ONE ACT PLAY — SPRINGBOARD’S CURTIN* CALL

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 Ruggles 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.

 

Copyright 2004, and 2015 by E Maria Shelton Speller (Explode: Epic Poetry ~ Excerpt from (Behind Pushkin’s Coffee House)), and the One Act Play — Springboard!  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

*This is not a curtain.

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ONE ACT PLAY — SPRINGBOARD!

FLASH DRAMA

Genre: Comedy

9 actors

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…

(RESTLESS MOVEMENT)

ALL

We’re watching the game… in a minute.

CECE:  But, wait…

CONVERSATIONS HAPPENING IN THE ROUND END DOWNSTAGE

 

UPSTAGE

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.

STAGE LEFT

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.

TWO BEATS

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

STAGE RIGHT

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?

STAGE LEFT

(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)

(THREE BEATS)

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.

KENT:  Unbelieveable.

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.

CENTER STAGE

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.

HUSBANDS

Whoa! What? Fuck? Really?

WIVES

Shut up! Girl! Bitch! Are you crazy?

Continue reading

The Foreword to Insomnia

Like all writers, I rewrite, combine, borrow, loot, recreate, change my own work, and play with metafictional devices and the relationship between what is real and what is imagined.  I combined “TP’s Muse Board” with “The Foreword to Insomnia.”  Perhaps it will be a triptych, or perhaps three panels of an octaptych,  a short story, novella, or perhaps a novel.  It’s a WIP.

The Foreword to Insomnia

 

“All our crimes are the crimes of a phantom:  God.”  Octavio Paz

 

I

Is the girl necessary?  Can you abandon her?  Yes and no.    She’s the curtain-lifter and the scout!  Always.  I cannot forget her.  I was there, talking to myself, as if I were someone else.  Like now.

She’s as necessary as the galoshes on her feet, paused in a puddle, with her binary reflection obscured by polka-dots, vector and speckled umbrellas billowing from ordinary windows like parachutes, or the multi-colored aureoles in the virtual vertigo — of an art installation.

She is as necessary as umbrellas on a rainy afternoon under golden arches and digital displays of saucer eyed anime faces in Tokyo during rush-hours, or the dark city around the corner with a hole in the ground — over rainy subway stairs she lost a galosh on.

II

When she was nine, and her sister seven, they shared a bedroom in the attic of an old Victorian house, in New England.  They loved that pink triangular room, and the imaginary line that equally divided that sanctum, and it was not lost on them, that they were far removed from their extended paternal family, parents and the Irish triplets who shared a room of their own — downstairs.

It was not just the physical detachment, but on the heels of “making believe,” they began to transport each other to fictional realities at bedtime that began with a question, followed by an answer and finally a bidding, “What are you doing?”  “I’m thinking.”  “What are you thinking about?”

Her stories would often begin with something truly extraordinary.  Diana Ross had ten kids in 1964!  She was twenty years old and married to Jorge — the Ebony Fashion Fair model who was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, and one of Diana’s children was her fourth grade classmate — a Puerto Rican named, Sorah Sanchez.  He told his classmates to call him Willie.  He was so cute!

Theirs was the perfect family!  Jorge wore gray suede shoes and cardigans advertised in Jet and Ebony magazines, and the children wore clothing from Alden and Spiegel catalogs!   Images were accessible and appropriated. The stories epic and uninterrupted — unless clarification was necessary, like “What time do the kids have to go to bed?”

She loved The Supremes!  In the Sixties, Diana Ross was a delicate and beautiful remix, of freedom from ugly restraint.   She could scan a page for “Diana Ross” and find her like code.  Ditty Bop!  She could imitate her voice, her tone, inflection, her vibrato, choreography and her mannerisms!

In the Summer of 1965, she sang A cappella, “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” and “Come See About Me,” on a makeshift stage in her back yard, and became an accidental star with a teenaged fan base; but, she just wanted to be left alone to adore Diana Ross — the beautiful one!  Those oral narratives in the dark — were contiguous, on a continuum, interconnected — in medias res.

III

At seventeen she hadn’t seen her Father in four or five years.  Her mother and six children took the last bus to a safe haven twelve hundred miles from Boston.  But, when father walked into her home, the house her mother managed to “negotiate” by “befriending” the most unattractive man she had ever seen… and barely past the threshold, he said, “I know, I know, I know, and I know.”

