"Don't look at us. We're just here for the clunky exposition bits."
|From: Emigrant Theater Play Date|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||BICYCLE|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||KELSEE (Mermaid #1)|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||DEXTER, the Stage Direction Reader|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||AURORA|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||WOODS(WO)MAN|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||PHILLIP|
|Female||Adult: Any Age||WOMAN (Honey)|
|Male||Adult: Any Age||MAN (Manny)|
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 5O. 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 3D - by Christina M. Ham
Reynolds not only decides to run, he runs into a completely different play. In the enchanted forest, the lovely princess Aurora lies in a glass coffin. While a Banshee, Loyal Subjects 1 and 2, a Wood Nymph, and a Fairy provide the necessary exposition, prince Phillip, a mincing homosexual stereotype appears on the scene and challenges Reynolds to a duel for first dibs on Aurora. The evil leather-clad Malefescent also looks on and tosses in occasional threats. It's really kind of a mess.
Scene 4G - by Dominic Orlando
While Reynolds and the fey prince Phillip engage in a catfight, Aurora endures near suffocation in the glass coffin as Malefescent looks on. A hardy woodsman emerges, chastises them all, and releases Aurora from her coffin. The woodsman turns out to be a woman after all, and the romantic lesbian couple go off together. Meanwhile, Gerry swoops in on the bicycle to rescue Reynolds from fairy tale land. After a stirring special effects sequence and meditation on love, during which the bicycle somehow disappears, Reynolds comes on to a woman in the audience and they run off together. The woman's theatergoing companion is bereft, and ends up dancing with Gerry to the strains of Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose"
(NOTE - There are actually more than 10 speaking roles in this scene, but I only have the current technological ability to list ten - when we first designed the website, I never imagined I'd be writing a scene quite like this one. Also included in this scene are the characters of Malefescent, Banshee, Loyal Subjects #1 and #2, and the present but non-speaking roles of Fairy and Wood Nymph, all carryovers from Scene 3D)
copyright 2005 by Matthew A. Everett
SCENE 5O - In which all the chickens - mermaids, lesbian lumberjacks and forgotten bicycles - come home to roost.
As GERRY and the abandoned MAN continue to dance to "La Vie En Rose," they are joined by other couples --
AURORA, the glass coffin lady, dancing with her rescuer, the WOODMAN (er, WOODSWOMAN) --
LOYAL SUBJECT #1 and LOYAL SUBJECT #2 twirl about the floor --
The BANSHEE and MALEFESCENT trip the light fantastic --
The FAIRY and the WOOD NYMPH glide into view together --
Even the STAGE DIRECTION READER tries gamely to drag his be-flippered love, the dimwitted MERMAID #1, around the stage in time to the music.
All of which is brought to an abrupt halt when ARIEL (MERMAID #2) makes her presence felt by killing the music (yanking a power cord perhaps, or scratching the needle across the record turntable).
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Not that this isn't a touching scene and all, but there's some unfinished business to attend to.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Where's your friend?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)That'd be him.
PHILLIP, the mincing prince, appears.
PHILLIPHe has left some of us quite unsatisfied.
The BICYCLE returns.
BICYCLEYeah, what exactly was the deal with abandoning me during that special effects sequence?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)He was all ready to meet my father --
The MANATEE resurfaces.
MANATEEWell, to be fair, your father was going to kick his ass.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Still, the very least he could have done was stick around long enough to --
MANATEEYou told him to hide.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Hide, not run. You told him to do that. All the excuse he needed. The next thing you know he's prancing --
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Excuse me, capering, about the countryside --
PHILLIPWith the occasional detour to the end stall in the men's room at a local highway rest stop --
AURORAOh, and he says he wants you, can't live without you --
WOODS(WO)MANAurora, my love, it's OK.
AURORAThis'll just take a minute, Woody.
WOODS(WO)MANBut we're together now. While dwell on such unpleasantness?
AURORAI don't want the old buzzard, dear. Rest easy. It's the principle of the thing.
MALEFESCENTCome to think of it, he is getting off quite lightly.
PHILLIPHe gets off all right. Then he zips up his pants and it's off to the next infatuation.
