"Amazing what you can convince a man to do if you just let him ride you and ring your bell every now and then."
|From: Emigrant Theater Play Date|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||DEXTER, the Stage Direction Reader|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||KELSEE (Mermaid #1)|
|Either||Adult: Any Age||MONKEY (Brian)|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||BICYCLE|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||HAMILTON|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||ARIEL (Mermaid #2)|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||MANATEE|
With a first scene adapted from Moliere's "The Forced Marriage," the play then branched out in two possible directions. There were no rules, no boundaries, no specifications. Each of those options in turn branched off into two more options and so on until each of ten playwrights had contributed three scenes, for a total of 30 scenes and sixteen possible plot strands, all based off of the same beginning point.
This is scene 4E. In the scenes that preceded it...
Scene 1 - Moliere, adapted by Matt DiCintio
Two men in their 50s meet on a stone bridge over a river in a large city. Reynolds, on his bicycle, declares that he intends to be wed, but first must find his bride. Gerry, his friend, thinks this is ridiculous at his age, but agrees to watch the bike, as he enjoys ringing the bell. Reynolds leaps into the river in search of true love.
Scene 2B - by Kimberly Burke
With the help of a manatee, Reynolds is guided out to sea and the lost city of Atlantis, where he meets two mermaids - a dim one (mermaid #1), and a smarter one named Ariel (mermaid #2). While the stage direction reader flirts with mermaid #1, Reynolds and Ariel try to come to an understanding about possible marriage and the bearing of children. The stage direction reader and mermaid #1 sneak off to make out, the mermaids' father Neptune, god of the sea, makes an ominous approach. Reynolds must decide whether to hide or run.
Scene 3C - by Jordan Harrison
Neptune, Ariel, Reynolds and the Manatee engage in a conversation made up entirely of rumbles. Meanwhile, mermaid #1 (Kelsee) convinces the stage direction reader (Dexter) to return to his duties and save the play. And meanwhile back on the stone bridge over the river, Gerry turns to the bicycle and asks, "Will you marry me?"
copyright 2005 by Matthew A. Everett
SCENE 4E - In which Gerry and the Bicycle debate the true nature of love and Gerry must battle for her affections with a homeless man - the mermaids return with Reynolds, and things become very complicated because of a monkey. Yes, a monkey.
A stone bridge over a river in a large city.
BICYCLEYou expect me to answer that? Seriously?
GERRYWhy else would I ask?
BICYCLETo hear yourself talk, would be my guess.
GERRY reaches out to ring the bell.
BICYCLEHands off the bell, Charlie.
BICYCLEWhatever. Men earn that privilege.
GERRYBut it's so shiny. And the tone --
BICYCLEOr they don't.
GERRYOh all right. At least have the common decency to answer my question.
BICYCLEYour friend told you he was off in search of true love, off to find a wife and what do you do? He jumps off the bridge into the water and you spit on him.
GERRYNot on him exactly.
BICYCLEYou called him ridiculous.
GERRYWell, you have to admit, jumping into the water like that --
BICYCLEYou called him ridiculous before he even hit the water.
GERRYHe was all set to be married and he hadn't even met anyone yet.
BICYCLEThe greatest of man's follies?
Why burden yourself with the heaviest of chains?
Who exactly do you think planted that idea in his head?
GERRYYou? You convinced him to seek true love and get married?
BICYCLEAmazing what you can convince a man to do if you just let him ride you and ring your bell every now and then.
GERRY reaches out again.
BICYCLE (cont'd)Ah ah.
I'll have you know my chain is well-oiled and lighter than a feather. Not that you'll ever know.
GERRYBut you see, he was searching for a woman. I --
BICYCLEYeah, what is with that exactly? I get him all primed and ready and then he goes off in search of a fish?
BICYCLEYou're one of those guys who only reads the scenes he has lines in, aren't you? Typical.
GERRYWhat are you -- ?
BICYCLELong story. Look it up. Meantime, explain to me why I'm not first on the list? I thought you guys loved your gadgets. Is it because I'm not this year's model? You all get distracted by the latest shiny object?
GERRYI'm offering to --
GERRYWe could see the world together.
BICYCLEI'm exhausted already.
GERRYWhere's your sense of adventure?
BICYCLEWho do you think's going to be carrying most of the weight in this relationship?
BICYCLEUh huh. Well, let me tell you, buster brown --
BICYCLEWhatever. Just because I'm not a flesh and blood woman, doesn't mean you get off easy. I'll have you know I am a very high maintenance piece of machinery.
GERRYAnd you wonder why he jumped off a bridge?
HAMILTON, a homeless man, appears.
HAMILTONMy God, you're beautiful!
GERRYWhy thank you.
BICYCLENot you, Clyde.
BICYCLEWhatever. There's a man who knows how to treat a lady. Get over here, big boy.
HAMILTON begins to caress the bicycle.
A MONKEY enters, dragging a hurdy-gurdy along behind him, taking in the scene between the men and the bicycle.
GERRYBut I was willing to marry you.
BICYCLETo make your own life easier.
GERRYYou think he'll demand less of you?
BICYCLEHe'll more than compensate me for my pains.
HAMILTONI'll polish your seat.
BICYCLEReynolds left and didn't look back.
HAMILTONI'll shine your rims.
BICYCLEYou're just feeling lonely.
HAMILTONI'll wash your spokes.
BICYCLEThis is real commitment.
HAMILTONI'll patch every rupture.
BICYCLEYou're gonna be spending your golden season humping your fist, sweetie. Get used to it.
HAMILTONYou will never want for air.
GERRYWell, I'm sorry, but you're not going anywhere with it.
