Duration: 10 mins
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Cece – Art Curator, Poet
Tess – Communicator
Lena – Data Scientist
Wife – Analyst
Wife — Homemaker
Said – Data Scientist
Etan – Consultant
Luda – Data Scientist and aspiring Poet
Kent – Data Scientist
ACT 1 — Installation Art (Sit next to me)
The scene takes place in a private home theater under a Proscenium arch. Stage right is a door to the dining area. Stage left is a door to the great room. Upstage is a grand screen.
It is Tess and Said’s turn to host the Football Sunday dinner party for three married couples – their closest friends. Tess’ single BFF, CeCe with the gratuitous beauty, on everyone’s dream team (and it is rude to stare) is visiting from the city – and having so much more to offer, as usual she is flying too close to the sun and upsetting the social balance.
CECE: I have a story to tell! I promise you — you’re going to love it! You simply must experience it. The absolute audacity of the writer is stunning. She’s THAT motherfucker. (Giggle) That bitch. Tricky — Romanticist. Epic like the Iliad…
We’re watching the game… in a minute.
CECE: But, wait…
CONVERSATIONS HAPPENING IN THE ROUND END DOWNSTAGE
SAID: Of course you have data. Do you know how to use it? Give me data. I’ll give you algorithms… synced with the principles of Six Sigma. It’s over.
TESS: I said, If you don’t knock on my door, someone else will.
ETAN: Evidently, you’re attracted to me, and I applaud you for knowing who you want. I’m flattered. But, I don’t sway that way.
WIFE: What did he say?
ETAN: “It doesn’t matter.”
WIFE: Oh! O-kay… (LOOKS AWAY STAGE RIGHT WITH A GAFFAW) He’s funny.
ETAN: Define funny.
WIFE: Funny is funny.
ETAN: What’s funny to you, may not be funny to me.
WIFE: Are we going to go back and forth on what is funny? I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about Project #99 (GAFFAW) Again. You pushed me… But, it was good. It’s true. Where was I? I’m crazy! Yeah. No doubt… (LOOKS AWAY) But, I love you.
WIFE: I’m kickstarting my project this week. (THROWS HEAD BACK DEFIANTLY)
(BEFORE WHISPERING IN HER EAR)
ETAN: “Sex packets …”
WIFE: (SUDDENLY) You said, I would be your wife, not your slave.
DOWNSTAGE LENA WHISPERS TO LUDA AND THE AUDIENCE
LENA: So, what if it’s all true? Does that give you the right to kick my ass and keep it moving? You’re a mutation. It does not sound like we’re the lazy ones. We will survive. You will not… and if that’s true why would I compete with you, when you are doing all the work? You cannot survive without us. We’re going with. Wouldn’t you?
LUDA: Human DNA enlarges mouse brains.
(LENA LOOKS AWAY STAGE LEFT WITH A THROATY LAUGH)
(LUDA TURNS TO THE AUDIENCE WITH A SOLILOQUY
HOMEMAKER: Look babe, it’s tulle and mesh — and if I bend over just right…
KENT: I am not going to kiss your ass (Chuckles)
HOMEMAKER: Why not? You’ve been kissing it.
KENT: Don’t try to goad me into an argument to justify your own.
HOMEMAKER: I’m just saying… if it’s in our heads, it’s pure fantasy. Don’t float what you imagine out here in the void, like what you think is really real. If it’s not real… like your hands on me — it’s fiction. You cannot possibly know what I think, how I feel, how I will respond to your bullshit… or even how you will respond to mine. I thought? When was the last time you imagined a confrontation? Of course, it never happens like the movies in our heads. Not even close! But, to be content to covet the same dreams, is so… unimaginative. Is that the best we can do? To be part of a crowd? Look at me. (VOGUES) I am the fastest swimmer in a sea of zoon!
KENT: (Chuckles) Who the fuck are you reading lately?
HOMEMAKER: (Playfully) We have to spend more time together! I do have a wonderful quote… “I have a lesson for you. Do you want it?”
KENT: “I have a lesson for you. Do you want it?” Who said that?
HOMEMAKER: My mother… in so many words.
KENT: He called me Money.