MANYeah, he stole my Honey away from me.
GERRYWell, maybe if you learned her name.
MANHoney is her name. Do you think I go around calling women honey? That's annoying.
WOODS(WO)MANNot as annoying as sweetie.
PHILLIPOr "my naughty little hole."
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Wow, you really did get screwed.
PHILLIPTell me about it.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Anyway, the point is, the guy goes around getting people's hopes up --
PHILLIPAmong other things.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)
(forging ahead)-- and the next thing you know, he's gone.
GERRYWell, I did have a little to do with his last exit.
MALEFESCENTSo you're enabling him.
AURORAAnd his romantic attention deficit disorder.
MANATEEHey, that's spells RADD.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Well, it's not rad.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Or anything else the kids think is "cool" these days.
GERRYBut he really does want marriage.
WOODS(WO)MANHe wants a hausfrau. The man couldn't handle a real woman.
AURORAYou tell him, Woody.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)The man won't stand still long enough to let his eyes focus on what's in front of him at any given moment.
GERRYBut he believes in love.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Don't you?
GERRYWell, yes, I just don't believe in contracts.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)But you believe in faithfulness, don't you?
GERRYWell, yes, I suppose.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Common courtesy?
PHILLIPAt least passing a guy a towel so he can clean up afterwards?
GERRYLook, he and I were just dancing. Everyone seems a little gay when they listen to Edith Piaf. It doesn't mean anything.
MANDoesn't mean anything?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)My God, you're no better than he is.
GERRYWhat? No. Hang on.
MALEFESCENTWell, I wanted him to pay, but as long as someone pays, I suppose it doesn't really matter who.
BANSHEEI really need to feed on someone's grief. You'll do.
GERRYBut I didn't do anything.
GERRYI was the one who noticed you were missing.
BICYCLEBut did you seek me out?
GERRYIt was right in the middle of a very poetic passage. I was distracted.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Poetry does almost as much damage as you and your friend.
GERRYBut I love ringing your bell.
BICYCLEWell, that is true.
GERRYYou like it, don't you?
BICYCLEI have to admit, you didn't jump off a bridge and leave me.
GERRYSee? There. I'm responsible. I care for things.
MALEFESCENTSo you're selling out your friend?
MALEFESCENTNo, that's OK. I actually admire that in a person.
BANSHEEMakes our job easier.
GERRYHow about a little help over here?
LOYAL SUBJECT #1Don't look at us.
LOYAL SUBJECT #2We're just here for the clunky exposition bits.
MERMAID #1 (THE DIM ONE)I thought he was cute.
STAGE DIRECTION GUYHey.
MERMAID #1 (THE DIM ONE)You're cute, too. You're all cute.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)You can dial it back, Bambi. You're not running for prom queen anymore.
MERMAID #1 (THE DIM ONE)OK.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)I know. Wrong movie. She kept insisting we call her Thumper at first. It was the best compromise we could manage.
GERRYLook, I don't want to cause any trouble. I don't want to get anyone into trouble.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)You haven't been causing trouble.
BICYCLEWell, except for the whole abandonment thing.
GERRYConcentrate on the bell-ringing part.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)We just want your flighty little friend to get what's coming to him.
REYNOLDS returns with the WOMAN (HONEY).
REYNOLDSGerry. Wonderful. You're all here. I wanted to invite you to my wedding.
REYNOLDSYes, I've found her at last. We're going to do it right here, right now. No time like the present.
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)You mean, before you change your mind?
HONEY sees that the MAN is still clinging mighty close to GERRY.
MANNY (MAN) backs away.
MAN (MANNY)It doesn't mean anything.
REYNOLDSQuite a gathering you have here. What's the occasion?
ARIEL (MERMAID #2)Funny you should ask.
REYNOLDSNot for my wedding, surely.
HONEY (WOMAN)My name's Honey.
REYNOLDSI'm aware of that, my dear.
MALEFESCENTWe're not here for the wedding.
BANSHEEWe're here for you.
The group advances on REYNOLDS.
copyright 2005 by Matthew A. Everett