It was the most honest response she’d ever heard.  It made sense.  No apologies.  No explanations.  What else could he say?  Last year, she wondered why she and her sister screamed their hearts out of their mouths, eyes, and ears crouched in a closet — as if screaming would make a difference — as if screams would stop unmeasured and random assaults on her Mother in a Commonwealth where the Rule of Thumb allowed husbands to beat their wives as long as the stick was no thicker than his thumb!

In that house, little girls might not stop screams with their own.  Who could scream the loudest?  Who could silence the noise?  Eventually, she realized the house was on Rockledge Street before pre-K, so they were one and three, or two and four years old, perhaps.  In a one mile radius, the same thing happened on Cedar and Alpine Streets. On Hartford Street, her Father cut her Mother up with a meat cleaver.

She can still summon the smell of Sugar Smacks decayed and stinking in bowls of spoiled milk abandoned on the kitchen table like so much blood and flesh on the floors, doors, the papered walls, and ceiling where on her Sister’s 9th birthday, “the accident” happened.

The blood of donors rushed from other jurisdictions, the white sheet that hid her mother’s head from her children, the paddy wagon where her mother was slung like a criminal, the crowd outside the window oohing and awing, jeering, and cheering her Father, who changed into a brown silk leisure suit, brown suede shoes, cocked a fedora on his head and walked tall, proud, and un-cuffed to the Police car.  The footnote in the Boston Globe, “Negro Man Attacks Wife with Meat Cleaver.”  The rise and fall of orphan’s tears, swollen eyes, praying hands and bargains with God in zombie disbelief.

But, I don’t feel sorry for that little girl.  Tall and proud.  She could have been a psycho killer — and I would be her muse, a tiny detail, a paper doll from an Alden’s catalog — paused in a puddle for the amusement of children.

IV

I am the one who cannot sleep.  Aside from occasional drifts from the pollen consumption of moths, to the dignity of a ski-lift nose…

 

Copyright 2004, 2013 E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Trench People (TP) Muse Board

When I was nine, and my sister seven, we shared a bedroom in the attic of a Victorian house, in New England.  We loved that pink triangular room, and the imaginary line that equally divided her side and mine, and it was not lost on us, that we were far removed from our extended paternal family, our parents, and the Irish triplets who shared a room of their own — downstairs. 

It was not just the physical detachment, but on the heels of “making believe,” we began to transport each other to fictional realities at bedtime that began with a question, followed by an answer and finally a bidding, “What are you doing?”  “I’m thinking.”  “What are you thinking about?” 

My stories would often begin with something truly extraordinary.  Diana Ross had ten kids in 1964!  She was twenty years old and married to Jorge — the Ebony Fashion Fair model who was the most beautiful man I had ever seen, and one of her children was my fourth grade classmate — a Puerto Rican named, Willie Sanchez.  He told us to call him Willie.  He was so cute!   

Theirs was the perfect family!  Jorge wore gray suede shoes and cardigans advertised in Jet and Ebony magazines, and the children wore clothing from the Alden and Spiegel Catalogs!   Images were accessible and appropriated. The stories epic and uninterrupted — unless clarification was necessary, like “What time do the kids have to go to bed?” 

I loved The Supremes!  In the Sixties, Diana Ross was a delicate and beautiful remix of freedom from ugly restraint.   I could scan a page for her name and find her like code!  Ditty Bop.  I could imitate her voice, her tone, inflection, her vibrato, choreography and her mannerisms! 

In the Summer of 1965, I sang A cappella, “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” and “Come See About Me,” on a makeshift stage in our back yard, and became an accidental star with a teenage fan base… but, I just wanted to be left alone to adore her.

Those oral narratives in the dark — were contiguous, on a continuum, interconnected, in medias res. When I think about — Trench People, I wonder what are Angela, Lisa and Nimrod’s musings and who are their muses?  What would they like?  What makes them click?  TP’s Muse board is visible/linked below.  It’s a living, breathing, WIP.  It’s the pink room in the attic all over again!   I wonder how my sister is doing?  I wonder what she’s thinking…

http://pinterest.com/sheltonspeller/tps-muse-board/

 

 

Copyright © 2012, 2013 by Elaine Maria Shelton Speller