(HE BEGINS LIKE A STORY SHE’S HEARD BEFORE)
KENT: (CONTINUES) He said, I want a boy who gets what he came for. A boy who knows he’s the strongest swimmer in a sea of zoon. It’s true, a boy could have been pushed by stronger swimmers behind him. Like Mad Max. I want a boy who would survive the hood. A boy that knows changing direction is nothing. The trick is to breathe again. That’s the boy I want. Do you think you could be that boy? I would sit up straight, tip my head, and say, Yes Sir. I’m that boy.
HOMEMAKER: Every time you tell that story I’d forget to mention, it feels like he’s looming over you. What were you sitting on?
KENT: My potty chair… I thought you knew?
HOMEMAKER: Oh no. He didn’t! (GIGGLES) Your father is bananas.
KENT AND HOMEMAKER LAUGH TOGETHER
KENT: Jules Winfield reciting Ezekiel.
HOMEMAKER: That’s why you’re so ambitious. I love that about you, Honey. Look at us! We’re a Stupid Power Couple.
KENT: (CHUCKLES) The first time we met, I wondered… how does THAT work? (LAUGHS)
(HOMEMAKER FIGHTS A SMILE)
KENT: You said, “I’m not looking for a husband.”
(BOTH LAUGH ON KEY)
HOMEMAKER: You want to play with me? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?
(HUDDLING WITH HIS SILENT WIFE)
ETAN: Conscious decisions are all that I can respect. Don’t cling to insanity, or criminal passion, or peer pressure, or social expectations. Don’t talk to me about losing control — momentarily. Or, the poverty and violence of pain heaped upon more pain because you’re black. This is not a gang-rape. This is not Dionysia all over again, where women and children are sacrificed, and blood is beer. If I change my language, the outcome will still be the same… (STOP)
ETAN: Jack Kerouac… likened writing to dreaming and fantasizing, as a substitute for life. So, he wrote The Subterraneans, in three days and nights of speed typing energized by Benzedrine — to imitate the rhythm of Bebop like free energy flow and unrestrained association to reveal the unconscious… because he wanted to flow from inside out in spontaneous prose! Am I going to read that trippy book again, with absolutely no punctuation period, when I can imagine my very own Mardou Fox?
STARING OPENLY AT ETAN, LUDA STOPS LISTENING AND LOOKING UP TO THE HEAVENS, STROKES HIS BEARD, AND TURNS TO THE AUDIENCE WITH A SECOND SOLILOQUY.
LUDA TURNS AWAY FROM HIS AUDIENCE AND LOOKS STAGE RIGHT AT KENT
A PHONE HELD IN KENT’S HAND ILLUMINATES HIS FACE. KENT SPEAKS LOUD [AS IF] SIGNALING THE END
KENT: A black man is charged with burning black Churches in St. Louis Missouri…
KENT LOOKS UP FROM THE SCREEN. HIS FACE IS STILL. EYES UNFOCUSED. HE MOVES HIS LIPS.
HOMEMAKER: I’m gonna’ need to pinch him.
KENT AND THE HOMEMAKER THROW THEIR HEADS BACK IN HEARTY LAUGHTER. THE HOMEMAKER SUDDENLY STOPS AND LOOKS AT KENT. WHISPERS.
HOMEMAKER: Wake up, blue pill.
THE HOMEMAKER LOOKS AT THE AUDIENCE — IN A MONOLOGUE — LOUDER THAN KENT.
HOMEMAKER: It’s the Age of STEM. With VRs for your fancies, imagining aggressions you never lose. Where are we going? Who are we doing? How shall we dress for the joie de vivre? I want to meet the best Black Rock Band on the planet and their Muse; to be the woman in the Dolmus, the Driver, Simon… I want to hear Luda deliver his soliloquies in a courtyard enclosed by trees, with stapled bark once covered with flyers — for missing pets, and outworn, archaic, and unimaginative campaigns and trade for sale or giveaway. I want to be where someone says, I have a story to tell, and those who’ve heard the story reply, we’re watching the game in a minute… I know how the story ends.
(WITH A MONA LISA SMILE)
HOMEMAKER: (TAGGING) I am sorry, but, honestly, the 21st Century is so… contrived. (STOPS SHORT OF LAUGHTER) Let’s move along.
