Sunday, February 8, 2009

Short Play

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This is another writing experiment. It was inspired by a post the Crow put up a week ago entitled Show, and by the writing of Beckett, who I've been reading lately. I'd also like to thank Derliwall for editorial support. I'm interested to know what you all may think about this piece. Thanks. The Hopper.
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Front curtain rises.

The stage is set such that members of the audience seem to be watching the scene from behind.

Stage left a coat tree, wooden. Front center, a stool. Middle right, a rocking chair, facing away from audience. Taped to the back of the rocker, three white cue cards, each with a different actor's script. Blood drips from the rocker, forming a puddle on the floor.

Three actors, back to audience, arms raised overhead as though about to take a bow. Their costumes indicate that they were in a cowboy play, neckerchiefs, boots and spurs. Actor one (left), a young girl, wearing a summer dress, holding a six-shooter aloft in her left hand. Actor two (mid), a man, wearing denim jeans and a white shirt, soaked in blood, as are his hands, arms and neck. Actor three (right), a man, wearing black pants, a black jacket, empty holsters on each hip, holding a six shooter aloft in his right hand. The actors take a bow.

Sound of loud applause, cheering and whistling. Curtain falls along the back wall. Sound of applause and cheering continues.

Actors embrace and pat one another on the backs, jubilant. Exit left. Fading sound of applause.

Sound of murmuring and indistinct conversation, commotion and shuffle of theater emptying. Sound fading for one minute. Quiet din.

Sound of distant door closing. All quiet.

Stage left, enter cleaner pushing a trolley equipped with mop, bucket, towels and other cleaning supplies. Garbage bag hangs off the side. A typical cleaning cart. Cleaner is an older man, gray hair, dressed in an suit, threadbare, a tweed salt and pepper hat on his head. Walks with a limp in his right leg, making his movement slow.

Pushes trolley slowly towards middle of the stage. Stops when reaches center, humming as he goes.

Limps to the back of the stage, lifts up curtain, peers out. Drops curtain, turns, limps back to trolley. Looks around stage as he goes.

Abruptly stops humming. Notices blood on floor and seat of rocking chair. Grumbles and curses under his breath, shaking his head. Sighs.

Dunks mop in bucket of water. Wrings mop laboriously. Moves slowly towards rocker. Begins to mop blood. The mopping spreads the blood into streaks. Much more red on floor. More grumbling.

Stops mopping. Goes back to trolley. Puts mop in bucket and looks around stage, fuming.

Takes towel from trolley, laboriously begins to scrub floor on hands and knees, sopping up the blood and water. Towel stains bright red.

Struggles to get up. Throws spent towel in garbage bag. Takes another towel from trolley.

Goes back to rocker. Kneels down to start scrubbing when he notices the three cue cards taped to the rocking chair. He looks at each one.

Pulls a card free from rocker. Stands up. Reads card more attentively. Looks stage left, disturbed.

Limps to coat tree, mumbling to himself as he continues to read card. Tips his hat towards the stool. Mimes taking off a coat and hanging it on the tree.

Cleaner (in a bad western accent): Howdy.

Pause.

Cleaner: You know why I'm here lil' missie?

Pause.

Cleaner: No. I ain't gonna kill your pa.

Pause.

Cleaner: You'se is gonna kill your pa.

Front curtain falls.

16 comments:

The Preacherman said...

Interesting concept. I'd like it to carry on further into a full blown production. I want to know where it goes.

Maybe that makes it a bit special. It leaves you wondering.

Nice one mate

human being said...

the will to survive despite the despair...eh?

Jon this work is a... WOW!
the elements you've chosen and the way...

oh i'll be back to crow more!
i just had one minute and it's up already!

BBC said...

This is another writing experiment.

Yeah, I would say so. I recall you saying you have a mate there, better stick with another sexing experiment.

BBC said...

great spirits should not waste their time by reading silly poems...

I seldom do, I didn't read all of this post.

Hopper said...

Preacherman,
Nice to make your acquaintance mate... I'll drop in and say hello to you again... and thanks for your boost of confidence in this little play... maybe I will stretch it out into something more...

