like the beginning of Scene One: VERONICA in bed sleeping, ALOYSIUS awake and rustling papers. This time, however, he is writing. He writes furiously on several sheets of paper, pulls a stapler out of his top drawer, staples the pages and dashes out of his door. He bangs loudly on VERONICA's door. VERONICA sits up, looks around, and sticks up her middle finger towards the door. She lies down again. ALOYSIUS bangs for a bit longer, calls her name a few times, and finally slips the papers under the door. He heads back to his own apartment. Lights down.)





(Scene Four. It is morning. VERONICA is dressed in her waitress uniform. ALOYSIUS is asleep in his bed. VERONICA has read the script. She bursts from her door and storms across the hall to ALOYSIUS' room. She bangs furiously on the door.)


VERONICA
Aloysius! Aloysius! Damn, that's a hard name to yell when you're pissed. ALOYSIUS! It's the fucking morning! So I know you're awake! "The morning which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour!" I know you know who said that! ALOYSIUS!

(ALOYSIUS quickly puts on his daytime clothes and answers the door.)

ALOYSIUS
Good morning, Veronica. It is good to see you up enjoying the morning too. "The morning wind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted; but few are the ears that hear it." Do you know who-

VERONICA
(slamming the script into his chest) What the fuck is this?

ALOYSIUS
(examining it and then handing it back to her) It's the new script.

VERONICA
The new script? It isn't anything like the other three. Are Quinn and Doug getting the same thing?

ALOYSIUS
Oh yes. Certainly.

VERONICA
Well, that's a nice change, anyway. But what the hell is going on in this thing? Mimes? We're all supposed to be mimes now?

ALOYSIUS
I don't want you all to be limited by the label "Mime." As a matter of fact, "mime" is just a guiding term. I don't wish to eliminate the power of the word. Miming is just a way for you all to use your bodies as storytellers. Every body has the stories of their ancestors lurking deep within their limbs, their torsos, their organs. These stories don't live in the memory of the mind, but the memory of the body. It will really be a learning experience for you, especially, Veronica.

VERONICA
I'm sorry, what? You're educating me now?

ALOYSIUS
Well, I am several years older than you, Veronica. I've seen more of the world. I'm in a very different place than you and Doug and Quinn. I hope to bring my worldly experience to the three of you and help enrich your understanding of what theater really should be.

VERONICA
Are you trying to tell me-

ALOYSIUS
I've noticed you've got a real issue with your body, Veronica. This project will really help you free up the ancestors within you. You will discover your inner movement. Your inner story. I really want this project to reflect the self of us all.

VERONICA
(flipping through the script) Reflecting all of us? Us?

ALOYSIUS
I'm really hoping to foster a collaborative spirit with this project. There's too much separation of creativity in the theater today. I really know that what theater is all about is the combining of ideas and input to create one really deep, yet entertaining, picture on stage. The more each person puts of themselves into the work, the more they'll feel it as their own, and the more energy they'll put into it.

VERONICA
Even though the main character's name is Aloysius? Even though we've been working on these three scripts for two rehearsals and you change the script without consulting us? Warning us at least?

ALOYSIUS
Theater is organic. It changes at the drop of a hat. Without evolution, we become stagnant.

VERONICA
If you're not going to explain the big things to me, at least tell me what the hell this Post-It on the top is all about. "Book Antiqua 12-point single-space"? What the fuck?

ALOYSIUS
Oh. Yes. I need someone to type that up for me. I don't have a computer.

VERONICA
I don't have one either!

ALOYSIUS
Yes, but you work at an internet cafe.

VERONICA
Don't you have a computer at work?

ALOYSIUS
They've given me a new responsibility at work that doesn't involve computers.

VERONICA
Well what the hell-

ALOYSIUS
Don't forget to print up a copy for me. See you tonight at rehearsal.

(He shuts the door. VERONICA, seething, comes center stage.)

VERONICA
(to audience) I should just not do it. I should throw this bullshit script in his face and say "Fuck you, AL, I've had enough of your hot air balloon theater theories." I should just leave now while I have the chance.
But. I made a commitment. Yeah, a fucking commitment. Bullshit, right? Yeah, well, we all have a little bullshit inside of us somewhere. SOME OF US JUST HAVE A FUCK OF A LOT MORE THAN OTHERS! I'll do this goddamn play. I'll be a goddamn mime. I'll do everything asked of me, and I'll do it right. I just don't have to act like I'm happy about it.

(Lights down.)





Some other stuff happens here. Wacky hijinks ensue. Fast-forward to the end of the play.



(Last Scene. The play. The apartments have been removed from the stage. It is completely empty. The play has gone through several changes. ALOYSIUS has inserted himself as an actor and director. He has gotten in with another theater, so they are actually performing in a real space. ALOYSIUS, VERONICA, DOUG and QUINN all come onto stage, dressed lavishly in 19c. period clothing, heavily made up. ALOYSIUS and QUINN look radiant, VERONICA looks pissed as hell, and DOUG is struggling somewhere in between. They all join hands and face the audience and utter a single word.)

ALL
HISTRIONIC.

(A long pause. ALOYSIUS steps out of the line and leads the bow.)

ALOYSIUS
I would really like to thank you all for coming tonight. Thank you, thank you.

VERONICA
I can't let this man get away with this. I can't let this happen and not do anything about it! (stepping out of line as well) Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming to our show. We hope you enjoyed it. Now, we'd like to have a talkback session with the audience.

ALOYSIUS
I never said anything about a talkback session.

VERONICA
Does the audience have any comments or questions about the show? Yes, you, in the front.

AUDIENCE MEMBER #1
Um, yes. I would just like to say that what you all did here tonight was amazing. Truly revolutionary work.

(ALOYSIUS nods beatifically. VERONICA is shellshocked.)

VERONICA
Say what?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2
I really have to admit, whoever directed this really knows what theater is. This piece truly captured what the stage was meant for.

ALOYSIUS
I'm glad my work has had the opportunity to reach so many souls. I would like to say-

VERONICA
Wait wait wait. Wait! Put the lights up! Put the house lights up. Who are you people? What group is this here tonight?

AUDIENCE MEMBER #2
We're from the Eugene Lang Theater Department.

(VERONICA throws herself on the stage, giving up entirely. The planted audience members lead the rest of the audience in applause as ALOYSIUS comes center stage to take several very deep bows. Curtain closes amidst a shower of roses thrown by the three audience members.)

End of play.



Tags: lang, plays
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