CECE: We have plenty of time! Indulge me. I’m going to read it.
(MORE RESTLESS MOVEMENT)
CECE: Come on! It’s my birthday! Okay, it’s not my birthday….Listen! This is a quote from Interview magazine. I think it’s poetic. “I use pot for depression, and I am depressed often. When I am high, I am very creative, and because my word is work in progress, I have no regrets. Self actualization is anticlimactic… I am the hopeless writer. I spent most of my life being angry that I, didn’t have an audience that would pay for my work. Girls, gotta’ make a living. It’s amazing what turns people on. It’s not at all what I imagined. I spent too much time trying to create a persona, when I am one. I suppose it’s okay to spend your life chasing a dream. You have to have one or two to live for.” She’s extra… Did I mention Ovid?
If you don’t like it (PAUSE) I’ll blow every cock in the room.
Whoa! What? Fuck? Really?
Shut up! Girl! Bitch! Are you crazy?
ETAN: For how long?
CECE: Until you ejaculate?!! That would be rather contiguously…
HUSBANDS SHOUT: BULLSHIT!
ETAN: You’ll blow four cocks?
TESS: What are you talking about? She’s not blowing your cock!
(NERVOUS LAUGHTER. TESS AND SAID LOOK AT EACH OTHER — BUT, ARE NOT LAUGHING.)
TESS: What are you going to do for the wives in the room?
CECE: I am going to let you help me.
ETAN: Help you do what?
LUDA: Man, you’re fucking slow! You and your wife need to leave. You’re not keeping up. You’re making me uncomfortable.
ETAN: We’re not going anywhere!
LUDA: Then shut the fuck up!
LENA: Why would we help you?
CECE: Well, think of it in terms of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Pardon the pun, but we have to stick together. Why should one woman have all the fun?
RAISE THEIR EYEBROWS AND POUT THEIR LIPS
SAID: That’s a provocative proposal… You can blow me.
LUDA: You’re going to read the story?
CECE: Yes. I’ll narrate this short short story and project it on the screen. Like PowerPoint! So, get your popcorn, Pepsi, visit the restroom, and power off all electronic devices.
KENT: How long is this short short?
CECE: The presentation is as long as any movie – an hour and twenty minutes or so…
KENT: It’s a short short. Why is it so long?
CECE: It’s hyperlinked to pics, gifs, vids and beats! It’s a fast ride.
ETAN: Look. Admittedly, I would love to get my dick sucked, but my wife – she’s not sucking your dicks.
SAID: You’re still here?
HUSBANDS SHOUT: Go home!
CECE: But, wait!
CECE: You’re going to love the story!
EXIT stage right. The only light shines in and out of the doorways and on the screen. They ENTER stage left and bring light and provisions back to the stage — reclining on floor cushions.
Looks at his Apple watch.
CECE: (Leaning in) When I dropped them at the restaurant, Simon asked me to join them for lunch…
Copyright 2015 by E Maria Shelton Speller
CAST RETURNS TO THE STAGE — DANCE CLOSE
If you can, imagine Seven Whole Days on repeat… and you were raised in the city of Boston — where Playhouse in the Park is the only alternative to hot house parties in Orchard Park or Ruggle Street — and dancing room is a premium for a chilly Bostonian, with a New England attitude.
When four seasons and rapid transit affords you the opportunity to go anywhere at any time, wearing everything a Bostonian can — properly — weather be damned… then you know how much space love demands. In an apartment when body heat is canned and cool, you learn to slow dance in the place you pick with just the space between grace and pressure. Boston, is the only city in America that knows how to have sex on legs. If you think it’s a mere grind — you can’t dance in a vacuum. The only thing a man can do, if he’s not a Bostonian, is let the lady lead when she is a Bostonian, and hope — its a long song.
The Theater Director of the One Act Play, wanted to see the dream unfold. CeCe was his muse. He gave her the part, because she wrote the play. CeCe was Edie, he was Warhol…
Copyright 2004 by E Maria Shelton Speller (Explode: Epic Poetry ~ Excerpt from Behind Pushkin’s Coffee House)