Crow,
You come back and crow on any time at all... I'm around... and thanks... it was your post that I built this one out of...

BBC,
Always the naysayer... I guess that everybody IS a critic... and I'm not sure what you didn't read all of, nor am I chided by the slight... but this is most certainly not what I'd call a poem... I'd have thought that the title of the post would have made that clear... ah well... must be my bad...

Anonymous said...

This is the drawback of a blog. One gets to reads wonderful feedback, but one must also read the comments of dopes who have nothing better to do than be negative!! Keep on doing what you do best.

Harlequin said...

Hopper--things to say right away: strong narrative makes a strong play and the details in this narrative carried the load right into the play.... nicely done! when a reader becomes a viewer becomes an audience, good stuff is going on.

I kept seeing the people who could be playing the roles ...especially the sentinel figure we meet (supposedly)
after the " real " play is done... that was sublime...
and I kept wanting him to have a broom not a mop.... but of course it has to be a mop...
how often has this guy hummed his way on stage, grumbled his way to the props, fumed his way through the careless disregard and acted out so many lines ..... and maybe the lines are " really " his and maybe the blood on the floor is what is often left after a powerful act of creative expression...
so, what is his play .... and where are the fine lines
the thin lines, between play and script, front stage and back stage, lines that are yours or someone else's..... fantasy/reality, here and now....

I have to say that I also like this sentinel semiotic,,,, such a great allegorical figure,,, the guy poling across the river styx, the gate-keeper of the tenth circle in Dante,the ferryman of Avalon... all figures who seem to walk out of a darkness and do the dirty work,the necessary work..
I like this play... and I like what it will call out of an audience...or a reader
thanks!
Harlequin

human being said...

not only the words as we are reading but also the colors on the stage as we are watching, draw our attention to something which is the central image here in this short but profound play...

BLOOD

it is on the rocker... on the floor... on the actor in WHITE shirt...
it is mopped... more on the floor...
towels....stained red...

what does blood connote? vitality... passion... life in all its forms....

the blood is there; just changes its place... as everything else in this play is there and just changes place a bit...

the killing is there...
and the show...

the details do a miraculous job here (all the objects, the clothes, limping of the cleaner, etc.), so does the open end of the play... as we wonder how the girl is going to kill her dad... and how the cleaner is going to continue his job (both his cleaning and his acting)

the front stage merges into the back stage... the main show mingles with the cleaner's show...
two half circles are put together to make a whole circle...

oh yes this stage is our world...
and we are all in it...

a fabulous work Jon... it tells lots more things about man and life...

also enjoyed Harlequin's review...

Harlequin said...

Human Being.. such thoughtful commentary on the play and such a nice courtesy on my earlier contribution ... your comments usually speak volumes to me...
with regard
Harlequin

human being said...

hey dear friend, Harlequin...
be careful when complimenting crows... they may fell in love with their own harsh croaking and go on... non-stop!

:D

i should thank you for your words which explore deep (both here and in your posts) ... i've come out of the cave and soon will be at your place to crow!!!
:)

and also Jon... who writes so well...
this blog is very dear to me as it connects me to my foremost interest and love... literature...

namaste!

human being said...

Jon
didn't tell you that the way i visualized the cleaner's show (before you write this) was like this:
the curtain comes down... and we hear the sounds(he's working, singing, cursing...) and see some movements in the curtain as he's mopping... and perhaps his figure behind the curtain...
then the curtain is up and no one is there...

then when i read your beautiful version and the way you juxtaposed the two shows... i realy wished i could see this on stage...

i keep my fingers crossed...
:)

BBC said...

What in the hell has this got to do with beer?

Cestandrea said...

Hi Jon, this pulled my inside the theatre at once, I can see it all. From behind the scene...
Andrea

Bird said...

a play within a play ...

i readily saw this in my head - i especially appreciate the smallness of it - or rather - the tight control, the focus. and what is essentially, a surprise at the end, but not one totally unexpected.

human being said...

hey dear interested readers...
the discussion on this work is continued in the comments of the next post...

thus notifieth the nosy crow!
:)

Jon said...

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