BICYCLEIT? Ha! He'll fight you for me.
BICYCLEGo ahead and ring the bell, big boy. You've earned it.
HAMILTON rings the bell.
GERRYYou brazen hussy.
BICYCLEHe needs me, Gerry.
GERRYGerr -- oh.
BICYCLEYou have a car.
BICYCLEPrecisely my point. So does Reynolds. You won't miss me, either of you. Look at the shoes on his feet.
GERRYHe doesn't have any.
BICYCLEI can lift his feet off the ground for a while. I can be his home. Do you need me like that?
BICYCLELet me go, Gerry.
GERRYMay I? One last time?
BICYCLEOh, all right.
GERRY rings the bell. Shivers.
HAMILTON and the BICYCLE go.
GERRY watches them disappear.
After a moment, the MONKEY speaks.
MONKEYI'll marry you.
MONKEYSorry. Should have introduced myself. The name's Brian.
MONKEYPleased to meet you. So, what about it?
MONKEYMarriage. You, me.
GERRYTo be honest, I'm surprised I'm even talking to you, much less --
MONKEYDidn't take you for a bigot.
GERRYSee here --
MONKEYA minute ago you were proposing marriage to a bicycle. I thought at the very least you were open-minded. Perhaps even desperate.
GERRYWell, now I really want to marry you.
MONKEYMarriage of convenience only.
MONKEYWell, unless you like a monkey on your back.
GERRYFor whom exactly would this union be convenient?
MONKEYLook, my organ grinder died a week ago. I can't reach the handle on this thing. A cute face only goes so far in panhandling without a little music to dance to. Without the music, honestly, I just look like I'm having a seizure. It's off-putting to potential supporters of the arts.
GERRYSo you want me to turn your crank.
MONKEYWell, when you put it that way --
GERRYSo what do I get out of it?
MONKEYSomething to pass the time. Companionship.
GERRYI'm an extremely busy man.
GERRYI have friends. Human friends.
MONKEYAgain with the bigotry.
GERRYYou're very thin-skinned for a marsupial.
MONKEYThere's no need to be insulting. I'll simply take the monstrosity and be on my way. Not everyone is immune to my charms, you know.
And so the dragging of the hurdy-gurdy begins anew.
GERRY (cont'd)Brian. Please.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch --
GERRY and MONKEYWhat the -- ?
DEXTER (THE STAGE DIRECTION READER)Sorry. Always wanted to say that. In fact, it reads --
Suddenly KELSEE the slow-witted mermaid --
KELSEE (MERMAID 1)Hey!
Suddenly Kelsee, the extremely beguiling vixen of the deep --
KELSEE (MERMAID 1)Attaboy.
(to GERRY and MONKEY)Pays to have well-connected friends.
Suddenly -- !
KELSEE (MERMAID 1)Back at it.
Suddenly, KELSEE the mermaid rockets out of the water and lands on the stone bridge beside GERRY and Brian, the MONKEY, floundering about like a fish out of --
KELSEE, GERRY & MONKEYDon't say it.
DEXTER (THE STAGE DIRECTION READER)Fine.
They all wait.
For what seems like an eternity.
KELSEEDrying out over here.
And still they wait.
-- fish out of water. When suddenly, who should come back around but --
HAMILTONHey! Fish for dinner!
BICYCLEYou don't honestly think that's going to fit in the basket, do you?
KELSEENot very hospitable here on land, is it?
BICYCLEI have a large rack but a small basket, that's all I'm saying. And I'm not the only one.
HAMILTON and GERRYHey!
BICYCLESize doesn't matter. Really.
HAMILTONUp you go.
HAMILTONLemon sauce. Melted butter. Tender fillets of softy flaky pink--
HAMILTONOff we go.
BICYCLEEasy for you to say.
And so, Hamilton pedals away to make a meal of the mermaid.
DEXTER (THE STAGE DIRECTION READER)Oh. Hey!
Dexter runs off to save the best piece of tail --
Dexter runs off.
GERRYWell, now we're in it.
MONKEYSo, about the marriage proposal -- ?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)So we have to do everything ourselves?
REYNOLDSIt would appear so, my love.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Just as suddenly, Ariel the other mermaid and Reynolds resurface.
REYNOLDSGerry! I'd like you to meet -- uh --
MONKEYYou said it.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Eyes up here, buddy.
REYNOLDS-- my new friend -- uh --
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Ariel.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)He's got it. Keep up.
GERRYShe looks familiar.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)So you've seen my sister?
GERRYYes. I'm afraid a homeless man intends to scale her and have her for dinner.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)See, I told you. Dad doesn't think. He doesn't like her dating an actor, so what does he do? Toss her on shore. And he thinks she's not going to get eaten? No one thinks ahead.
No one thinks ahead.
No -- one -- thinks --
MANATEEStill waiting for my cue.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)We have to do our own now.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Third person omniscient narrator.
MANATEEThe manatee surfaces. And spies Brian the Monkey.
MONKEYHey there, fish flakes.
MANATEECome to the edge of the water often?
MONKEYNot often enough, apparently.
MONKEYOh, now you're interested?
GERRYI thought we were - in discussions.
MONKEYTalk's cheap. I'm not.
GERRYHe doesn't have opposable thumbs.
MANATEEAny thumbs, truth be told.
Perhaps I could entertain a change of career.
MANATEEI could evolve.
MANATEEWhat other incentive would I need?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Uh, guys? What do you suggest we do to keep my sister from becoming a combo platter?
REYNOLDSHey. Where's my bike?
copyright 2005 by Matthew A. Everett